By LIZ DURKEE
LIFE LESSON, The Verses of D.A.W., Volume 3. By Daniel Waters. The Indian Hill Press, Martha’s Vineyard, 2010. 35 pages. $15, in paperback.
Honestly, what’s not to love about the verses of Daniel Waters? He takes a passing thought, an offhand observation, a grand world view, and cooks up four or more lines of hilariously insightful poetry.
Cases in point:
“The more you ignore it,
the deeper you get . . .
It’s the April Fifteenth
of emotional debt.”
“Where those who fussed
To grow a bust
Submit their breasts
For final tests.”
Mr. Waters is more than a poet. His books and cards and framed verses include his distinct linoleum-block illustrations. About the author: “He built a letterpress printing shop with vintage metal typecasting machines that was the start of the Indian Hill Press. He performs his work locally, often with his guitar. In 2006 he became West Tisbury’s first Poet Laureate.”
If your favorite part of The New Yorker magazine is the cartoons you will love Dan Water’s work.
The title verse, Life Lesson, is one of my all time favorites. I’ve bought several copies of the card version but haven’t mustered the gall to send it anyone.
“‘Tis better to have loved and lost
And had your heart removed and tossed
Against a solid granite wall
Than never to have loved at all.”
Another from Volume 3:
The Rain Game
“Rain, rain, stick around.
Drench this dusty, thirsty ground.
Give the world a three day soaker.
We’ll survive. There’s always poker.”
Mr. Waters’s small, well-made paperbacks make great gifts. He mans his own booth at the Vineyard Artisans Festival, held Sundays and Thursdays in summer at the West Tisbury Grange. Visit, chuckle, giggle, get a book inscribed. His books are also available at Island bookstores and at indianhillpress.com.
One more for the road:
“They do their best, as raindrops fly,
To wipe the Chevy’s forehead dry
But here and there they miss a patch,
Like itches where your car can’t scratch.”