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, Now Then Manchester and Blue Unicorn.
Sunshine Through the Leaves
Sun shines through the leaves of the maple tree,
and all the undersides light up, each one
a glowing green gold, moving breezily,
with edges sharply seen against the sun.
The trunk’s long shadow stretches, hung with drapes
of gray, indistinct shades, each makes a pair
with one of the sharp-edged green and gold shapes
that shimmer with the rhythms of the air.
Across the field at sunset, the tree tops
are sharp-edged shapes, but black, on the red side
of the sun; black figures on the red clay
side of an ancient bowl; as the sun drops,
the tree trunks seem to disappear inside
the foreground which gathers them up in gray.
The Harmony of Night
How long since my roofed, city-lidded sight
has been able to trace the graven arc
etched by each gem in the crystal of night
as it wheels through the regions of the dark.
The crescent moon now seen against a maze
of trails, tracks the sun’s fall in western skies;
filling, then dwindling, it moves through each phase,
’til its fine curve sits atop the sunrise.
To the North, the Big Dipper’s winter rise
has long since spent itself, and its lights seem
to plunge now to the verge of summer skies
as they compass the North Star’s steady beam.
Now I would know, as ancients knew, this sight,
the ever-moving harmony of night.
‘And gentlemen in England now . . .
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here.’
— Shakespeare, Henry V, IV, iii
His was the royal will that drew the bows
at Agincourt, and, for the dynasty
of Bolingbroke and the Lancastrian rose,
at once secured a vast suzerainty.
By his victory, the king made his own
the lands he claimed of right in Normandy,
displaced an heir and forced a queen and throne
from mad, murderous Valois and Burgundy.
But wasn’t the great enterprise in vain,
its root severed by his mortality?
His English domain could not long sustain
his empire, nor his seed the dynasty.
One sees that at his death, his will remained –
one cannot see by what it was sustained.