Professor Emeritus of English Lawrence E. Hussman has produced a second chapbook titled Pre-Posthumous Poems. It is divided into two sections. The first concerns the natural world and the second deals with longing and loss. Though only 47 pages, this little volume packs a punch. Here are some samples:
Bear With Us
My son and I cross the lightly trafficked road
ALARM! Beside us, not ten yards to our left,
intent mother black bear and straggling cub,
no doubt fresh from a fruitful forage,
fat September blackberries aplenty.
Like us, the two look headed for the deli,
as if to purchase, or pay an unsettled bill,
then vanish into the bordering thickets,
having gifted us with emphatic wildness.
Life launched from the first urges,
or so a Hindu hymn would have it.
What to make of enticing wants—
cherished gifts or cosmic curses?
We all need things that lure to live,
but what we wish for, once secured,
almost always stirs dregs of letdown,
and gnawing need for more and other.
Wardens of churches, mosques, and temples
would repair our rift between flesh and bliss
with yarns of coming glory, all lacks met,
all things perfect in a place called Paradise,
or the highest plane that karma brings.
Best to take all such heavens with salt,
come to terms with our earthly state,
make the best of it, before it’s too late.
Rain is best when blown aslant,
its thrust, the wind, at its side.
Resounding on roofs to remind
those inside they’re still alive.
Trees dance to blustery music,
the storm gains strength,
adds drama to a swelling tide,
a statement more profound
than tame summer’s stillness
Some insist on the comfort
of fair weather, curse when
gales rage and skies pour,
assailing poles, snuffing
light, heat, most pursuits.
But ever give me tempests
stripped of all beguilements.
The better to nurture focus,
draw clean borders between
crib and crypt.