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, The Waggle, Long Island Quarterly, The Eclectic Muse, Trinacria and Now Then Manchester.
The Pond in Springtime
Behind the house, the tall grass nearly hides
a stream that threads a furrow at the edge
of the garden, and sprouting on both sides
are rushes, purple loosestrife, reeds and sedge.
It flows into a small pond where duckweed
and frogbit float; in the shallows, cattails
grow, and in deeper water, punkinseed
and bass lie above the bottom where snails
and crayfish feed: and nymphs emerge to rise,
shed their shells, and, transformed, they pause before
they fly; and then the air is seen to teem
with stoneflies, dragons, damsels and mayflies;
they drop their spawn into the seed and spore
that are washed into the pond by the stream.
S.T. Coleridge on Suspending Disbelief and Other Things
‘… that willing suspension of disbelief …
which constitutes poetic faith.’
S.T. Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, Ch. XIV
He says of the two ‘points of poetry’
to use the ‘colours of imagination’
but keep to truth ‘exciting sympathy,’
and employ both of these in combination.
So, write of supernatural events
and beings, call up emotions we’d feel,
suspending disbelief to feel the sense
we’d feel if we supposed that they were real.
And also write of ‘things of every day,’
whose loveliness familiarity
hides; notice them and show the mind the way
to give to them ‘the charm of novelty.’
And pleasure leads to truth in poetry
when opposites combine harmoniously.
A Watercolour of Abu Simbel
Imperial, impassive, each great face
looks down from Abu Simbel. The king of sun
and earth, four-from-one, sits in this high place,
ruling all, so that will and works are one.
And so, he ruled the hand that carved this hill,
And cut the giant form that fills each throne,
at once the work of the sun-god king’s will
and his image pressed in the living stone.
On this paper, watery rust hues flow
in the stone’s image, pushed by another hand,
filling its form with lights and shades that show
its shapes, then dry like silt upon the land.
Now, look on him, the ruler of an age,
an image in verse and on a painted page.