High Tide–Ebb Tide

John Stanizzi’s richly imagistic and moving book, High Tide, Ebb Tide, is an inspired exploration of delight and loss. The poems create a rich sense of place, where “snowy egrets haul their orange feet / into the low marsh tide,” “two swans curl their necks— / place their heads just below the surface,” “the long fingers of the rain tap on everything,” while inside, “the shower dripping / taps with soft fingers / the rhythm of the house.” Most of all the book is a celebration of opposites—a passion for life balanced by the awareness of inevitable loss, a celebration of fragments and abundance, a delight in sounds and an equal craving for silence.   [see rest of review by Edwin Trentham, below]

John Stanizzi’s imagistic and moving book, High-Tide – Ebb Tide, is an inspired exploration of delight and loss. Poems create a rich sense of place, where snowy egrets haul their orange feet/ into the low marsh tide,” “two swans curl their necks — I place their heads just below the surface.” the long fingers of the rain tap on everything,” while inside, “the shower dripping/taps with soft fingers/the rhythm of the house.” Most of all the book is a celebration of opposites – a passion for the life balanced by the awareness of inevitable loss, a celebration of the fragments and abundance, a delight in sounds and an equal craving for silence. “Our silence should be/the language this morning,” the poet says, and throughout the gook, this idea is illuminated bey startling and original images – “the sun is a silver coin melting in the sun,” “red-winged blackbird/bounces gently/attached…to a tall stalk of reedgrass/in a breeze that isn’t there,” “water stunned to attention by the sun” – balanced by a rich evocation of the sounds of life – “mockingbird’s voice/tossed dice against the rocks,” and “sanctifying birdsong breeze reedgrass/and all the sound and motion that is not ours/beneath the wrinkled marsh.” The book is a promise to the reader, and in the end, if we pay close attention, we will hear what the poet hears, see what the poet sees, right up to the final exquisite image weaving together sound and silence love and loss, joy and sorrow: “swallows dive so close/or breathing becomes the sound of wings.”

-Edwin Trentham – author of Stumbling Into The Light

I have spent summer vacations at Point O’ Woods for more than 35 years, and John’s collection — High Tide — Ebb Tide – describes much of what I experienced there. I witnessed the events he describes, I saw what he saw, I heard what he heard, smelled and felt what he did. Yet, so amazing to me is the realization that while we were there together at the exact same time, he was in a totally different place, one much more beautiful and sometimes sadder than mine. He takes my most important memories of two summer vacations, puts them in slow motion under a microscope frame by frame in vibrant and crystal clear colors, and adds sounds and smells. Yes, I was there, but until I read High Tide — Ebb Tide I never knew what I was experiencing. I knew

it was a special time for Ma and our families. But I now know what “special” feels like in verse. Thank you, Johnnie!!

And, on a personal note, yes, you are the only person I know who would ever notice an ant’s shadow.

-Jim O’Reilly — a friend, a brother-in-law, a witness

6 a.m. – gulls cry – the first sound

then the quiet-liquid roll and swirl

of the bay against the rocks,

and an egret, back for the second day in a row,

stands in flat water near an oval of white light

too bright to look at.

Single half-sunken cormorant glides by,

and then the human sounds –

distant train’s clattering approach, air conditioners,

something humming on the horizon,

the whine of fishing boats, three of them,

single file, heading for the haze beyond the rock where

cormorants and gulls laugh themselves silly,

and in the cottage the clock has been stopped

at 3.45 for weeks, the closest we’ll ever come

to putting all of this on hold.

-Published in Third Wednesday, Sumer 2012

IN FOG

-in fog—
July 4, 2000 – 6:15 a.m.

the word is fragments –
their edges are pointed and sharp

___

words forced through the sun’s failure

___

masts of ships – demarcations
in a morning canceled by fog

___

the island emerges from the sea –
the fog –
rooftops in silhouette

___

mockingbird’s voice –
tossed dice in a sky bound by fog

___

eye of a rabbit – round –
the only thing in the grass

___

house sparrow on a red flower

___

swallows leave designs in the air –
faded messages meaning nothing
beyond their saying

___

light through a crack in the floor
letting in the voices that inhabit this place –
the pops and cracks and moans –
the distant and labored breathing

___

socked in –
aimless trust in the moving aside of this density

Paperback – February 24, 2017
Paperback $14.00