local_library December Journal Thursday, December 26, 2013

by Don Mager

Published in Issue No. 209 ~ October, 2014

The backyard gentle sift of white spreads

wide its eager eyes. Bird claw needle

point stitches track the ends and odds of

yesterday’s handfuls of flung out seeds.

Sitting atop its low eastern perch

of barren trees, sun’s brash reveille

jerks up its warning: Take a good look

now. I’m set to clear it all away

Let syrupy puddles flow. And sure

enough, claw by claw, the tracks dissolve.

Only the shade behind the shed stakes

out a small defiance. Sun does not

see this hidden impertinence. As

minutes melt one to the next, it does.


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Don Mager’s chapbooks and volumes of poetry are: To Track the Wounded One, Glosses, That Which is Owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns and The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook Drive Time and Russian Riffs. He is retired with degrees from Drake University (BA), Syracuse University (MA) and Wayne State University (PhD). He was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University from 1998-2004 where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011). As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian. He lives in Charlotte, NC. Us Four Plus Four is an anthology of translations from eight major Soviet-era Russian poets. It is unique because it tracks almost a half century of their careers by simply placing the poems each wrote to the others in chronological order. The 85 poems represent one of the most fascinating conversations in poems produced by any group of poets in any language or time period. From poems and infatuation and admiration to anger and grief and finally to deep tribute, this anthology invites readers into the unfolding lives of such inimitable creative forces as Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandelstam.