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Tag Archives: poetry

Turning to a new season

red salamander
Fall affects people in differing ways. Some feel dread as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop. They worry about darkness, snow and cold when they are months away. Others, like me, love fall the best. Yep, I like all the cliched autumn things: apple picking, country fairs, turning leaves, mums and pumpkins, crisp nights, Halloween, fewer tourists in Maine….almost all of it, except pumpkin spice flavored beer and coffee. I think it’s the loveliest time to live in New England.

Here is a short, powerful poem by Denise Levertov that I have liked for a long time.

Living

The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

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Potholes and snirt

April is a trying time in Maine. There are piles of snirt (snow and dirt – really ugly) still lying around. The potholes are outrageous and some of them threaten to snap
the axle on my Mini Cooper. Here is a very topical poem by my friend John McVeigh of Portland, Maine, a lawyer and accomplished poet. His Moon Pie Press poetry collection is called Burning Chairs.

Frost Heaves

Under the fields and forests, peaceful giants sleep.
The land rises and falls with their breaths.
But, imprisoned under paved roads, they are restless.
A toe wriggles a crack, a bent knee humps up a ridge,
A heaving chest lifts up an entire slab.
Mile-long giants lie under every back road,
Cracking them along straightaways, cracking them just around curves,
Surprising oblivious speeders into wheel alignments
And front end work, reminders that we are not gods.

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The Little Boys

For the season

McVeigh, John P.

Mar 28 at 6:17 PM

ToMoon Pie Press

Message body

Frost Heaves

Under the fields and forests, peaceful giants sleep.

The land rises and falls with their breaths,

But, imprisoned under paved roads, they are restless.

A toe wriggles a crack, a bent knee humps up a ridge,

A heaving chest lifts up an entire slab.

Mile-long giants lie under every back road,

Cracking them along straightaways, cracking them just around curves,

Surprising oblivious speedsters into wheel alignments

And front end work, reminders that we are not gods.

John P. McVeigh
207.791.3000 Tel
jmcveigh@preti.com
Bio | Twitter | preti.com

PretiFlaherty
One City Center
P.O. Box 9546
Portland, ME 04112-9546

This E-Mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential and / or exempt from discovery or disclosure under applicable law. Unintended transmission shall not constitute waiver of the attorney-client or any other privilege. If you are not the intended recipient of this communication, and have received it in error, please do not distribute it and notify me immediately by E-mail at jmcveigh@preti.com or via telephone at 207.791.3000 and delete the original message. Unless expressly stated in this e-mail, nothing in this message or any attachment should be construed as a digital or electronic signature or as a legal opinion.

So fresh and so clean.

“Spring” in Maine takes its time

The calendar tells us it’s spring, but in Maine we still have a lot of snow lying around. Some snowdrops and crocus have made a brave appearance. As the earth awakens, here is a poem that is not about spring. Spring poems will follow in the coming weeks.

THE SCIENCES SING A LULLABY

PHYSICS SAYS: go to sleep. Of course
you’re tired. Every atom in you
has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes
nonstop from mitosis to now.
Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance
inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.

GEOLOGY SAYS: it will be all right. Slow inch
by inch America is giving itself
to the ocean. Go to sleep. Let darkness
lap at your sides. Give darkness an inch.
You aren’t alone. All of the continents used to be
one body. You aren’t alone. Go to sleep.

ASTRONOMY SAYS: the sun will rise tomorrow.
ZOOLOGY SAYS: on rainbow-fish and lithe gazelle.
PSYCHOLOGY SAYS: but first it has to be night, so
BIOLOGY SAYS: the body-clocks are stopped all over town and
HISTORY SAYS: here are the blankets, layer on layer, down and down.

Albert Goldbarth

Poetry for an elegiac season

fall-benches

Autumn in New England, of course, is spectacular, but it also brings a sense of loss and drawing in, as days shorten, we finally turn the heat on, and batten down the house for winter. We resurrect our jackets, gloves and flannel sheets. The garden slowly dies.

Here is one of my favorite poems about fall, bittersweet like the season. I chose this for my mother’s memorial service program in June; she liked the poem.  Our mutual love of poetry (and reading) was one of our strongest bonds.

from “Autumn Sonnets” by May Sarton

If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure – if I can let you go.

Finally – spring in New England, and National Poetry Month

daffodils_04

April is always full of poetry events. This year is no exception. I try to list all the ones involving Moon Pie Press poets on the website at http://www.moonpiepress.com. Here is a lovely poem about what sustains some of us through a long winter. It is by former Portland Poet Laureate Bruce Spang, whose latest book from Moon Pie Press is BOY AT THE SCREEN DOOR.

THE COLOR OF FAITH

Minus fifteen degrees, even the thermometer on the deck
recoils under its lid. Like a man with a Bible in a bombed out building,

I unearth a Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog
in the mail. Fields of Allstar Gourmet Lettuce,

mottled rows of purple and green, spread
beneath bare feet of a girl who slices one head

after another like the Queen in Wonderland.
I twist the space heater dial to high and flip

to Amaranthus, with its ropes of deep red,
fold the page; find a new Echinacea, Pallida

with long slender purple petals, fold it.
Colors splash on my lap, yellow tomatoes,

blue aster, pink poppies, and on page
sixty-eight, skins of peppers glistening

as brightly as the snow did this afternoon,
yet sliced open like hearts. Look, there is

Joe Pye Weed that releases a vanilla scent.
Smell it. Write it. Fill in the order form.

2014 draws to a close

ballet in snow, Portland christmas tree in snow

This first photo is from a stunning series done by Jonathan Reece of Portland Ballet dancers in their city.
2014 has been a tough year for my family and for many I know. The support of my friends and family is invaluable to me, but especially this year. I’d like to thank some of the people who help make Maine such a vibrant place for poetry and the arts of all kinds: Andy Curran, Sally McKibben, Anna Wrobel and Jim Donnelly, Ted and Ruth Bookey, Wes McNair, Josh Bodwell, Marcia Brown, Dennis Camire, Bruce Spang, Duff Plunkett….this is just a partial list, of course. I could go on and on. And let’s not forget to thank the indefatigable Bob Keyes, who does such a terrific job reporting on the arts in Maine in the Sunday Telegram.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Festivus or any holiday you celebrate. May 2015 bring us more peace, less stress, more joy and endless piles of books!

As we hurtle toward the winter solstice…why poets excel at business

Here is a wonderful Rockwell Kent painting, and a photo of my Maine coon cat George contemplating the snow outside.

Recently Portland Poet Laureate Marcia Brown sent out a link to an article by John Coleman in, of all places, the Harvard Business Review, in the issue of 10/27/2012.  It addresses the question of why poets make good business employees and managers.  Coleman asserts that poets can, among other skills, simplify the complex, develop empathy, and “infuse life with beauty and meaning.”  I love this idea and agree with it.  I’m one of those not-so-rare people with  “mixed” academic training in lit, writing and law (there are far more lawyer/poets around than you might think). I worked in the corporate world for about 20 years and found it rewarding in many ways.  I like to think that one can balance practicality with creativity, and that when you cross into another realm, one can be enriched by it, because there is much to learn.

Kent painting snowIMG_0529