Poetry

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“If poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better

not come at all.”

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—from an 1818 letter to John Taylor, by John Keats

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What follows is an Internet-published poem by Larry: http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/Pages/Poetry/poetry69.htm

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Lone Cedar

That winter when we cleared the wood beyond the barn,
I asked if we could leave that cedar tree.
It bore a nest abandoned by its builder.

You laid aside your saw, looked down at me and said,
“They won’t be back next spring, you know;
Birds soon learn to fly and leave the nest for good.”

Now I know that you were right;
And yet, you let it stand for me.
I wonder, Dad, does it stand there still?
I’ve not been home to see.

The Vegetable Garden

That garden from my ancient youth lived

Within a border built of wood and wire design

All covered with the twining fingers of a morning glory vine.

Within this garden great foodstuff flourished—wages for our toil.

But I fixed my gaze on the bolder beauty of the fence’s bright bouquets.

That canvas of color in summery sunrise glowed,

Bursting anew each sunup with shades of pink and red—

Or perhaps grew some deeper hue of purple with streaks of cobalt blue exposed.

Such surprise was what made it fine.

The vine’s easy exhibition of splendor I held in high esteem,

For a worker’s garden—evermore pleading attention to turning soil—

Was not of interest to a boy just tipping thirteen.

Never did I consider why the flowers fade so fast—

Just beyond that morning’s dew—

And how richly gave my garden of luscious fare

That surely would provide sweet repast—

For that day and then the winter too.

Many years beyond our move from that rural spot,

Anchored in my memory by our little garden plot,

I returned one day to find my homestead in decline

With occupants who did not care for a garden divine.

The fence had fallen from disrepair.

And then to even more despair,

I saw that with a working garden gone

Morning glories cannot carry on.

Country Rain

The world began early this day.

I awoke to find my room all filled

With dark and muddy gloom.

My window glass was strung

With countless little globes of rain.

Beyond the glass lay a meadow.

Beyond the meadow, the woods.

And the woods were blue

From the misty falling rain.

And I was blue – just the same.

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Gray Snow on Sacred Ground

The “toot-toot” of the horn echoes back down the tube to the Jersey side,
And announces to the multitude ahead eminent arrival of the PATH Train.
Our space explodes from snug darkness to expansive, unbearable brightness.
We emerge from the tunnel like an easy delivery into a harsh, new world.

On the train we catch our breath at the sight spread out before us.
Open to the brutally cold air is a Pick-Up-Stix tangled mess of new steel beams—
A work in progress—a phoenix rising through a shroud of dirty snow.
The steel springs up and grabs again for the sky,
Like hearty hyacinths announcing no matter what, spring will come.
Yet, that hope is hard to spot through gray snow on sacred ground.

Though platform people, eager for my seat, jockey for door position,
This train is mindful of the holy site and does not hurry.
It reverently arcs around the two sacred footprints,
Honoring the negative space where swim the prayers of millions.

When at last the train does stop, with that great gush of a sigh—swoosh!
We exit promptly, racing out of that sacrificial space, that holy place,
Having said another prayer, sending another poignant goodbye.