Alarie's Reviews > Music I Once Could Dance To

Music I Once Could Dance To by Roy J. Beckemeyer
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it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry

Beckemeyer is a retired aeronautical engineer. You might wonder how someone accustomed to the steel facts of math and physics could be comfortable in the nebulous world of poetry. Gone are all correct answers, left are billions of choices. Yet we know that music, a frequent subject and metaphor in his work, is based on math. The poet, like the engineer, also spends a lot of time observing, trying to understand how things work, and Beckemeyer’s poems work. Perhaps he explains his growth as a poet himself in “Initiation Song from the Prairie,” his poem about adapting to life in Kansas:

“Watch for birds that sing while
hovering in air; they have learned
to make do in the absence of trees.
You will learn to make do.”

He also shares his poetry life with his wife. In “At Watermark Books Before the Reading,” he observes how she browses the sale tables: “your hands held out before you/as if they are dowsing sticks,” then motions for him to come “share a cold sip/from this well of words/that you have found.”

Beckemeyer’s poems welcome you in. Say you’re like me and have never been to Catechism classes, didn’t go to war in Viet Nam, and have never known a coal miner. He’ll introduce you. In the broad scope of this collection, you’re sure to find some of your favorite topics, too. For me, the most moving poem is a tribute to Bertha Ross Provost, 1890-1983, the last of the Wichita tribe to speak her native tongue as her first language:

“So many no longer understand.
Her children could hear,
but could not speak their language.
The people were becoming silent.”

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 20, 2016 – Shelved
March 20, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 28, 2016 – Shelved as: poetry

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