Wednesday, August 3, 2011


by April Lindner

At cruising altitude the earth comes clean,
the slapdash rummage sale of man-made things
and nature’s thousand tangled hues of green,
made tidy by the miles. Seen past our wings,
roads run straight, and silos glint like dimes,
each swimming pool slick as a polished gem.
Even mountain ranges, wild sublimes
of river, butte and canyon, figure trim
and tailor cut, their splendid disarray
mere patterns on a rug. Obedient
and orderly, the planet curls away,
its edges gently smudged, but on descent
it tugs us back, its noise and ample mess
as welcome as a lover’s sloppy kiss.

Coming into Cape Town
Coming back from Africa ~ so many hours on airplanes over amazing landscapes ~ I discovered April Lindner's wonderful poem Neat in one of my new favorite journals, Think Journal (click the name or the links on the right).  In my mind, this is the best type of contemporary verse - it's beautifully crafted, freshly observant, linguistically and metrically interesting and lovely. I'm looking forward to reading more! 

April Lindner‘s poetry collection, Skin, received the 2002 Walt McDonald First Book Prize from Texas Tech University Press. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Paris Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Mezzo Cammin, and The Formalist, as well as in numerous anthologies and textbooks. With R. S. Gwynn, she co-edited Contemporary American Poetry, an anthology in Longman’s Penguin Academics series.  She teaches at St. Joseph's University and you can find details of her publications there. 

April Lindner
Visit her at her website April, look for her poetry collection Skin, or read selections of her work on the American Life in Poetry blog by Ted Kooser, on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, or a poem from Skin in the Writer's Almanac archive. 

(used with permission of the author)


Amy said...

Lovely, vivid and so true. I've experienced it myself. Thanks for posting

Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful poem. It captures something universal that all air travelers (including trepidacious ones like myself) have felt -- but likely wouldn't have known how to put into words. This makes me want to read more April Lindner poems. I am not a fan of the phrase "sloppy kiss" (maybe that's just me) but I know what she was going for (a terrific earthy surprise at the end).

Iyasu said...

“Edges gently smudged” especially resonates with me. I like artistic imagery applied to real-world things; it seems like an appropriate kind of metaphor for an artistic way of writing. I think I like it a bit more than comparisons of one real-life thing to another, like silos to dimes, which almost seems too direct a comparison. “Trim and tailor-cut” I like. Maybe that’s illogical. Anyway, really nice poem.

jf said...

I have felt the same way. I always liked taking off, even when frequent, because I was leaving it all behind. The view made everything, big or small, seem insignificant. Coming home though was always good and seeing it all come close through the window was "welcome".