Dear Mr. Logan:
I’ve spent an adult lifetime writing and teaching poetry but have attempted publication of my work in a sustained way only within the last decade or so. I’ve managed to see a good number of poems—approximately 180—appear in various literary and other magazines across the country. I realize, however, that each time I send out a manuscript, its poems must stand on their own.
I write both free verse and rhyming poetry, fully aware that the latter kind is currently not in vogue—at least in this country. I respect all forms and styles of genuine poetry including those of the current trends, but I often employ rhyme with other aspects of strict form to “sing” and to test my ability to sound natural, if formal, within confinement.
Below are five of my efforts:
“A Trick to Catch the Old Ones,"
"In the Old Stone Age,"
"Robert Herrick Considers the Least of His Days," and
None of these is currently out to any other publication, print or electronic. Would any of them be suitable for appearance in your online publication?
Without presumption, I’ve included a brief biography, if needed.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.
(Mr.) Jene Erick Beardsley
A TRICK TO CATCH THE OLD ONES
Time is always running out
And taking all its things away.
If one would turn a thing about
And bring its moment back to stay,
One must attract deep into it
The interest of the god whose wit
Is all its meaning past one day.
But because the gods are children
And they always want to play,
There are games one must be skilled in.
Rhythm’s such a game, and rhyme.
For fifty years in laboring time,
I’ve taught my verse what Dryden taught
And more than once the play of rhyme
Has helped me to a straying thought.
In the innocent atmosphere
That’s after school at close of day,
Across the neighborhood I hear,
As though from very far away
The Father calling the hours home
To honeycomb and catacomb,
And yet my words still want to play.
In the day-care doorway, I’m
Intent to hear them keeping time.
IN THE OLD STONE AGE
I went to the steps where we had shot
Some fireworks off a year ago.
The burn marks still were in the stone.
In the primitive grasses just below,
A single cricket was ringing and ringing
His own number as though a spirit,
Scared and homesick out in space
Where he’d been sent for an afterlife,
Was trying to contact his old place
And only I was there to hear it.
I looked at the void and stonefaced hall
At the top of the steps and saw a cave went
Into its building. Whenever I moved,
The moonlight struck sparks from the pavement.
In the single ray from a posted light,
An unidentified insect swirled.
It mattered nothing to the stars
Which were not on to light this world
That for some independent cheer
From the long tyrannies of the year
Small human fires were lit here once.
In the darkened land that stood around,
A carnivorous tribe on ignorant hunts
Had gone upstairs so they could keep
A fast and paleolithic sleep,
And I who know well what alone is
Saw how hard and staying stone is.
In barely awake March that tries to shut off
the ringing sun,
Outdoors in my shirt, upsetting the whole earth in
My garden, I quit at the call for supper and enter
The house through a windowless hall where a past day’s
Cold and earlier darkness tell on winter
There in hiding. The ghost of an overcoat weighs
On my shoulder. Obviously it is make-believe,
But I check a move to pull my arm from its sleeve.
ROBERT HERRICK CELEBRATES
THE LEAST OF HIS DAYS
Ah, little lost September the second,
I do not think you will be reckoned
Into the Books of Life or Death!
You cost me such a little breath,
I hardly seemed alive at all.
I rose and raked a little fall
From my back yard, then went to buy
A pie tin for an apple pie.
Back home, I plotted with my neighbor
How we’d waste the day called “Labor.”
Then I, suppering at my table,
Read five times the jam-jar label.
I, whose mind is interstellar,
Did my laundry in the cellar
Just before my bed, and, worse,
I fondled out this little verse.
Poor little day, who’ll dithyramb you?
God has neither blessed nor damned you.
Minutes had you so enthralled,
Would you have heard him had he called?
You are the type of all those who
Will never be great. I grieve for you.
I stand in a bare room where I have no past.
It’s so much room, no room is left for me.
An entering beam of the sun in the west makes ghast
One wall and burns my sockets till they see
The wall give, letting in without a key
An exalted air fast rising thinner and thinner.
The beam is a long blind glance from eternity
Whose field has fired all of its personnel.
God here has whited out not sin but the sinner.
The yelling bloodhounds fade, having lost blood’s smell.
In that vast glare my presence doesn’t tell.
I am like some unlisted soul who went
Unnoticed at the Judgment and was sent
By his high lord neither to heaven nor to hell.
Jene Beardsley was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He received his MA in English literature at the University of Illinois. He now lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. His poems have appeared in The Amherst Review, The Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Soujourners, The Silt Reader, Fulcrum, New Letters, Ibbetson St. Press, and The Lullwater Review among other magazines.