Donald Revell

The Irretrievable
May 23, 2020 Revell Donald

Second shelf on the right. You’ll
Never find it. Given
Our father’s cold centennial—
When the snow was too big to fall
But hovered in mid-air as though the air
Had opened white lips
Meaning to speak to us, to say
Something about immortality and correction—
We ought to abandon the search.
Or should I say “the seeking”?
Shelving the town, four cliffs
Evangelize these misgivings.
Second on the right is what became
Of a drunkard obsessed with
Chapter 14 in the Gospel of John.
It’s a Gospel secretly given
To hawks, not to eagles.
Topography emboldens love when hawks
Shatter their prey mid-air out of pure spite.
Mansions of devastation scatter themselves
Into big snow. Our father’s
Cold centennial had a further child,
Hidden from us. In the days ahead she
Will ease us—little predator, little ice.

Donald Revell is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, most recently of White Campion (2021) and The English Boat (2018), both from Alice James Books. Revell has also published six volumes of translations from the French, including Apollinaire’s Alcools, Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell, Laforgue’s Last Verses, and Verlaine’s Songs without Words. His critical writings have been collected as: Sudden Eden: EssaysEssay: A Critical Memoir; The Art of Attention; and Invisible Green: Selected Prose. Winner of the PEN USA Translation Award and two-time winner of the PEN USA Award for Poetry, he has also won the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize and is a former Fellow of the Ingram Merrill and Guggenheim Foundations. Additionally, he has twice been awarded Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Having previously taught at the Universities of Alabama, Denver, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah, Donald Revell is currently a Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.