I LIVE BY THE INVISIBLE: New and Selected Poems
Ray Bradbury, . . Salmon Poetry, $14.95 (81pp) ISBN 978-1-903392-20-1
Most of the nearly 50 poems in this collection from the unquenchable Bradbury are new, but all have his evergreen touch—accessible, humorous, quietly emotional. Now in his 80s, the master is feeling his age, as shown in "To Ireland...": "I cannot stand that haunted rain/ Where youngness melts away to sea." Rain reappears as a metaphor in "Dublin Sunday," where he and his wife sit glumly in their hotel, all plays sold out, a favorite pub locked. Most expressive is "Once the Years Were Numerous and the Funerals Few" ("Once the hours were years, now years are hours"). For all the gloom, Bradbury can't long restrain his usual luxuriating in the sensual wonder of life. "It's No-Excuses-Needed-For-Living Weather" discovers the beauty of the "storm-cleansed" land. In six economical lines, "Manet/Renoir" celebrates the varying approaches of these painters to depicting the female form ("Rear view or façade?"). "When God in Loins a Beehive Puts" joyfully defines coming-of-age for boys. "Ahab at the Helm" takes Melville on a delicious parody of Thayer's "Casey at the Bat." The Bradbury who treasures memory emerges in "With Love," an account of his father's attempts to teach him to knot a tie, and "Byzantium I Come Not From," a paean to his Midwest origins. Bradbury fans, Hibernophiles, general readers, even some contemporary poetry snobs, will find this a lovely read.
Reviewed on: 09/23/2002