The strength of Tim Hunt’s nature poems drew me into this book. His observation of light, rocks, a hawk and a field mouse in “High Desert Summer,” a California landscape, is so intense that he seems to long to become part of it:
This time I could stop,
walk into the brittled sage
and wait for the heat
to make me its own.
But I would still not be
calibrated to the rock’s
dance, or the flinch into stillness
deeper than fear.
Then come the poems honoring and loving his family, whose history is made up of men and women “getting by,” “learning to make do,” acquiring “that tricky pride of the poor—the failing that is success.” Here is a poet standing on the threshold of existence, acutely aware of the humans, both living and dead, existing in the rooms behind him, but wanting, “other times,” the consolation of nature
…to wander away from the voices, down
the chipped cement steps to the different
shade of the black walnut, its emptier heat
of rock and thistle, the dirt redder than rust,
and be again alone in that way