POEM OF THE WEEK

WOMAN IN THE WINDOW

(revised as a niner of sorts)

You are framed well and coherently; the light from
a brass desk lamp rises along your fine cheekbones;
the delicate cartilege etches the line of your delicate
nose against the high muted walls of your Charles
Street apartment. You we know allow for more than
warmth and safety on your side. Perhaps we call
it age, or carriage, or disposition. Perhaps the ringlets
in your hair are the keys to your destiny.
Even at this distance I can say your hair
is very beautiful. All the buildings on this square
are also and together beautiful, and this city’s winter
dusk rings with dignity. Inevitability speaks from strings of
lights cascading from monumental steepling that mimes the season;
the cylinder of patrician stone mounted on its esplanade
braves the sweep of snow as the man himself
stood and swore against the winds of Valley Forge.

Being free is not a secret: the one hundred
sixty men and two women who stand unevenly in
line this Saturday night for one hundred twenty-two
yellow tickets to an evening meal of turkey casserole
congregate as if by magic, barely passing through the
square, if at all, to the sullen door. They
will not all be lucky. A thin direct woman
nods the whitefaced girl with red hair and darting
eyes to the head of the line. A man
tall as a star in the NBA asks no
questions; he hugs a bundled infant twenty three places
back; his cap tilts forward toward the ancient cobblestones
framing the Mount Vernon Methodist Church. He’s okay now.
When the door opens, the line hunches around the
corner like an inch worm, dreaming of coffee laced
with sugar.

In half an hour, down the alley,
a laugh, a call, a muffled shove accumulates like
spring ice grinding against a rocky shore. Light disappears
from your window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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87 thoughts on “POEM OF THE WEEK

  1. Jonathan: Not sure how this Leave a Reply space works but I’m using it to point out that the “niner” scheme for poems uses a count of nine words not nine syllables. Also as long as I’m at it, I have a question about formatting. Are you confident that publishers can use or adjust wordpress formatting. I recall conversations with some POD publishers that allowed only pdf formatting–and all my stuff was in Word.. Do you have a POD publisher in mind? Note that Amazon’s CreateSpace has been linked up with Kindle Direct Publishing and some authors are not entirely happy with the result. Dad

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  2. “The Woman in the Window” Last week we put up this interesting poem, that the author explains was written some time ago, probably in the 60s, in reference to trips downtown for charity events, like free thanksgiving dinners, by McDonough boys. The poem beautifully sets up the contrast between the unknown resident of a tony area with the needs of those gathered for the meal. Acute description of different types of people is well handled. That was last week, and this week the same poem, but revised to fit a (usually) 9 syllable line, something we have seen that the poet experiments with on occasion.
    So, this is also a nice finish…the last poem, there being no titles beginning with X, Y, or Z, of the 50 or so poems selected by Hugh. But it is not a real ending; now we will begin the task, probably 1 poem per week. or editing and formatting the poems in preparation of a publication on demand version of the collection. Much depends on finding an appropriate, and copyright free, picture. We will use our own pictures, sometimes, or scan copyright free archives. Next week work will be on “Anne,” which you will remember vividly and lovingly describes a vivid personality and her many accomplishments. I used, the first time around, an online picture of a teacher serving as crossing guard for school kids. Anybody have such a picture of Anne, or of her doing another characteristically wonderful activity? Send it along….

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  3. “Where were you…..”
    A classic family themed poem, much admired in a previous post, now put up as we reach the W’s in the “50 best” Hugh poems (just a few more, then we will turn to making a publish on demand version). As usual, the poet hits a home run when focused on family. There’s everyday details amidst a “where were you” historical moment, the rootedness of home while a nation, once again in a short lifetime, undergoes change, the transition from childhood to adulthood, and, most affectingly, a loving and honest portrait of parents, and self….Apologies to the author–I can’t get WordPress to give the original formatting, indent every second line, double indent every third line—so, read as 3 line stanzas…

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  4. “What it Takes” I’d file this under ‘nature and its mysteries” theme: multiple concise and powerful images, all stemming from musing on the infinity of existence and the meaningless multitudes of its details—except when they are, unforeseen, very significant: the “butterfly” effect. We all should have more moments of thinking about these things. Thanks, poetry, for encouraging us.

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  5. “What Does God Want”
    The theological question is raised: “what purpose does suffering have in a divine plan?”. Quickly we turn to dramatic imagery of catastrophe that inspires this anguished contemplation. It may not be spelled out, but I take the context as political: a reaction to tv reports of civilian casualties and collateral damage occurring during US operations abroad…

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