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An Open Book

An Open Book
The first collection of poems by one of the world's best-loved writers.

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On another road you meet another man:
Honest eyes, glad smile, open hand.
He names you, shares food with you, prays
Blessings for you, speeds you on your way.

On this road I am the one you meet.
I have no plan to wash your weary feet.
You'll have no drink from me, will not be fed,
Nor will I map for you what lies ahead....

Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender's Game, Enchantment, and the Alvin Maker series, did not originally plan to write fiction. He spent his journeyman years as a playwright. Before that, however, it was poetry that engaged his pen.

Never content to write just one thing, Card has continued writing poetry along with his more well-known work in other forms. He has submitted little of it for publication, because there are no journals that seem to welcome the kind of poetry he values.

An Open Book, Card's first published collection, is selected from thirty-five years of poems. The title reflects his attitude that this book and all the poems in it remain works in progress.

It also reflects Card's commitment to clarity, especially in poetry. As he says in his afterword: "To be clear and yet also say something worth saying is what I believe poets should strive for.

"The first reading should reward the reader. If later readings reveal new insights, so much the better; but if the first reading did not achieve Dryden's recipe of sweetness and light, why should a reader return for a second pass?"

Contents

I   Hunger, Love, and Death
Walking on Water
Short-Lived Creatures
Echo
Grain of the Wood
Of a Private History
This Is the Poem I Made Then
I Go Out the Door
The Man Who Came Back from the Lunar Colony
5 a.m.
Declaration
Myrtle Beach
Elves
Light and Shade
Rapunzel Summons the Prince
In Touch
My Son in Love
Barbarians
Browning, Cummings, Tennyson
To One Not Poisoned Yet
To Alice, Recently of Wonderland
How Do You Know You Love Me?
Lovers Do
In Winter I Wrote Love Poems
Hands
Old House
Old Mother
Grandfather Is Home from Seattle
He Died of Cystic Fibrosis at 24
Prayer in the ICU
Grandma in the Corner, Dying
O Hurried Guest
A Poem for Erin's First Christmas
Worlds Might Stumble
When
Of My Beloved Son

II   Apocalyptic Verses
Tin Men
On Another Road
If I Hadn't Overturned the Stone
Dog and Bear
Winter of Wishes
Judge
One Will Be Taken
Broken Kings
Hordes
Outside the Ark
Potion for Immortality
From a Spirit to the One Possessed
Warning to a Long-Haired Woman
Redeemers
Fire at the End of the World
Point Most West
No Snow White
Mammon
Needle

III   Wholly Writ
Corn Is the Soil Song
Last Supper
Slight Bread
If Jesus Wept
Holy Moments
John 4:14, 15
Unremarkable They Grow
Is Prophecy a Gift?
Jacob Smith of Somerset
Openings
Thou Whose Hand Is Ever Light
Deep Slow Illness
All That the Earth Can Yield

Copyright © 2003 Orson Scott Card


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