Pacific Light by David Mason 

By g emil reutter
Mason is a poet defined by place, if it is Southeast Asia on the Pacific Rim or Northwest America, his poems breathe life of the people around him as well as the nature he observes and partakes in. Careful observation and craft abounds in these poems. The poet tells us in The Voices:
I came to a wood where dark trees were talking,
their voices sparking in the shadows, near
or distant, singly and in chorus, and I thought:
This is the way of trees, to wait until we least
expect it of them, then to speak from their depths,
the nerves strung out in lines with each new flash. 
Voices sparking in shadows, nerves strung out in lines with each new flash. Trees talking. There has been some study indicating trees communicate through the root system, this poet see it and tells us about it. There is no doubting here.
In the poem, The Work, he offers up a beautiful description of time:
Time is the hillside falling away in grass and gum trees,
the current of water, the island behind the cloud,
and there is more of it and less of it than we know. 
Pacific Light, the title poem is a paean to the Pacific by a poet who embraced the light and moved south. In the second and third stanzas the poet wraps himself around the Northwest:
I remember now. The light in my mother’s house
above a bay, a virile western sun
bleaching the spines of books, fading furniture
and making the candles we lit at dinnertime
doubly sad. I’ve watched for sixty years
the sun on the western water, islands, clouds
the mud flats, oyster beds, fishing masts–
the light I thought a poem should be infused with,
the light a man might die by in his bed,
the light remembered women leave behind
and children recollect like broken dolls,
the light destroyers cut with their gray prows
in my father’s war, light the lava died in
the massive gouts of steam, and spouts of whales,
So much captured in just two stanzas. His mothers house, sun bleaching, mud flats, fishing masts, broken dolls, father’s war, spouts of whales. It is a lyrical intensity rarely seen, packed with images, metaphors and observation. He ends the poem:
No pill or whisky and no burning weed
can touch the light, nor can the blue flame
of the struck match or lightning’s jagged stroke
that sets the woods aflame. A passing light
that holds us watching motionless as seals
till night returns us to our element. 
The words speak for themselves.
Mason writes of the nurses who care for those passing to the other side and leads off the poem, The Garden and The Library, with beautiful images of the dead in the garden:
A gardener grows familiar with the dead
and dying, each tree with its own way of letting go,
the oak leaves brittle and difficult to heap,
while beech let down their arms to the hold the dead.
He ends the poem with this:
I think about those nurses, and their speed
and silence in the face of miracles.
I think of all the weeping, all the books
in tiers of shelves. I think of all the leaves.
It is the trees, the nurses, the weeping, books in tiers of shelves. It is us.
There is much to this poet, this book. David Mason has arrived and we should all have a look. Get the book, watch the video and be prepared to be amazed.
Watch the poet reading from the collection here:
g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. He can be found at:

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