Somebody buys gloves in New York. LS Bassen leaves us wondering why. In Gary Beck’s Heartbreak, somebody wakes in the night, separated from a loved one. Panic ensues.
A shot fox (not for the squeamish), is replaced in the nature of things by another live fox, from the pen of Lesley Quayle. These poems are followed by a child’s memories of a wartime train in 1943, memories that live in the poem by Maureen Weldon.
Finally, a touching elegy by Bob Mackenzie.
All these are fine poems, for which we thank their international authors gratefully. To send poems, just hunt about this site. You will find instructions in some of the posts
L S Bassen
In New York City the wide avenues
keep all the light to themselves;
cross streets catch what sun they can
to illuminate the windows of small
stores where you can learn
all there is to know
about one item at a time.
They weren’t even a pair of gloves the girl had left behind.
One was stretched over a mannequin’s hand, the other clasped
within its plaster grasp like a lady at a garden party,
about to make acquaintance, about to be enchantee,
about to be so glad to meet you.
They were white kid, the kind
his mother used to wear and touch
his face in the sun before entering
a restaurant. She’d kept them wrapped
in tissue in her bureau drawer, flattened
by a velvet box that held her pearls.
Bottles of perfume breathed her many moods
on the glass-topped bedroom bureau.
The girl had never actually worn such gloves,
probably wouldn’t buy them,
certainly not here out of the sun.
Snakes, he thought, yearly shed their skin,
and every seven years we also seal
our surfaces anew. He stood
pressing forehead to cool, shaded glass,
asking himself, Where was she?
All the hands in the window waved goodbye.
He went into the store
and bought the gloves,
size seven. Lucky seven.
First published Stepawaymagazine.com, 2013
I awakened in the middle of the night
turned to you for warmth
because the sheets were cold,
you weren’t there.
I called your name….
I screamed your name.
Anguish filled me.
You lay in another bed
eyes shut to the light,
ears shut to the sound,
heart shut to me.
into the midnight neon of the streets
past the hungry eyes of brooding Somalis
into the carnage of Central Park
past the clacking lips of lisping vultures
until I reached your house.
I stood beneath your window,
I called your name…
I screamed your name….
You did not answer.
I put my love into an envelope
and left it in your mailbox,
a dead letter.
Abandoned Towers Magazine, 2010.
part of the collection Rude Awakwnings
A new fox has come.
The last one lingered long after
a righteous but ill-placed bullet.
Our case was airtight, forty chickens,
fifteen ducks, one ancient goose.
We had glimpses now and then,
noticed blood spots over frosty pasture,
but vengeance rose up hard in us.
We gave no quarter – but quietly glad
we hadn’t owned the trigger finger, lazy eye.
I found him in a cleaned out coop,
skin and bone, like a sack of knives,
his mangy corpse already flyblown.
Here is the shabby underbelly of vengeance,
this crawling picnic of flesh.
We buried him, opened up the same pit
where his victims were piled and dropped him in.
The mound’s still fresh, humped up, the soil exposed
like an unpicked scab. And now, for lambing time,
a new fox has come.
(First published (2009) in Pennine Platform and The Spectator also in my chapbook Songs For Lesser Gods – erbacce press)
UK : 1943
They sat in the train – mother and small daughter,
the daughter a tiny child.
And all the soldiers, chattering, smoking, laughing.
How comfy the child was, how comfy and safe,
she hummed a safe tune, her ear pressed just below
the window – so she could hear a choir.
This was the night-train. They
were to spend time with her father;
brave soldier – on leave.
But for this night in 1943, the train sat, delayed –
delayed for a long, long time. Hiding –
hiding from jerry bombs, she heard them say.
And the black blinds on every window –
pulled down. And everyone whispering, while she
the tiny child sat safely on her mother’s knee.
Until, chu chu, chu chu, chu chu … the music
of the train. In the morning light, she watched
the high smoke, like a long lamb’s tail, puffing past.
First published by Poetry Scotland 2011. Published in Through A Child’s Eyes, Poems From World War Two Anthology 2013
*The Prairie Wind*
for C. H. Burton
If only you had known how,
being so easy to know
how hard to write about
you would be.
having known something of this and something of that
and, yes, something of almost everything.
with your need to know what was beyond that door,
with your fear of what you knew was waiting there.
This was the tension,
this was the basis of all our love,
the Fire, the need that even as it consumes
burns as beautiful as a Phoenix until,
having known something of Earth and something of Air
and something of Sea, and yes, of Fire,
you chose to pass through yet another shining door.
I always thought of you as a sailor,
sailing the sky, high on a prairie gull.
written circa 1970
published: The Tower, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Spring ‘75. Souldust and Pearls (OCTE Ontario Poetry Anthology),
St. Catharines, Canada,1981