seth howard | five poems


Breathing in the fresh spring air
The children were at play
In the playground where
Shouts could be heard, here, there,
And it didn’t seem so late
That they should all go running
Back, home
Through the tall grasses past
The forsaken trainyard gate
All was lost
We told ourselves
In the dimming afternoon light
But nothing was lost
And nothing could take us away
From each other
That sad day


What came to me
When I stood for a moment
Still as the grass in the morning light
Was floating weeds
Languid in the river flow
The bridge above
Looked over the tender scene
As I lit a cigarette and waited
Waited only for you
Whose smile was softer
Softer than the morning dew
A pack slung over my shoulder
And that burning grass in my mouth
The people passed by
And I could see their faces
In the dimming afternoon light
And I could see who was who
In the town they would come and go
And I looked out over the river
And it all seemed suddenly new
And I walked to the edge
Of the bridge
And saw you
Only just now
Coming into view


They had caught us lounging
At the close of day
Or perhaps I should say
They found us there at last
And little had we time to play
Being travelers of the world
Our things all bundled into a corner
Of the train where passengers
Sprawled out over the floor
Trying to find some space to rest
Over the long dark night


One of us had found a place
Under the seat
A blindfold pulled over the eyes
And it came as no surprise
That I had had to stand
For most of the night
Though it seemed unfair
Miles and miles ahead of us
Before we reach that
Mountain air
We ride upon a dream
The sandman sends
And watch the midnight flair


A picture lay on the desk
Of my room
I must have left it out
From the album
We were leafing through
Earlier in the night


So I looked at it closely
As if for the first time
And noticed that
We were younger then
Your hair tied back that way
That made you look plain
And the summer dress
You used to like to wear


But the picture was
Somewhat faded
A crease at the corner there
And it was hard to make out
That look in your eye
(My hand around your waist)
That seemed to say
At least to me now
After all these years


I sit at my desk
With only a dim lamp burning
At the far corner of my room


I like the feeling of darkness
When the day’s loose ends
Are beginning to wrap up


Only when the sun has set
And that street light outside
My window turns on
Do I feel at ease


And I think of who
I used to be and wonder
If I was an entirely different
Person then


If the me who I see in those
Pictures exists now only in my
Memory and that perhaps
I had renewed myself


Perhaps that memory
Was too much to bear
To live only one life


And that I was born into
A different life from which
I can look back on the years
I lived like a kaleidoscope

I am a poet out of New London Connecticut who graduated from UCONN Storrs. I lived abroad in Japan for 3 years where I studied at Sophia University (An international Jesuit school) and taught English on the side in cafes and a community college in Ikebukuro.

I have traveled extensively across Japan where I enjoyed writing poetry and short stories. I have also traveled to China, Taiwan, and Korea. I feel that my time spent in the orient has been a big influence on my writing, and often think back on my time there fondly.

Now I contribute to the Del Sol Poetry Reading in New London. I like to experiment with different poetic forms, and am interested in cultivating my art. Oddly enough I was a visual artist foremost, and even now I think that influences my style. I like to form clear, understandable images.

I guess the best way to describe myself would be to say that I am a minimalist with romantic tendencies. I value a certain lucidity of language and don’t like poetry that I can’t understand. Fellow poet Tom Weigel always said that my poems were “very subtle.” I hope you can pick up on my voice.

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