From and about On Paper Wings
"Writing sonnets, villanelles, and ballad measures, as well as occasional free verse, Kentop produces a poetry that is accessible, humorous, and imbued with the perspective of his sixty-some years. At the very least, his verses offer a chuckle of recognition; at best, they speak in images too rich in connotation to lend themselves to paraphrase." — Belle Randall
"Donald Kentop writes with an assurance that invites the reader into his poems without obscuring his nuanced themes…. This is an accomplished and memorable collection." —Richard Wakefield
THE WINTER WREN In fall, earth declines her northern shoulder From the sun, exhaling summer, then Stalls before drawing in a colder Breath, a warning to the winter wren That songs are better sung much farther south This time of year. They will not flock in showy Masses at some muddy river's mouth Or settle down like blossoms in snowy Clouds, cackling on the browning plains. The wrens will travel singly down the sun, Abandoning their nooks, then go to pains To find them all again. A one-by-one Migration, invisible except to those Who also take the pain and time to rise And wait and watch; to suffer common crows, To trace their several songs and search the skies And trees, to pierce the dappled morning dew To catch the flicker of an upcocked tail. All this not to merely count a few Brown birds or walk along a bracing trail, But to hold in sight, just for a time, Complete perfection there and so to fuse The sacred and profane and raise the paradigm Of life, ascending to the higher views That flight provides; to see them as a prayer Alive, created to fulfill their fate- Adoring God. They die without despair, Feel pain without self-pity, quarrel without hate. This is why the early watch was kept, Why seekers rose at dawn, while others slept, And scanned the sky for wrens and marveled why Their gift to ground exceeds their gift to fly.
PARALLAX My father's blue-eyed parallax of view would slip its axis when he had a few. The binocular precision of his eyes unlinked and disconnected. Unsynchronized, his line of sight would aim but only graze my cheek and shoulder. Though he tried, his gaze would pass through me like I was made of glass to search for something shining in the grass beyond, and I'd believe but not know why that somehow I had slipped and gone awry.
POPPIES Fires wrapped in tissue, luminous survivors of the antique garden, still dispense forgetfulness from high apothecary shelves. We once bowed low to nod beneath their acrid-sweet indulgent grace and kneeled in reddened fields of awe so numbed we could not hear the pods whose milky distillation sang to us who challenged heaven, who dared to fly on paper wings.
Copyright © 2004 by Donald Kentop