What does it mean to think of time and memory loosely? To consider how poets and politics impact a self? T.P. Bird divides his fifty “renderings” into three general sections—“Time & Memory”; “Poets, Presidents and Me,” and “Other Considerations.” In Part One his metaphors evoke a gently self-mocking nostalgia. A Saturday trip to a barbershop; an evening with parents at a local pub; flashbacks to a boy leaping into in a pile of leaves--or a young man sitting in a military Jeep in Bavaria--lead to memories of road trips into his father’s past, and his grandfather’s. Comfortably familiar metaphors—ice, gnarled trees, burning leaves, stone walls, full moons—code life experiences reshaping a past which “never leaves you, and which you never leave.”

In Part Two, Bird aligns his own life’s path with what poets were writing and presidents were doing as he grew. From the infant days of Harry Truman to the aged ones of Joe Biden, from the poetry of Walt Whitman to that of Mary Oliver, fourteen presidents and 67 poets stand as markers along his personal path. In Part Three, existential questions--about time, space, memory and meaning--become whimsical word puzzles, image-fests, and philosophical debates, leading to a genuine appreciation for the beauty of the natural world both as symbol and as reality, and a deep albeit cautious faith in a creator.

As the book’s first poem concludes, “If you knew the yearnings\ of aging men—you would\ hold them in your heart and\ know that your stories are soon\ to follow.”


T.P. (Tom) Bird is a retired industrial drafter/designer and retired Christian minister. He has published in a number of journals and is the author of a chapbook, Scenes and Speculations (Finishing Line Press), as well as three full collections:  Mystery and Imperfection (Kelsay Books); Somewhere Beyond the Body (Wipf & Stock/Resource); American Narratives (Turning Point.)  Bird lives with his wife, Sally, in Lexington, KY.