Pointing in All Directions | Review of “Weathervane” by Mark Sampson (2016) Palimpsest Press

We move too fast at times to take notice of things. We need a device for us to stop and refer to in order to take notice of where things are coming from or going to. That is what a good line of verse makes us do.  Take note of something that we may have taken for granted. And that is exactly what Mark Sampson’s book entitled Weathervane does for us. Points things  out to us to show us where things come from or are going too.

Daylight Saving (Page 11-12)

 

Time’s evil twin, this slow tick

toward spring and the wet

 

melt of snow slipping through

your fingers, aiming your day

 

toward a moment that lives

longer, feels longer than it should.

 

How do you find the new self

you crave in this city

 

when you can’t even stay awake

long enough to turn your clocks

 

ahead? It drains you to think

of the opportunities, the hours

 

that move without you. No sleep

could cure your body

 

of this exhaustion. You’re made

your choice; it purses your lips

 

like time itself, words you didn’t

speak but should have.

 

Easier to play the role picked

for you by someone else

 

when all clocks ticked in unison

Is there any way to see this slow

 

march forward as anything

but a labyrinth? Time is a collage,

 

not stark lineage. Take solace

as you move from empty room

 

to empty room, turning the clocks

ahead – it feels like a minor crime

 

against time itself and a leap

of faith that you’ll awake the next

 

morning perfectly aligned

with the world around you.

 

It breeds an unease that starts in

your toes and climbs all the way

 

to the cavity in your chest-

you need only to survive

 

another horrific fall to get that hour back.

Sampson has the ability here to wax profanely about things we would all take for granted or overlook. He notes thoughts we all consider yet we never speak aloud. And he points out what we consider mundane and makes us ask why we think that. He does all that in an elegant manner and still enjoys a simple glass of beer.

Pages 35-26 Choosing a Mattress

is about more than just he selfishness of sleep,

that blessed oblivion

resting between today’s

half failure and tomorrow’s vague promise

 

Consider your future lovers

Choose a mattress wide enough

to accommodate their desire for you

and one soft enough

for the afterplay of all your gentle words

 

You must also make your pick

with lovelessness in mind-

a mattress broad enough to give room to wars,

to withstand fifty years

of loneliness

 

When choosing a mattress

pick one worthy of the children

you will conceive on it

This will be their launching pad

This will be where they judge you

 

Pick one equal to your anxieties,

the unnamed worries

that loop around endlessly,

like a ceiling fan

 

A mattress must be able to hold

the regrets that keep you from sleep

the wrongs you have done to others

and yourself

 

These are your true weight

A mattress must be forgiving

but firm enough to bear it.

But the really beauty in the book is when Sampson makes us ponder an item with a few simple words place in a unique manner.

Profiles (Excerpt) IV. Page 76

My

last

assignment

was

to get

a photo of

that dead kid

from his parents

 

I remember

their backyard in Guelph

was

huge

and

very

very

green

Weathervane by Mark Sampson is a profound and unique read. He points out things to us and shows us in which way they are going. A brillant and enjoyable read.

 

*****

Link to a Q&A Mark Sampson did for me about Weathervane

Link to Palimpsest Press webpage for Weathervane

Link to Mark Sampson’s Blog Free Range Reading

 

 

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