Two Short Poems for Your Indulgence

Out there!  From in here!

You may recall that I am much taken by the short lyric forms of poetry in English.  And I have from time to time shared some of my favorites with you.  Here are two that have crossed my eyes and mind as I reviewed a fat folder of documents titled “Poet’s Corner.”  It encloses a mish-mosh or potpourri of short lyrics of all manner, the majority of which perhaps are diverse examples of the sonnet.

The second poem presented below is not a sonnet.  But it is a heartfelt, even rending, expression of feeling from a freshman student in a class late in my career at what is now UNC-Pembroke.  (I don’t now recall Clint’s last name, nor have I been in touch with him since he dropped out of my class.)  First the sonnet, by distinguished American poet Mona Van Duyn  (d. 12/04/2004):


From a new peony,

my last  anthem,

a squirrel in glee

broke the budded stem.

I thought, where is joy

without fresh bloom,

that old heart’s ploy

to mask the tomb?

Then a volunteer

stalk from sour

bird-drop this year

burst in frantic flower.

The world’s perverse,

but it could be worse.    (1990)

And now a page I’ve kept in this file for something like 15 years.

Dr. Rundus,

Your patience with me has been more than gracious.  I wish I could tell you I had been sick or injured or by the bed of a dying friend as not to disappoint you.  I have, instead, been going through a yearly ritual in which something seeks to shut me down.  It takes away my desire to function.  I have not been successful in combatting it this year.  It renders me to the point where I care for nothing and have no ambition.  I am now fighting it.   So, basically, I do not have an excuse, not a valid one.  I sat on a bench, unwilling to move.  All I have to show for it is this:


He did not live long

three months or so,

give or take a week.

We buried him behind a grove of pine trees.

Before we threw in the last shovel of dirt

our backs bore the chill of his demise,

and parting geese formed letters in the skies.

And in memories we praised his touch

which warmed our backs and inasmuch

as we could love we loved him for what he was.

He did not live long.


Dear Clint:

I am pleased (in a perverse kind of way perhaps!) to discover that I am not alone in suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).   For most it comes in midwinter;  for you and me, in the fall.  I have coped with SAD more successfully in recent years–and so too will you.  (I took Xanax a couple of these seasons, not recently.)  You have composed a wonderful poem. I am photocopying this page.  Your poem needs a wider hearing!     RJR

Well, I guess here is that “wider hearing.”



2 Responses to “Two Short Poems for Your Indulgence”

  1. Frank B Maness,Jr. Says:

    Clint, I’m a drop out that didn’t have the desire to hang on!! Thanks for sharing and your list of excuses are usable! Riding the pine is the last straw! I look at seasons as being- Preseason- regular season- post season- playoffs -have a good year!!

  2. Forest Crump Says:

    I find it interesting that Clint refers to summer in the masculine, most when referencing anything to do with nature use the feminine, except the National Weather Service, I prefer Hazel over Floyd.

    Clint is a bear and just needs to hibernate for the winter. It’s okay to do nothing because a lack of desire to do anything means that you are content and see no need to do anything but then in a perverse world we are continually pressed by society and culture to do something, that doing nothing is sloth and laziness.

    Maybe that is why in our society it is hard to find someone with a contented mind, no matter how much money they have, success, fame, etc they are still not content—they need to learn that doing nothing is sometimes a good thing. And on the seventh day He rested from all his work of creating.

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