Three Poems

image_pdfimage_print

by Peter Lopatin (March 2020)

 


Harbor at Trieste, Egon Shiele, 1907

 

 

 

Recollection of an Afternoon Storm

 

As it was when I

saw it then,

gathering itself fast

over the fine seascape

late in the day

after the sun had

given its best and

then begun its slow decline,

 

            (I remember how I

            expected then

            to recall it now,

            seeing it as it gathered

            in the dimness,

            playing itself out

            over the blackening bay)

 

so we—who, in remembering,

are no longer one—

try to say now what we were then

and what it means to be,

and gather ourselves—

conjuring ourselves out of some

sweet confection of memory and

damp air—then decline too, 

nourished, just enough, as we fade,

passing too swiftly by this bay,

yet grand and fair.

 

 

 

Skipping Stones

 

They come to nothing in the end,

no less so than those artlessly thrown.

 

The difference is in the show they make

before they go. You need the right raw material though:

 

flat and true but with heft enough to slice the water

when it hits. Water has the density of life and demands

 

that you persist and come up for air,

if only to cut a smaller slice and fall again

 

before you thought you would. There. Now you have it.

Search for more and fling them side-arm with

 

backspin snap and smooth authority. Wow the idle

sunbathers to their core with two-digit skips through

 

breezy chop. Saunter off with nonchalance and

leave them wanting more. You’ve had the better of this day.

 

Perhaps you’ll have another one, when the stones

slice clean and play the water well before they drop.

 

 

 

The Eternal Present

 

No wind on the lake

 

            as there was before,

 

                        when sails sighed with fullness

 

 

and the water bore the boat’s weight

 

            as if passing it hand over

 

                        liquid hand.  No more. 

 

 

Becalmed close to a shore

 

            which is not my destination,

 

                        but another’s, I note the hour

 

 

and consider whether,

 

            paddling with a single oar,

 

                        the better choice is to

 

 

point the bow there and

 

            camp ‘til morning or to keep

 

                        my heading true and wait for wind.

 

 

Then, hesitating there, I see

 

            the lake and hills as if

 

                        the scene were frozen vitreous,

 
 

painted like an antique Chinese lamp

 

            from my youth, wondering

 

                        how it would be to be the one

 

 

depicted there,

 

            glazed with indecision,

 

                        feeling myself

 

 

both agent and object,

 

            moving slowly, always,

 

                        always frozen fast.

 

 

 

«Previous Article Table of Contents Next Article»



 

 

____________________
Peter Lopatin was born and raised in New York where he earned his JD degree and practiced corporate law for thirty years. Along the way, he studied philosophy as a graduate student at the New School for Social Research. After retiring from his legal practice, he obtained a Certificate from the New School in teaching English as a Second Language and has been an ESL teacher since then. He has taught at the University of Connecticut/Stamford, Norwalk Community College, Manhattanville College and, most recently, at the Stamford English Language Academy. Peter’s short stories and book reviews have appeared in Commentary, The Weekly Standard, The New Atlantis, and New English Review. His poetry has appeared in New Millennium Writings and Poetry East.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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.

Order on Amazon or Amazon UK today!

RSS
Follow by Email
Twitter
Reddit
GAB