NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
DAVID HARRY SHAPIRO: FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN
Broad Straits Publishing
Hiro Kobo
.1-5-4-213 Kojimachi
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0083
Japan
2,000

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
DAVID HARRY SHAPIRO: FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN

This book is of the spiritual poetry type a meditative book of Japanese poems. It is very nicely produced, with about 85 pages. Many of the poems are descriptive and evocative of acute imagery:

	The mountain was Pythagorean; against
	the turnings of the universe it hummed
	like a whale.  Like the Buddha's belly
	it was round.  From the windows of the jail,
	facing out past the cactus and the broken
	fence, it stood like a miracle on the plain.
The above extract is from THE MOUNTAIN. While most pieces rely on the natural environment for the imagery, scattered here and there are poems pertaining to the inner environment:
	Do not listen too earnestly to what I say,
	or put your hand in mine as though
	it were nothing but a friendly gesture
	on a twilight stroll through gardens:
	keep your thoughts bundled up, 
	as you'd wear a scarf against the chill:
The extract above is from AN ODD PLACE. Here the inner environment is strongly referenced by calling upon descriptions of material aspects. Some of the pieces can be read as anecdotes or small pictures of various places and times, like the piece called IN THE GARDEN OF DAIHOIN AT MYOSHINJI, in which a view of a tea house is described:
	Poems run down the poles of the buildings
	like weather stains, suggesting without irony
	that perfection has no attributes, piety no merit,
	and greatness neither armies nor instructions.
	Asleep, Zhuang Zhou blinks in oblivious innocence.
Religious themes do run through the book, and there are many references to God/Christ and the Buddha. The BURNING BUSH, obviously references the Bible:
	In Christ's bedroom wisdom wrapped its arms
	about a Freedom sculptured in soft ice cream,
	cattle exhaled a perfume of snickering
	computer parts, and Money turned sulkily
	from the eagles circling a fountain of oil.
These poems operate by applying apercus and evoking the sensual. There is a mixture of the hallucinogenic and the tangible, and sometimes they entwine to give a feeling of dipping in and out of the world. In this respect, they seem to work well for meditation.

reviewer: Doreen King.