David Shevin passed away July 19th 2010
Friend, Fellow Poet and Mentor to many.
Many of David's poems were engaged in social issues, and in witty declarations of peace and justice. Below are two more personal poems revealing his deep love for the humble and beautiful of this world. They are taken from his last book of poems, Three Miles from Luckey (Bottom Dog Press)
The blue and electrical charge which sleeps
on and beneath the robin’s egg surface
and the yellow, the buttercup yellow that rubs
like a dye from stamen onto a child’s chin and cheek,
and the red of the salmon’s blood on fish ladder,
its author dreaming return, like Odysseus,
like the rest of us … take the colors the way
the rain takes them. Mix them and wash them.
Let them run past the gold and the tan and dirt hues
until they are spruce: the shade Tlingit carvers
perfect and rewrite at the carving factory,
the stain that enters their hands and dreams.
Well, I’ve seen that motion and shade rising
above us, then out through green needles to heaven.
I’ve seen the rivulets run off the riverbank
and out through drainpipes, and then reach horizon
at the ends of branches and seedcones. Then
I last saw the swim of that shade, its life
in the iris of your eye. I would live
between blinks on that moon. I would smile.
Counting the Days
All of the time and the things seemed numberless as dust
and of course it all is, but yours is not numberless. Mine
is not. It used to seem that the money came and went.
It gathered like the lint and threads on the rented blue carpet,
waiting to be swept and squandered. It would and will
return like the tolling of the bell on hill, like the wind
inside a letter box, like the deep water of an abandoned
lagoon. Images of broken light look back
the way flies see objects, like a million eyes.
It used to seem that the sweet negotiations of sex
and kiss gathered like the colors of a mirror ball,
secret and common: the repeating declarations of wave
and sand, the wind inside a letter box, all of the fireflies
on the Mad River’s shore at evening. Now dusk
spreads its fabric in sure and subtle shape, the way ink
takes hold in the fabric of rice paper, and those modest trees
conceal their roots deep into the earth. Passions overflow
all through the stormy season: Rain in a paper cup.
It can and will return. It used to seem that the lost among us
claimed their personal redemptions, that mad genius
was more admirable than its own pain, that words would
burn like a million stars, like the tiny hot engines that drive
cricket legs, like all the doubloons in an acre
of sunflowers. They did burn. Those words sparked
and the notes struck shimmers, a glass celeste.
George Harrison’s gone. All things must pass. The carpet
glistens with fresh lint, so perfect and clean.
David Shevin served as a Professor of English at Central State University. He previously taught at the University of Findlay, Tiffin University, and Miami University (Ohio). His previous books include Needles and Needs, Growl, and The Discovery of Fire, which won the Ohioana Book Award for poetry. He has also served editorial duties on many projects, including the Bottom Dog Press volumes Dunbar: Suns and Dominions, Getting By: Stories of Working Lives, and Writing Work: Writers on Working-Class Writing. For 12 years he served as poetry editor of Heartlands magazine. He was the recipient of fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; additionally, he was Artist-in-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito.
Long active on issues in the peace and civil rights communities, he received the Peacemaker Award from Tiffin’s Martin Luther King Committee, and the Cultural Diversity Education Award from the Black Heritage Library Association.
We will donate half the profits from book sales of David's books to the ACLU as part of David's wishes for donations. Price of each book is $8...free shipping.
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