Robert K. Johnson
Born in New York City (in Elmhurst), I lived in several different places there but have memories only of The Bronx (off Fordham Road). Then my family moved out "on The Island"—to Lynbrook, where we stayed till I graduated from Hofstra (then a College). Several years after my wife, Pat, and I married, we, plus our two children, settled in the Boston area and have remained there (except for my daughter, Kate, who has lived in Manhattan for quite a while). I have been writing poetry since I was twelve (many moons ago).
Because you so believe the stark avowals
of love laid bare on moonlit nights will lead
both speakers to a bower safe from the prowls
of sullen moods their later days might breed:
when I, after you speak, still hesitate,
your eyes dwindle to tears. You, too, soon hush.
And never guess I...once...said what you wait
to hear; once...to her eyes...spoke with a rush.
You so believe love's touch a flight through tiers
of bright sun rays and white winds, soft as fur.
But, now, I know love's touch is a dark room,
cluttered with unfamiliar furniture,
where I must take only slow steps or doom
my flesh to unhealed wounds and crippling fears.
previously published in BLOSSOMS OF THE APRICOT
You lecture well in class. You clarify
the poem's compressed syntax, paraphrase
the wording in each stanza, pinpoint why
the form supports the content, cite the ways
the central meaning echoes what we know
were the most popular beliefs the year
the poem was written, and, concluding, show
how those beliefs touch our lives. Then you hear
the ten-of bell and watch your students spring
to their feet, grab their hats and coats, and flee
the classroom. And, glancing outside, you see
the sunlight splash a swooping bluejay's wings
gold-bright...and know no word your students heard
roused what, in you, that flash of sunlight stirred.
previously published in CHOIR OF DAY/NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
©2017 Robert K. Johnson
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