Photo of the Day Poems – Post #9

It’s hard to believe that these poems come from just a year ago. For me, they represent another moment to pause, to carve out a few quiet moments to deepen in the midst of these full days. This selection of The Guardian Photo Poems presents compositions inspired by my soul animal (a hawk) in Moscow, two stray dogs “hoboing down the railway line” in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and the college entrance scandal showcased in Massachusetts. The final poem utilizes the rondeau form, a French form best demonstrated in McCrae’s immortal “In Flanders Fields.” (All poems by Vincent H. Anastasi)

No Stranger to My Soul

You are no stranger to my soul —
gauntlet-perched on Master’s hand,
the elder goshawk on patrol:
sentinel of sacred lands.

You sweep the sky with agile flight
broad rounded wings and slate gray cap
fire opal eyes and brow of white
descend in dive, a taloned trap!

Forever guarding golden domes
the heart beneath the barred breast,
within me how you fiercely roam
‘till perched again, you come to rest.

Krasnoyarsk, Russia (4/3/2019)
Photograph: Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

Meditation on Two Strays

For Samuel and Theodore

I photograph-gaze at these two strays
hoboing down the railway line
in the Taiga Forest
and I imagine my two youngest sons
transformed Sendakesque:
their bunk bed ladder
the sleepers and rails,
the olive-green carpet
sprouting late fall stubble,
walls dissolving into forest
and all the world charged
with the olfactory wonder of dogs!

Soon I too am down on all fours
pushing through the rubble
of unshelved books
strewn about the floor
and blanket webs
hanging from bunk bed branches
trying to pick up
imagination’s creative scent.

Massachusetts, US (4/4/2019)
Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Admission (A Rondeau)

I worked four years to make the grade;
I got involved and took their tests;
In every way I gave my best
with application fees all paid.

The strong foundation firmly laid
of honesty and sweat and rest,
I worked four years to make the grade;
I got involved and took their tests.

Yet all these things could not persuade
the finest schools to count me blessed;
admission bows to the behest
of wealth and fame and power played.
I worked four years to make the grade.

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