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Sample Poems by Laverne Frith


Eruption, Mount Saint Helens
 
 
the blow-off has long since occurred;
we stare downward into the distant lake
 
capture the piles of logs collected
like so many toothpicks, a brutal
 
reminder of the mountain’s passion:
things blown and burned. Now there is
 
emerging fireweed that turns the day
to brilliant red. We stare and feel
 
once again the fires rising within,
as though the mountain never sleeps.



I Know
 
 
I know the story of flowers is in the blooming.
 
I know how solid rocks can become.
 
I know that epiphany must be sudden.
 
I know that childhood is more than a phase.
 
I know that deprivation is a teacher.
 
I know that you must live the underside
to know the understory.

 



Opening the Door to a Poem

 
 
You turn in bed to the morning. You see an
annoying crack of light, an ephemeral that
 
resists form. Then the door opens wider, squeaks
as language enters, spreading, separating
 
into parts: nouns, verbs, you name it. Adverbials
begin to creep between the sheets. Our bodies
 
become restless, perturbed. Shadows form
on the ceiling, on the walls, shapes and piece
 
parts colluding. Then light fully takes its place
in the room, as the poem takes on its dimensions,
 
title and first line, then a full stanza. You
realize at last that you are in the fullness
 
of morning. The rest flows in complete accord
with the incipient day.



In This Overhang
 
 
of deep December,
of the crow’s persistent gaze,
his store of disenchantment,
 
I feel the chill begin, and remember
how long this season can last,
 
remember the outages, the fallen
trees, the broken lines of contentment,
 
how difficult it can become
for the mind, the imagination,
to flow freely in the dark, without
 
anchor, without any real bearing
on the shore.


Winter’s Lock
 

It is like that at this time of the year,
the sub-zero temperatures locking the wheels
 
of motion, freezing the inhabitants into
a winter’s consciousness. Outside, a coastal
 
scene is laid out in outline form, from
the snow-capped distant hills against a
 
light blue sky, spreading to a rough
shore, then to the manor overlooking it
 
all, everything caught in the pack of
hardened snow. So much now is given to
 
acts of waiting, to attending to the
barest of essentials—clearing the paths,
 
securing the boats, making ready for
the impending thaw and the inevitable
 
return to the sea when once again
you will sum the years, the joys and
 
the disappointments; you will somehow
strike a balance.



 Self-Portrait

 
 look directly at the camera,
and slightly away all at once
 
don’t flinch,
don’t lose the poem
 
when you trigger the click
you capture the image
 
record it
exactly as planned
 
after all, the timing
is so perfect
 
and you are the metaphor
for everything
that has gone before