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Poets on Peace #12 - In the Greenwood World - Christine Gelineau
“Christine Gelineau's remarkable book reveals an intelligence deeply engaged with the world. The moral compass that guides these poems is matched by their attention to aesthetics; the poet's craft is equal to her vision. She skillfully balances elegy with protest, and argues against all that which devalues life and promotes violence and war.”
Maria Mazziotti Gillan
To my ear, this collection reproduces something of the stuttering our heart feels in the face of the world as we find it---the outrage, exasperation, despair . . . and the irrepressible hope that somehow we as a species can do better . . . will do better . . .
Christine Gelineau is the author of Remorseless Loyalty, from Ashland Poetry Press (2006), and North American Song Line, from FootHills Publishing (2001). She has just completed editing French Connections: A Gathering of Franco-American Poets, due out from Louisiana Literature Press in early 2007. Gelineau lives with her husband on a farm in upstate New York. She teaches at Binghamton University, where she is Associate Director of the Creative Writing Program, and she also teaches in the low-residency MA program at Wilkes University.
From the book:
"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of a man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."
--John F. Kennedy
The Green Road
Over Killary Harbor the sharp-sloped hills
rise steeply out of the drowned valley,
a grass-softened chalice of stone
that even on this sunny day collects
and cups mist rising from the water's surface:
a yielding presence we ride through
on rented horses, stolid Irish draughts
who carry us slack-reined
along “the green road,” a public
works project the British dreamed up
in the famine year of 1848.
Immaculate capitalists, the Brits
were loath to dole out money
the starving hadn't earned and so
their humanitarian relief put
malnourished men to body-breaking work
constructing roads that led only
to the green of nature, or webs
of stone walls whose sole purpose
was the pay check that could not
buy food enough to restore even
the energy it cost to earn it,
let alone to feed the wasted,
waiting children, mouths stained green
with grass, the verdant grass of Ireland,
flourishing outside the property lines
like an offering, unclaimed, lush
and incapable of sustaining them.
When men died out on the works,
there could be no thought
of carrying them home. Their fellows
spared precious effort just to bury them
where they fell, unshrouded, unmarked
beside the futile road or wall.
Long years later, the grass abides
and these roads remain unforgotten
elegies carrying us deep
into the past's persistence,
a hymn we ride
into the silver rain.
Hand-stitched paperbook with spine.
Eight Dollars $8.00
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