All posts by edlemond

Poet and novelist, living and writing in Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada. Owned and operated a Book Store for 21 years. One of the founders of the Northrop Frye Literary Festival.

Like an Old Married Couple (Written October 13)

Like an Old Married Couple

 

It’s interesting to hear the two of you talk,

In a sort of code or shorthand,

While all around you people come

 

And go, edging close, but not daring

To speak, for fear that a stupid

Question might amuse you

 

And leave you doubled over

With laughter, or confuse you,

Even worse, and trouble

 

Your precious peace of mind.

Like an old married couple,

Whispering sweet

 

Nothings, you move from

Group to group, to greet

Your many admirers.

Win-Win (Written October 12)

Win-Win

 

I wouldn’t go as far as that.

Let’s just say things could have been

A whole lot worse. For example,

 

If I had not taken the trouble to be born

Where would you be, unable to sample

The full range of my wintry sentiments.

 

How dull your life would be!

So take that as a compliment

To your sagacity, that you found

 

In me a mate worthy of your own

Bleak vision. Don’t come round

Me, if you think it’s such a raw deal.

 

I could have told you that

In the beginning. Let’s put a seal

On it, and call it a win-win.

The Man with the Goblet (Written October 11)

The Man with the Goblet

 

The man found holding the goblet

Is the one, we believe, who started

The fire. In the panic that followed

 

He was knocked to the floor,

And trampled underfoot.

For many, the only escape

 

Was through a second-story

Window, down an improvised ladder

To the flower bed behind the house,

 

And onto the clay tennis courts,

Where, a few hours earlier,

This same man, already drunk,

 

Shouting and swearing, in nothing

But a pair of tight swim briefs,

Had challenged his rival to a fight.

It Ends, Of Course (Written October 10, 2013)

It Ends, Of Course

 

It ends, of course, in the slaughterhouse.

Cows, horses, chickens, pigs, human

Beings too, share the same fate.

 

We have little choice in the matter.

Under cover of dark, at the gate,

Two men, one on each side, lock arms

 

With you, and walk you to the outskirts

Of town. They have their charms,

So that you almost come to believe

 

That it’s you who’s in control,

But that’s only to deceive

The fool in you. Whether you turn left

 

Or right you always arrive

At the same place. Gloomy, bereft

Of hope, the earth is clogged

 

With the dead, who come in all

Shapes and sizes. In a sort of bog

You lie down, your head

 

Comfortably against a belly, or a thigh.

The men have covered their faces. Dead

Or alive, it’s all the same. Is there anything

 

You want to say, they ask, with a smile.

You try to think of something.

Too late! One of them draws a long, thin

 

Knife from his back pocket. Not

Waiting, he plunges it in.

It’s quickly over, and the only sound

 

That we hear is a soft sigh

From your lips, which grow round

And fat like a tumor.

Like Him Afflicted (Written October 9)

Like Him Afflicted

 

That as myself could pity him

As myself could see myself

In years to come, like him

 

Afflicted, like him unable

To find the word, the dim

Light, as under a cloud,

 

Hiding, rather than disclosing,

Better calibrated to shroud

And confuse than to reveal

 

And make whole again. How like

Him as myself, as to conceal

The progress of the illness

 

And to keep my thoughts

To myself, in the stillness

Of the night, in the pity of myself.

Can You Help Me? (Written October 8)

Can You Help Me?

 

I’m his grandfather, but I don’t hear

Very well. Can you help me?

Ask him to repeat what he said,

 

But more slowly. About his mother.

She lay in the grass with her red

Dress on. It doesn’t make any sense.

 

Ask him, where is she now?

I’m a little worried, a little tense.

It’s not like her. She promised

 

She’d give me a call. I stayed

By the phone, but I missed

What she said. Ask him how

 

She looked. Was she scared?

As far as I know, up to now

She’s been just fine.

 

But everyone, I suppose,

At one time or another,

Runs into trouble.

Mrs. Ailey (Written October 7)

Mrs. Ailey

 

Writing in large letters on the blackboard,

The teacher spelled out what she wanted

To be called. Mrs. Ailey with an e and a y

 

If you please. Any questions, she asked,

And twenty-two hands, all female, shot up. Why

Do they call it pregnant, when all it looks

 

Like is she’s fat? It means she’ll soon

Have a baby. Now open your books

To page eighty. But please, missus,

 

Tell us how it comes out. Head first?

I’ll tell you this, it takes more than kisses.

It takes blood, sweat, and tears.

 

How long, Mrs. Ailey, with an e and a y,

Will you be our teacher? How many years?

As long as it takes. We don’t know

 

Much, because all Miss Hopkins ever talked

About is how bad she hurts. She showed

Us where too. That, my dears,

 

Is about to change, I assure you.

All will be revealed, have no fears.

Now let’s get on with it.

Nothing Tugged Back (Written October 6)

Nothing Tugged Back

 

It was so small I didn’t even feel it.

When I tugged at the line, nothing

Tugged back. The only reason I reeled

 

It in was so that we could move

To another spot, where the yield

Might be more abundant. It was a beautiful

 

Striped bass, but under the legal limit.

After some thought we did the dutiful

Thing and returned it to the water,

 

Alive, only slightly damaged, the mouth

In need of repair, like a daughter

Who decides she has nothing more

 

To say, and retreats into her own

Private world, in search of that inner core

Where she might feel she amounts to something.

Nothing Shoddy About the Girls (Written October 5)

Nothing Shoddy About the Girls

 

Some of them had spotty trunks,

Others had plain red, white, or black,

Still others wore pieces skimpy as jock straps.

 

The girls had something different in mind.

Nothing shoddy about the girls, but maps

Of the contours of their tender new bodies,

 

Focused on particulars of presentation

Rather than the boast of what rowdies

They could be if they wanted to be.

 

Wasn’t I like them when I was

Their age? Didn’t I also want to see

Myself in the mirror and believe

 

I was what I was, and had no need

To apologize? Even to conceive

Of such a thing was to take a step back.

Wild Horses (Written October 4)

Wild Horses

 

That was the horse looking at me again

Because the way I was standing was too noisy.

I turned my head so that my gaze

 

Fell upon the brown, watery eye.

I was not afraid. Half-crazed

I had climbed the steep hill

 

In search of the wild horses,

Abandoned from logging days, that still

Roam the mountainside. What was surprising

 

Was not the horse’s apparent tameness

But the silence of his coming over the rise,

And the way he advanced straight toward me,

 

As if to present himself to me, for my inspection,

And to ask, What is it you want of me?

Then five more came over the hill, like a posse.