by Robert Bové (June 2006)




You are here


Maps reassure by corresponding,

lines from those who have survived,

for a time, to write that travel,

along these routes, is possible.


What does it mean to come from afar?

Distance must be overcome, but

what occurs, as road becomes path,

and path disappears, births

true measure.


What occurs marks traveler

and destination both

in memory and in fact.

Intentions may be discrete,

must be discrete to make a start,

but, again, are of little use, even distract,

when path, with memory of it,

evaporates. Where you stand.



The early-retired


Things as they are

are still pretty good.

House is paid for,

commute not too long.

Kids are long gone

to good schools

and we have co-signed

not a single one of their debts.


Tonight, we celebrate

ourselves, again. We honor

each other. And though our ranks

grow thin, we do not, and venues

wax more opulent.


Frustrating, that, to be served

at bigger table each day,

when our commission is

to lick the skin

off the world.




La Belle Magdalena


In café across from cathedral

the wine cellar is padlocked,

seats once taken by neighbors seeking comfort,

conversation, have been taken away.

In shop near café, postcards for sale

go unsold, their scenes obscured by

merciful dust. 


A bishop appears far away

and only on TV. He proclaims,

calms no one, not even himself:

“The mosque is temporary.”


He is known, this bishop, and he is not.

He approves new Madonna, shrouded,

approves a new incense, eau de urine,

approves big plans for Christmas,

Palm Sunday, and Easter—

just not including Jésus.



Schönes Berlin


Berlin is great.

NYC meets Munich.

Of course, German girls

are whores. 


But soon enough, we have them

in chadors.



One long way up


In her day she sat by the loch

that bears her name—

at her feet ducks, geese, and mute swan

feeding on crumbs she brought—

and gazed uphill, past

ancient columnar lava, to

chapel made with ash stone and basalt,

freestone and limestone from quarry,

gulls from the firth circling, on hunt.


And if the mist weren’t too thick

above the high bog, she’d see

Arthur’s Seat, imagine its vantage.

So one supposes, as far as one can,

musings of a tourist, easy guesses.


She contemplated building churches,

feeding the poor at her royal table,

before she fed herself, her family,

teaching her children to love God

as faithfully as she.


If you have enjoyed reading these poems and would like to see more of Robert Bové’s poetry, click here.

Robert Bové contributes regularly to The Iconoclast, our Community Blog. Click here to see all his contributions, on which comments are welcome.


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