Three Poems

by Lawrence Cottrell (October 2021)

A Wraith in a Box of Shadows, Léon Spilliaert, 1907


All There Is of those nights, a three of clock, when pen’s scuff
          is all there is of sound,

          soul ranging the terra incognita of a page.

Like strokes of mayfly wings rough its image on a mere,
          so fancy ripples pondings of the silence,
And, having done, leaves to posterity no obelisks, no

          no glorious empires to recall…

Just moments in mind’s traces, will-made précis of
The careless universe transmuted ‘to romance by wit’s
          pellucid hammer,

          motion shaped on anvils of rien du tout…

                              the ineffable garbed in song—


It was a rainy last of August, and we did what we don’t do
Watched dark accrue from the porch, saw a sparrow’s
          twilight busyness,
As if, like wash, it took in its notes ere night hung hush’
          on staves,

          and trees and sky lost horizon’s thread.

The vertiginous spin, the oval dance ‘round a sun, the play
          of veiling clouds,
And we alone together on oracular shore of dulling dusk...
As if a billion years were meant for us, that we should

          with soft recursive gloamings of quotidian…

                              be amid implausible spells…

We the pennies flung down wishing wells, pensive casts
          of time

          by some provenance of dreams—


Still clad in September leaves, a sycamore fell halfway o’er
          the Elk…

The same day Patsy died, rejoined John at Point Pleasant,
Leaving me with things I oughtn’t say, here, behind the

Unsent billets doux tied with ribbons, wrapped in sighs,
Read by candlelight of self at evenfall, when I’m adrift     
Along meridians of loss, cursives of what if on the foolscap 

          of old visions,

          love still bold on crumbling pages…

And in that beauty dropt were all the promises of spring,
When filled those boughs life’s cataract, that what it was

          conjure hymns from infidels—  

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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3 Oct 2021
Send an emailCarl Nelson
Very enjoyable poetry. You evoke a vivid evanescence very well.

21 Oct 2021
Send an emailRebecca Bynum
I agree with Carl. Beautifully done.

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