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A Presence of Absence: Poetry

A Presence of Absence: We've all felt it at one time or another. Hearing the wail of a distant train whistle can provoke it. So can the sound of a foghorn on a misty shore. Or catching a glimpse of a battered old suitcase. Or gazing at harbor lights or the myriads of stars on a clear night. Suddenly coming upon an old photograph or detecting a half-forgotten fragrance can do it. So can listening to an old song, 0r contemplating the brevity of life. And especially saying goodbye to someone.

The poems in this collection spring from all these stimuli and from the recollection of ecstatic dancing in the tropics, of the intense emotional effect of ancient Chinese music, of the bliss of love and the despondency of its loss.  From high adventure in youth to an old man's bittersweet memories of it while in his waning years.  The venues reach from New Jersey to Havana to New York City to Shanghai, to rural Chautauqua County, and from the wild Atlantic to the island-studded Pacific to the homey shores of Lake Erie.  And from stormy high seas to fields of battle, from the steaming Tropics to the chill of the Arctic Circle and to Tierra del Fuego, gateway to Antarctica.  But all have in common the feeling the Portuguese call saudade, which I call a presence of absence.