By James Deahl
I generally do not believe that books, especially poetry books, require an introduction. I make an exception here because there is a genuine break between the poetry I wrote from 1964 until 2007 and the poetry contained in this volume.
My wife, Gilda Mekler, died on February 7, 2007. Four months later (on June 5th of that year) I wrote the firs poem collected here. When Gilda died very shortly after her fifty-third birthday, I thought I would also die. Readers will note that this feeling informs several of the poems that follow. A few months later, my grief entered its second phase. When it appeared that I was not going to die, I passionately wanted to die, I longed for my days of sorrow to end. Eventually, this led to a third and quite shocking phase of what might be called the death experience: the realization that I had, in fact, died with Gilda on February 7th. Our lives ended together.
The Creator, however, had other plans for me, and the James Deahl who has written poetry and prose since that date, is a very different writer from the James Deahl who had written and published poetry for over four decades. I retain all the memories of that other poet, and I live in his body. And like him, I also labour in God’s vineyard, as Czesław Miłosz put it so well. Using the same name, I continue the work our Creator set out for us when that other writer was born following the close of World War II.
But I truly have been born anew. So this collection opens with twenty-three poems written between June 5 and November 14, 2007. These were published as a limited edition chapbook by my friend and fellow poet, Allan Briesmaster, through his Aeolus House in 2008. This chapbook was my first writing since my death and rebirth. — From the Introduction by James Deahl, Sarnia, Ont. Canada, 2016