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Poetry

The Kalahari Desert is far from Millbrook, far from Dutchess County, NY,

but not as far as you might think. The canons governing our paintings

are thin, thin and dry. Whose paintings are gaudy? Certainly not ours!

 

Gaudy is not even askable, John. We joylessly assimilate the sun,

the many hundreds of kilometers of super-arid gravel plains and dunes,

while other painters in Namibia paint karoo ecoregions...green succulents,

 

monkey beetles, and melittid bees, and the densely foggy shoreline

where the Atlantic's cold waters meet Africa's hot climate. Other painters

paint with violet, orange, yellow, green; their tribal villages have names.

 

Other painters hint at shafts of sapphire, the weightlessness of deep water

beyond the shore; but not us, John. No, we sketch in black pencil

and charcoal in recycled notebooks...two seriously sunburnt imbeciles.

 

Sure, we dream of whalesongs. Sure, we dream of rainforest bird calls.

Doesn't everybody? But we only dream, don't we?

And now one of us has died -- suddenly died -- and I am troubled more

 

by insomnia than usual; I act on the belief I need to paint, need to live,

living by no less, no more, than by stubbornness. What I need to do

is stretch out, and discharge myself of myself; look for green from afar.


My grandfather Joe grew tomatoes

nearly the size of melons.

I recall vividly at four

sneaking out of his house

on a warm  July Sunday morning

into a labyrinth of dewy entanglement.

 

The rebuke for picking a tomato

was disappointing. I was

banished from the dense garden

where trellises hefted peas,

beans, and grapes up to the roofline

of the shanty single car garage.

 

Joe was patient, methodical,

virtues that did not grow in me,

as I wished to grow skyward

with a different strain of seed

that found harvest in allegory,

metaphor, and entangled poetry.


Thunder quakes its bluff—

or so I hope and purposely laugh—

as cats skittle under the couch

and children shiver with blear eyes,

puzzlement at august mystery

while lightning flashes

its zigzagging sword

and trees sway, tremble.

 

My laughter is to shock

children out of shock,

bestow confidence

of authorial fatherhood

that laughs at fate,

even when laughter is too late.


Touching the sky

with feet upraised

children swing

to the music

in their arms

 

as their heads

float free

of the earth

and any knowledge

of the difficulties

that await them

 

while morels whisper quietly

amid leaves and grass

as they grip invisible soil

beneath the visible sward.

 


As a poet writes with pen to paper,

the poet enters a peculiar space

where time has lost its common dimensions

without a hint of romantic vista

and the prospect at hand is about words

dancing like blown seeds, airborne, descending

to the fertile humus of rhythmic line

where burnished metaphor enlightens mind.


for John Hersey Jr
by John Good Iron in Poetry
Fri Jun 15th, 2018

The Kalahari Desert is far from Millbrook, far from Dutchess County, NY,

but not as far as you might think. The canons governing our paintings

are thin, thin and

...
by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Tue Jun 5th, 2018

My three-year-old is in love with Iris,

preferring purple over yellow

as they explode in June bloom.

They are messengers of the gods

I tell him, even though he is...

by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Wed May 30th, 2018

My grandfather Joe grew tomatoes

nearly the size of melons.

I recall vividly at four

sneaking out of his house

on a warm  July Sunday morning

into a labyrinth of...

by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Wed May 23rd, 2018

On a glorious, cool, springy morning

when birds are implacably a-twitter,

a unique miracle of the moment

swathes my feet with its blessing: dripping dew.

Inside each drop of this...

by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Tue May 15th, 2018

Thunder quakes its bluff—

or so I hope and purposely laugh—

as cats skittle under the couch

and children shiver with blear eyes,

puzzlement at august mystery

while lightning flashes...

by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Wed May 9th, 2018

Touching the sky

with feet upraised

children swing

to the music

in their arms

 

as their heads

float free

of the earth

and any knowledge

of the difficulties

that...

by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Mon Apr 30th, 2018

As a poet writes with pen to paper,

the poet enters a peculiar space

where time has lost its common dimensions

without a hint of romantic vista

and the prospect...

by Kevin T. McEneaney in Poetry
Mon Apr 23rd, 2018

He picked grape hyacinth

and brought it to me,

asking what it was.

 

He asks what bird

makes that peculiar call.

Woodpeckers fascinate him.

At the age of three...

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