Friday, October 21, 2016

To Brigit Pegeen Kelly, with Thanks

In "The Rain's Consort," the poet Brigit Pegeen Kelly wrote:
So, the lion, so his stiff wings, so the black moss that stains
Both his mouth and his wings, moss the color of fruit blood,
Or of pity, pity for the self that labors and labors
And spins only the wind, bride of the wind, oh foolish one.
Yesterday I learned that she has died, and her loss is enormous. I do not know another contemporary poet who was so driven by imagination. Her poems are rich and patient and dense; they handle words like jewels; and always, they move narratively and emotionally in ways that only Kelly would have seen as inevitable. The same poem, reread, surprises me again and again and again. How did she get from one place to another? It was a kind of sleight of hand; it was a kind of magic.

"We love what we love for what they are," wrote Robert Frost in "Hyla Brook." And this morning, as I listen to rain tap at the windowpanes, I am feeling the melancholy of her loss. I never met Kelly, but her poems opened a secret garden, and that in itself was an experiment in grace. It hurts to know she's gone.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Since yesterday, when I read the news of Kelly's death, I've been reading her poetry. Remarkable work!