Frost Lights a Thin Flame – James Owens

Frost Lights a Thin Flame – James Owens

Frost Lights a Thin Flame - James Owens

Poetry. Paper, perfect bound, 48 pp.
$13.95 plus s&h
2007, ISBN 978-0932412-553

James Owens writes his observations, and what he observes is spectacular. He directs our attention with fantastic metaphor coupled with a kind of precision in language that brings the sounds and sights of his natural and mythological world to the reader’s senses. The myth of these poems tranforms the real.

by James Owens

Near the end, she spoke as if waking from a dream
to common light,
her fingers on the bedclothes
untying words to loose like petals of fog.

Whenever her husband’s bees
swarmed from their hives, the noise
like a saw inside her pulse, she had to run
after them and bang a kettle with a big spoon,
a sound the escaping swarm would take for thunder
and settle on a branch to be caught and housed.

She cried then, she said—just sat and wept,
every time she saw the bees betrayed—
and couldn’t explain,
ringed by shocked children, the voice
of the angry swarm
that followed her across decades:
bees, their penned fury.

James Owens has published in many magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Boxcar Poetry Review, and Mimesis. A native of Virginia, he worked for some years in journalism before earning an MFA from the University of Alabama. He now lives in La Porte, Indiana, with his wife and three children, where he works in educational assessment and spends as much time as possible wandering the dunes along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. This is his second book of poems.