Anvil of Roses
Thomas Hornsby Ferril, 1896–1988, was a major figure in literary circles of the American West for nearly half a century. Winner of the 1926 Yale Younger Poets award for High Passage, and honored by such poets as Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost, Ferril created poetry that is musical, metrical, and meant to be read aloud. Anvil of Roses was Ferril’s sixth collection of poetry and demonstrates his comprehension of and love for the landscape and mythology of the West. With clarity, precision, and, above all, music, Ferril’s work speaks of love, war, the world, and all things human. Ahsahta Press published Anvil of Roses in 1983, and also carries the reprint of Ferril’s 1934 book Westering, originally published by Yale University Press.
The full text of Thomas Ferril’s Anvil of Roses is stored at Albertson Library at Boise State University, and can be downloaded here. You may also purchase a copy of the book.
Implausible, that naked night,
I still am not quite sure
of what we used for words
for being there.
I seem to think you were saying something about
a madonna dark with candle smoke
and wasn’t I trying to tell you how to tell
the white death-camas from false asphodel?
my invention year by year
contrives new overtures and afterways
to that far passion.
Here alone in this hot afternoon
I almost touch but do not touch
these tortured torques and splines
of desert lava worn by slow abrasions
of old old winds
that blow and blow forever.
I close my eyes,
I hear our wooded river.
I see our first new moon.
Copyright © 1983 by Thomas Hornsby Ferril