Friday, 04 November 2016 15:06

October Poems 2016

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While waiting for a train in Amsterdam

While traveling as an American

And sensing the depth of history and

Culture of Europe while reading Shakespeare’s


Sonnets I was filled with admiration

Because I loved the way he weighed the words

Within a line for resonation and

How the meaning flowed and turned and how the


Florid language presented the world with

The lens of Elizabethan England

And so I acquired a direction

But admiration and ability


Are different and I required years

To distill a healthy emulation.


But I must comment

on the crazy rhyming scheme

of Shakespeare’s sonnets —

I don’t see the need to do

a Houdini trick with words.



If I were discovering my body

As I was growing I’d jump onto the

Top of the Refrigerator too and

Just for fun I might push the boxes of


Cereal off to watch them fall and hear

Them plop on the floor and thus to measure

Distance and then I’d gallop joyously

Around the rooms just because I could and


I’d strut out on the narrow ledge and knock

The knick-knacks down one-by-one just to see

Them go and I’d be curious about

The human and the funny noises and


The motions she’s making with her arms and

I’d flop on my back and ask to be rubbed.


It’s necessary

to be emphatic to be

noisy and grandma

isn’t enough to impose

her will on the new kitten.



Ben Hur 1887 - 1916


It’s a day of celebration drawing a

A good crowd to the river and the dock

For a ride on the steamboat Ben Hur and

Perhaps as a part of the festivities


The photo captures the moment and so

I may see everyone facing me on

The three levels a hundred years ago

And each is distinguishable in the


Differences in age in attitude

In fashion in status revealing in

A relaxed and happy presentation

Engagement and eagerness for the day —


So I gaze with curiosity at

An alluring familiarity.


The postures and the

features of the faces in

the vanished moment

present a wide array of

living personality.



Clearing the River


Each detail is rough hewn in the photo

Of 1886 from the boards of

The flat bottom boat to the steam engine

And the brimmed hats and the tough working clothes


Of the several lumber jacks with their beards

And mustaches because there’s no use for

Delicacy as the river is clogged

With logs in a tangled pile twenty feet


High and the scrawny men in their resting

Postures seem unequal to the task but

It was their business with steel hooked pikes and

Thick cords of rope to clear the river and


Raft the logs downstream as they must have known

How to take advantage of leverage.


Their faces are blurred

but the chosen postures

do communicate

hints of personality —

irreverence and bravado.



Once the apex of summer is past the

Intensity of the sun lessens and

The light becomes golden gilding the leaves

Of the trees and the grass and the air is


A medley of cool and warm and in the

Late afternoon though the sun may burn with

Summer fierceness it doesn’t last long and

As the sun sets earlier a chill comes


With the night — and it’s so much easier

To sleep under covers with the windows

Open with a chorus of crickets in

A breeze and instead of tossing in bed


In a muggy atmosphere late summer

Is the absolute best time for dreaming.


A clear sky comes in

every season but the earth’s

responses depend

on its cooperative

revolution with the sun.



Not only the plunge in temperature

And having to scrape a frosting from my

Windshield with the dawn for the first time but

Also the prominence of red orange


And yellow leaves on the trees I pass the

Swirls of leaves in gusts of wind I see as

I’m driving on the streets and a morning

Sun noticeably lacking the fire of


Summer all point to the necessity

Of taking cover and bundling up

For a coming winter again as the

Wheel of the seasons is turning again —


The trees emulate the flowers and bloom

And then they stand twiggy in the winter.


It’s ironic how

the autumn leaves resemble

holiday colors

before dissipation and

I do want to celebrate.

Read 4698 times Last modified on Thursday, 02 November 2017 14:28
Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.
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