Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mind Dance by Gilbert Wesley Purdy - Celebrating National Poetry Month!

The Ebook version of Mind Dance
contains selections of the
Full Paperback...
This is a review of the Ebook...

Note: Two additional Poems have been spotlighted earlier

I must admit that the title and cover made me stop to ponder. What were the poems going to be about, I wondered... I'm still not sure about the choices, but what I did find was that Purdy takes readers, indeed, on a dance through the mind...covering bits and pieces of our lives and forming them into words worthy of recognition and digestion... 

Take for instance, the choice to write about a building... My thoughts, as a former facility manager, about quonset huts were about storage facilities that we used on campus, most run down and not able to be used for much of anything else...

Yet Purdy took me into his mind, his memory, and I found so much more... I saw his grandparents' previous home and I saw alive his memories as he came back to visit, to remember, and to enjoy the love he had once felt, there, in that now crumbling Quonset Hut...

The Quonset Hut 

It was my grandparent’s Quonset hut, 
but changed, the floor no longer sand but soil,
 and where the boxes filled with calico, arranged
 along the walls — toys, bedspreads, ironware — 
went on some thirty yards, that, to a child, 
seemed almost endless, 
other wonders now astonished me, 
lush tropical bowers wild with flowers, 
gaping holes, shreds dangling down.

 Where ribs were reft of corrugated sheets 
a light poured past the jagged steel 
to daze each thing within to silence,
 to replete — 
where past and shadow used to loiter days — 
each surface and the moment with itself.

A table held some books I’d meant to read, 
surfaces laved with perfect light, as well. 
I lingered knowing I must choose to leave.

Then "The Mark of Cain" again sets me off, thinking of the historical reference of so long ago... Yet here we find a vagabond, perhaps an immigrant, who believes he has the right to roam, having taken the time to get the right papers, now finds that the papers he paid for are worthless... and now...
"they roam the earth explaining time and time again ― their cart or chuffing car behind them, at the curb ― in broken words they’ve somehow got by heart..."
I couldn't help but think of the many refugees who are being shuffled from one place to another, or those that face deportation, often after having lived in America for most of their lives...

And then readers are whisked off to read about The Stars in ancient Babylon where we meet Lady Ashtoreth and learn of the comparison...
They’re the fingers Lady Ashtoreth once dipped in myrrh, they are the notes plucked cithers played, her unctuous breasts, the vineyard that her lovers roamed, the gardens of Sennacherib...
Words that take us back a thousand years, yet allowing a glimpse under the stars that glowed during that time...

And as I continue, I begin to feel the sway, the rhythm of time and space flow through my mind...surely in a syncopated manner that constantly changes...but constantly delights...

Reading each poem a first time, then two, I began to select those that I personally enjoyed because of personal interests. For example, my love of mystery came forward in Beyond the Threshold...

Beyond The Threshold 

I place the book before the threshold, leaf its pages, 
find the one I’m looking for and press it open there, 
briefly read, rise up, step past it through the door. 
The room is hushed. 
The windows sluice a light so chaste that I must catch my breath
 to see the linseed finished floor, walls painted white, the Shaker chairs, 
lace curtains, all pristine. 
I think to open the chest of drawers there but know each will be empty, dovetail-joined, the bottoms oiled, 
then consider where the next door leads, as, 
hesitantly poised between this and a darker mystery, 
I peer into obscurer rooms, 
step through to find a furniture disused,
 the creak of age, retrace my steps, find only gloom. 
A gust of wind has turned the page. 
The door is gone. 
Decrepit surfaces are laved in silver light. 
Some creature scents for spore outside, 
its diligence foreboding rage.

After being inside a mysterious house and the door disappearing...With the final lines speaking of a creature outside, in rage, don't you just want to know more! Like, what's the name of the book, please?

There are 24 poems in the "selected" copy. I realized that this is a perfect way for someone to check out the larger volume, Although if you like what I've spotlighted here you probably should also check out the printed version. Poetry books are ones that I like to keep handy on a nearby bookshelf, to just stop and pull one out and see what this poet or another has to say to me today!

Brief Exaltation at Vale Cemetery 

One frosted, glistening morning, early spring, 
as I walked among the tombstones and the dead,
 their distant voices sighing, 
suddenly a lark swooped just before my down-turned head,
 and brought it up, 
and another and another came each cheeping
 joyous barrel rolls and loops around me close, 
until dozens joined the game, and my heart fluttered,
 struggling to get loose. 
And, just as suddenly, then, they were gone. 
Within its cage my heart let out a cry, so small, 
distraught to find itself alone once more. 
A man strode with his bulldog, nearby, 
leash strained, both chuffing
 to see the birds fly on, and me turn, 
gasping, staggered by what they’d done.

Beauty comes to us in nature, in music, in dance, but, oh, when the words are formed together just right, we are graced with a vision of what another has seen, or felt, or cried about...or, sometimes, even gasp in excitement as another has seen the beauty of birds joyfully flying above us, unconcerned about our lives, knowing nothing but the flight, the warm sun, their friends I found in what, I think, was my favorite in the book... Brief Exaltation in Vale Cemetery... Spend time with Gil Purdy with this small ebook that can be taken with you wherever you go. Stop for a cup of tea and pull out the book to ponder the next poem or two while you relax and listen to the world go by... Enjoy your quiet times in life...Poetry inspires that to happen! Highly recommended...


Gilbert's poetry manuscript, *Mind Dance*, has been shortlisted for the Anita Dorn Memorial Award for Poetry. His poems have received numerous awards from World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets and other literary organizations.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy is a widely published freelance essayist, translator, reviewer and poet, and the Review Section Editor at Eclectica Magazine. His work has appeared in many fine journals, paper and electronic, including: Jacket Magazine, Poetry International (San Diego State University), The Georgia Review (University of Georgia), Grand Street, SLANT (University of Central Arkansas),The Evansville Review (University of Evansville), Consciousness Literature and the Arts (University of Wales, Aberystwyth), Orbis (UK),and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His books include: Edward De Vere was Shake-speare: at long last, the proof; Was Shakespeare Gay? Straight Male Scholarly Angst and Shakespeare's Sonnets ; Henry David Thoreau and Two Other Autistic Lives: before the diagnosis existed; Discovered: A New Shakespeare Sonnet (or three, actually); and Red Pill, Blue Pill: the Real Matrix.

Note: it was hard to be certain about the stanzas in the ebook, so if they are presented incorrectly, that is my fault alone...

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