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Monday, September 07, 2009


by Edward Dougherty

Ink coated
the nib, black
droplets on gold—

I thought of all
your pens there
in the desert.

At the reading
against the war
I offered yours

from Graves
Registry, telling

of the future
how much we love
war, shape lives

and families,
and businesses

for it—a book
of vision, Keith,
remarkable and true.

Despite our poems,
they shocked, they awed.
Your work helped vets

haul what they witnessed
and what they did but later
understand into some

healing sunshine,
Now, though, nightmares,
Keith, we’re fashioning

nightmares again.
I know because your poems
are urgent, fierce

animal growls, warnings
to heed since they issue
from our own mirrored faces.

After finishing his MFA in Bowling Green, Ohio, Edward Dougherty and his spouse volunteered at a peace center in Hiroshima for two and a half years. They now live and work in Corning, New York, and are active in their Quaker Meeting. Dougherty is the author of Pilgrimage to a Gingko Tree (2008 WordTech Communications) and Part Darkness, Part Breath (2008 Plain View Press) as well as four chapbooks of poetry, the most recent of which is The Luminous House (2007 Finishing Line Press). His textbook, Exercises for Poets: Double Bloom, co-authored with Scott Minar, is available from Prentice-Hall. In 2007, he received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. "Letter to Keith Wilson" was written to/for the poet and Korean war vet, Keith Wilson, on behalf of all the men and women engaged in the "war on terror."