Such a Little Fatal Pause

December 18th, 2010

In the current New York Review of Books, critic Helen Vendler has written a somewhat thorny review of “The Best of It,” the new collection from former Poet Laureate Kay Ryan. But we get the full “After Zeno,” a lovely elegy that Ryan wrote for her father when she was twenty:

When he was

I was.

But I still am

And he is still.

Where is is

when is was?

I have an is

but where is his?

Now here–

no where:

such a little fatal pause.

There’s no sense

in past tense.