David Rivard

Call & Response
April 24, 2016 Rivard David

Call & Response

 

In this last

book by Zbigniew

Herbert, Elegy

 

for the Departure,

in a poem

titled “Chord”

 

a previous reader

has underlined the passage

that ends

 

the poem—

“truly truly I tell you

great is the abyss

 

between us

and the light”—

and written

 

alongside

it 4 words—

“our my

 

anguish

melancholia”—protest?

consoling note

 

of empathy? or cry

for help

against the cyclonic

 

injustice

of an unhappy

life?—

 

on one side

of the page 14

words by

 

the poet dead now

10 years;

on the other, 4 words

 

printed neatly

by a living man or woman,

troubled, nameless.

David Rivard’s most recent book, Standoff, won the 2017 PEN New England Prize and was featured by The New Yorker in its “Books We Loved in 2016” list. He teaches in the MFA Program at the University of New Hampshire.