The Hammer and the Nail

By on Jan 6, 2019 in Poetry

Word Cloud with superimposed nuclear atom

for Charlie Knauss

‘Word merchant‘, ‘big talker‘, ‘word man‘, ‘rather talk
      than eat‘, are names given he whose sandstorms
of syllables darkened the lightness or lightened the
      darkness of conversations aimed at either lyrical,
or philosophical impulse, about life’s genial quirks
      and oddities, or icy blasts of scientific research.

He holds truths poetically alive with atoms changing
      and rearranging a stream of words that plunder
and soothe in his love of challenge, his chisel’s love
      of the stone. Listening in sentences, he responds

in paragraphs, equally comfortable with mortal or
      spiritual enigmas, thriving on mythology’s higher
gods and history’s lower aims. He wears openly
      the scarfskin of his love affair with himself, and his
fear of the ‘other’ in his psyche. He survives on an
      implacable faith in non-conformity, perfume drunk

on the ‘ambivalence of ambiguity’ that calls him to
      the river’s edge below the trees, where he bends
low on creaky football knees to skip flat stones out
      across moon-ribboned water — long side-arm throws,

sometimes skimming so freely the stone is free as
      light. Moonlight on water swelling an imagination
taken from gauzy memory and a mother’s faith that
      “the soul is both your judge and your sanctuary”,
faith he rode like skiffs of snow over wintry roads, never
      sure if opinion or challenge was more important.


As an athlete, English Teacher, lover of music, father, husband and citizen of the world, Larsen Bowker finds the themes and ambiguities which flourish in his poems. He is particularly grateful to magazines like Wild Violet, who offer him a place where his love of poetry finds a place where his words find a larger audience. In the illustrations that accompany their poems, readers find a way to take more from the poem than they would otherwise. He has had poems appear recently in Atlanta Review, Coal City Review, and Common Ground Review. His seventh book of poems, Elegiac Dialogues, came out in 2017.