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  • Ars Poetica as Reconstruction, and: The Bridle Path
  • Nicholas Samaras (bio)

Ars Poetica as Reconstruction

I write in time to break into timelessness.

I write for a worldview, so I always want a literature of experience

that presents me with the borderless. What I write to is a lost world,

a lost village, a black-and-white photograph loved in its time-softened tones

with people still alive there: gray men mouthing their captured laughter

ringing through the decades, village women in their fashion, the held morals,

the values that last, the things humans made of enduring meaning.

Let me tell you what we cherished. I write to recognize and hold on. I write for wholeness.

I write to live through time and breathe life into that time again.

Oh, slow-losing world of worth and stability, I write to rescue. [End Page 78]

The Bridle Path

We lived in a painting, a pastoral promise of stepped Berkshire hills, the Midlands of green meadows in the distance dotted with sheep

and vistas of forest. We raced through the world of our living to the world of commerce—the commissary, the thrift shop,

the post exchange of RAF Welford, England. And the wide Bridle Path was our planet of trees to wade through—a tunnel

woven from arbors of oaks and chestnuts whose cowls touched over our heads, high in the neutral breezes, wide enough

for horse-drawn carriages and adventure. It was the excitement of danger without the fear of danger. Why follow a cultivated

sidewalk when any child can race through an entire world of trees? I want that mystery back. Let me stroll back to that time,

in which everything in the world can be thrilling again. Let me find and wander down the old Bridle Path, to see

the ghosts of children walking ahead of me, leading me back, the transparency of that world on this world,

the evocation of time and memory—to be twelve again and kick through the Bridle trees with Phyllis Rogers,

the willowy girl who loved horses. Give me the cleaner air of that decade, that century, that children’s forest, green upon

green and winding. What is burnished reverie but to grant us a smile in winter? May all of us have such a Bridle Path

to return to, to come full circle, to end in peace where we began, to have loved the passage and the distance come. [End Page 79]

Nicholas Samaras

Nicholas Samaras won the Yale Series of Younger Poets award with his first book, Hands of the Saddlemaker (1992). His books also include American Psalm, World Psalm (Ashland Poetry Press, 2014).



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