Down in the Country

A poem by Jack D. Harvey

(Published in The RavensPerch, September, 2017.)


I found dancing does,
roses waving on their stems,
hobos, vagrants of all sorts
roving around my back forty.
The does ate the roses, the rogues
kicked the does to kingdom come or
into the woods, I think.

Who knows?

Yesterday, a gorbellied tramp
came to my door or
knocked on my window.

Who remembers?

He said “Jesus, you’ve got some
sweet setup here, pal o’ mine,
wait’ll the nosy distant neighbors
see and hear about it,
look over the fences,
listen at the door,
tell the authorities.”

“Oh, go to hell, I don’t care,”
I said to him,
I am the god of
my house, my garden.

“Hell is my god,” said the tramp,
bursting into tears;
“my dear old dead dad
went there in a handbasket.
Pot Riley, they called him,
he drank a lot and
now I carry his pack,
on my back,
a sort of monument,
an empty sack of nothing
you can touch;
just memories and
paradigmatic gestures.”

After that lost unraveled language,
a locution, a fancy word,
I had to give him something;
something for nothing
is always nice.

I gave him a rose.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, Mind In Motion, The Comstock Review, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets Coalition, the University of Texas Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines over the years, many of which are probably kaput by now, given the high mortality rate of poetry magazines.The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He was born and worked in upstate New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired. He once owned a cat that could whistle “Sweet Adeline”, use a knife and fork, and killed a postman.

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