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Blue Abundance
April 2010

Trusting Distance

Noel Hanlon

ISBN: 978-1-910669-94-5

Page Count: 100

Publication Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cover Artwork: Cover Photography: Kristy Edmunds Front cover Design: Maura Koehler-Hanlon

About this Book

“Like letters from a cherished friend, Noël Hanlon’s poems are intimate and generous, unconcealing, deeply observant of loss, of family, of love.  Her connection to the natural world runs deep, and when she reflects on the mysteries of the earth and the heart--the solace of the night sky, the death of pigs, the weeding of a garden, “these little questions of life like love/I cannot answer but intuit”—we begin to see, word by word, how everything holds together, and we are brought closer to an understanding of the inexplicable.”

Molly Gloss

“Noël Hanlon’s poems embody the rich, heady beauty of relationship – loving links to soil, animals, beloved people, intricate memory. So many moments of presence in a life – so much to hold and experience and let go of, within each of those moments – I love the transporting ferocity of her language spirit, and its utter gentleness, all at once.  Balancing everything.  Call to attention!”
Naomi Shihab Nye

“Welcome strange poems.  Perhaps I should say stranger's poems, with their internal rhymes catching the readers, making them jump with true surprise at the strange music beat, then soothing our rattled brains and smoothing us once again and then I say welcome. You are very welcome!”

Jennifer Johnston

Author Biography

Born in 1956, Noël Hanlon farms on thirty acres in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, with her husband, where they raised their two children. Noël is a fourth generation Irish-American, and travels often to the West of Ireland for a farmer’s vacation.  Her poetry has been published in both Ireland and the United States.  Noël’s first collection of poems, Blue Abundance, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2010.

Read a sample from this book

~ for Clark

Before you were born
My heart was twined with endings
Father  mother  friends
The earth I have known and loved
Slowly or quickly vanished

I had forgotten
How senses open newly
The heart’s many rooms
Surprise of the soft first sounds
Laughter like springs inside us

Even the seasons
The changing sea and shore could
Never have foretold
How your tiny beating heart
Returned mine to beginnings

What Was In It

Burnt into memory, the Christmas Eve
when we stood in the cold field looking
into the heart of our house where flame
dripped down into the china cabinet.

My children stood safe beside me.
What objects raced through my head?
The deep burgundy rug of my childhood, 
a painting of an August night,
the frail china carried by Bertha 
from Dresden before the bombing.

When the fire was extinguished, 
we were exhilarated –
nothing lost we couldn’t rebuild.
The damage was in the knowledge
that everything can be lost at any time.

At the dinner table, I asked my son – 
youth’s wisdom, uncluttered
with memories and nostalgia – 
what was it he would have wanted.
The presents under the tree
because he didn’t know what was in them.

~ for Jane

There’s a story I hear
myself telling myself 
and cannot remember
why or when it began
but belong to it now.

When a stand of trees calls
attendance, I answer
and for a few moments I am
swaying empty in their solid quiet.

Thoughts like flocks of swallows
somersaulting through vaults 
of blue and grey hours
stop to land on a line, 
chattering still, wings resting.

The sturdy walk of my body 
knows in those moments its only essence –
continual change, soft heave and suck 
of breath, place, pause. 

If what I’ve heard is true, 
that our souls are shy
and live in a cave behind 
our hearts, I’m whispering to mine
so we won’t be strangers 
the day my story ends.

Copyright © Noël Hanlon 2017

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