Book of Hours (Young)

Young’s poems, both gentle and devastating, give one the feeling of tearing off a scab . . . slowly. These are poems about big things (life, death) in small moments and, at times, small poems. In “Obsequies,” Young suggests how the death of his father has turned altered his sense of perspective:

At night I count

not the stars

but the dark.

Young is less concerned with death than forgetting. In “Near Miss,” he writes that “it is forgetting, not watery / memory, that scares me.” ‘Watery’ seems to me the perfect adjective for memory. Have you ever tried to hold either one in your hand?

Young does remember though. He reports in “Easter” that “[l]ove / is strange & almost // always too late — his stubborn / grace I miss. For once that Easter // I told him. / Luck / is one word for it.”

There are a lot of memorable pieces here. Look for example at the last line of the last poem in the collection ( — “Why not sing.” Note that there’s no question mark. Like everything else in this collection, this poem leaves you with the sense of language that caresses, but on closer examination, can bite.




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