Joyce Nower


The "Bridge of Sighs," one of twenty in a series called Soundings, has five accents per line - thus it is accentual verse - but  with the iambic pentameter foot as backbone, and a dactyl and anapest here and there. I enjoy writing in this loosely controlled manner because it forces compression, but not a strict adherence to any one particular meter (although that's fun too).

My sister and I are dedicated wine drinkers, so I dedicated "Wine Poem" to her. When we were dividing up our mother's possessions (a sad event talked about in the poem "The Bridge of Sighs"), I chose a beautiful Karastan rug - so I thought I'd mention it. As for the formal qualities of the poem: I love rhyme and near rhyme, but usually don't use end rhyme. However, that's the way this poem turned out.  It is more strictly iambic pentameter, too, than "The Bridge of Sighs."




The “Bridge of Sighs”

First 'home', then ‘house’ when I lifted the chiaroscuro,
the “Bridge of Sighs,” from the darkened wall, a light
patch left, a sign of filial treachery.

And then the division - carpets, mirrors, tables
sofa, silver- just, but dismemberment
nevertheless, full reduced to empty,

an interment in the spoils of death. Each thing
bravely wearing her touch, its own history,
up to the last surrounded by confreres.

Now things, estranged, set up in another home
look somewhat familiar, like objects on the horizon’s
sliver of light as the sun goes quickly down.



Wine Poem

          —For Lois


My liver harmed forever? The truth
is there is more than ample proof

a glass of wine unwinds the mind,
warms up the heart before one dines.

Take this room, shutters closed -
an icescape - objects fixed and cold,

even the plants aloof. But open
the shutters - Spring! - the room sips sun,

the stone frog croaks a mild alarum
as the ivy drapes a friendly arm

over the stand, and the ottoman
settles into the flowering Karastan.




joycenower.jpgDuring June of 1999, Joyce Nower gave lectures on contemporary American poetry at Sichuan Normal University, Shaanxi Normal University, and Yanan University in the People's Republic of China. She is the author of three books of poetry: Year of the Fires (1983), Column of Silence (2001), and The Qin Warriors and Other Poems (2003), the last two published by Avranches Press. Recent poetry has appeared in Raven Chronicles, Earth's Daughters,  The American Poetry Journal, Terminus, Slant, Andwerve, and Visions-International.  Currently Joyce writes a column of poetry criticism called "Intersections" for The Alsop Review.