Two Poems

by Jeffrey Burghauser (February 2019)

The Marne at Chennevières
, Albert Marquet, 1913




At my little son’s request, we paused

Upon a timber bridge across a dry

Exurban creek, him wondering what caused

This grim condition. Suddenly, his sly

Hypothesis salutes, accosts the day

Like dishes falling from a cabinet:

“Dad! All the water has to stay away

Because of all these pebbles blocking it!”


What an awful partner at the dance

Is Knowledge. Yes, her counterfeits (who drawl,

And smoke, and loaf) much more appeal to me,

For they deliver all the confidence     

Of knowing (knowing) whilst preserving all

The wonder that’s involved in mystery.




The Market, Audierne, Albert Marquet, 1928




Farmer’s market, Sunday morning: Big

Eggs from an athletic hen,

Agate fruit, jam, yoghurt, beryl sprig,

Soap flakes scented like a fen,

Dense loaves piled over linen shawls…

Lightly sauntering amid the stalls,

Beautifully unshaven men.


And within their easeful, fluent reach, 

The mandorla of a mate:

Vapor evanesced with bronze, and each

Animated by the late

Summer’s ultimate, unclouded THUS,

Novels, herbal tea & amorous

Exercise. Enchanted state.


Bastards. Dumbly circling the dark,

Lush adjacent suburb’s hems,

I’m convulsing for a place to park.

Even sweet Jerusalem’s

Holiness seems strangled down to naught

When you cannot find a parking spot.

Ulcers grow like little gems.


Let me in. The autumn chill may kneel

Fast already in the vined

Houses’ shadows, and in those that peel

From my body like a rind—

For my mind’s as furiously skewed

As Petrarcha’s in his darkest mood,

But not nearly as refined.


[1] “Paraklausithyron, a lover’s song at his beloved’s door, in which he begs for admission and laments his exclusion. It occurs in a variety of poetic genres (e.g. lyric, idyll, epigram, comedy, mime, elegy).”—Oxford Classical Dictionary


Jeffrey Burghauser is an English teacher in Columbus, Ohio. 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 (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Lehrhaus, New English Review, and Iceview (Iceland).

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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