Photo: Dan Addison, UVA

You may recall that earlier in 2009 we celebrated Lisa Russ Spaar with these words from the judges of the Library of Virginia Literary Award: “her poems ‘abound in surprising inversions of syntax, and a diction striking for its sudden shifts from demotic to baroquely laden speech — from imagistic precision to statement.’”

What better way to celebrate the end of 2009 and the coming (always trailing hope) of a new one than by sharing a gift Lisa has given to us?

We at WVFC are the grateful recipients of a bouquet of poems of Ms. Spaar’s, and we shall happily offer one each Friday of January as a way of setting high the bar of Poetry Fridays and of starting the year in jubilation.  This teacher/poet has the eye of a seer and the talent of a goddess.  In the end, she is an earth-bound woman like the rest of us, but in her case, she has the capacity to reach out and touch us all.

Happy New Year.  May all its days contain poems that come close to the truth of Lisa Russ Spaar and her ability to express it.

Consolation Carol

The sun, a dull wasp,
drills the smutched sill of this old year.

The view from here:
lantern-jawed & neap,  a nacreous tattoo of first stars,

jet trails in light raillery,
hemlocks spindle-shanked.

So hope sinks to faith,
one hopes, each roof-top below  tented like a book,

spine-up, dropped in sleep.
And the happy lives behind ignited windows –

there – and there – ?
No more than the wastrel dream of my belonging

to the room I wake from sometimes,
if I’m lucky,  your lap cradling my head,  there, there,

even as the unpardonable
& untouchable past churns into the cellar

of a new day, its dram
of repairable melodrama already on the glass.

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