Dear Godfrey Logan,
Hello! My name is Anthony F. Crisafi, and I am submitting some of my poetry for your consideration. Thank you for your consideration.
Anthony F. Crisafi
The Orange Blossoms of Cassadaga
When all I see is what is cold and lean,
The orange blossoms and all that suffer,
Become the fruit of green and tangerine,
Through the winter and through what is tougher.
And what I feel when all that freezes me,
When I come here and gaze and see your leaves,
Is all I need and what I long to be,
When what is new is what births forth from these.
Orange blossoms of Cassadaga, whose
Warmth moves in ease from green to tangerine,
And stretches sweetness by touching my lips.
Orange blossoms of Cassadaga, those
Whose winter wither is when first seen,
And love’s leaves fade when coldest winter whips.
The Myth of Achilles
You crashed onto the shores of destiny
With your armor ready,
your soul steeled in glory,
And three times you vanquished your fallen foe
In front of all who loved and knew him.
You were told you would never come home
But braved the peril of your shade for all eternity.
Your story is old and often related
As the example
Of true heroism,
Of true fortitude,
Of the greatest of men.
How you fought and sent many
Down to the house of Hades,
How you took the prize for your strength and your honor,
How you braved the odds and won the day,
Over and over again.
Your greatest feat, however,
Was not how many men you killed,
Or how many you loved,
Or how much gold
You stole. No: your greatest achievement
Was in your last act
Of humanity, being merciful
When you could have killed the old man,
When your anger was righteous
And you did the opposite.
But you lived in the age before you could know
Of grace and of redemption,
Before there was such a thing as forgiveness.
Now you are but a ghost of the past,
A shade of your former self,
The last vestige of the violence of men.
On Becoming a Man
What can I tell you about becoming a man,
About growing into your skin?
I am a child still in the middle of my years,
Still fumbling for words to describe my own self,
Still awkward and gangling when it comes to love,
When it comes to knowing the difference between
You and me. We have never been close, you and I,
Just like my father and me before,
Just like his father and him before,
I suppose. So what can I say about becoming a man?
I can say to you “Son, grow into yourself, be true
To your heart and be strong as the oak,
Be gentle as the lamb,
Be warm as the sun in the month of July.
And when you want to flee, when you want to fight,
When you want to destroy all that is in your heart,
Be opposite; be the very thing I have never been,
Be the example for me as well as for you.”
I could say these things, but, in the end, I
Have no words, I have no voice,
Because I have not yet become
The man you will someday.
To an Unknown Son
Your picture betrays who you really are,
I see in you all I was not. And I want to see
More of you than this image of me.
But you have never been any more
Than this photograph, than this mere reflection.
I see in you all I am not, a gentleness, a sensibility
Not a part of our kind. You are me from the past and
Me in the future: you and I, complete and whole.
Would it be different, I wonder, if you had been
Raised by my hand instead of by strangers?
Would you look innocent and young,
Or, as with all else, would you look so much like me
I would not recognize what may have been?
It will forever remain unknown, the mystery,
The greatest of all, of fathers and of sons.