The Country Of Lost Sons


The Country of Lost Sons
By Jeffrey Thomson
Parlor Press – $14.00

In light of the recent hideous and pointless terrorist attack(s) in Paris, this book’s second poem ‘Design’ resonates with all the urgency and poignancy that such an act of indiscriminate, appalling cowardice might warrant:

with snow. It is written that the fulfillment
of the prophet is in the slaughter of the innocents,
streets swimming with black damask,

As is so oft the case with regards death; words, memory, love, and in the pertinent instance of this book review, poetry, is all that so many of us often have left. If we allow it.

And within the parameters of what these thirty-seven poems convey, we are neither let down nor disappointed, which Terence A. Hayes more than substantiates: ”In the midst of so many fast-talking contemporary poetry books comes Jeffrey Thomson’s lovely The Country of Lost Sons. Here is a book that chooses tender, meditative music over electric chatter. Here are the poems that tell us poetry can still explore and heal earnestly. More than praise, I want to offer gratitude for such an intimate book. After reading it, you will want to offer gratitude too.”

To openly bequeath gratitude, would surely suggest embracing the vision and the words that Thomson has herein bestowed.

So again, returning to ‘Design,’ one cannot help but
be somewhat slightly amazed by the trajectory of human (in)pertinence:

inconsolable women, In Breughel,
women raking the glaze-faced soldiers
like grief as a wet wind unravels

Equally so, the juxtaposition of such delicate, fraught benevolence in ‘November Conversation’

and violet, a delicate lemon
with black tears like the eyes
of dogs. The roadside blooms
and trembles in the cold wind.

Or the raw, unabashed power that is ‘Goodnight Nobody,’ a poem, so poignantly anchored within the terrible trauma of what was the Kosovo Crisis of the late nineteen-nineties:

”Outside this room the world is all Kosovo. Mass graves and the arms of children in the rubble. In Lastica, the radio correspondent reports, Serbian militias were looking for one special girl. The town beauty. Unable to get their hands on her, ”They took a 13 year old instead,” remarks NPR.

It’s the instead that gets me, really, the marking of of one life for another, that child taken and torn into beneath the wound-blue moon of her eye.”

Stunning? Harrowing? Beautiful?

It’s not really for me to decide; all I can do at best, is ponder upon, and hope to come to terms with the shimmering raw sadness that is The Country of Lost Sons.

David Marx

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