Three Poems

by Lawrence Cottrell (September 2021)

Night Shadows, Edward Hopper, 1921



I recall when home wasn’t home, how so same the streets,
          buildings’ silhouettes, footfall’s scuff ...
When, penniless, having walked avenues all day, weary to
          the marrow,
I found myself, like some spent arrow, in a boxcar, near a
          house we’d rented once,
Seeking embers in a grate bereft of fire, safe hearth away
          from windward,

          warmth on a sultry summer’s eve …

But that night was more hollow than in other towns I’d
          ‘cause it seemed I was each anywhere


          a stranger ‘midst the props of childhood’s stage …

When home was will’-o’-wisp through fingers, I a pilgrim
          with no shrine,

          bookmark sans a page ...

                              Crusoe on my island of an age—

Late July

On that cant above the ditch, daisy suns give way to
          nebulae of Queen Anne’s lace;
From verdant tangles blow morning glory trumpets;
          nights fret days’ edge’ like kit pawings

          of subtraction.

Summer, two-thirds done, ripens toward fall in
          obbligatos of the pretty,
Things appearing, disappearing in fealty to enigma, the
Universe come hither thus along a river’s serpentine, its
          codas robed in reminiscences …
But these gyre in anxious flocks beneath the mortal
Where dread hunger of forgetting stalks each tissue
          flimsy ...

          sachets of memory to be strewn like time

                              at Armageddon—


One dawn past summer solstice, begins night’s undertow. 
Though I can’t hear it yet, autumn’s whispering to the
          willows ...
Decided by some old law of cradle rocking, some inverted

If asked after a thousand years from June, seek me here,
Where water droplets dropping onto leaves seem strikes
          on taborets;
Where a deer’s tracks cleave the dew, she having come this
          way seeking sweets when dawn was rumor just;
Here, where omens of October coax fog from warm
          purlings of river,
And silhouettes fatten into studies of familiar things, half
          made icons of the bonny and the plain;
Here, where cadences of world are bound into sheaves by
          we yeomen of a sun …

          where time droves swallows toward Mexico—

Lawrence Cottrell has been published in Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years Of West Virginia Poetry and several periodicals. He is the author of Odd Fussings and Hallelujahs From Oblivion’s Ridgepole (both from Dos Madres Press).

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2 Sep 2021
Send an emailCarl Nelson
I thought "Home" was especially poignant.

2 Sep 2021
Send an emailCarl Nelson
I run the Serenity Poetry Series which meets in Parkersburg the first Tuesday of each month. If you're going to be up this way, you're welcome to a reading.

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