Wild Mercy

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Sample Poem from Wild Mercy


Five Holstein heifers clomp to the top 
of the far hill. They climb in a straight 
line. Where spring grass meets sky. 

Then down the other side, one follows 
another, carefully lifting their ankles, 
so not to heave forward. 

The sky against the hill, they make their 
way, delicate silhouettes, like rivers that 
demarcate the edges of states, 

like Grandmother Florence and her sisters, 
Bertha at the end of the line, walking 
into church. Heavy bodies, thin ankles, damp 

from the walk downtown, solid shapes against 
stained glass windows. They mark where 
everything important meets. Then we sing..

Praise for Wild Mercy

WILD MERCY is nature and family -- a dovetail of relationships that merge and separate: girlhood to parenthood, to the frailties of age, and hospital rooms. Emerson's poetry awakens our memories of family, experience, loss. The first horse ride, a late pregnancy, an old barn, a river and a dance with I.V. in tow. Liberally sprinkled with unexpected images, these are lovely poems to savor and then read again.


CB Follett, author of And Freddie Was My Darling



Donna Emerson’s poems in Wild Mercy are like the Holstein heifers she describes making their way up and down the hill, delicate silhouettes, like rivers that demarcate the edges of states, like Grandmother Florence and her sisters…walking into church…solid shapes against stained glass windows. And like them, her poems mark where everything important meets.


Ellen Bass, author of Mules of Love and The Human Line



In Wild Mercy, Emerson weaves the twin threads of bios and zoë: the life bound by time and mortality, and the life-force that is eternal, binding the generations, the living and the dead. Like its namesake river, Wild Mercy’s poems lead us from a child’s first world, brimming with numinous presences, to those moments of terrible and ineffable wonder that lie nearest grief, but just beyond our realm of knowing.


Terry Ehret, author of Lucky Break



Those of us blessed enough to hear Donna Emerson read her poems know how her soft voice delivers poetry of force. Wild Mercy, a fitting name for a collection of untamed vision and unapologetic empathy for both human and animal, signifies Emerson’s voice of might. While both imperative and valuable, Wild Mercy is a smoothly truthful examination of many of those rough and scratchy places: isolation, aging, illness, adolescence.


Stefanie Freele, author of Feeding Strays; Fiction Editor, Los Angeles Review