cover image Zeno’s Eternity

Zeno’s Eternity

Mark Jarman. Paul Dry, $16.95 trade paper (86p) ISBN 978-1-58988-170-9

Inspired by Zeno’s paradoxes (named after the fifth-century BCE philosopher’s logic puzzles relating to time and motion), the metaphysically engaged latest from Jarman (after The Heronry) is divided into sections dealing with consciousness, memory, the elements, and cancer and illness. Dante and the psalms are among the allusions Jarman skillfully weaves in, drawing affective echoes. Many of these poems are linguistically mischievous: “The past says remember me./ The sky says cloud me./ The post says hang from me./ The air says clear me” (“Providence”). In the “Arrow Paradox,” the speaker remarks, “Zeno sent/ his arrow flying/ endlessly from point/ to point along its arc/ to make a point/ about eternity:/ getting there is tricky.” The elegiac poem “In the First Minute Without Him” movingly opens, “In the first minute without him, I felt love/ for what he left behind, though it was empty,/ and kissed his forehead, and knew it would dissolve/ with all the rest in fire and memory.” These sensitive and meditative poems offer up new ways to consider the passage of time. (Jan.)