Across the Sun's Warp

by Henry Beissel

Poetry 2003


"Genghis Khan, the creation of Kyoto by the Samurai, 'The eight-armed Buddha with a lotus flower,' Truman's glee at calling for the bombs to fall, the process of nuclear fission in the sun, are all given voice, woven into the story of light which is the story of this poem. Beissel has succeeded in combining them all in an engaging narrative. The hand that draws this weft across the sun¹s warp is the passion within Beissel's voice. Beissel does not lay blame lightly, but when he lays it, it shakes the poem to the core. "Tell the samurai of the world," he writes, "death/is heavier than a mountain when fools/think duty is a feather in their cap." By this reliance on voice, Beissel has created one of the masterpieces of twentieth century humanism, in the post-humanist days of the early twenty-first century. Always readable, engaging, cleanly-paced, always balancing its lyricism and its metaphysics, it is a haunting cry against the horror of Hiroshima, a tribute to the humanity of those destroyed there, and the work of one of our poetic master craftsmen to rehumanize us all. As moving a tribute to Hiroshima as this poem is, it remains more, hinting at a metaphysics of transcendence, centred solidly in the body in the world."

Harold Rhenisch (Poetry Spoken Here)



Independently Reviewed, Winter 2003, Review by Michael Teal
The League of Canadian Poets, Poetry Spoken Here webstore, Review by Harold Rhenisch