In Injuring Eternity Millicent Borges Accardi gives the reader a day’s worth of character poems in three parts, morning, noon, and evening. These sketches are fun to pick up and read one or two at a time and think about. Sitting down and reading them all at once can seem a little too much, but perhaps that’s the introvert in me. The collection is of mostly free form poems, well shaped and with excellent use of interesting and specific details, with the title coming from a quote from Henry Thoreau “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity”. The overall poem though, goes beyond the person, into capturing a statement about relationships and life.
One example comes from “Spitting Nails”
… In the desert I was fearless. Enough to now find
myself cabin roof-bound talking with the ex-sailor
who stored nails in his mouth. To go easily
into hardwood, you have to lubricate nails,
he said, serious. You have to spit into the hole…
Here we see and unusual person, working on a roofing job, talking with the poet who turns this into a statement about relationships, it’s fun to read the entire poem and see how. And they are not all expected relationships as in a poem “The Bully”, the surprise is who it is and how it makes a statement.
One of the most beautiful poems is “Living Only with the Hands” … Loved from love by love
Cupping the strands which travel
side by side, brushing the flax,
combing through snarls
the mother calms her child.
And on through many other loves and moments of love. Her words make you stop and pay attention many times, just in how they are phrased, like this poem “The Last 40 Years”
In the moment
I have done nothing
many things at once, together.
Only those people called
dissidents believe in precise…
This is an unusual collection of insightful moments, people, relationships and life throughout the day into evening. Many will find something of value just by randomly opening the pages and selecting something new, including births, deaths, lovers, children, snooping, guns, the down side of Las Vegas, soap operas and birthdays. It is fun to read a collection where no matter what page you turn to, you find a different poem from all the rest, and yet they all fit together.