I am so happy today to see The Roanoke Times publish my latest letter to the editor:
As always, I am grateful to the editorial staff of this superb regional newspaper. The Roanoke Times is the primary newspaper for Southwest Virginia, and its Sunday readership throughout 19 counties is estimated at 230,000 people.
I’m also pleasantly surprised that this particular letter seems to have stuck a chord with people the way that it did. After it was carried by a number of newspapers in Virginia and by Newsday in New York, it was shared with a combined 733,000 readers. That would make it the most broadly circulated single item of all of my writing.
I learned a little while ago that the Salem Times-Register printed my recent letter about the courage of the Ukrainian people protecting their homeland. You can find it right here.
Thank you, Editor Shawn Nowlin, for allowing me to share my thoughts with my neighbors in Southwest Virginia.
Feign innocence, you
sly, lascivious dove, you
“Haifa,” Léon-François Comerre
Let’s make for Maine
tonight, Love, now, let’s go, let’s just go
north for that ménage à trois —
where water licks us,
where salt air kisses us,
where waves draw warm arms over us,
where rhythmic tide will move, move, move us,
just we intimate three —
you, me and the sea.
(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2022
Photo: Leaf on the beach in Ogunquit, Maine. Captain-tucker, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
I’m very happy today to learn that The Roanoke Times has published my letter to the editor about the war in the Ukraine. You can find it right here:
Thanks, as always, to the editorial staff of The Roanoke Times for allowing me to share my thoughts.
Where would we go, you and I?
The sea which breathes, in aquamarine,
its rhythmic, salty epic at our ankles
and inundates a foam refrain,
over and over, in rolling green glass:
the tide — the oldest poem — an immutable meter preceding
words, or man, or even ears to hear?
The unvarying sea
takes no notice of poets —
you and I, ourselves inconsonant poems,
varying as all our kind are wont to do …
faithless at the foot of the green, returning tide,
both our lives arrhythmic and
bitter with metaphor.
Where would we go, asalam?
The staid and angled mountains, vaulting up?
Mountains are always odes. The miles of stone
which rise to cut their rival heavens
lance the air, and spin the winds to narrative.
Those winds were singing long before us,
will sing when we are gone.
The mountains will not know our names
even as we whisper one another’s,
or the rise of your breathing where we lay there —
the blithe and meadowed slope that will not blush beneath us,
where we are ribald lyrics, songs out of our lawless senses,
lascivious and nearly wordless.
Where would we go, my muse?
The river that rushes like a fugitive ghost
absconding with its own requiem?
Rivers’ roars are always dirges, for rivers run past
lives beside their banks. Lifetimes
are as seasons to them, always ending.
This timeless river
is unconcerned for poets
and will not slow to note us.
Only our own faces on its hastening, dim and opaque surface.
answer back our gaze. We are elegies, reflected
in heedless, racing waters moving on.
Stay with me, here, for now.
We have two temporary
yet temperate pages all our own
over which is the script our ardor:
my gray-grizzled Irish cheek and your Iranian skin,
to read and study, see and know, slowly and tenderly, in this ordinary room,
in this little city, in this waning light, in this fleeting moment,
in these fleeting lives.
I am inelegant free verse, but you …
you are my perfect poem.
We will draw the sheets over us,
over our moving euphony,
and frame to evoke one another —
the rounded warmth of your white shoulder,
the cadence of my pulse.
We will hear one another, and speak
in sedulous repetition
the particular rhythm of each of our names,
measured in the meter of tremulous breath.
(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2022
Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Santorin (GR), Exomytis, Vlychada Beach — 2017 — 2999 (bw)” / CC BY-SA 4.0