How to describe you save as a reliquary,
A masterwork fashioned from hope and bold-
Faced fictions containing a dubious relic? Query
The lost, loquacious seventeen-year-old,
And he will tell you again the mouldy tales he told
This too credulous solitary
Common scold, a literal truth fairy,
While his eyes beamed silver and his locks gleamed gold.
From "A Reliquary"
A Reliquary, Daryl Hine's final collection of poetry, completed just months before he died, is a portrait of the poet aging. It is elegies for lost friends and odes to absent ones, the poet himself suffering in sickness yet never despondent. There is real joy here, a vivacious voice confined to a wheelchair and singing out to the world. The poems themselves are both relics contained within a reliquary and the reliquary itself, yet they are also alive with the witty and masterful plays of language for which Hine is best known.