When Men Bow Down by R. Nemo Hill


“the journeys of R. Nemo Hill are not just  through places like Bali, Thailand, New York and San Francisco, but through awareness itself, which is always death-limned. These poems are essential artefacts of our psychological existence.” – David Mason


  • Kind: Perfect
  • Pages: 110
  • Language: English
  • Published: July 2012
  • ISBN: 978-1-933675-76-3


“Before you open this book, stop and say its title out loud.  The repeated “en” of “When Men” and the repeated “ow” of “Bow Down” are not accidents (never mind that all three words that end in consonants end in “n”).  The title is an alert that the poems you are about to read have been crafted by a poet who is paying attention, one who understands that meaning is not exhausted by reference.  When such a poet writes, as R. Nemo Hill does, that “There is a path that leaves no man behind — / where no one’s learning how to carry nothing,” it is the No Man of Homer’s Odysseus who is learning to carry Wallace Stevens’ “nothing that is not there / And the nothing that is.”  Has learned that nothing is carried by timbre, and has chosen to carry it so.” —H. L. Hix

“R. Nemo Hill is a poet with a spark on his tongue, a mound of earth in his shoe, and some winged creature perched on his shoulder.”  —Wendy Videlock

“From the shadows of grounded planes to the most intimate relations—mother and son, lover and lover—from “action / into stupefaction,” the journeys of R. Nemo Hill are not just  through places like Bali, Thailand, New York and San Francisco, but through awareness itself, which is always death-limned.
These poems are essential artefacts of our psychological existence.” —David Mason

“What is R. Nemo Hill? 1) a philosopher, making the most of life as it is, not as it should be; 2) a traveler, who observes the world around him with an artist’s eye and the people in it with respectful sympathy; 3) a red-blooded man, God bless him; 4) a gifted wordsmith who understands pacing, isn’t afraid of complexity, and has a delicate touch with rhyme and meter; 5) an independent voice from outside the po-biz establishment, beholden to no one and indifferent to fads and trends; and above all, 6) a poet whose mind naturally rebels against neat little lists like this one.” —Rose Kelleher

“R. Nemo Hill’s beautifully ordered and disordered life is endlessly fascinating, and whenever the blizzards blow, I shall be able to escape to Bali.” – Timothy Murphy


This Is The Hour

The herons turn towards home, their course unfailing.
Below them, miles of earth grow dim and still—
for the wind has fallen, and the light is trailing
not far behind—.

Though hardly visible
the switched-on garden lamps already wait
for moths who’ll spin for them bewildered halos;
as the blue of the sky darkens to wet slate,
and the first few bats swoop through the open windows.

This is the hour when a falling leaf or flower
drops straight down to the ground with a light, lost tap.
This is the hour when the body cedes its power
to those shadows it is now too weak to cast.

And the mist—if it rises—
and the dark—as it falls—
are alive, and alert,
each a potent companion

for any man who finds himself alone.

(Petulu, Bali—1997)


R. Nemo HillR. Nemo Hill is the author, in collaboration with painter Jeanne Hedstrom, of an illustrated novel organized according to the processes of medieval alchemy, Pilgrim’s Feather (Quantuck Lane Press, 2002), a narrative poem based upon a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, The Strange Music of Erich Zann (Hippocampus Press, 2004), and a chapbook, Prolegomena To An Essay On Satire (Modern Metrics, 2006).  Editor of EXOT BOOkS, www.exottreasures.com/exotbooks, he lives in New York city, but has for over twenty years traveled frequently to Southeast Asia.  His travel blog, ELSEWHERE, can be accessed at www.rnemohill.typepad.com.

Additional information

Weight 9 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in