Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"The Spring Ghazals" by Jack Hayes

There are splinters of imagery, of memory, that weave a complicated pattern from very simple triggers of thought in the latest book of poetry published by Jack Hayes, called “The Spring Ghazals.” We skip from

a transistor radio crackling a Red Sox game thru a
Rockingham VT hemlock green spring evening a screened-in porch in
1966 listening to balls & strikes with a man whose breathing was
labored – he did sit quiet in hemlock green air rising from the green
Connecticut River the house built into it had hemlock green
trim…

To images of San Francisco and of Idaho, where this Vermont-born poet now lives.

A ghazal is a particular kind of poem structure that has its roots in 6th century Arabic verse, and traveled about the globe through Persia and Asia, and in 19th century Europe, where Goethe introduced this poetic form that became very popular in Germany. A ghazal is defined not just by its formal structure, but by the subject. It deals with the pain of lost love or love unrequited, or separation.

Mr. Hayes, whose previous volume of poetry, “Days of Wine &, Roses” we discussed in this post from March, also performs as a blues musician, and writes the blog (as John Hayes) “Robert Frost’s Banjo.” “The Spring Ghazals” is a deeply personal journey through decades, and geography, through memories so sharp and clear we seem to share them.

Poem titles such as “what can we talk about that will take all night?” and “Pasta Alleluia” evoke intimacy in the mode ordinary of settings where the mind, and heart, wanders to other days and back again.

to the splinters of imagery in language that is simple, but precise:

A cigarette butt in a puddle outside the hospital

Or

A portion of silence

Or,

The blue scar of morning’s twilight a tightrope you’re walking between the day &  night

Skipping back to Vermont, by way of Charlottesville, Virginia, by way of an Idaho kitchen. We skirt by

A Quonset hut hulking in January drizzle

And

A chowder shack in Bodega Bay.

It’s a long way to go, but we always end up back at the beginning, if only to marvel how far we’ve come.
In his post on his other blog dedicated to “The Spring Ghazals”, John relates the bittersweet real-life story behind this collection of poems. Have a look here. You can also hear him read aloud a few selections, which I recommend as he has an excellent voice and timbre for reading poetry.

“The Spring Ghazals” is available on this website.

4 comments:

John Hayes said...

This is a beautiful review, Jacqueline, & much appreciated. I'll be linking to it on The Spring Ghazals blog. Many thanks--our cyber friendship means a good deal to me.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

You're welcome, my friend. Same here.

Sheila said...

Hi Jacqueline. A wonderful review. I've posted a link on my site.
Hope it helps spread the word.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Welcome, Sheila, and thank you so much. I'm sure Mr. Hayes will appreciate that.