My Painted Warriors
by Peggy Penn
My Painted Warriors is a book of sensual poems about the character of enduring love. Borrowing metaphors from nature, Penn probes the frailty of human life and connection. These poems are a celebration of ritual and an observance of season and the passage of time.
Here is experience lived profoundly and distilled into a wise and brilliant ease. Though I have known Peggy Penn’s work since she egan writing twenty years ago, these poems astonished me. Penn’s subject is age: winter and funerals, yes, but also brassieres, orgasms after sixty, flourishing gardens, and four boys, her painted warriors. Worlds into worlds open up in My Painted Warriors, transforming this book of poems into a collection of miracles. It is the kind of poetry I can turn to when I wake in the night, the voice of both companion and a sagacious guide. —Molly Peacock
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PEGGY PENN’s poetry has appeared in several publications including O Magazine, The Paris Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Western Humanities Review, Southern Poetry Review and Margie Review. She won the poem for the first poem published in the journal Kimera, and the first Emily Dickinson Award for innovative poetry. Penn’s first poetry collection, So Close, was published by CavanKerry Press in 2001.
A Summer Day
New York City, September 2003
The green cathedral, where I sit gulping air
like water, in the body smell of summer,
stretches nets of lace-light through trees to fall
on my lap; one hand rests on the other.
Ring fingers touch and hide a small arthritic
spur. Rowed by women, the rowboats waste no time,
sliding by in a gray Monet blur;
the men lie trailing their hands in the water.
Chaste girls paint their many toenails red,
blue, and green, a feint of dance in pointillist
dots. A wedding party scrambles over
the hill; the Russian bride to bed the Irish
groom with scoured cheeks. In red décolletage,
bridesmaids vine themselves around a blue
gazebo for photos.
An old woman in a wheelchair and
a fur, parrots like a rapper, “Hotdog,
hotdog, . . .I wanna hotdog!”
The groom helps his mother onto a rock, and they
smile in their duet of not forgotten gratitudes.