Robert Pelgrift is an editor for a legal publisher, working in New York City. His poems have been published in various anthologies and in The Lyric, Rotary Dial, The Galway Review, The Foxglove Journal and The Waggle.
The Meadow Stream
This tarry reed smell wakes my memory;
the violet buzz, the blue-green grasses bent
by footsteps, the meadow songbirds’ melody,
the thorn-scratch stinging sweat – all are in this scent.
So are the fertile slick at the stream side
that frames the watery mirror of the skies,
where the long, leggy water striders stride;
so are the warm still breaths of the stream’s sighs.
In this scent’s the red-brown speckled trout that rest
in lees waiting to seize naiads that rise
toward their glass sky over streaming reeds
and to sip nymph-hatched mayflies as they breast.
And in this hot tarry taste are the mayflies
and naiads and the streaming reedy weeds.
Black jointed fingers sketched in charcoal strokes
fork upward on a canvas washed in gray,
the brittle bones of ashes and of oaks,
struck hard by a rough chill, they stiffly sway.
Against the blue-tinted gray, yellow drops
are scattered on green, and Autumn’s first yield
of yellow, high up on still-green tree tops,
paints flowers of gold upon a grassy field.
Over frosted brown ridge lines, strokes of red
are clustered, and where the red maple grows
above the heaps of Autumn’s piled dead,
are painted crimson petals of a rose.
Then black strokes appear, as the chill that froze
the squash and apples strike this Autumn rose.
The Crescent Moon
“. . . a miraculous crescent
“Arose with a duplicate horn . . . .”
– “Ulalume – A Ballad”
Edgar Allan Poe
At dusk, a meager arc of whited chalk
above the graying rose marks the curved spine
of a crescent moon whose glimmer seems to stalk
the track of the spent sun’s unseen decline.
But now this vision our vision disbelieves,
for the dim crescent’s upper horn is torn;
it seems some darkly curving fissure cleaves
it through, leaving an eerie cloven horn.
Has the unheeded shade of peak or gorge
etched the moon’s shape ever since it was born;
or was it lately cracked in heaven’s forge,
did some dark titanic blow cleave this horn?
This crescent lingers just above sky’s end,
with cloven horn and all it may portend.
*The Galway Review 6 – Printed Edition, April 2018