Curated from over six decades of writing, the poems in What I Cannot Abandon paint an inimitable portrait of the human experience. Contemplating both the mysteries and miracles of life, as well as the challenges of aging and mortality, Guest expertly assesses life’s joys and sorrows with insight and tenderness. Through their reckoning with the world at large, these eclectic poems engage the wonder of the universe with buoyancy and pleasure, ultimately staring darkness in the face to learn that, yes, there are still plenty of reasons to rejoice.
Contemplating both the mysteries and miracles of life, as well as the challenges of aging and mortality, William Guest in What I Cannot Abandon expertly assesses life’s joys and sorrows with insight and tenderness, ultimately staring darkness in the face to learn that, yes, there are still plenty of reasons to rejoice.
Feel free to check it out on Amazon. And below are the book’s first two poems!
Greetings. Come in. Let me take you on a tour
of my house; you’ve not been here before.
As you can see, this is the front entrance hall—come
this way—here is the living room where I spend
a lot of time (we’ll come back here to have a glass of wine).
Next is the dining room and then
the kitchen. You can smell the wonderful
garlic, the bread—hors d’oeuvres are being prepared,
and over there, the bar awaiting us.
Moving on now, here is the breakfast nook,
here is the library. Yes, it’s a lot, a lot is there.
Next is my study. In my study I work
at my thinking, writing, thinking, writing, thinking.
I check the news sometimes, a break from my efforts to write
and think, and sometimes I wish I did not.
This room just next door—small, a little dark, solitary.
It’s the weeping room.
Sometimes I must go there.
Donkey, my brother,
bray me a tune,
our lean ribs are cages
of caught solitude.
I’ll sing you a song of this mountain,
the rocks, the sand, and the clay.
Our ribs may form furrows together
of rocks, and sand, and the clay.
When we are dead in the mountain,
tearless and unalone,
then we are dead like the mountain,
lastingly dead as the stone.
Brother, my donkey, I love you,
I wish I had never been born.
Donkey, truly I love you,
I wish I never would die.