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.
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