About the Book
A Progress of Miracles
by Lynne Hugo (November 1, 1993)
Narratives and lyrics came together in A PROGRESS OF MIRACLES, a novella in forty-nine closely sequenced poems. I always think of this, my second book, as having been my bridge to novel writing.
Anna and Paul are a young couple with two children who are suddenly confronted with a devastating diagnosis. Husband and wife confront death separately and together as lyrics, in the voice of one or the other main characters are interwoven with third person narrative poems. One reviewer said,
A Progress of Miracles takes readers to an awareness from which there is no return, but in which they will find a mysterious, transcendent grace, and an eloquent argument for meaning.
“I have rarely read anything that so sensitively represents the uncertainty, impersonality, unaccountability and miraculousness of death. Because of the poet’s lyrical acuity, her undeceived, yet enormously empathic eye, and language steeped with the essentials of daily life, this sequence presents a plausible and complex rendering of one couple’s journey, and brings those apparently incompatible emotions—apathy and faith, anger and forgiveness, despair and hope—into perfect harmony. A Progress of Miracles is a quietly astonishing collection.”
Susan Osborn, author of Surviving The Wreck
The Water Poem
in the dark and maybe this is why
we find our way flowing in darkness
over each other like water, loosening
the secrets and hardened places
until all that was fearsome
dissolves and streams together
forgiven, and I think it could
be this easy to die, falling like rain
into the ocean and lifted as
mist in the early haze
where there are no edges.
Praying For No Rain
a child, the times he’d prayed,
ferocious red prayer blooming
at the edge of his weedy Sunday School faith,
that it not rain the night
it was his turn to pitch.
the long twilights when he threw blinding
white suns at batters made him a believer; sometimes he would genuflect
as he’d seen players do on t.v.,
genuflect and spit, hiding that maybe-
heart of his success
from his Methodist parents.
If it rained, he was being punished;
he usually knew what for, then,
what transgression had been fairly noted. But, his baseball years gone,
was the word that choked him now; the system was inconsistent, mercy
as capricious as rain falling
on the just.
As his wife sickened and sickened
and he half-carried her everywhere
he thought of genuflecting, spitting.
Once he lit a candle
beneath stained glass windows the bled
color like eternal wounds.
We are becoming more and more
the children we were, he noticed,
and when he couldn’t get the old system
out of his mind, began
to keep his thoughts carefully
away from prayer.