Category Archives: Poems

Excelsior

I do not write words but metaphors
Which are akin to God
And new minted things
Which fly like sparks from an anvil
And are coins to buy a seat in the world to come
And so with trepidation
They weld earth and sky
And I, a minor poet,
Wish to indicate
That poetry is shorthand
Both intellectual and emotional
And on that note I end my poem.

Der Vallfish

 

Huge, svelte beater of the ocean paths
The blue or sulphurbottom whale
Casts its bulk through the depths
But cannot outrun its tormentor, the harpoon gun,
So all its hundred feet or so
Are liquefied in the factory ship
With the result that there no longer are
Enough to meet and mate.

And so to push the species forward
While the ocean may contain
Individuals, they cannot find one the other
And the species will be zero
In the fullness of time.

In similar vein, those of Ashkenaz
(except some dolphins of the devout)
Cruise the English-speaking seas
Without the help of a helpmate
And so if they long
To hear a juicy mama-loshen
They will have to speak out loud.

And some who would have wished
To speak it are thwarted
By obtuse progenitors
And so the aforementioned sulphurbottoms
Sail in lonely linguistic splendor
Around the world and then
There will be none.

So rather than frontiers
A folk must guard its language, in which
I say good-bye.

Virginia

I remember pinkfire azaleas

And the dogwood’s floating white

And the warm and slanting sunbeams

of the living Virginia light.

Try to write! And I tried to rise

Still the clogs were on my feet

And the wings of depressed angels

About my downcast eyebrows beat

Sheila came and I not ready

So I lost my happinesses

Mystic moons her twin blue eyes

Amid the cascade of her tresses.

 

Virginia, speak of me softly then

Your time with me then cherish

I keep with me your memory

Until at last I perish.

Triantophyllo

 

The explosion of roses continues through the centuries,
Bears witness
To the incomprehensibility of beauty,
And all the roses that ever were
Are one gigantic rose, the bloom of time
And times yet to be.

And what the Greeks call the thirty leafer
Puts forth a faith in testimonial to itself,
But if beauty is its own excuse for being,
I would not wish to be there
When the Gardener comes,
To water, mulch or cut a few
To decorate the rooms of Eternity.July 31, 2009

The Ruby Throated Humming Bird

The hummers nest is hidden so.
That only the parents know
How baby hummers grow and
Just where a Fairy would sew.

—Roger Fogelman-3rd grade???

The Freedom Train

Here comes The Freedom Train
Red, white, and blue,
Meaning freedom
For me and you.

Here comes The Freedom Train
Let’s give a rising cheer,
That we may still have freedom
With every coming year.

Lands will come and lands will go
But let this be understoon,
We will always cherish freedom words
Most cherished, “Brotherhood.”

— Roger Fogelman — 5th grade

Rare Ibis Is Sighted

With gaudy hues and happy honks,
The glossy ibis invades the Bronx.
The damn thing’s lost, he’s way off course,
To go anywhere near the Grand Concourse.

He’s seeking food, he needs a lesson;
He flies into a delicatessen.
They greet him there with ribald jibes.
They won’t believe he’s a glossy ibis.

The inhabitants of the concrete boredom
Ken the sparrow and know that at Fordham
The Roman eagle nests, and all over the prowl
Are tracks and roosting posts and rookeries
Of kosher fowl.

But the iridescent incandescence of a
gastropodophagous sprite
Symbolizing “rarity” should know better than to light
Within the range of BB-brains whose “Hark”
Brings more with BB-guns; so to the park
He flew, not sighted yet
Nor in my rhymes
Depicted. Lost, revolted, sick but still
Alive,
His telescopic eyes sight an executive.

“Please, sir” he says, “I’m no faker;
I’m a glossy ibis, how can I reach
Jamaica?”

The bird finds out—
He catches the F train.
He won’t go to the Bronx again!

Summer Into Fall

High
In a blue glaze, a raptor wheels
Unresolved to kind, the breed gropes
On nut-stained pinions
A soundless sight
While the eye
Burns icy pride—
And earth smolders.

High
Noon! Shrill, shrill, impossible,
A cedarn copse has found
A sybil—‘til the miscreant jay,
Descendant of a winter sprite, outraged,
Vaults off, a querulous flash
Of frosty protest. The stifled silence
Pierced for a moment, swallows a soundless sigh. On the thin, blue
Back of the sky, fleecy feather-fingers float.

High
Tide! Taught, caught in the moment
A hover fly-crystalline lance, strained to a bell on net-vein
Sinews, — quivering glass—shelled memory
Of a softdown wind and a summer’s day—
The brown-eyed wonder and the fragrant stalk.
Indeed, it was just a scented wind ago
(But another day, another year)
When a young boy snatched at a hover fly, and clutched
In rumpled hands, the empty air.

Nothing changes—ever.
The insect drones a lazy paean to the sun
In the molten noon, and there is not winter.
But the brook is ice and the leaf is mould
Till the grass is sweet again. How to measure time—
Earth reborn, and flesh a year dissolved.
Again full cycle, and the fly is gauze on the garden walk—
And childhood’s done, with memories.

Summertime

A bowstring taut with afternoon
The cricket cello deep within the walk
Where russet refuse frosts before the musing moon
Where waving weed surrenders shrill the strident stalk
And rustling weed reverberates with locust-talk

Goldenrod is squired in beggar’s splendor
And races through the tree-holes in a tippling rime
Heavy is the hickory and easy is provender
And gentian’s pensive cups resound with rhyme
When, in their depths, they snare the cricket’s chime.

Spicery

A mind’s-length plot with thought was sown
in secrecy, but it has grown
Into—

Exotic spices, with strange faces
From having looked on distant places.
Gum Arabic, from the veins
Of noonday genii in heat-drunk lands
Or the hard-to-come-by foot
Of white-centred anise-root.
Baskets crammed with saffron wands—
Nutmegs jostle, hearty oaves,
Embarrassing the comely cloves—
From far lands they bear away
Coriander, caraway.

Names whose iteration bear
Parceled gusts of foreign air
Subtleties but half revealed
To the importuning field—
As within a woman’s mind
Broods one half of humankind.