Friday, February 18, 2011
DISCOVERING RALPH FLETCHER'S AMAZING POETRY
Last night I was browsing my library and discovered that we now have a Young Adult Poetry Section (811) shelved next to Young Adult fiction. As I was savoring all the YA poetry titles I spied FLETCHER on a slim binding. BURIED ALIVE, THE ELEMENTS OF LOVE (Athenuem Books for Young Readers, 1996)--- I thought I knew most of my clients' books, books they wrote before I signed them, and most times before I started agenting. But there it was and I consumed it like melting chocolate.
Your ancestors were farmers
from the potato field of Ireland:
"When Grandpa came to America
the dirt under his nails was
all the land he owned."
behind a weathered barn
I pick raspberries with you
tiny torpedoes of pleasure
that's what you said the moment before you
pressed your lips down
© Ralph Fletcher
I have chills.
Falling in love, betrayal, jealousy, yearning, all of the emotions...the elements of love permeate BURIED ALIVE's pages. But being that we just celebrated Valentine's Day, I leave you with one last love poem:
The River of Your Breathing
I have never slept with anyone
not how those words are meant
only the time you sleep beside me
at the beach in the broad daylight
eyes closed your face goes slack
I close my eyes and drift away
on the river of your breathing
hear the rhythm of its currents
the places where it quickens
or runs suddenly shallow or
falls off to cool deep waters
a soft steady sluicing stream
I'd love to learn to navigate
© Ralph Fletcher
Hold on, I have to go find my husband and kiss him RIGHT NOW! But at the same time I am reliving my first love, sensing all of the heat, the intensity that Ralph has released from the depths of my memory....not simply the memories but the feelings, the power, the tenderness, the need.
Thank you, Ralph, for giving me back a little of myself and for giving young adults reassurance that their feelings are important, universal, and necessary.
There are books that should never go out of print. That should last a lifetime.