Selected Works, Volume One On Sale
Jerry Prager, author of Legends of the Morgeti vol 1 &2 has published selections of poetry and prose from three of his previously published books, his blog The Well Versed Heart and unpublished works. On Sale at Macondo Books, the Bookshelf, in Guelph and the Eden Mills Writers Fest.
D'Etre Raisins

No sour grapes these,

rather the withered sweetness
of seasons lengthened
to aged fruition
chewed introspectively.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The People's Poet

The photo of Milton Acorn hung in the shadows of the tavern,
his cragged face weary with bagged eyes, bulging hardships
falling free down flat cheekbones sustained by a steady gaze;
his wild hair swept back as if by an unconscious hand,
grooming that had also grazed his goatee,
causing it to jut towards the future,
towards the direction he was intent on taking,
the direction he had always taken, the way
of solidarity with the long suffering.
It was a nicotine-stained, framed image of a writer
his peers had dubbed the People's Poet.

Acorn, the unashamed communist with the carpenter's hands
and the sprawling soul troubled by war wounds and drink,
came into his voice on the provincial sandbar that is Prince Edward Island,
the place to which he soon after the picture was hung returned his remaining years.

Long ago, I sat in Grossman's tavern looking at his image,
studying the dedication to a man who reminded me of my father
and grandfather: the same shattered, political romanticism
held together by the will of their dialectic acuity:
minds that would never give up the struggle,
hearts that found company among the misbegotten
and among the deep dreaming word workers
slurring themselves to sleep in the company of fellow travelers
who always made sure they arrived safely.

I have no idea why the memory of Acorn returned to me,
I can't even remember if he and I were ever
in the same place at the same time or not,
it just feels like we were; feels like I have been celebrating
the same exuberance of longing in the anguish of existence,
defending the poet's need to speak a better world into being,
the need to accept love in all the places we find it,
the need to overthrow misery within and without, 
the need to discover mercy in the tender twilight
where dune grasses still trace haikus on tidal pool sands;
where wild bay leaf bushes on the beach at Dalvay
spoke his name to the sea of his childhood.

I also remember liking one of his poems on a poster on the subway
but don't recall a word of it;  I remember as well singing
“spun you out of my eyes fire” to my Perth County Conspiracy album,
and the hard way the People's Poet wore his gentleness on the tip of his pen.

Mostly, I remember the stained paean to Acorn on that tavern wall when I was young
and first burned with the need to un-wound the world, I remember failing at that,
and writing another poem anyway, as if sorrow contained its own antidote;
as if joy was an act of defiance, a conflagration triggered by
 the breaking of humanity; a purifying blaze
born in utterance and fed by abandoned reiteration.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Interlude of Quiet

The cool air of the floor of the gorge rises from the river
to the warm heights of the plateau in the light, raindamp afternoon,
the early spring sun lost behind cloud for days,
disturbing only the equilibrium of the mist
drifting through the railing ballisters of the David Street Bridge
to swirl across the span and caress the trees of the limestone cliff edges
before the updraft dissipates the remaining haze into the grey skies
above and beyond the view from my kitchen window.

There is a tenderness in the mist, an uplift to yet another
gloomy April forecast, to the chill that refuses to surrender the season
of the harsh winter, otherwise gone but for warmth delayed.
Even now, the cold-battered willows,
maples and ash, seem to heal in the soft, stray breezes,
the scars of the December ice-storm still everywhere to be seen:
lost limbs, branches; split trunks and denuded boles
seem glad of the palliative day and the care of the restorative drizzle.

The human animal carries the idea of spring postponed
in our bones, but the trees linger at their own pace,
nurtured by soil and water while they await the sun of their quickening.

If I can't be like them, I can at least wait with them, glad of nuanced mercies,
at peace, because they have so far survived the changing climate as have I,
whether doomed or not, the outcome in the balance, trouble enough
for another day than this interlude of quiet.

Jerry Prager 05/01/2014