“When a thought from the past fires the soul,” writes the poet Joseph Zaccardi of a wartime memory, “time is no more.” And yet it clings to the present.

Portside Culture

 

Joseph Zaccardi

A Wolf Stands in Water
“When a thought from the past fires the soul,” writes the poet Joseph Zaccardi of a wartime memory, “time is no more.” And yet it clings to the present.

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Path to Migration

By Joseph Zaccardi

An old man in City Park is feeding the pigeons.

He is trying to teach them to be orderly and fair.

The pigeons will have none of this, they scramble

from one side of the park bench to the other

to gain advantage. If you would only be patient,

he says. And then his voice trails off. He is remembering

something from the Great War in Europe. Something

a historian would consider insignificant. One side or the other

he says out loud. There was a girl running out of a barn

in France, trying to save a chicken who had become frightened

by all the noise. A bullet went clear through her body;

she stood for a moment, then fell over. Now the old man’s eyes

have a glassy look which could be angels closing in

around his vision. When a thought from the past fires the soul,

time is no more. Why won’t you share, he says,

to the pigeons?

Joseph Zaccardi says poetry came alive for him in the 7th grade when his teacher, Sister Francesca, gave him a small book of poems by W.C. Williams. Perhaps the power of poetry is that it stays with you, even when it is not with you. Each day is a tree of verbal apples one may climb; he is usually up there, unless he is after the even more delectable fruits of silence. He is the former Poet Laureate of Marin county in California.   www.josephzaccardi.com

 

 
 

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