Rick Smith is a poet of the land - or in the case of his newest anthology of poetry HARD LANDING he is a poet of the air. A man of many talents and exposures to life through multiple avenues of study - he is a professional blues harmonica player, a clinical psychologist specializing in brain damage and domestic violence, has spent several years on the internationally acclaimed neurological service allied health team at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center in Downey, California, and is published widely in anthologies and in small press publications such as New Letters, Onthebus, Blueline, Hanging Loose, Pinyon, Eclipse, Paper Street, Lummox Journal, Rattle, Rhino and Main Street Rag. Credentials: solid. Creativity - seemingly airbourne.
HARD LANDING finds Smith in the transmogrification of a wren - you may or may not know (depending on where you live) that the wren is a small and rather inconspicuous passerine bird, except for loud and often complex songs. Smith takes us into the eyes and wingspan and activity of this little bird and in doing so gives us a 'bird's eye view' (sorry) of life at large. Peppered through out this beautiful little book of brief poems about the wren are illustrations of birds form several sources of artists, a handsome accompaniment to this near Audubon inspired ornithology collection.
To avoid the tragedy
two wrens are perched
on the tip of a dumpster
looking for something that shines.
The warm wind is pushy,
it's the brightest night of the year,
the moon is fat with itself
so everything shines.
Treasure is everywhere.
Or in another setting Smith uses his object of explanation in a different vein:
A grey wren
to believe in indian summer
stares into a black
and gritty wind
shakes with every gut,
imagines a subtle hand
on a dimmer switch
in a night
When a wren is absent
where does she go?
Reading the poetry of Rick Smith is life affirming, gentle, coddling, and restores that at times lacking appreciation of the miracles of nature that abound just outside our ring of chaos that is currently circling our brains. Pause with him for something very real, very lovely.
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