Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the category “American”

A Seal

A Seal
Church bells toll
like a Roman soldier’s hammering.

The ring you kissed
swirls forever
in the sea.

Joined forever
on the anvil
a seal as strong as death.

Silence

Silence
After an eternity
of silence,
the seagull
perched on the cross,
squawks to the blue breeze
in the searing sun
its sorrow.

Love

Love
Light that slips through
the curtains at night
that appears
vibrating
beneath the sea’s shallow depths
as a series
of intersecting frames.

God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen
The first time you met
at the bus stop,
he acted as if he knew you
and when you asked,
“Have we met?”
he responded,
“I just introduced myself.”

As he began to expound
on his admiration for all things English,
you understood he’d mistaken your language
for your country,
and you let it slide,
not dispelling the illusions he held
with a reference to Cromwell.

Throughout the years
you’d run into him on occasion,
but definitely not one
you’d expect to engage
in a conversation that played by rules
you’d understand.

Now after years,
you saw him,
and reflected how age
seems to take its toll on some
and not so much on others.
He was sitting at a café,
gray stubble covering his face,
and as you passed,
you swore you heard him mutter,
“God Save the Queen.”

Mother and Son

Mother and Son
After the arrest,
not a word is said of her,
and he is sent away
to an orphanage
from which
he eventually escapes,
a stowaway on a steamer
that brings him back,
lice-infested in tattered clothes
with a rash that makes the skin crawl.

After his return,
he’s told she’s away on business,
and he is sent back
until another escape
finds him living in the ventilation shaft
of a railroad station
outside of which he begs and steals.

After being caught,
the orphanage where he returns
has lost all patience
and sends him to a military school
where they discover
a problem with his heart,
and he is forced instead to work
in a factory breathing in toxic fumes
and eating wallpaper paste to stave off hunger
until he flees at night
across the Gulf of Finland.

The Color of Movement

The Color of Movement
A university student
spent the summer cycling
the States
with a controlled substance in his
possession.

At a bar on Route 66
he had a drink
with a local man
with the gift of gab
before going outside with him
to the alley.

They talked and joked
until a cop car peeked round
their shoulders.

He quickly put away
all incriminating evidence
and stood perfectly still
convinced of his constitutional right
against unlawful search and seizure.
His newly-found friend, however,
was less convinced,
sprinting off like
a bolt of lightning.

Sketch 12: Watercolors

Poetry may be based on a real life experience or one’s imagination or a combination of the two.

Take a look at Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s oil painting, Ecce Ancilla Domini (The Annunciation):

345px-Rossetti_Annunciation

 

 

Our Mid-Month’s Poet: Robert Frost

A Late Walk by Robert Frost
When I go up through the mowing field,
The headless aftermath,
Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
Half closes the garden path.

And when I come to the garden ground,
The whir of sober birds
Up from the tangle of withered weeds
Is sadder than any words.

A tree beside the wall stands bare,
But a leaf that lingered brown,
Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
Comes softly rattling down.

I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.

Our Mid-Month’s Poet: Robert Lowell

Children of the Light by Robert Lowell
Our fathers wrung their bread from stocks and stones
And fenced their gardens with the Redmen’s bones;
Embarking from the Nether Land of Holland,
Pilgrims unhouseled by Geneva’s night,
They planted here the Serpent’s seeds of light;
And here the pivoting searchlights probe to shock
The riotous glass houses built on rock,
And candles gutter by an empty altar,
And light is where the landless blood of Cain
Is burning, burning the unburied grain.

Our Mid-Month’s Poet: Wallace Stevens

The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Our Mid-Month’s Poet: Emily Dickinson

There’s a Certain Slant of Light by Emily Dickinson
There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
‘T is the seal, despair, —
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, ‘t is like the distance
On the look of death.

The Bells

The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe
Hear the sledges with the bells
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

Hear the mellow wedding bells
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

Hear the loud alarum bells,
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells,
Of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells,
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

Hear the tolling of the bells,
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people, ah, the people,
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone,
They are neither man nor woman,
They are neither brute nor human,
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells,
Of the bells,
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells,
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

The Three Rs

Recently I was asked, “Is there a difference between a crow and a raven?”

Instead of faking an answer, which I couldn’t do if I tried, I said I wasn’t sure, and that I’d find out.

We learn from the excellent source I linked that “since ravens belong to the crow (corvus) family of birds, they can be called-but not all crows are ravens.”

Tell me if I didn’t suffer some sort of trauma but after reading “not all…are….” I had a flashback to when I sat for the GRE and tried to twist my very unanalytical mind around the logical reasoning questions.

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.

479px-Edgar_Allan_Poe_2

Bob Dylan’s wonderful Love Minus Zero/No Limit.

400px-Bob_Dylan_in_November_1963

Brueghel’s The Hunters in the Snow.  (Photograph of painting taken by Yelkrovade)

Les_chasseurs_dans_la_neige_Pieter_Brueghel_l'Ancien

The Forgotten Grave

The Forgotten Grave by Emily Dickinson
After a hundred years
Nobody knows the place, —
Agony, that enacted there,
Motionless as peace.

Weeds triumphant ranged,
Strangers strolled and spelled
At the lone orthography
Of the elder dead.

Winds of summer fields
Recollect the way, —
Instinct picking up the key
Dropped by memory.

Fiddler Jones

Fiddler Jones by Edgar Lee Masters
The earth keeps some vibration going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest of clover?
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands
For beeves hereafter ready for market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”
How could I till my forty acres
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
And the creak of a wind-mill – only these?
And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle –
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
And not a single regret.

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