The Hour's Acropolis, John Pass's tenth book of poetry, is a classical meditation rebounding between domesticity and myth. Ben Johnson's Olympic disgrace is counterpoint to poetry's inspirational lightning, Steve Fonyo appears next to Odysseus, Orpheus listens to Lou Reed.
Stylistically, this book is a complex and ingenious construct, a poetic acropolis posing as a "deconstruction" of a one-page introductory thematic motif "poem." A pair of sonnets address each other over the heads of intervening poems. A haiku sequence, acknowledging influences beyond the European, is called upon to perform the very western task of narrating a storm. Pass's virtuosity, his "technical and intellectual brilliance" (Canadian Literature) offer shelter and welcoming affection in love poems like, "Delicious," "Quibble" and "Our Daring."
The poems in The Hour's Acropolis are the work of a mature poet with a range, ability and intelligence rarely seen in contemporary poetry. John Pass is one of a small group of writers who belong to no identifiable school of fashion but who works in a steadfast faith to the shining moments, "the wild light alive in the fibers striving."close this panel
Apex, high anchor
of an April sky mishandled
so to splash the night, sans moonlight
upon us freely to the lees -
well never see, listing
in frog pause, steep Chablis
of Narcissus sleeping nearly
how our wonder is undone, unravels
how we've lost
you, locating Leo.
Or one said, "Ride
the dipper. It's nothing,"
and then above the racket
of the ratchets clacking
under our ascending car, peak
of that propelling climb
"You're gonna die."
But done before we knew it. And hard
on the heels of mesh and meld
a cooling song
of all things wants apres
her rudimentary handle on
the far light, its libation.
Us in Everything
What to make of light
against the nay-
but for them at length
who swim too in its puzzlement
raising their glasses
into its assurances, modest vocabulary
of qualities in and around and upon
definities of objects and ethers, clarities
but of itself
what is it, despite our successes
aslant here in the tulips, there
in the white flash blindness
commencing and concluding the opened
atom's invitation? Some simple telling
in any human eye for it, a smile's
infusion, eddies of pollen
on the windshield
signals the singular singing again
of the invisible making us see and seen.