A lyrical pilgrimage through the lush forest of the Green Man and his woodland kin, Joe Rosenblatt’s latest book of poetry, The Bird in the Stillness, offers up a spiritual feast in celebration of the natural world.
The Green Man’s forest is full of spirits. From the loftiest cedar to the lowliest centipede, all life falls under the dominion and protection of He Who Is Verdant. Circumspect eyes track defiant interlopers while decaying tree stumps nurse saplings with maternal tenderness. Tree branches entwine sensuously, and leaves rustle like the intimate whispers of lovers. A bird in the stillness waits, talons sharp, preparing to make his kill.
Joe Rosenblatt’s latest collection of poems, The Bird in the Stillness, presents a forest in chiaroscuro—a delicate ecosystem held in tenuous balance by cycles of life and death, light and darkness, companionship and solitude. It provides a rich buffet of physical, spiritual and artistic nourishment for any pilgrim who cares to walk the woodland path ... and acknowledge that his warranty on breathing might be nearing its expiry.
Excerpt from book
The Green Man
A face concealed in the splendor of surrounding greenery
Leaves grow out of his nostrils, ears, mouth, and forehead—
And often I’ve met the unfriendly gaze of his opalescent eyes;
To find myself transfixed by a profile immersed in leafage.
In these dark woods the Green Man has no fixed address.
But if I can’t locate him . . . perhaps he can seek me out?
An aged wayfarer in an ill fitting jacket I can easily be found.
Unsteady in my waddling, I carry a crooked walking stick.
That twisty stick takes me to where I think I ought to go.
The feral mind, like a shadow drifts, dreamily in a forest
past families of oyster mushrooms praying on a moldy log.
I hear rustling in nearby foliage and then a whisper
beckons me to go attired in a lighter shade of green.
"We have a whole tree to ourselves," the Green Man cries.
The Bird in the Stillness is Waiting
The bird in the Stillness is waiting.
Talons honed to make the kill
and fly on a jet stream toward Oblivion
where there’s no streaming light
except for the shining in a bird’s terrible eyes.
Have you come for me, downy messenger?
This must be a dream that I’m staring in
where a bird in the stillness is waiting.
Feathers bristling, a song from hell
shrilling from its vibrant beak . . .
Yet I’m not ready to fly with you.
‘Joe Rosenblatt’s new collection is a tapestry of rich and varied charms. His whimsical excesses both delight and inspire as they have for these past fifty years. Reading this book takes us to the wild side of his life. For that I am deeply grateful.’
‘Not content to open my eyes to the world beyond the edge of my writing desk, [Joe Rosenblatt] invited me to discover a world within a world, where forests radiate green scripture, snakes move like umbilical thoughts slinking among lost apples, boas don smart neckties, anacondas are assassins for hire and housecats gaze at us with inscrutable, but probably murderous intent. Here, the earth does not shriek under the torture of the human hand, but purrs like creature content. Bees and caterpillars are deserving of odes and fish bubble forth praise. Half an egg on the lawn contains a universe of sadness, and in dreams, humans are permitted to taste the nibbly joys of eternity.’
—Penny-Anne Beaudoin, poet
‘These poems are roots and foliage, a world Rosenblatt inhabits, imaginary or not. In the dark forest there is always the light inside a tree, glowing through the bark, like Rosenblatt’s poetic voice, what he calls "that sylvan part of me". The Green Man, or Rosenblatt, lounging in a hollow of the tree.’
—Patrick Friesen, poet and playwright
The poems in The Bird in the Stillness spring from a fertile imagination. They are holy and earthy and speak of love, loss and regeneration. Beneath the fecundity and decay is a deeply moving tenderness that takes the reader by surprise. It was my voice I heard which echoed in the darkness, writes Rosenblatt. If we listen closely to these poems it is our own voices we hear.
—Eve Joseph, poet and essayist
Joe Rosenblatt is an accomplished author and artist who, over the course of a five-decade career has produced over twenty books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and visual art. He was the second poet to be published by Coach House Press, which released The LSD Leacock in 1966. Rosenblatt has since received several major awards, including the Governor General’s Award for his poetry collection Top Soil, as well as the B.C. Book Prize for Poetry Hotel in 1986. He lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
For more information please visit the Author’s website »