Tracing the Path is an anthology of poems by The Cascadilla Poets: Peggy Billings, Inta Ezergailis, Jon Frankel, Bridget Meeds, and Ann Silsbee, with guest poets Yi Ping and Lin Zhou.
"In a collection like this one, a reader could single out the virtuosity of one poet, a purity of tone of another, or the verbal mastery of a third, but to do so is at odds with the intent. The gifts of each contributor are substantial, but their mutual accomplishment is even more remarkable. This group of poets can serve as a model for many others of us today, whatever our age and calling."
from the introduction by James McConkey
from Tracing the Path
Jon Frankel: Down Below a Baby Cries
turning to be free.
The whole human muscle and its brain
Are bent to one conclusion.
The mother walks it back and forth
Through leopard spots of sun.
Inta Ezergailis: The Dress
It flows in the window-light,
greens, reds, some pink--
the same and not the same
as one some fifty years ago
in the window of a store
of a small Bavarian town,
so soon after the War
that we had no books, but took notes
on organic chemistry and Cornelius Nepos
in neat deferential German longhand.
New lives were being offered, sparingly.
It was possible to cash in on survival,
somehow, though life was not as rich
as it had looked in the bunker,
with Berlin being swept away outside,
when all seemed possible if one was spared,
when, at twelve, I thought
I had brought on the war,
and begged forgiveness for such small sings
as I'd been capable of, clenched my hands,
prayed, sitting straight--God's good pupil--
as the bombs saturated all.
Now there was life--
refugee camp, German school,
the goldpaving of Ottawa or Boston,
or the Australian outback.
The senses in their timid flowering
seized on the dress in a shop window
on the way to school, a shop
which must have been expensive.
The single dress lay seductively
at a languid angle, fluid, silky.
No mannequin--pure, sweet, virgin,
it was waiting for me alone.
Transcendence without mediation.
The missed years of slow awakenings,
of stirrings in the body denied space and time,
trying to find root, turn delicately outward.
Did someone buy it, someone rich and glorious?
The town was Rosenheim, home of roses.