Spider Lightning - Poems by Ben Atkinson
Ben Atkinson’s poems are composed with the eye of a natural scientist and the images of a poet. Spider Lightning, his first published collection, highlights his incredible talent to render moments in nature so the reader is right there. He sees things most miss and captures them for us to view close up. Whether it is “Street Rat,” which came to him quick as a flash “with fur like mercury. Still growing into his whiskers.” Or nineteen years in the crafting like “The Ancient Box Turtle Emerges in Spring.” This poem’s pace mimics the arduous awakening “as he pushes up on yellow-orange front legs.” His story poems portray people he’s met. Some are upbeat. On a bus trip, “He Didn’t Like Isaiah” shows the array of cultures, tongues, and smells he is surrounded with. I was with him “listening to the hum / of tires rolling on asphalt.” “Lost River” is a tribute to his friend Thad. This remembrance is melancholy and poignant. Thad, of Ben’s youth, shared “long views, vistas and / daydreams and a hundred confidences. / Ambled through uncertainty.” He died in Namibia daring to swim against treacherous currents. “Thad’s twenty-seven years seemed / written in the sand at birth.” Glimpses of his observations, changes, and maturing are here in this book. His poems are crafted carefully to portray vivid depictions of life, death, animals, places, and people. Take time to enjoy his words. You may see what’s around you differently.
Lynn Skapyak Harlin, Editor