It is with great sadness that we at Dos Madres Press learned this past week of the death of the extraordinary poet Paul Cyrus Bray.
Of Paul, the eminent poet, translator, and critic Henry Weinfield said, “No one writes like Paul Bray.”
And from the novelist and poet Paul Auster: “Paul Bray is an absolute original, a demon of brilliant
erudition and pitch-perfect music, straddling the hitherto incompatible worlds of narration and lyric
to produce a poetry that simultaneously sings and tells and never fails to astonish.”
I am tremendously proud to have been Paul’s editor in the journey that brought us together
in the culmination of his magnum opus: Terrible Woods, Poems 1965-2008 (Dos Madre Press, 2008)
Dear friend, you leave us too soon.
Though these woods will forever echo with your songs,
you will be, and already are, terribly missed.
Ex. Editor / Publisher
Dos Madres Press
Below, from the section of poems titled Croons,
out of Paul Bray’s Terrible Woods:
On the banks of the Meuse you sat watching the sound
of the water. Your sorrow was wide and profound.
You were used to clouts and slaps and to being
reminded you were only a child. Renowned
as a monster of erudition, for seeing
the milky sea and forever fleeing
Madame Rimbaud and her harsh routine
for the doorways of Paris. Your hopes of freeing
the city were dashed. The contrast between
the innocent face and the fierce, obscene
language the drunken husbands there
in the local cafe found funny. So mean
to sappy Verlaine sobbing into your hair.
In Belgium through empires of luminous air
the meteors spoke and the buffaloes. Then
in the barn you released one last scream of despair.
Later when, strangely, you put down the pen
and, oddly, did not pick it up again,
crossing the Alps on foot headfirst,
you burrowed through snow like a mole and when
the nightmare road to Herer was traversed
in greenish water, in dead lakes immersed,
volcanic mountains rose sheer. Your tongue
told of angels of wood through its curtains of thirst.
Now teenagers love you and songs are sung
about you by rock stars and even among
the hosts of larvae and the slaves of fact
a poem like this one is sometimes flung.
And why not? Arthur, you were one class act.