forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit Either it could please—even this, one day—or help to remember. When the rain fell in sparks and our sails, shredded by their catch and puttering, gave in so as not to give out, when the wind put its back into shovelling the sea, in the kind of miracle that crises make obvious, an ostrich, almost messianic, flew. With its parboiled legs paddling the air, its grafted cobra of a neck asquirm, it hovered as the clouds unloaded their luggage. It brought about the hesitation of emergency, not that I know why, but I still see the caulker, his hair like frayed oakum, saying but the luxury of it. The heavens began to pay out a little rope, and we made land just as crocuses were implicating spring. While some gave thanks and some forgave I spoke my way into believing that some kinds of pain perfect themselves into a sweetness, that rivers give themselves into the ocean as the cost of being defined by the motion of that gift, which I have also given, friends who tripped and fell into memory calling me, like a muse to their poem-to-come, to come on in; the water’s moving.
Alison Goodwin on “Shore Leave” by Joseph Kidney
A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this.
The Aeneid, 1.239, Virgil (translated by Robert Fagles)
The epigraph of “Shore Leave” closes one leg of a journey, and opens a conversation:
the poet is listening and has something to say. The reader is invited to enter the
reality of the poem, to discover and re-discover other worlds. Aeneas’storm is also
the ancient mariner’s. The white-cloud albatross becomes louring ostrich, because
here, even the most onerous loads sprout meaning and take flight. Connections layer
like nacre, enriching the poem, but “Shore Leave,” with its extraordinary images and
contours, is whole on its own.
(provided for the poem “Shore Leave”) Joseph Kidney is a PhD candidate in English literature at Stanford University. His chapbook of poetry Terra Firma, Pharma Sea is available from Anstruther Press.