From Rochester Radar, April 7, 2017:
While Sue Zelie of Barrington has always meant to write a novel, she says that she constantly finds herself turning back to poetry because this form of composition forces her to slow down and savor life, examining her surroundings word by word. For Zelie, the right set of words is like a good pair of binoculars in the hands of a birdwatcher, deftly bringing its subject in and out of focus.
In “A Home in the Storm,” she balances a series of precise observations by shifting her gaze inward, layering the objective with the personal. She pins everything down with the weight of a familiar symbolic reference, but with a New England twist, giving a nod to the surest sign of spring in Rochester: The lilac.
A HOME IN THE STORM
Where do the birds go when it snows
I ask again.
While picturing them trussed up tight
In a family clot of feathers, deep in the thickets,
To their young,
I see one chickadee dive from the sky
And balance on a cradle of flimsy limbs
Eyeing the north, craning south,
Teeter-tottering from head to tail feathers now
In a tangle of lilac branches,
Until, arrested in an instant, seeming shocked
By the sudden sting of snow
Or maybe, like my cat, by the wind's bark,
He stiffens, shoots off, is flat gone.
I cannot tell why I love a storm.
I dream of a nest where all who are there, belong.
Where the happy ending is passed on from one to another
Where the bird the old man sends out from the ark
Flies back with an olive branch,
Or a lilac twig
In its beak
Reassuring the captives that things are looking up.
O’Connor, a New York native, recently settled in Rochester after obtaining her Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of New Hampshire. Her work has recently appeared in “The Fourth River,” “Stone Canoe,” “Paper Nautilus,” “So to Speak,” “Arsenic Lobster,” and the “Santa Ana River Review,” among other publications. She is also a former poetry editor of the online literary journal “Barnstorm.”
pOETRY HERE & NOW
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