2005 SPUR Award Winner
A West Texas starscape, stunning by any measure, is emblematic of Walt McDonaldÆs plains. A lifelong celebration culminates in this, his bestùand perhaps lastùcollection 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 ôGod knows we are dust / and counts our steps.ö In ôLeaving the Middle Years,ö he writes, ôAt our age, / every day is grace and every breath / a blessing. Life is grass, stunningly brief / but abundant in so many ways.ö
Walt writes about heroesùa 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
sheÆll go on humming, knowing itÆs 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 donÆt stop.