Modest Triumph

At the dour end of a dismal day
in a run of such days
that compose an age
where I find myself no longer young,
somehow I come almost alive
with evening, PBS NewsHour,
a modest dinner, and after dinner
wine and a mystery novel.
The heavy and weary weight
of all this dumbfounding world
is lightened, another day
when the Sisyphean rock
failed to crush me
as it rolled back down the hill.

My Bookcases Crammed

My bookcases crammed with learning,
erudition, joie de vivre, despair,
loftiness, sublimity,
mock my feeble efforts
to walk with giants
whose genius and failure fill them.

I pour myself into myself
and onto the page
in shape of thought
as I come to know what I am thinking,
who I am in all this whatever it is
or not.

I pour myself into myself
to find what I think
and who I may be,
these words a winter.

A geranium once sat
atop the bookcase, neath a painting
Jim Darlington gave me
near half a century gone,
some shadow of memory,
what remains,
this riotous mob of words
posing as poem,
passing for thought.

Paint Your Easter Eggs with Ikons

Careless with friendship, hapless with love,
I long for river, ocean,
to gaze over some expanse
or a boulder on a mountainside
looking down on a gorge
that runs endless to the east
and into the sky

with foolish blind faith
in the capacity of poem,
paint on canvas,
jazz rhapsody
to redeem and restore
this world of bombs, executions,
messianic delusions.

Paint Easter eggs with ikons.
Embrace your clarinet.
Pursue the wild trope.

Beyond Granny’s Garden

Beyond Granny’s garden, field and pasture
rolled down to a stand of trees
at the creek, bounded by a country road,
barbed-wire fence, and more woods.
Those fields and woods we wandered,
roamed and frolicked, sweat-drenched,
summer sun bearing down
hard and brilliant light.

Not much older I began
to dream my dream,
or it dreamed me,
sweet vistas without bound
rolling down to a wild sea
and up to cloud-wrapped mountain peak
where flowers are rumored to bloom
for a single week in the spring.

Those fields and woods
and the horizon they bounded
are gone now, washed away
by the flood of time,
melancholy trace of memory
what remains,
flowers that may have bloomed
a single week in spring.

David Matthews is a native of the South Carolina Midlands, resident of Portland, Oregon, poet, runner, everyday intellectual. Poems have appeared in Bangalore Review, Quill & Parchment, Steam Ticket, Ghost Town Poetry Vol. Two, and elsewhere. His website/blog is Portable Bohemia (