Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “men”

A Place I Never Reached

“Can Any Good Thing Come out of Nazareth?”

Such a ridiculous sentiment. On the surface it suggests there are places of which we should expect nothing. There are those who genuinely seem to believe that to be considered worthy you must come from such and such place.  Or have gone to such and such a college. If your blood is merely red…

No, I’m not talking about the city in Israel:

764px-The_virgins_fountain_Nazareth_Holy_Land_(i.e._Israel)

Nor for that matter am I talking about the place in Pennsylvania The Band sang about:

My train pass not being valid I had to hitchhike, and rides were unfortunately hard to come by. At least part of the problem was the difficulty of anyone who actually wanted to give me a ride actually being able to do so without putting themselves at considerable risk. To give you an idea of the distance I covered after 8 hours or so, imagine taking the journey with a donkey.

252px-Donkey_a(Photographer: Watta)

To be honest, I should have probably noticed I wasn’t in an area particularly renowned for the leisurely strolls of the bourgeoisie. When two men jumped out of a van and approached, I knew at least I wasn’t going to be kidnapped, my net worth being considerably lower than Patty Hearst or the poor guy whose ear was cut off.

Actually it was the police who after showing me their IDs, asked,  “Do you want to be in a line up? We’ll pay you.” Although I could have used a little hard cash, just the tiniest possibility of being picked as the guilty party by an eyewitness (and we know how very unreliable they are) put me off the idea. They were fine with that and just told me to be careful as I was in a dangerous neighborhood.  It was getting dark, and their warning prompted me to get a bus ticket and head back into the center of the great big metropolis, never having reached my destination.

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Book 14

“The sea grew dark beneath it, and Zeus thundered
And struck the ship with a lightning bolt.
She shivered from stem to stern and was filled
With sulfurous smoke. The men went overboard,
Bobbing in the waves like sea crows
Around the black ship, their day of return
Snuffed out by the god.”
14.329-335

Book 11

“Then out of Erebus
The souls of the dead gathered, the ghosts
Of brides and youths and worn-out old men
And soft young girls with hearts new to sorrow,
And many men wounded with bronze spears,
Killed in battle, bearing blood-stained arms.
They drifted up to the pit from all sides
With an eerie cry, and pale fear seized me.”
11.34-41

Our Mid-Month’s Poet: Gerald Manley Hopkins

God’s Grandeur by Gerald Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs –
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

The Forgotten

The Forgotten
May death not find you
among the forgotten.

The floors you scrubbed,
the laundry washed.

Depression-time men
passed by for work.

You are older now
and frail among
those lined up
in wheelchairs
for the dose
to keep them
docile.

Dig out
the potato root
formed in that
famished land.

May death not find you
among the forgotten.

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