Tuesday, September 13, 2011

reading impaired

if anyone could stand to read poems
and if such compositions weren't utterly absurd
this would be a poem 
about all the books i buy 
but for whatever reason
don't get around to reading
so they sit there on the shelves
saying read me
often in a rude tone of voice
which is annoying
but also makes me feel guilty and stupid
if this were one of those hated unreadable poems
as i say
it would present a list
of the unread guilt-inducing books
lining my shelves and piled up
on desks & chairs & lamp tables & the computer table & the floor
saying read me
before it's too late
before you recognize with certainty
that the views of eloquent others
brilliant others
aren't nearly so important as your very own
views which after all 
you're pretty much stuck living with
no matter what some famous author 
has to say 
on the matter
though wallace stevens 
may well be an exception

Copyright 2011 by Patrick O'Hayer

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Poems That Change You

From Wallace Stevens:

In the far South the sun of autumn is passing
Like Walt Whitman walking along a ruddy shore.
He is singing and chanting the things that are part of him, 
The worlds that were and will be, death and day.
Nothing is final, he chants. No man shall see the end.
His beard is of fire and his staff is a leaping flame.

I've adored these lines, which open a long poem, "Like Decorations in a Nigger Cemetery," since I encountered them decades ago. Their beauty and power are for me simple, direct, unquestionable.

Out of the spirit of the holy temples,
Empty and grandiose, let us make hymns
And sing them in secrecy as lovers do.

The poem continues for fifty brief stanzas, most of which are clear and powerfully expressive. And even the obscure, opaque parts contain gorgeous language and phrasing.

John Constable they could never quite transplant
And our streams rejected the dim Academy.
Granted the Picts impressed us otherwise
In the taste for iron dogs and iron deer.

The poem goes on leisurely, stepping in and out of meaning, finishing thus:

Union of the weakest develops strength
Not wisdom. Can all men, together, avenge
One of the leaves that have fallen in autumn?
But the wise man avenges by building his city in snow.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anti Poem

Anti Poem

poems go on for too long
then you have to look up a word
then there's the surprise ending
using words depicting nature
then the author bio talks about prizes 
won and where he teaches

Copyright 2011 by Patrick O'Hayer

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Sent a couple submissions--then read the fine print and realized I didn't use the typeface and font size the editor prefers. Have to do better next time. I'm pretty rusty, not having submitted seriously in, well, decades.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Well, not exactly. Thinking of getting back into the game. Have a submission or two in process. Wish me luck!