Litany of Flights

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By (author) Laura Reece Hogan

Winner of the 2020 Paraclete Poetry Prize, Litany of Flights is a luminous examination of the journey of the soul, from moments of loss to moments of incandescent transformation. These poems remind us to behold the extraordinary in the ordinary, and that the secret workings of the divine occur even through the difficult: “the painful paring of your hollow bones has made you light.” Drawing on the beauty of the natural world, the devastating effects of drought and wildfires, tender moments of daily experience, and lessons of the saints, the poet creates a landscape of light and darkness, with unexpected turns into divine presence and absence. Through a spiral of red-tailed hawks, the nest of a mourning dove, the parting of waters, and the ripeness of a persimmon, this shimmering collection invites the reader to singular and transfiguring flight.

Litany of Flights
(from the forthcoming collection)

First, the winged movement, steady, forward. Scrub jays in flitting
progress, hawks in predator glide, a ringing up, a knife-sharp slope

down. Second, the effortless type, wind-splayed, motionless pinions
in thermal recline, as the Psalmist says, blessings breeze his love even

in sleep. Third, the hungry, against the gale, the destination singular
and the sun dipping crimson. Fourth, the metallic, business or pleasure.

Fifth, the whirring kind, all hummingbird. A picnic, apples and chocolate
in the garden with roses, both flower and child. You miss it when it’s gone.

Sixth, a baffling flight of stairs, winding upward, passage and yet vehicle,
spiraling to unseen landings—hope courses in the kaleidoscopic lights.

Seventh, soar to the sun. Eighth, melt in bitter hubris. You know the story.
Ninth, escape. A flight out of Egypt, a path through the sea cleared by

divine hand. The times you ran, the times you were left behind in lament.
Tenth, only rotting in the belly of a whale tames your stubborn turn from

Nineveh. Eleventh, flights of despair and of yearning, two sides of one
letting go, hard-earned release back into the wild, unbound by expectation,

featherlike. Twelfth, in a moment, caught up high by the Beloved, the one
making all things work together, wings, body, arch, air—caught up, like the

Shulamite bride, to regions beyond aeronautical wisdom, transported in joy.
See, he says, the painful paring of your hollow bones has made you light.

  • Pages: 96
  • Formats: Paperback