David Cope's fourth collection, Coming Home, binds together the two major strands of his life and art. In poem after poem, Cope is by turn the clear-eyed strider of our broken cities, or the profoundly lyrical explorer of nature, of redemptive human intimacy in all its silence and nakedness. And often there is an extraordinary synthesis, as in:
The Abandoned City
if we sit long enough, will our love grow wise?
the roman mottos tumble from facades & crash.
where statesmen argued the language of law,
cedars split paving stones & broken pillars crumble.
atop the giant boulder, a maple's single thick root
grips granite all the way to soil below, where
we stand amazed. lovers go to sing their love
hand in hand, passing a drunken cursing hulk
who pitches headlong toward a red-faced hooker-
she shrieks, pushing trash cans in his path,
her mouth a red circle of moaning terror.
O air pregnant with mouths opening like new petals,
O silence humming with coos & shrieks,
O rays revving cells in a single juniper needle!