Read the Book
View online edition (PDF, c. 2.3 MB)
About the Book
"Bodiless, like wisps of smoke on windless days / they rose," begins one poem in Ronald Moran’s latest collection, Waiting. "Not the holy spirit or the granules of the past, / but strands of memory freed up of their own will." With his trademark blend of poignancy and humor, and what a fellow poet has called the "quiet fireworks" of his language, Moran has drawn together many floating strands—not just memories, but also dreams, emotions, events, reactions, musings, images—and woven them into poetry.
Waiting is the third installment in a series of poetry collections Ronald Moran has published with CUP. The others are
- Saying These Things (2004)
- The Blurring of Time (2007)
- The Jane Poems (2011)
- The Tree in the Mind: Poems (2014)
- Eye of the World (2016)
Bodiless, like wisps of smoke on windless days,
they rose beyond the limits of smoke, as if
balloons were freed from the deck of a party,
helium filled on another windless day, but wind
is never absent, only perceived to be, as when
a hand is brushing back loose, stray hairs.
Not the holy spirit or the granules of the past,
but strands of memory freed up of their own will, and visible but once to us, when our secrets
and our longings reach a commingling peace,
like an accord, but not as if they were at war,
or, say, like the part of a pear hidden in a still life,
always there, supporting the whole, as in what
rose that day, formless, but once filled with life.
The only call I received on my 72nd birthday
We have a wonderful surprise for you, Ronald,
Roused me from my lethargy to ask: What if
The New Yorker
wrongly sent me a rejection notice for a poem
Or some foundation or society had given me
for lifetime achievement—for what?—but hope,
like a virus,
still hung on, so I replied to the tinkling voice,
Please tell me,
by which time my spirits were dancing like the limbs
of a Bradford Pear,
when the voice said, still tinkling, but pitched higher,
A great deal
on a five-year extended warranty on your car!
I replied, I'm 72 and if you guarantee that I'll live
to my late 70s
we have a deal. Silence, except for a background
of Say what?
When the voice finally returned, it said, soberly,
I'm sorry, sir,
but I can only extend the warranty on your car,
not your life.