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



it 4 words—

“our my




consoling note


of empathy? or cry

for help

against the cyclonic



of an unhappy



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.