cover image A Pleasure Tree

A Pleasure Tree

Robley Wilson. University of Pittsburgh Press, $0 (75pp) ISBN 978-0-8229-3635-0

Challenging and dense, Wilson's ( Kingdoms of the Ordinary ) collection tackles the grand themes of love, death and violence, and the inextricable link between human existence and the forces of the natural world. Here, nature is at once destructive and redemptive, and ultimately miraculous, as depicted in the title poem: ``A marvel: / Seven apples have not fallen, / but hang in these March rains / like brown jewels. . . .'' It is this awesome, transformative power of the universe, Wilson infers, that ``reaches through'' to our daily lives and makes them bearable. Even ordinary kitchen floorboards ``shine from within,'' and, from ``under layers of filth,'' cheap furnishings ``glow as if an eternal / source projected them / from the center of time.'' A master of imagery and metaphor whose voice is alternately playful and portentous, Wilson is above all concerned with the persistence of the human spirit in the face of mortality, predatory relationships and the underlying savagery of an unknowable universe--and with ``how from each wreckage we rebuild ourselves.'' (Mar.)