blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 10  No. 1
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A joint venture of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and New Virginia Review, Inc.


Eleanor Ross Taylor (1920–2011)

We mourn the loss of Eleanor Ross Taylor, who died the evening of December 30, 2011. Not only was she one of the truly original voices of her generation, but she was also, from the onset, a good friend to us at Blackbird, contributing work from our first issue until only a few weeks before her death. We hope that readers will join us in commemorating her life and her gift by renewing acquaintance with her remarkable poetry.

Homesick in Paradise

You, light of sunset firing my back fence;
you, wren advising wrens where to bed down,
bypassing, as they close, baled lilies;
stars, inching in,

you, scalloped pillowcases;
you, pale lamp and fat paperback:
no otherworldly life
replaces you, my dreams
of flesh and bivouac.

Eternal peace won’t stop
my looking back
to battlefields’
wild bouts of bliss.
No purity makes up for mongrel wags.
How’s cloudless sky to thrill
one hooked on storm of human kiss?

I must?
On up this stairway in the flickering light?
          A handrail? . . .
                    Squeaky hinge? . . . Up, up . . . ?
                              Goodbye! My ticket’s stamped: tonight.  end

from Eleanor Ross Taylor’s Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems, 1960–2008, Louisiana State University Press, 2009. This poem first appeared in Blackbird, volume 7, number 1.

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