Song of the World Becoming

A Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist 2002


BookList: Top of the List - EDITORS' CHOICE - 2001

Rogers has a scientist's curiosity and a poet's eye and consequently writes of the cosmos - from the subatomic world to the stars, from a bird perching on a branch to the workings of the human brain - with passionate specificity, philosophical insight, and elegantly expressed exaltation. A substantial set of new poems crowns this superb retrospective volume.


"I have been reading and delighting in her work for years, and teaching it for years as well, and by now I regard her as one of the finest poets in America. - Richard Howard


"These musical, lushly rhythmic lines show well the deep connection between the erotic and the holy that Rogers explores." - Susan Carlisle, Harvard Review


A Sample Poem from Song of the World Becoming

Before the Beginning: Maybe God
and a Silk Flower Concubine Perhaps

The white sky is exactly the same white
stone as the white marble of the transparent
earth, and the moon with its clear white
swallow makes of its belly of rock neither
absence nor presence.

The stars are not syllables yet enunciated
by his potential white tongue, its vestigial
lick a line that might break eventually,
a horizon curving enough to pronounce
at last, my love.

The locked and frigid porcelain barrens
and hollows of the descending black plain
are a pattern of gardens only to any single
blind eye blinking, just as a possible stroke
of worm, deaf with whiteness, might hear
a lace bud of silk meridians spinning
and unraveling simultaneously on the vacuous
beds of the placeless firmament.

An atheist might believe in the seductive
motion turning beneath the transparent gown
covering invisibly the nonexistent bones
and petals of no other. Thus the holy blossom,
spread like the snow impression of a missing
angel, doubts the deep-looped vacancy
of her own being into which god, in creation,
must assuredly come.

Is it possible there might be silver seeds
placed deep between those legs opening
like a parting of fog to reveal the plunging salt
of a frothy sea? But god digresses, dreaming
himself a ghost, with neither clamor nor ectasy,
into inertia, his name being farther
than ever from time.

Static on the unendurably boring white
sheet of his own plane, he must think hard
toward that focus of conception when he can rise
shuddering, descending and erupting into the beauty
and fragrance of their own makng together --
those flowering orange - scarlet layers and sun-
shocking blue heavens of, suddenly, one another.