BIO OF B. E. STOCK B. E. Stock has been writing poetry since the age of eight, and has lived in New York City since age 16. She studied...
LIBRARY, WHEN IT WAS
A hushed cathedral of the mind
Whose aisles were filled with thought;
A shelter from the stormy wind
Where knowledge could be caught;
A fellowship of centuries
Within the English tongue,
Where any child could be a king
And every bard was young;
Where relics could be taken out
And grace your bed at home,
And cheer you as you walked about,
And still be just a loan;
Where books were never bought, but shared,
And never hurt at all,
And every great idea was dared
That made the heart grow tall.
The bricks or pipes remain in place
But wind and water travel through
And tumble all upon the ground
Unless they have cement or glue.
You must inspect, you must renew,
For tightest joints become unsound
When weather does what it will do,
And solid walls at last unlace.
Beware, for all the unity
The body and the country know
Is like a cloud upon the sea
Before it dissipates in snow.
What sets the eyes and cheeks aglow
And brings your kisses home to me?
What blocks the wind that wants to blow
And crumble down society?
That principle within the bone
Beyond the ken of all on earth?
That tremor of the great rebirth,
That origin of cell and stone?
PHOTO OF A SMALL GIRL
Her hand upon the door post
She gazes far away
Perhaps at other children
In loud contentious play
Perhaps at inner visions
Beginning to come clear -
We saw the picture breathing
In that so distant year.
Her arms and legs were gleaming
Under the summer sun
Her life was all before her
And yet she did not run
But cautiously and stilly
Surveyed it from afar.
Strange how bereft of innocence
Some little children are.
These poems are like songs, and some would say sing-songs. But, of course, the thing about songs is that they can be sung in different ways to create dynamics, emphasis, delay. This is clearer when there is a melody, but experienced readers can respond as though the melody were there. The devices of poetry are, among other things, a device for remembering, so it is smart to use songlike forms. If you try to memorize a free verse poem, you may have a lot more trouble than if there is rhyme or strict rhythm to trigger your recollection! On the other hand, the option to use other forms or no apparent form is good for us all. There are more opportunities for surprise and for having things rip open on us. In the last poem here, note the form is broken just once, when I point to the girl being bereft of innocence - there is an extra beat. The reality of her state of mind does not fit into the romantic notion that little children are innocent. One of my first, also a ballad type poem, ended with a line of two syllables. Already at age 8 I was playing around with form.
Today I'd like to share some more traditional type poems I have written since I published my Collected Poems in 2001.
I'd like to share a few of what I call my sprawl poems, written after 9/11. I worked right near the site of the attack, and for some time afterwards I was blocked. When I started writing again it was in a new way, spilling out as I contacted my love of life and of the city, and started mending a broken marriage. I am including one poem, "The Fugitive", which was published in an-on line journal called In Our Own Words in fall of 1997, before 9/11, but is written in a similar style. "Comfort" was published in Lalitamba in 2006.
Conducted him gently, and the story in the local paper
HE URGES HER TO HESITATE
I am hoping to find other poetic souls and places open to both rhymed and unrhymed, strictly metric and looser and syllabic poems, and definitely the spiritual dimension. Here's to more and better!