Essay by Mark Pirie included in the Salt Companion to Richard Berengarten

Saturday, November 13, 2010 by Mark Pirie

On 7 December 2010, The Salt Companion to Richard Berengarten will be launched in England at Heffer's Bookshop in Trinity Street, Cambridge, starting at 6.30pm.

My article 'A Reading of Richard Berengarten's Book With No Back Cover' will appear in it. The article was published in the online journal Jacket 40 (July 2010) prior to the book's publication.

The book has taken several years to complete and it is a major project edited by three editors, Norman Jope, Paul Scott Derrick and Catherine E Byfield. Richard Berengarten is a leading European poet and it is an honour to have written an essay for the book.

I first met Richard in 2005 while I was visiting Cambridge, England, and have maintained contact with him. In 2006 I also wrote a letter-poem for him, 'Tangi: A Letter to Richard Berengarten' after reading his poetry book In a Time of Drought (Shoestring Press, 2006):

Tangi: A Letter to Richard Berengarten

     Who'll braid peonies into our brook
     One for each soul Death took  - Richard Berengarten

Winter draws to a close, and the first rays of spring
remind me that Persephone is trapped still,

and on the surface our prayers are
for the Māori Queen, as she is laid to rest

at the foot of her maunga.
Today it would seem

like there is now a time of drought
so eloquently put in your book.

We too are in need of a Dodola  but instead dance
her way, in leaves, through our Winter

leavening the cold, the dark that momentarily settles
allowing Persephone to shed her tears, the people to grieve.

Poem © Mark Pirie, 2006

Dodola = Serbian rain-maiden
maunga = mountain
tangi = funeral or time of mourning