Insights into the World of Nature

Keith Taylor is a poet, an observer, a fount of memories from past experiences gathered form time alone with the natural world. He mixes his memories and visions and private glimpses at the world around him and somehow manages to share all of this seemingly structureless beauty by creating his own structure: each poem is eight lines long as though there were some outside rule that whispered 'you can only share this if you package it neatly'. Notes in the margins of diaries become so natural in their ability to convey this observations and internal responses that this 8-line structure becomes only another reason to admire his abilities as a poet. Content and Form. It simply works. His poems can be personal and kind and humorous:

IF YOU KNOW THAT MAN

I don't even remember his name,
only that he gave me a grapefruit
one winter night thirty years ago.
I was broke and hungry. I didn't know
when I'd eat, and he gave me that fruit,
all juice and pulp, tasting of an earth
I'd never seen. If you know the man,
tell him I turned out fat and happy.

Or his poems can paint pictures of nature like few others:

SPRING EPHEMERALS AND TEH NATURE OF METAPHOR

The trout lily feels like metaphor -
its brown spotted leaves dominating
the forest floor for two or three weeks,
delicate yellow flowers drooping
and hard to find...then disappearing
one warm night when I forgot to look -
but it's very real, underground now,
awaiting its chance to bloom next year.

Keith Taylor opens his collection with a jewel of a poem that merely suggests where he will take us on this stroll through nature:

PASSAGE TO EDEN

...
just to let you know that the true gate
to paradise is on an island
in a small lake, some far northern place
protected by seven months of cold
and ice, then four more of mosquitoes,
black flies, armies of them. Wolves and bear
if you're feeling brave. A few of us
know where it is, but we're not telling.

Age has mellowed this poet's approach to the world in which we live, he lives. His poems are not only oases of significance, but they are also doors to Gilead where we can step in and join is sense of fragile perfection.

Grady Harp