IN THE NINTH DECADE


By Edith Shiffert
Ink paintings by Kohka Saito
8.5 x 11, 80 pages          $14.95

These poems by an 84-year-old poet are both joyful celebrations of life and philosophical reflections. In Shiffert’s eleventh book, she expresses gratitude to her teachers (Theodore Roethke), her friends (Kenneth Rexroth, Ann Stafford), and the animals that appear as totems and as guides.

The cougar trusted me and I him
as we walked the steep trail in total darkness on Mt. Si.
Did he know me, a lifetime lover of cats
and crawler between bushes?

……..

Our aloneness in the forest and at night
gave a feeling of sacred mystery
like a child awed
in the intimacy of something rare.

 


‘There is something marvelous about Shiffert’s ability to be delighted and surprised by everything she finds around her. Her awareness of the end of life approaching gives an edge and context to her observations.’

David Burleigh, Japan Times


‘Here is the heart of the pilgrim: strong yet compassionate, diligent yet open, wary yet sensitive, lonely yet loving. I warm to what she sees and the stories her poems tell.’

Jerry Ball, founder of Haiku North America