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Three Poems by George Garrett


When I Consider

where I want to go from here,

now at the dead end of myself

and of all the things that I have loved

and hated, it is to the commonwealth

of true simplicity.  Think then

of a stack of old bricks, of hardwood

split and ready to fit the stove.

Remember the spooky call

of the morning owl and the crows,

those kooky woodwinds of my orchestra.

Now imagine silence louder than

those birds and all our wounded cries.

Picture the kettle boiling in the kitchen.

Picture the ghostly song and dance

of flames and listen to the whisper

of smoke in the old brick chimney.

Secrets steam from the kettle spout.



A Little Night Music


I go careful even now, uneasy.

Such a long time to keep and be still,

to have been quiet and even now

it is the cliché of thin ice;  it is

delicate jumping from one rock to another

amid the roar and froth and foaming

of white water; it is always on tiptoes

in the echoing foyer of public places.


Such a long time ago I swallowed whole

the toad of my anger and slept with my joy

hidden like wedding cake under the pillow.

For such a long time I have loved

that beautiful princess dreaming all alone

in her tower, dangerous and perfectly silent.



Group Portrait


Here I am again,

smiling broadly,

one face only

among a row

of famous faces,

the faces of

my elders and betters,

now lost and gone

to glory or surely

going that way soon.


            What on earth

            are we all

            smiling about?


I put on my glasses

and turn on the lamp

to watch myself

spring back to life

among the grinning dead.

Must we pose there forever

together in the faceless dark?

Or will we too rise again

in a sudden gift of light







Per Contra Poetry - Fall 2006