Publisher: Woodley Press, 2004 Paperback: 80 pages
“‘Nothing prepares you for the real,’ writes Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg in this soaring flock of tones and images that is this wonderful book of poems. Nothing prepares us, and so we stumble and fall and break into blossom, bite persimmons, and birth ourselves again and again. How any of us weather the darkening climate of these times is a wonder; it is such books as this that help us breathe.” — David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous.
“Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s voice is imbued with love, humor and wisdom. She wields plain words powerfully. Her comprehension of nature borders on the absolute. Her wonderful poems state the seamlessness of the cosmic and mundane, the molten paradoxes of intimacy and otherness, identity and separation.” — Stephanie Mills, author of Epicurian Simplicity and In Search of the Wild.
“These noble, ecstatic poems reflect a woman on the edge of life and death. She runs like any animal into the dark ‘that isn’t so dark’ and with new eyes sees there what sustains her — a different light, a hidden room, hope and healing. Her words capture the richness of Kansas landscape and the internal wildness of animals that feed our very existence, give us courage to breathe in every minute and move on.” — Perie Longo, author, The Privacy of Wind.
“Animals in the House is a collection of poems that celebrates the power of the natural world to shape us into what we’re meant to be. These poems lift us out of the container we call our selves, shape us toward trusting what we can never completely know, place us more firmly on the trustworthy ground of earth that has the power to heal and renew.” — Renee Gregorio, author, The Storm That Tames Us.
Excerpt: Magnolia Tree in Kansas
This is the tree that breaks
into blossom too early each March,
killing its flowers. This is the tree
that hums anyway in its pool of fallen
petals, pink as moonlight. Not a bouquet
on a stick. Not a lost mammal in the clearing
although it looks like both with its explosions
of rosy boats – illuminated, red-edged.
Not a human thing but closer to what we might be
than the careful cedar or snakeskin sycamore.
It cries. It opens. It submits. In the pinnacle
of its stem and the pits of its fruitless fruit,
it knows how a song can break the singer.
In the brass of its wind, it sings anyway.
Tree of all breaking. Tree of all upsidedown.
Tree that hurts in its bones and doesn’t care.
Tree of the first exhalation
landing and swaying, perfume and death,
all arms and no legs. Tree that never
learns to hold back.