Ideas and My


by Jeffrey Burghauser (January 2018)

The Poet Sabartes, Pablo Picasso, 1901



“Ideas are real,” he said long ago,

“As an embryo, or as the grave.”

However, the minor poets know

That a perspective is all we have:


Lamentia the Esoteric,

Betjeman, Brainard, the fully fair

Laughlin, Day-Lewis, Housman, Herrick,

Stevie Smith & Walter de la Mare.


An approaching locomotive’s sound

Spreads before me like the swash & face

Of a northern beach whose heavy ground,

Rain-soaked, slides into littoral lace.


A perspective should be dressed in frocks,

And chaperoned like a ballot box.



Mother with Two Children, Egon Shiele, 1917




My eldest, three, talks like a river

Half-iced in late fall’s spare clarity.

Kids are like poets: They were never

Really meant to be listened to. We


Emulate the company we keep—

Saints or assholes, dentists or pagans;

The newborn has, in its ghastly heap,

Spent nine months with internal organs.


My youngest, not even a month old:

Nacreous throat, yet unpinched, and hence

The sound he’s too feeble to withhold

Sounds like feebly hindered silence.


And thus a voice grows—to the full, fair

Ineffectuality of prayer.


Jeffrey Burghauser is an English teacher in Columbus, OH. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo, the University of Leeds, and currently studies the five-string banjo with a focus on pre-WWII picking styles. A former artist-in-residence at the Arad Arts Project (Israel), his poems have previously appeared in Appalachian Journal and Lehrhaus.

More by Jeffrey Burghauser here.

Please help support New English Review.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New English Review Press is a priceless cultural institution.
                              — Bruce Bawer

Pre-order for the literature lover in your life on Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold. 

An excellent Christmas gift for children of all ages. Order at AmazonAmazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Order at Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Order at Amazon US or Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Fetch yours from AmazonAmazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Order from Amazon, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Follow by Email