Night-Singing Bird


Night-Singing Bird
By Karen Harrison
Small Stations Press

The day collapses slowly
like a thirsty rose,
dripping through the leaves
like broken honeycomb.


I am outraged by God,
furious and disgusted.
How dare He create the world
and then exile most of it
from His presence
on the basis of race or creed?

     (‘On the Straight Gate’)

There’s something to be said for the three essential threads which coalesce these forty-eight poems (God, nature and the author’s personal life – although not necessarily in that order) are fundamentally intertwined.

And of a certain belonging: that of each other – and I don’t just mean the mere fact that they fall within the parameters of a collection which just happens to be called Night-Singing Bird. Be it the disparity of the book’s opening poem ‘Cutting Out (On Hebrews 9:22)’or ‘Winter Solstice;’ the aforementioned ‘Cassandra,’ or ‘Flight 139: Over the Midwest;’ or the depth of such semi-coquettish rage that substantiates ‘Boob Job’:

Some women get plastic breasts
to get a man into their life.
I got mine
to get cancer out.
But it seems they multi-task.
Despite their feeling like
a pair of tennis balls
duct-taped to my chest,
I have just been kissed.

Great last line.
Likewise, the continuance of the second above opening quotations, ‘On the Straight Gate,’ which readily reinforces the cataclysmic depth of Karen Harrison’s frustration:

There are laws against that kind of thing.
The UN votes.
There are sanctions.
I register my protest with an embargoed faith.
I shout my gratitude at Him
and yell my praise

‘An embargoed faith’ may be something of an abstract visionary persuasion, admittedly; but it’s within said abstraction (if such be the word or description) where the poem’s ultimate power lies.

As such, I too would like to yell my praise.

David Marx


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