Merry Christmas, readers! Every week, the BOA staff shares one of our favorite poems from our over 300 collections of poetry. Our gift to you this week is a special poem from Rare Earths by Deena Linett, which was reprinted in Angels of Poetry (2006): a limited run anthology celebrating BOA's 30th anniversary featuring commentary from some of BOA's most beloved poets from our first 30 years. We hope you enjoy this special look at one of our cherished memories.
Thank you for all your support, for your comments, and for your readership this past year. We are excited to bring you new collections of poetry and other works of literature in 2018.
For hours I held one of my son's infant twins
while he slept. For a little time
before we knew who each would be
it didn't matter which soft sweaty newborn head
lay on my breast ruining my velvet shirt.
There was nothing else in the world I wanted.
As on approach to Chartres: it's been there centuries,
you merely have not known it. Now you know
nothing can prepare you for the way it rises
from the hills, imperfect, beautiful.
Nothing is required of you, and everything.
Deena Linett: "'Cathedral' attempts to render that state of being in which self and world disappear into the awareness of the other. This is what happens when you're writing: wishes, hopes, physical comfort, hunger, temperature and weather—everything—drops away: the head of the baby against your breast constitutes the world.
Perhaps I had not held any newborns between the time I'd had my own children and the time I cradled my baby granddaughters Sophie and Amelia, to whom my first BOA poetry book, Rare Earths, is dedicated. The cathedral of Chartres was built in the low hills and hollows of central France more than eight hundred years ago, and Rouen has grown around it. Today, Chartres rises from the landscape, a living presence. I hadn't been one of those people who longed for grandchildren. I hadn't anticipated the joy my children's children would bring, and I had not imagined Chartres until I saw it."