A Thousand Miles of Stars

A Thousand Miles of Stars

A Thousand Miles of Stars

A Thousand Miles of Stars

Synopsis

2005 SPUR Award Winner A West Texas starscape, stunning by any measure, is emblematic of Walt McDonald's plains. A lifelong celebration culminates in this, his best-and perhaps last-collection of new poems. At seventy, the poet affirms, we live by the mystery of grace even as we watch familiar stars blink out at dawn. For he believes "God knows we are dust / and counts our steps." In "Leaving the Middle Years," he writes, "At our age, / every day is grace and every breath / a blessing. Life is grass, stunningly brief / but abundant in so many ways." Walt writes about heroes-a mother who taught tumbling; family and friends gone to war; the brave at home who heal or console; others who rescue from war zones as many children as they can. Heroes, too, are those whose fidelity and joy find faces in these poems. Watching crows at dawn in Montana, a husband thinks of his wife inside their mountain cabin: If Ursula finds more gray she'll go on humming, knowing it's okay, our children three thousand miles away but fine, when they called last night. She comes outside with coffee, closing the door so softly even the crows don't stop.

Excerpt

Dad rode an Appaloosa stallion, fat
as a Clydesdale, and left the fence
and posthole digger to me, the brat,
kid brother of the oldest son, the prince

Who broke mustangs and played—rodeos,
cowgirls, first to ride the colt
brought back from Montana.
I never saw Tom without a moustache,

A man by the time I was born,
Mama old as a grandma,
but stern. and who could blame her,
another baby to spank by the barn

In the Texas depression. Brash,
my brother rode off at dawn with Daddy,
branding, rounding up maverick cattle
until Pearl Harbor was attacked,

When boys like my brother
rode off to war on destroyers
and never, never came back.

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