Note from the Editor

I slept overnight on the summit of Mount Sinai once, shivering and cold. I’ve always described it as nearly freezing to death. It might surprise you to learn I’ve been called melodramatic and hysterical and not just in my story retellings. I’m sure I don’t have the faintest clue what real freezing to death is like. An Italian I traveled with had the decent sense to camp at a lower elevation, and huddled with others for warmth. But I wanted the premium spot to catch the impending sunrise. A chorus of chanting monks ascended the mountain right before the dawn.

Some of these poems were written before the pandemic. Their vantage, the world around them, different. There are still poems of loneliness present, of solitude and isolation, of longing. There are poems of gratitude and defiant rage. There are odes and elegies. There are a few poems here that speak directly to current affairs, to recent events. My belief is that their value, like certain pain, will be lasting. I am both reassured and hollowed out by that.

This is our second issue. We received nearly twice the amount of work as the first. And what I hope is present here is an evolving chorus that plays well with our spring issue. I’m proud of these poems and the poets who rendered them. I’m grateful for the editorial team that helped build our summer stage.

I keep thinking about perspective and vantage. What remains true, what changes with time. What is essential and vital and where do the cobblers of literary poetry fall in that mix. My father flipped through pictures from my trip to Sharm El Sheikh. When he arrived at the sunrise I spent an uncomfortable night obtaining, he unknowingly demurred, that’s the most beautiful sunset. I looked down at the photograph, as if seeing, for the first time, the dying light.

Welcome, on the morning of the summer solstice, to the second issue of The Night Heron Barks.

As ever.


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