Elk in Winter by Robert Pack

By Robert Pack

Robert Pack is a story grasp blessed with a prepared ear for daily speech. In poems that bear in mind Robert Frost's meditative regard of nature, Pack's latest assortment, Elk in Winter, resolves common questions within the specific, the non-public, and the intimate. This wealthy and sundry quantity strikes from comedy to elegy, from lyric to narrative, within which person characters are published and rendered symbolic via the tales that enclose them. What ultimately unites the poems of Elk in Winter is Pack's wish to attract the ear up to to the center, and to find and show the passionate track of ideas.

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Sample text

What motive could I have except My own ongoing thirst for stars And laughter reaching out into the night, Music of friendship we once thought Eternal as the tides? I’m certain all of this was true, The breathless theft, the bulletin next morning On the radio, our restoration of the Coke bottle Next night despite the first winds of a hurricane. Could Bill have chosen to forget all this Or did he want to claim the story as his own? And what good could it be to question What his motive was in questioning my motive now, Since all that’s left from the disputed past, Beyond my late attempt to rescue memory, Is what was there before we four arrived: The constellations of the hazy stars, The ocean view to the horizon’s edge, And, like receding laughter in rough wind, The tides’ undifferentiated slough Of fractured seashells on the shore?

It’s not just the necessity to eat; I fear that it’s not possible to live According to the choice to do no harm. I wonder how much else I’ve hidden from you all these years The fear of doing something really wrong— A fear that circles me like a blue haze Half-hidden even from myself, A trick evasion of some darker thought, Although in making this confession As you asked, I doubt that Will could be convinced Confessed remorse can melt a stone. 35 THIRST First Germany surrendered, then Japan, Before our senior year at Hengestone High, And thus the fearless four of us Could look up at the constellations of the stars And face what was to come just fortified With vows that we would stay in touch, That each of us could count on help, if needed, From the other three.

The sun had set, blue shadows ringed the shore, And, squinting, in the distant haze I saw What looked like coasting ducks. Preceded by a sudden wind, It seemed as if a storm was on its way, 33 And yet, despite the rocking of the boat, I raised my gun for an unlikely shot. “It’s not duck season yet,” called Will, But I had pulled the trigger as he spoke, And so, as if by miracle, I hit a bird That flapped up for a second in the air And then collapsed without a cry. Astonished by my awful luck, I wished at once to justify my deed, And told Will that I wanted to retrieve it For our evening meal—for sure, All creatures have to eat to live.

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