Feasting at the Table of the Damned by Daniel Ames
It takes time to read and then re-read a collection of poems, to enjoy each word, to think about the imagery. It’s a pleasure not to be hurried but to be savored, to be put down and then revisited. You need to bring yourself to the table; your own life experiences which will help you to find a meaning that is your own.
Feasting at the Table of the Damned is indeed a particularly fine collection where the questions raised have to be allowed to mature in your mind, to sink in until their very being inhabit your soul. These poems deserve to be dipped into time and time again until the depths of emotion and imagery diffuse and settle in your mind.
There are a variety of themes that Ames visits; beauty, innocence, loss, indifference, hatred, love and time, which are all used to questions our own lives; past, present and future.
In ‘Perplexing When’ Ames ponders on the passing of time and wonders when people stop caring and realize that they have changed from the idealistic person they used to be.
He asks was it:
When the garden lay fallow
And the first of the weeds arrived.
Do people notice those first weeds arriving? Are we all cursed with the 21st century illness of being constantly busy where we allow time to pass with alarming haste and then suddenly, one day, notice all of the things we meant to do with our lives but just never got round to, littered around our feet like weeds? Ames challenges us to wonder how and why this happens.
It’s a common fact that life wears people down, whether we fight against this or not. Decisions are made that lead us down particular tracks sometimes without us even realizing a choice has been made. In several of his poems Ames is searching for this illusive moment when in a split second our fate can be changed forever.
In ‘Where the Train Runs Out of Track’ two people, possibly a husband and wife, are worn down by life and can eventually only see its imperfections. They can’t see the future clearly anymore and wonder whether they should indeed continue on together or go their separate ways. But just as above the grey cloud and rain that inhabits many of our days, the sky is blue and the sun is shining, Ames reminds us that there could always be a glimmer of hope that if seen from a different angle, as in the view from above that a hawk has, life can in an instant change for the better, or if the chance is missed we walk,
Toward the precipice ahead
Could there always be hope out there that somehow can be seen and grasped? How many times has an opportunity passed us by unnoticed?
Go read these poems for yourself. Think about them and then read them again. Don’t search for what the poet meant by the words but look into your own soul and find some meaning for yourself.