Tag Archives: Richard Terrill

Early Poems
by Richard Terrill

The images are like old friends
I no longer have enough in common with.

“Three-sweatered like a crusted pine,”
“The fisherman scent of imagined waves,”
“He shakes his cock like a tired flag.”

I pretend I wouldn’t recognize them
on a dark street, even with a gang

of marching nationalist editors
gaining on me from behind,
red pencils sharpened to pin accuracy.

And it was always night in these young poems
–“night is evening’s secret,”
“a myth about a night world,”
“we wait for night and night-

feeding bass”–as if daylight
were owned by prose

and of little interest
mostly because
there was no bourbon in it.

And what did the young man know about love
–“too simple for listeners, too difficult for art”–
that now he wouldn’t cut back

until the part about how hard it is
was left to extend its bare branch
into the winter sky?

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 4.

Richard TerrillRichard Terrill is the author five books, including Coming Late to Rachmaninoff, winner of the Minnesota Book Award for poetry, and Saturday Night in Baoding: A China Memoir, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Nonfiction.  His memoir Fakebook chronicles his experiences as a jazz saxophone player.

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The Lake
by Richard Terrill

after Yeats

I’m getting up soon, and going to the lake,
where my father’s cabin leans toward the north,
more chinks between the logs than last year’s newsprint could patch,
old kitchen pots on the front room floor to catch the roof’s leaks.

I’ll catch black bass after dark in the lily pads,
and each day my father will talk about hunting birds this fall,
and my mother will read a book and occasionally
remember dreaming. It’s a place of such anticipation

as when morning lifts its dew over the grass in August
and over blueberries too small in the wetlands, never grown sweet,
and the bittern standing on one leg, and the loon sane as day.
The mosquito buzz at evening sends us indoors–mostly safely

(everyone knows that joke, and the holes in the rusted screens).
Ok. I’m getting up now, because for days I’ve heard the frogs
awakening, and the blackbirds’ fine syllables, and the few cars
on the road hidden behind the young red pines. I’m down that road,

away, always away now, and looking
toward its farthest bend.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Richard TerrillRichard Terrill is the author five books, including Coming Late to Rachmaninoff, winner of the Minnesota Book Award for poetry, and Saturday Night in Baoding: A China Memoir, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Nonfiction.  His memoir Fakebook chronicles his experiences as a jazz saxophone player.

See all items about Richard Terrill

Visit Richard Terrill’s contributors page.