The Hermit Poet

March 31, 2006

“Prodigal” finds a home in Crab Orchard Review!

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 12:31 pm

I’m not certain what to say, other than I’m really really happy that this poem has found a good home. I’ve been a long time fan of Crab Orchard Review and when they announced an issue with a “Defining Family” theme, I felt this was the right place for the poem.

“Prodigal” was written on the night recorded in this entry — although the entry doesn’t mention it, when I drove back looking up at the moon, the line “Here is a grief grown white as the moon tonight, so round with yearning” came to my mind. I kept rolling that line over in my head, thinking about a dear poet friend in Canada who had lost her adult son a few years back to a drug overdose. When I relayed the news of Nancy’s death she had said she was still lost in the wake of her own son’s passing, and while one sadness mingled with another, she had no more words for grief and could not begin to write or find a way out of sorrow. All this turned in my head and still I wondered at the beauty of the full moon so round, so pale, so close and yet impossibly out of reach. I went home and wrote down the poem that came to me and titled it “Prodigal” — for her son and for her wandering in the hinterlands between belief and despair.

This may be one of my most important poems — at least for me. I hope it reaches out to someone else. When I sent it on to my friend in Canada, I did so with a little trepidation — I was wondered she would feel that I had betrayed a trust by writing about her grief. She wrote back and thanked me — said that it was amazing how I had captured the full range of emotions which had engulfed her. She also said, she would very much like to believe in the end of the poem — which does not presume to answer, but suggests instead “Somewhere her son is sleeping. Someone is singing his song.”

2 Responses to ““Prodigal” finds a home in Crab Orchard Review!”

  1. ron Says:

    such a rock star these days.

  2. Santee Says:

    Congrats Neil. You are truly a talented poet who has sort of a instinctual prosody that shines through in the construction of your poems. I hope all is well.

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