The poetry of Peggy Aylsworth happens in the everyday,
in which “rent has been paid, breakfast dishes washed,” and shall she take a bath or “read the sorry news” or sit down with Wittgenstein—or is this the day a daughter dies? Is this the day she herself may “die with questions/ slipping, slipping from my hands”? Her poems are quietly, precisely amazed at an everyday in which, really, anything may happen.
I’m reading along through these poems, a poetry etched in what seems a comparatively quiet life, and I hit a verse that begins, “Because the inevitable makes mistakes”—and that stops me cold. I sit thinking, “Of course it does!” And say the line over to myself several times, liking that it begins rather than ends a movement of thought.
So quiet, these poems—but urgent, too. Their time is right now, their place is right here, their past is everywhere, their future is as certain as it is uncertain. Aylsworth’s lyric sense does not fear letting in the world that we don’t like, the world we read about and see on TV and that we hope won’t explode too near. She takes on being a poet of that world, too.
The poetry of Peggy Aylsworth calmly recognizes, without the need of sweeping gestures, that to be a fully-realized hu- man being means to reclaim one’s humanity every day in the face of whatever. “What goes unnoticed/cheats the soul.”
And there’s this: A poem like “Time And Its Relatives” makes cowards of most of us.