Richard Harteis says that the poems in his latest book “reflect on life since the pandemic began with allusions to Albert Camus’ philosophy and his indictment of the fascism of WWII, a plague which seems to have raised its ugly head in our own time.” The collection includes interesting and shamanistic paintings by Rita Dawley.
Harteis writes, “We may be facing a very dark winter like Game of Thrones, or we will see the death of this virus at the kind hands of nature who so unkindly delivered it to us in 2020.
Like other artists in this pandemic, I have struggled to come to terms with all the new burdens it has brought us: masks, social distancing, shortages, less than truthful politicians and scientists, loneliness, fear, horniness and the sad irony of putting all this in the context of a beautiful spring and creatures not knowing the world has changed. A woodpecker’s rat-tat-tapping on a tree in the forest for his breakfast, puffs of daisy seeds floating on the breeze, the sun so warm, the grass so green and fresh. Purple martins, American woodcocks, rusty blackbirds, and tree swallows dropping in for the spring. Robins and tiny hummingbirds miraculously making their way across the Gulf to drink a little bit of sugar water in burgeoning blossoms.
The book is divided into four parts, somewhat arbitrarily beginning with pandemic; then play, including occasional observations, attempts at humor and so forth; then Roommate since when you’re living with someone you get to learn a lot about them; and finally Easter, with prayers to help us see the light.
A single poem serves as an epilogue. It is, writes Harteis, “an indictment of capital punishment, it seems an appropriate vision of Camus’ humanism, his compassion for our predicament. And as Da Vinci has said, ‘it is an infinitely atrocious act to take away the life of a man.’ It is an act we continue to see in the lives of Americans of all creeds and colors. It is an act the virus has committed atrociously in thousands of cases now. These poems mean nothing if they forget those thousands who in desperation and courage have achieved their own death as must we all one day.” ◊
You can learn more about author Richard Harteis here. ◊
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