I was impressed, when I located some of my earliest poems, with how much they reveal the influences of my reading, my education, and the zeitgeist of the times. “Lewisohn Stadium” is a sonnet written when I was fifteen or sixteen (I think the picture above dates from late high school) and reflects my high school study with a beloved English teacher of Shakespeare’s sonnets and their rhetorical structure; I also detect the influence of my reading outside school, namely Thomas Wolfe! “Disbelief” is probably from my very early twenties; most of the poetry I read in college and in the anthologies of the late 50s and early 60s was metrical and rhymed. “To J.K. Whom I Cannot Reach” is an elegy written for my father-in-law who died at an early age, when I was in my late twenties; it sounds utterly like W.H. Auden to me (“In Memory of W.B. Yeats” in particular), whom I had considered as the subject of my honors thesis in my last year of college, with some overlay, perhaps, of the sometimes abstract poetry promulgated by Yvor Winters who was one of my teachers in graduate school at Stanford. My website: http://judykronenfeld.com.
We sat together in the still air of summer,
Sprawled in disarray on the granite steps.
And it meant something to be together
With the music soaring above our heads.
And the music struck a chord in you of another
Time and another place. And in me, too.
And it meant nothing to be together,
Alone and together under ice-blue.
The music cried out in anguish to the night,
To the loud silence of the dark, in innocence.
And in silence to each other we cried,
Pierced with the pity of remembrance.
We sat under the unblinking above
Enclosed by separate heartbeats, and sought love.
At an early age, in a quiet glade,
A child told me how children were made.
I laughed in his face, he felt the rebuff,
How could he think I’d believe such stuff?
Later, was it a star that whispered
About the ceasing of the breath?
And heard still my defiant word:
You must be kidding, that’s absurd.
To J.K. Whom I Cannot Reach
The hand that touched without constraint
Will now not touch my hand again.
Your silence, which was quietude,
Had been snuffed out in buzzing rooms.
May the quiet and the peace
Which you gave us
Now never cease.
It must live on in your heirs,
A source of strength
In all they bear.
May the love that does not shout,
But waits and stays
At last win out.
© 2017 Judy Kronenfeld
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