Water is the most abundant substance around us therefore we take it for granted. It is necessary for our survival yet too much of it could kill us too. John Reibetanz takes a dramatic look at water in his book Afloat, and gives us pause to reflect on this element.
The Love of Water (Excerpt) – page 3
All nature, from the crag windbreakered in granite
that melts into the nuzzling of the clouds’ wet snouts
to the motes of grit that rise up every morning
and dance in a fountain over the windowsill,
all nature wants to be water. Curled tongues of fire
and sharp tongues of wind stutter and lisp through forests . . .
Reibetanz has a brilliant insight to explain to readers the conditions of water and is clearly able to explain what he thinks. His poems provide a clear and flowing new perspective to reader’s minds.
The Vineyard (Page 15)
How long will it take, when my body is stored in the cask
of the earth, for hands to offer up the bone and muscle
of grasp and fist, and become the undulating, light-filled
fine-veined hands of vine leaves? How long for the backbone’s steel shaft
to soften into a questioning whisper, coiling and
resting on whatever support the earth comes up with? How
many tides for thought to purge itself of edge and corner
and be poured into the sea-polished roundness of the grape’s
sweet flesh? And how long before blood, shuttling through its tunnels,
becomes this unbound flowering, this blushing face that needs
no mirror because it is one, giving the world the world
dyed into rose heart and rising as the scent of morning.
This is a book worthy of a quiet afternoon. Reibetanz is brilliant with his words and phrasing here and worthy of being reviewed again and again.
Water and Clay – (excerpt) page 24
A marriage doomed to failure, more deeply
conflicted than he says tomayto, she
says tomahto, more incompatible
than night owl and rooster. Water all leap
and light, clay buried in its bed; water
spilling secrets, clay’s lips sealed. She’s thin-skinned,
takes everything in; he’s thick as a brick.
Yet, matched against mortals, a winning pair.
As Flood and Slide, both take our breath away,
and the trickle, seep, and swell, of water’s
more subtle moves baffle us as well as
the heavy going a shovel finds in clay.
While water may be very abundant around us, crafted words like John Reibetanz’s Afloat are few and precious. This is a book to be savoured and enjoyed.