How often on our journey through life do we wish we could capture some fleeting thought, beautiful image or moment of emotion? If only we had a pen and blank sheet of paper, a paintbrush and easel, a camera and film.
“It is in the margins, in the ‘in between’ that life is understood” says Jamison in the introduction to this debut collection of forty-six poems.
As he journeys through life, poet Frank Jamison frequently finds himself jotting down notes about his experiences and observations. The result is this beautiful collection of 46 poems, aptly titled, Marginal Notes.
Frank Jamison lives and writes beside the Tennessee River in Roane County, Tennessee. Marginal Notes is his first published collection of poems. He was born in Jackson, Tennessee and graduated from Union University with majors in English and Mathematics. He earned a Masters degree in Mathematics from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He has been writing poetry and short stories since undergraduate school.
“Frank Jamison condenses a lifetime of observation into the poems of Marginal Notes, using ‘experience and time [as] the light and lens [to] see…all the hues of time and having been.’ The poet invites us into his life with the intensely personal ‘The Moment of My Giving of Myself,’ in which he writes of the birth of his son, then moves on to explore the ramifications of family and of one’s place in both the manmade and natural world where a dead log, a downed cedar, an osprey, and a turtle each serve as catalyst for new insight. The reader, too, finds grace as the collection closes with one’s ‘face pressed into wet sand’ where are found visions as near to heaven as one could need.”
—Connie Jordan Green
“Frank Jamison attempts to break through the veil that masks the answers all men are seeking. These first poems are, above all, honest. In addition, they are often beautiful. Controlling the whole collection is the metaphor of the sack, in which we carry our story with us, wherever we go, whoever we are. I find it compelling. It resonates, as all good writing should.”
THE ONE WE HAVE BECOME
In the springtime of our days
When love was urgent and wanting
We would throw ourselves into each other
Until we were a single shout,
Then fall away to each again.
In slippered feet and old blue robes,
That love has left us, replaced by
Measured moves less urgent
And more of needing to be close.
Not less exuberant we come
With whispered sound and soft laughter
To put aside that each in us
In favor of the one we have become.
JAZZ MAN JASMINE
Jasmine tones slide down the night
And blue notes take flight
As Jazz Man lifts his horn
And blows a smoky tune
That swings around the room
In sepia like his face
And leads us into space
Where breathless we all ride
The lonely rhythm’s tide
Until we come at last
To confront a past
Cadence in our souls.
Yeah! That’s Jazz Man, Brother!
Jazz Man Jasmine!
SINGING MY CANAAN
It was a hard voice that chastened me.
But I put it away and left
The place of my beginnings
And headed off to roam my Sinai.
I had no spot of earth to claim me.
I would not hear the voice
Telling me to plant my feet in soil,
Telling me to learn its song,
To know the seasons of its time,
Telling me to sing them all.
So, I left that place
And wandered forty years
Before I came to rest.
It was not a dry place that I found
But I was burdened by
The gatherings of my travels.
It was then, the voice came back
But softer now. Telling me to rest,
To set my sack upon the ground.
Telling me to know that I
Had not wasted all my time, not yet.
Telling me to count the times
I had toiled for those I met,
Giving them the gifts of me.
But telling me to listen now.
Telling me to sing the earth,
To open my sack and let
The gatherings of it loose
To float the winds of other minds.
Telling me to sing to them
The Sinai I had seen.
This time, I heard the voice.
I sat against the hill stones,
Beside the waters running down.
I saw the greenness of that place
And the beauty of its winter.
I opened my sack beneath the trees
And began to sing my Canaan.
Outside white fog turns gray
As winter day folds into night
And there is no far place
Only near trees with empty arms.
Inside I wrap myself in you
Promising the thrust and flow of spring.
You sigh a soft breeze as life begins.