Review excerpts, This is the Way the World Ends/This is the Way the World Ends,
Leland James, Finishing Line Press, 2014:
Leland James’ mystical yet earthbound poems are among the most moving I’ve encountered. He has an understated way of telling stories in verse that reveal profound insights into nature and the wonder of the cosmos, while remaining rooted in human experience. His style is economical, yet never sells his subject short..... “Stone Water Pass,” ... “Abandoned Barn” ... “The Lament of Whitehorse Billy,” these poems deliver their emotional payload with intellectual honesty and enviable craftsmanship.
—Don Williams, Founder and Editor Emeritus, New Millennium Writings, USA
"Leland James’ collection is an astounding exploration of mortality, loss and danger, but also of faith and hope. In our world of redundant jargon, James’ poetry is priceless--original, alive and clear bringing forth the wonder of life, while reflecting on its hardship.... The poetry of Leland James is inspiring.”
—Eleni Zisimatos, Editor-in-Chief, Vallum Magazine, Canada
Order This is the Way the World Ends on line at www.finishinglinepress.com/product/this-is-the-way-the-world-ends-by-leland-james/“
Or Amazon Books, Barnes & Nobel
Or Amazon Books, Barnes & Nobel
The Lament of Whitehorse Billy
I never took no water with my whiskey. I laughed
at winter’s busted pipes and trails hip-deep
with snow. I never bent. No willow tree was I.
Like a hardwood stake, whittled sharp,
I drove myself into this froze-up earth and stood my ground.
Just as hard and strong I loved my brown-eyed Anna.
She loved me back and we was like twin
cormorants that never left the lake in winter.
Birds not fine or flyin’ high but rugged
like the tundra. Proud, I guess, a little,
of the way we stood outside in this hard place that we was born.
Then a woeful wind came whinin’ down the mountain,
cut me like a Humbolt ax, dropped me to the ground. My Anna
upped and died. I shattered like a sheet of ice, lost its grip,
slid from the roof into a bed of gravel. The doc,
he told me why she died, some words I didn’t understand.
Hardly even listened. Why don’t matter. Dead is dead and gone.
I’m hopin’ folks remember me the way I was—not like now
gone all to Hell and drinkin’ from the bottle, lettin’ the stove run dry.
I'll be rememb’rin’ Anna when I take my .45 way up in the hills
where I won't be to no one any trouble. Someday someone will find
my gun. Let it be my marker. I hope whoever finds it knew us when
and says a little prayer, for me and for my Anna.
First published, The South Carolina Review, USA
© 2010 Leland James
Stone Water Pass
Rock face staring down,
rivulets of freezing water
pondered by faint winter light
—a man, alone, mourning
his thirty-years wife--
layers of rock, stripes of ice,
a silence of stone, and the road
slipping away back down the mountain.
First published, This is the Way the World Ends,
Finishing Line Press, USA, © 2014 Leland James
Broad shoulders bent,
like a ninety years-old man,
wind beaten, sunboiled, in a field of weeds,
sinking down upon a stone foundation,
empty window-eyed staring in upon itself
asking how it came to this and why
First published, Writers’ Forum , UK
© 2008 Leland James