Nienow — father, husband, boat builder — is a keen observer of his world. He pries open intimate moments to reveal joy, sorrow, and music that's restorative, uncanny.
—Eduardo C. Corral
Song of Tomorrow
Now I begin with the hands of my two sons,
clutching the small predictions for their lives with what
every father knows, each digit soft and already
damaged—I cannot save them—these two bright
chances at my side, burning blonde in the sun,
singing at every sweetness, berries, ripe, or not,
torn from the bush; they hardly whimper
for my help, knowing, believing, I will give
them whatever I have, whatever I can acquire, and so,
what I mean to acquire is a kindness beyond me, my means
a willingness to dig myself in, to surround myself
with to-do-lust, and do the most happening things
with our time; I am a man trying
to hold water in cupped hands—I will fail
to hold it; I will fail, but I will know
what joy there is in feeling it pass.
first appeared in The Rattling Wall & Included in House of Water
Matthew Nienow understands the spell-like power of calling things by their ancient, actual names: Nubbins and sapwood, preachers and riving knives, lapstrake and bulwarks and sponsons. House of Water is a marvelous debut, full of love songs to work, to struggle, and to all that is plumb, and level, and true.