Red BricksRed Bricks

by Kathryn Ridall

Ultimately, this moving collection is a love song to Oregon, a lyric chronicle of Kathryn Ridall’s painful and beautiful transformation from the newcomer grieving for her former golden California home into someone finding “…calm/ in the dark restful caves/ of an Oregon winter.” Here, a “harbinger of the gods”—an Oregon bird so unfamiliar to Ridall she can’t name it—invites her to “…breathe in this new world slowly….” Nothing less than the iconic Great Blue Heron assures her that this new world will one day be her own. With these wonderful poems, Kathryn Ridall makes Oregon her home.

Paulann Petersen
Oregon Poet Laureate

Disoriented by having to leave a beloved home, Kathryn Ridall traces her gradual adoption of, and by, her new home ground in Oregon. The key to the effort, she suggests, is to 'await a design,' attentive to details and ready for surprise. These carefully made poems give graceful witness to the stations of her quest.

Charles Goodrich
Author of A Scripture of Crows



like a dream
hinting at a sea change needed
his story pursues me

near the end of the war
many countries
have fallen
like fields of poppies

a man is warned
tanks are coming
houses along his road
will be plowed
to ground

this man takes apart
his home
brick by brick
hauling every one
by truck and cart
to a far field
then sends
his children away

after peace returns
he hauls back
his bricks
one by one
rebuilding his house
as it was
and brings
his children home

how his story
sticks to my ribs
feeding this wanderer
who has lived
in many places
under many roofs

hard to imagine
such close knowing
of each brick
its heft
how it leans into
and supports
all others


the devotion
to a one
and only home
lived in
for a lifetime

his red bricks
shimmer now
beckoning me
to something
deep rooted
perhaps first felt
by early men
in rough caverns

a love of home
its sheltering
holding us
in chill wind
and under
dark unfathomable

a place
we do not forsake
and that does not
forsake us