‘Acres’ is a homegrown treat

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I’ve been a poetry aficionado all my life. As a kid, I devoured poems that had good rhymes and lively stories, whether or not they were regarded as work of the best order. “The boy stood on the burning deck” was mixed right in with “When I was four and twenty, I heard a wise man say,” and so on.

Later, of course, I took classes, read more works, wrote some abysmal stuff myself, and learned to appreciate poetry that is truly good, whether or not it rhymes or tells a rollicking story. The best poems are thoughts distilled into something that resonates with the reader and lingers long after the reading is done.

But I don’t claim to be an expert in judging this art form. Far from it. When it comes down to it, as with other art, I basically just know what I like.

And I like David Feela’s latest work, a chapbook called Little Acres.

Feela – who has written columns for the Four Corners Free Press as long as we’ve been publishing – has, as they say, a way with words.

His columns make us smile and make us frown. They make us think Oh, yeah or Oh, no; plant ideas in our mind that could germinate into who knows what.

And the poems in Little Acres do the same things. They are easy to read, but like all good poetry, have more to say with each reading. For example:

Just the Feeling

We wake one
morning thinking
just another day,
but satellites
colliding in
space spread debris

like a shattered
glass from last night’s
toast to everyone’s health,

or the rose blossoming
in a dream field of snow,
a beauty that doesn’t belong.

Now you know.
And it’s not that you know anything

specific, just that feeling in your gut
urging you awake, whispering
how something isn’t right

as sunlight paints the room
a perfect yellow.

The word choice and images are excellent, both familiar and unfamiliar. The observations are those of someone who never ceases looking at the world around him and thinking about it in new ways. Consider this poem:

Preheat

Daffodil burns like
a votive beside the sidewalk,
forsythia gushes

like an old gold faithful,
and this incandescent
flame of feather,

bluebird on a wire,
flickers like
the pilot light of spring.

There is a lot of poetry written these days, but much of it is read primarily by a specialized audience of other poets. That’s unfortunate, because some deserves a larger audience. Little Acres is definitely in that category.

If you enjoy poetry – or even if you aren’t a big poetry fan but you enjoy good writing – you should check out Feela’s latest. As he says, it’s homegrown and GMO-free.

Gail Binkly is editor of the Free Press.

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From July 2019.