On The Flyleaf of Above The River
for: Eve Shelnutt
I return to you like an undeliverable letter.
You risked all; friendships wrapped securely
around wood, or bark; a fine liquor,
a preservative, a cloth, stitched, pinned
and hemmed with bright red ribbon
belonging to eternity.
We dance clumsily,
as if we were training our pets to attempt
similar resistant and motions, to adapt to
a smooth seductive tango, but they will not
co-operate and so we make do with the
passion that’s left in us: breath of words.
They are the safety-valve to understanding;
they are the constant of place they are our
concrete spirits, our utterances, and remains so
because we have learned to dance and sing with
them most often and because our repository is
filled and our pets know and understand what
we tell them.
Herbert Woodward Martin
University of Dayton
Herbert Woodward Martin began his studies at the University of Toledo. He continued them at SUNY at Buffalo, then at Middlebury College, and finished at Carnegie Mellon University. He came to UD in the fall of 1970, and has spent the bulk of his career here. The exceptions occurred in 1973, when he served as a distinguished visiting professor at Central Michigan University, and in 1990, when he was a Fulbright Scholar in Hungary.