Review and Republishing of Todd Davis’s Poems: “Learning to Read” Vol 9.1 and “Some Heaven”Volume 8.1/8.2 Spring /Fall 2003
by Erin Schmiel
I love how easily Todd Davis expresses themes of spirituality in his quiet nature poems. He says, in “Learning to Read,”: “I understand that learning to read,/like so much of life, is about faith and doubt —/the possibility of one, the heaviness of the other.” In just three narrative stanzas we see the progression from the oblivion of the 5 year old narrator: “my joy when you told me/I was driving, too young to realize you held /the wheel”, to the responsibility of road markers: “signs /sprouted like goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace, and you/demanded I read them, pretending not to know/what to do if I didn’t.” The final stanza carries the reader forward from this scene and out into the world knowing that what has been said is as true for them as it was for the father and son.
In “Some Heaven” the narrator is a father watching his child pray for “some heaven/that has no fences,” after they find a rabbit “caught between the slats of the fence,” that he has had to kill. I feel he is asking for forgiveness, too, when he believes his child’s “prayer is right/ What more should heaven be? /A place made/ of wild carrot and dill…a warm October/day that never ends.”
These words cut me to the quick with their urgent, yet natural spirituality. I had to pause and say —yes— this is the way of it not only for the lives in the poems, for me the reader as well.
Both poems are republished below with permission from the author. (more…)