Influenced by the example of Donald Hall, in 2001 I took early retirement from a college teaching endowed chair in order to write poems virtually full time, drive Hondas around America, study Zen, listen to bluegrass, and search for the nation’s best Chinese buffet. My new poetry collection, Zen Master Poems, will be published by Wisdom, Inc., in Summer, 2016 < http://zenpoemszenphotosdickallen.net>
The Poet’s House
“We almost rented it, you know,
but it was so remote your father didn’t know
if he could find work anywhere near.
Still, we came very near
to renting it anyway. I liked the hilltop view,
the apple tree in the yard. We held the view
then, that everything we did should be poetic
one way or another. And how poetic
it would have been to sit at his window
and watch the stars, and dream of a window
opening up for us—something so unusual
happening to us we’d not live the usual
life most of us do. That we did. That he didn’t:
that poet of brooks and clearings and deer that didn’t
run when you approached. We asked the price.
It was a little too much, a price
we’d have had to borrow to afford and in the end
you were brought up in a walk-up end
New Hampshire apartment overlooking a street corner
as nondescript as the corner
of a three-cent stamp. Here, here’s the poet’s house
in this poem. I would have loved living in that house.”
from This Shadowy Place (St. Augustine’s)
Editor's Note: Dick's submission letter is so interesting and informative that I reprint it here (with his kind permission).
Mindful of the suggested “POETRY” theme for April, I was thinking of one of the few poems
I’ve written about our art.
This is a poem written from my mother’s point of view. It’s fairly literal, as on a drive in Vermont or New Hampshire my mother once pointed out to me a house she said that my father and she almost rented during a time in the Depression. Then, my father ran a Texaco gas station until it went bankrupt.
As far as I know, the form of the poem is my own invention—using the same word to end each couplet stanza throughout the poem. For me, it creates the kind of wistful reminiscent tone my mother, who always dreamed she might become a writer, often put on.
The poet is, of course, Robert Frost...
For me, the poem’s wistful acceptance evokes all those who wish to be poets or artists or musicians or whatever, but never become such: “I would have loved living in that house.”
My mother became the temporary Post Master of Round Lake Village, in upstate NY, when my father left that post to serve in World War II. He became a noted Americana writer. I became a poet.
Hope poem might be right for V.V. And many thanks for your consideration.
©2016 Dick Allen