On Reading Diane Ackerman

      by Naomi Beth Wakan

I read on, compelled
by her metaphors and similes,
until, finding five in one sentence,
I call aloud “Enough!”
and lay the book down.
I lie and wonder why
she continually
says “this” is like “that”
and why she doesn’t say
how “this” is like “this.”
Bashō could show her how.
For writing of a “black crow”
on a “bare branch” at “sunset,”
he doesn’t mention “black witches”
or “gnarled limbs of unfortunates”
or “dark curtains descending” once.
And yet his “crow,” his “bare branch,”
his “sunset” are enough to tell me
all I need to know about
time passing, sadness, austerity
and the ways of the world
in autumn.


From Sex After 70, Toronto: Bevalia Press, 2010, page 26.