Jerusalem of Grass
Axelrod’s clarity of language shines in Jerusalem of Grass. Words hit notes high and sharp, and give us enough, more than enough, in their directness and simplicity. Landscape is always part of these poems, as are the sentiments of things missed, longed for, or needed. Paul Nelson writes, “Axelrod does not use Nature aesthetically to color language or event or situation, or for the state of human discourse, but as the now weird backdrop against which everything human still matters or does not, for him.”
The full text of David Axelrod’s Jerusalem of Grass is stored at Albertson Library at Boise State University, and can be downloaded here. You may also purchase a copy of the book.
Crossing the Missouri
From the shacks west of Culbertson
light slips out across sprawling wheat
and I huddle under a bridge
to gaze at the river beneath me,
the slow, heavy current
accepting rain and the prairie
that rolls quietly down
toward the riprap shores.
Nothing rises from the black water,
no branch, no torn and mangled wings.
Even the moon is lost. I’ve waited an hour
for the rain to let up, listening to bitterns
call from the rushes, from their damp,
unassailable nests in the dark, upstream.
Copyright © 1992 by David Axelrod
David Axelrod is the author of five collections of poems, including Departing by a Broken Gate, The Kingdom at Hand, and Chronicles of a Withering State. His collection of cultural and environmental essays about the interior Northwest, Troubled Intimacies, appeared in 2004. His poems and essays have been published in New Letters, Boulevard, Alaska Quarterly Review, Quarterly West, River Styx, Verse Daily, among others. He also edits basalt : a journal of fine & liteerary arts.