MARGO BERDESHEVSKY'S debut collection of poetry, But A Passage In Wilderness, was just published by The Sheep Meadow Press (12/2007), Her honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America (selected by Marie Ponsot,) 4 Pushcart Prize nominations & a special mention citation in Pushcart 2008, the Chelsea Poetry Award, Kalliope's Sue Saniel Elkind Award, places in the Pablo Neruda and Ann Stanford Awards (selected by Yusef Komunyakaa,) and Border's Books/ Honolulu Magazine Grand Prize for Fiction. Her work is published in Agni, The Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, New Letters, The Southern Review, Poetry International, Runes, Women's Studies Quarterly, Nimrod International, Chelsea, Traffic East, Kalliope, Southern California Anthology, Margie, Pool, Many Mountains Moving, Van Gogh's Ear, Rattapallax, and more. Recent exhibitions of her "visual poems" were in Paris and in Hawaii. Her Tsunami Notebook was made following a journey to Sumatra in Spring 2005, to work in a survivors' clinic in Aceh. A new and poetic novel, "Vagrant," will be published next, by Red Hen Press. And a book of her short fictions, "Beautiful Soon Enough," is at the next gate. A lifelong voyager, she is currently living in Paris.


O slow soul, no desultory walk, now, but you vault in the spin of knowing, how
close how very near the end or the broken shell of this beginning you are.

How will I have used the amber hour, this is all I need like blood, to know. They
speak of fathers, well, I have buried mine in several mounds, in the sound of please

and thank you, in the lost bells of generation, silent in Moscow, silent in Prague, silent
in Paris, well I have buried mine in the breasts of men I begged, honor a crying girl,

she needs a home at any cost. Loss, or a dignified coverlet? Well I have buried mine in
a place where they forgot to engrave his name, and I said "sorry," for being the forgetful

one, O, Father, I wear your name etched in the moist of my unmarried mouth, Father,
will that do? Well, or do you require granite? We have spoken of forgiveness, touched

its chill Piscean body, teaming with the maggots of small minutes remembered. Days,
and years, are easier to grant an amnesty of maturity. Well am I mature, at fifty?

No desultory walk, now, no, go directly to the fire dust, place this body of a child with-
in a wheel within a wheel—child, with no child to honor but the hour. Well, brass

bell, cry, as gold. Bold-step to one tree that bleeds amber, for all that will be, a little
later. Sate the heart with such a father, rooted, in earth that cools this fever a little.

Mother-ground, show me roots, in your bare, dirty, kiss.

(c)Margo Berdeshevsky

But a Passage in Wilderness (The Sheep Meadow Press/2007)
[Poetry Daily/1/2008]


Legend tells of the community of birds who had wings but no song as yet
: of a contest offered them by the god : of the prize of song—offered to that
bird who could fly the highest : of the tiny dun white-spotted-thrush who
knew it had no powers to fly high enough to win and wanted to—

Who crept, instead, who hid her small self in a white eagle's feathered crown
to fly far higher than all others : who dozed there, dreamed there, concealed in
her carrier's flight, and longing—and when her eagle tired, she who knew, and
bounded out and upward farther still—

Legend tells of the coveted prize of song she heard and learned there, in the
heights : of the thrush who returned with the song of spheres in her thirsty
small throat, who knew she had won by cheating : who saw the gathering of
birds below—a community, receiving, each, their entitled songs—

Legend of the thrush who went away then, hid in the deepest of forests out of
shame— but who could not help her song from rising, even in those stands of
webbing vine and shadow—of a quest for beauty, of goodness as we barely
know it but beg to receive it —that it brings us to longing, only—

Frailty, that rarely, like the thrush, the gorgeous song in us climbs, a bird
ashamed of its arriving at a possession of beauty by unsanctified means, a
slouching off to such a dim-lit place where the song erupts in spite, its
open-winged remembering, seining from the quiet—

(c) Margo Berdeshevsky
prior publ. Kenyon Review/fall 2007/
Poetry Daily/10/2007

Margo Berdeshevsky Moonday poetry reading

© 2008 Margo Berdeshevsky

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