Dear CloudFace

Dear CloudFace


T. G. Vanini

Sample Poem


The red fox shivers as she slips across the lawn.
No-one’s there to see her, or so she hopes.
No-one’s there to see her but the lumbering porcupine
who pauses to note the quick light steps,

then dawdles on, unimpressed
by any flash of grace or show of skill
that serves no need now. He’ll save his finesse
for dealing with fear and for finding a meal

and for his prickly lover who’s prowling the thickets
of deep silence at the roots of his eyes
but who’ll never discover his cache of secrets
no matter how long or how hard she tries. 

And now he reaches the red-berried thorn bush
where the wild woods meet the mown lawn.
He dips and snuffles his nose to acknowledge
the mute brotherhood of the spine.

The porcupine lives on Bee Tree Hill;
he’s heading there now and thrusts into the woods.
The dull but still green leaves of the mountain laurel
will close behind him as the daylight fades 

and the cold burns the eyes of the red fox.
She’s grinning now as well as shivering
because her teeth are a clamp for a grey mouse.
She’s bringing it home to her children.


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Vanini’s is a rare species of whimsy — too rich, too detailed, too drunk from the springs in the wild places of the imagination to lapse into sentimentality or preciousness. He is a truth-telling fabulist in the grand tradition of Kenneth Patchen, Nancy Willard, and his fellow mathematician, Lewis Carroll. He can charm you, enthrall you, make you laugh and sing with his audacious inventiveness, and — like all wizards who understand that the transcendent beauty and wonder of the world is underpinned by a profound sadness — he can break your heart.
— Mikhail Horowitz
Break out the champagne! For decades now, T. G. Vanini (aka Laurie Kirby) and the Princes of Serendip have entertained and enlightened Woodstock audiences in select venues with their sophisticated lyrics. Now Vanini crosses the border between song lyrics and poetry in his debut book of poems, a Dylanesque blend of the surreal with uncharted worlds utterly his own. His talent is prodigious — original imagery pours from him as from a waterfall—and seemingly inexhaustible. Dear Cloudface is simply stunning!
— Michael Perkins