Lynn Strongin – A Lack of Transparency



Lynn Strongin is a Pulitzer Prize nominee in poetry. A recipient of a National Endowment Creative Writing Grant, nominated twice for Pushcart Prizes, Lynn Born in NYC at the end of the dirty thirties, she grew up in an artistic Jewish home in New York during the war. Earliest studies were in musical composition as a child and at The Manhattan School of Music. Took a BA at Hunter college, MA at Stanford University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Lived in Berkeley during the vibrant sixties where she worked for Denise Levertov and took part in many peace demonstrations. Poems in forty anthologies, fifty journals; Poetry, New York Quarterly. Forthcoming work in Poetry Flash and Otoliths. Canada is her second home. The late Hugh Fox said Strongin is the “most exciting poet writing today.’ Danielle Ofri wrote to her, “you tear the veil off that mysterious disease polio.” Strongin’s work has been translated into French and Italian.

A lack of transparency

…to this world we move in
Sleepless, you read only twenty-five pages
For me, a day’s read. You stole my heart and never gave it back.

Fear is not love’s mead
Of choice.
My voice falters, then strengthen: voice- box & chords, the instrument continues.
Evening falls like the fall in infant mortality; the giveaway.

Snow thinner,
Opposite share disappears, opacity rears its swan head; to be heard.
Circles of purple swirl
Wind has stopped turning its oar by the infant boy or girl.
Frost weighted paper, as ice this time in life; survival, tenderness still rages.

I never thought

…things would go this far:
You caring for me
Until forever, that white Harthorne bend in the road, more branch than tree we
argue intermittently.

But anything heated glows. Amid a general murkiness, you gleam.
Soon, snows will calm, comfort, obliterate
A body jacket of tenderness. Reese javket lights the baby.

Teleman was a gardener:
“I’m wild for amaryllis, I go over the top for tulips”
Over the top we meet in the sound of violins, how many degrees of the circle are
Or is it the perfect crystal, hexagon of a snowflake
Which despite its six points makes only one: we are back again in unison.

From stories about the
Clock at Grand Central Station

“…at Grand Central Station, our compass was turning: don’t fall asleep in the snow” Baba had warned.
Something had failed
Gone bust: we knew pain well & took her along. She’d fallen asleep in the snow,
but was woken.

The marriage, that rogue wave which swallowed us:
Like an old chesterfield with stains, cigarette burns, uncoiled springs.
House to let; love, marital affection: how long are the shadows of the moon?
Where are we heading? I open my trunk, hold two velvet shoes & cry. Whom could
field calls, dole out advice now?

One young, still-beautiful woman:
Two children, Tao children, one dark, one blond, long-legged the fair one:
Raphael conte-crayon.: we had trees but. Not the right ones: would we come out right?
We hugged it about us. Dead of winter and other types of death;
A butterfly moth flickering near the flame of my being brave, my skinny frame.

©Lynn Strongin