Being deaf does not phase Raymond Luczak's ability to absorb and reflect all the wonders of nature - in fact it may enhance his restrictions to sight and smell and touch and sense of warmth and all the other aspects that life observed as nature makes during her journey through the seasons year after decade after lifetime. This book of poems THIS WAY TO THE ACORNS was originally published in 2002 so this particular encore edition allows the writer some retrospection. He phrases this so well: 'There is childhood, and then there is childhood. The first one is the one we grow into. The second one is the one we remember long after our onset of puberty.' This is excerpted from his section at book's end called 'An Afterword'.
Luczak takes us through the mysteries of the seasonal changes in his home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We don't know how vast was his exposure to nature as we see these images through a child's eyes: how many of us had what we perceived as a huge expanse of nature as a child - mine even had a term 'the grass-grassy field' which adulthood embarrassingly revealed to be a simple empty lot across the street). Luczak's penchant for structure opens each of the four seasons with a look at an acorn - and that path from 'ovum' to maturity is such wonderful writing. But there are many more, each falling into Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn.
When they appeared, I knew Mom
on her pastel-green hat would hang
loads of white
underwear and training bras
and Dad's undershirts
on the swinging clothesline.
The branches waved hands,
its fragrances rushing to slap
with the wet clean of our clothes
in the morning shade.
Bees hopped form one brach to another.
I wondered if one of them would fall
off a nervous blossom
into a cranny of my underwear.
But of course: They have wings,
I have eyes,
and we both have noses.
Rain dumped its paint bucket
all over the trees on Oak Street.
The walls of autumn had no color
but its chill took forever to dry.
Its odorless fumes sank heavily,
leaving a numbness in our feet.
Everything had a cold blanket.
Trees shivered as its leaves fell,
slapping sidewalks with tears.
They puffed their last breaths,
bleeding onto the broken cement.
When at last the paint dried,
we peeled the leaves, uncovering
a wallpaper of summer souls.
On first reading these poems are simply beautiful, reminiscent, but not earth-shakingly profound. But read them again and again and the unfettered beauty of a child's response to nature is something staggering. Raymond Luczak's now old poems sing anew. Grady Harp, April 19