Monday, January 21, 2013

Ed Zahniser

Ed Zahniser is a West Virginia poet whose work has appeared in over 100 magazines. He has published three chapbooks, and three full-length collections, the most recent of which is Mall-hopping with the Great I AM (2006).

He is also intricately tied to the wilderness preservation movement as the son of Howard Zahniser, who was a founding member of the Wilderness Society and contributing writer for The Wilderness Act in the U.S. His father, according to Ed Zahniser, “was very much driven by a religious sense of life. He had inherited from his parents the feeling that we should leave the world a better place than we found it and that this is not merely a noble sentiment but a moral obligation.”

As part of this legacy, Zahniser’s poetry is frequently focused on nature and the natural world. He lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where he is the editor of Good News Paper, which he co-founded in 1979.


Each year they show up in the bare tree by the river
like dutiful grandparents making yearly pilgrimage
upstream. We never witness their return
that may well take an alternate route

noted elsewhere by others likewise amazed
at these dark birds’ faithfulness with keeping
their singular splice in the way things are
—dotting their bare tree like musical notation

side-turned heads flagged whole notes
in early summer’s long-awaited hymn of praise

Prayer for a Hope to Share

Forced so long to hope alone
can we find a hope to share
and unreservedly?
We’re out of time for throwing half a bone
each to each. Half to care is not to care
at all. The path ahead looms swervingly

what with the cross at our backs.
How odd to hope on a death
with a long, still longed-for promise of return.
Two thousand years following in tracks
as gossamer as, however holy, spirit breath.
All is vapor. Yet I cannot help but yearn

to turn and turn again; to put my face
to that persistent promise.
What fabric lasts without its knowing weaver
To restore these tatters to a former grace
however flawed? Yes, I would miss
the curious comforts of the true believer.

"Cormorants" first appeared at and "Prayer for a Hope to Share" first appeared in William Jolliff's The Rolling Coulter. These poems were posted with the poet’s permission.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: