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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Farewell Q

Couldn't really sleep last night - wanted to get to Quinton's poems, see him again in that woefully incomplete way that poems try to negotiate for us. I've loved his book Joe's Rain since I bought it a few years back - "Mockingbird Farewell" is one of my favorite pieces. Here's an excerpt:

You were as musical as
you are plain, your drab colors
make you look dressed for work,
and work is repeating
the greatest hits of others.

Though he bemoans the fallen bird in the poem, he manages to laugh at it, too - it's kind of a combination tribute and roast:

No longer will you devil the cat,
or broken-record me out of
a deep well of sleep and into
another summer day full of your lip.

Quinton's poetry does a lot of things well, he writes of love and loss and nature without sentimentality or artifice: "nothing we could do/could convince the tulips/to stay down where they were." But perhaps the genius of his work is that casual, real voice - "full of your lip," he tells the bird, and "you'll be a smash, old pal." When I read these poems I get a vision of a wistful cowboy blending with a California sophisticate. Big skies, yes, but a good French white wine on the table. In Quinton's poems we see Quinton himself - a lover of life (and Nancy), a man fully realized, passionate, but calm, and always warm and giving. Here are the closing lines from "I Won't Go Back."

Kiss me. Come on over
where the light is soft
and yellow. The rain
on the window, panting
to come inside can forget it.
I'm doing homework tonight.

Whatever dipper that is,
let it keep pouring
starlight down. The geese
we hear but can't see
don't count. Have some more.
Let's not save a thing.

1 comment:

Cindy Hurn said...

A beautiful tribute to a remarkable man and writer.