Three Poems

by Lawrence Cottrell (July 2022)

The Boat, Odelon Redon, 1897



Recedes sorrow’s tide along the buckling shore of his

____breezes switch,

________earth’s perfumes ride sighs asea.

From time’s abyssal he retreats ´to verdant shoulders of a
Where daisy tribes fleck cuffs of roads, and sorrels sup
____penumbras in the gardens.

The lady having stayed her journey into naught, his soul’s

____magpie trifling with play-pretties;

Passion shifted on its axis, rue’s ajar, through which steals
The flowering beat of summer’s heart to mingle with her

____upon his spirit’s plain —



Each Old Song

… on the road from hospital, where lay (half in pieces) the
____dearest dreamer of my dream,
Three girls rehearsing their routines, cheerleaders of some
____school, keen in their gymnastic…
And I would have spoke to them of she, who knows the
____words to each old song (it seems),
Dances for no reason in the kitchen, loves language,
____family, country,

____me (tuber sprouted ´neath a locust tree)…

But they would bear her like rill in flood a leaf, ´round a
____bend and then forgotten,

____too much decants of life’s elixir.

O’ I should tell them what I’ve seen, that in her cell
____beside the sun
A lady shoos the shadows still, surprising and surprised;
I should tell them what I’ve seen, of nestling glee behind
____her eyes…

____artless grace behind her eyes…

____________she surprising and surprised —




… can’t recall an unalloyed day entire, when this was
____satiate soul…
When I was six, perhaps, loved Carma Lee, or the first
____delicious transit of the sun

____when school was out,

Watched trains shift dawn to dusk in the New York
____Central yard…
When nothing cloyed, how so much it filled my eyes;
Was blithe in realms of make-believe, dwelt as mist
____among the sweeps and planes of grownup care.

Perchance ´twas never so. There were moments, merely,
Boutonnieres in mind’s lapels that age would make a
But I would have it otherwise, that some commonplace
____quotidian was sublime,
And I quaffed it like a ruby throat petunia wine, a
____dionysian thirst

____I slaked one flawless instance

____________of a summertime —



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Lawrence Cottrell has lived in West Virginia, mostly, preferring to dwell among good people, in a place where change is an unloved orphan. He has a BA from West Virginia State University and attended several graduate schools, leaving each finally to walk mist-hewn hollers and prowl wind-blasted ridges, to be where valleys can be spanned by two arms and a broom handle, and noons aren’t quite sure of themselves. His poems have appeared in The LyricAppalachian HeritageGood Foot and Grab-a-Nickel, among others. His work is in the celebrated anthology Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950-1999. He blooms presently at a bend of Elk River’s meander.

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