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selections of poetry and prose from three of his previously published books, his blog The Well Versed Heart and unpublished works.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.  


Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry
I was at the spoken word evening in Elora when you read this poem. Well done. It is such a statement to just how things seem to be at the moment.
I must say however, when I read it to my partner it did not have the same impact that it had when you read it. (I explained it was me.....and I wish he had been there to hear was brilliant)
I have a poem (my first attempt) if you would like to read it. I am a visual artist so this was a different experience for me. I also wrote two short stories which I really enjoyed doing. Not sure how to share it with you, as I am not very confident about this new art form for me, but would like any feedback if you care to share it.

Jerry Prager said...

I didn't read The People's Poet at the poetry night because I just wrote it. Although your comments seem to be about a different poem.
You can email me at jerry prag @ gmail. com (cut the spaces)to make the address work)