This time last year, I was enjoying after-school baseball games at Forese Field in Grove City and winding down the school year in room 209, daily gazing at The Guardian‘s “Best Photographs of the Day” page as a source of poetic inspiration. Few of my poetry students took up the challenge to write a poem a day from these images, but I found it life-giving, especially as I monitored the cafeteria for forty-five minutes each day. These images marinated in my mind as I scribbled notes in my small journal, keeping the students guessing thinking I was taking notes on their behavior. These three Photo Poems take us from a natural maze in Scotland, to a May Day protest in France, and finally to an empty street marked with crosses in New Zealand. (All poems by Vincent H. Anastasi)
We are not mice methodically dropped
into the sterile labyrinth,
blindly nosing our way
through ancient trimmed hedges,
the variable walls our only reprieve
from wood chips and wire,
a bit of cheese our only consolation.
We are not cruelly tossed
into the confusing and elaborate
puzzle of the legendary artificer,
slave of the king.
Though the beast resides within,
we are not lost.
Having gone before us,
greater than Theseus,
He is the unicursal path to the center;
now seated, seeing from above,
He ushers us triumphantly into the eternal heart.
May Day Demonstration
(a poem of only words made from letters in the title)
I am no monstrosity!
I daresay, I demonstrate
I am a man,
my tinder enmity
Tensions and emotions
detonate on May Day,
many men made monsters,
distorted into demons.
a nation made mad,
one day in May.
9 for 29
Nine seconds sprint in record time
to fame Jamaican and sublime.
Nine minutes is a deceptive tease
when sun still sleeps ‘neath horizon’s sheets.
Nine hours devours a third of the day,
exhaustion gnawing the span that remains.
Nine days hasten to needed rest,
the body ill-fitted to perpetual stress.
Nine weeks quarter the academic’s life
defining successes in blacks and whites.
Nine months carries an expected end
when love sown in secret finds new life again.
But nine years bears a ponderous weight
when exhuming the past calls for digging new graves.