Alabama Poet Rodney Jones

I came across the poet Rodney Jones on the blog, How a Poem Happens.  He’s an accomplished poet–eight books, finalist for the Pulitzer, winner of National Book Critics Circle Award–born and raised in Alabama, the home of my parents.  How had I never heard of him before?  So I bought Salvation Blues and am impressed.  For example, take a backward stroll through this poem:

Remembering Fire

Almost as though the eggs run and leap back into their shells
And the shells seal behind them, and the willows call back their
driftwood,
And the oceans move predictably into deltas, into the hidden
oubliettes in the sides of mountains,

And all the emptied bodies are filled, and, flake by flake, the snow
rises out of the coal piles,
And the mothers cry out terribly as the children enter their bodies,
And the freeway to Birmingham is peeled off the scar tissue of fields,

The way it occurs to me, the last thing first, never as in life,
The unexpected rush, but this time I stand on the cold hill and watch
Fire ripen from the seedbed of ashes, from the maze of tortured glass,

Molten nails and hinges, the flames lift each plank into place
And the walls resume their high standing, the many walls, and
the rafters
Float upward, the ceiling and roof, smoke ribbons into the wet cushions,

And my father hurries back through the front door with the box
Of important papers, carrying as much as he can save,
All of his deeds and policies, the clock, the few pieces of silver;

He places me in the shape of my own body in the feather mattress
And I go down into the soft wings, the mute and impalpable country
Of sleep, holding all of this back, drifting toward the unborn.

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