A deeply humane book about travelling and environmental devastation.
A conversation of ravens, hurled into
the wind as it pushes low
across the dry forget-me-not ridges,
the green flats of the Bow,
echoes off the scree like verbs from the tongue
of travellers who knew each gap
in the cloud peaks, harvesting the valleys,
retreating before the snow,
verbs in a language without relatives,
a relic on a ripped map,
mouths that possessed a word for "starving, though
having a fish-trap."
The poems in The Silver Palace Restaurant roam from the Rocky Mountains and the Gaspé Peninsula to Italy, Croatia, and China. At ease with both traditional and post-modern forms, Mark Abley touches on intimacy, parenthood and death, mountain-climbing, hiking, and birding.
Abley's first collection of poetry in eleven years reveals the keen sensitivity to the nuances of language to be expected from the author of the internationally acclaimed Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages. He cares deeply about language and The Silver Palace Restaurant is infused with a sharp intelligence and emotion.