Tuesday, June 12, 2012


[Once again we have "Musings" from Carmen Leone, but different musings this time. I love the ambling pace & the gentle humor in this long poem, & I know you will too!]


On any given block,
in some house
someone’s crying in the bathroom.
This you’d never know
from the perfectly green lawns.

At the counter in Rite-Aid
people of all shapes and sizes
bob and weave in their individual seas of misery
while the pharmacist’s girls gossip
and count pills.

The tree people look at the fallen tree
in my back yard
and shake their heads in unison,
plotting my ruin.


The salesgirl totals the bill
And looks at me through—almost—tears.
I want to say, “Don’t worry.
It’s all right.”


Not all things are not what they seem.
Enough are, though, to make us leery
of even the surest things.

I would give you an example
if only I could think of one.     


It took four double A batteries
to light the fire in our fireplace.


I know I eat too much,
but did he have to ask me
when the baby’s due?


We agree that the next time we gather at a wake
we’ll afterwards go someplace to eat.
except for, of course,
whichever one of us has died.


When she died, he stood awhile perplexed
about what to do with the food we brought.
Then he put it away
and asked us if we’d like a cup of coffee.


What would happen
If nothing happened?


The summer sounds—
the mowers and the birds—
pretty much block out
the ringing in my ears.


The leaf that simply fell
several days later
gave me more pain
than its tree that preceded it in death.


The snow doesn't fall exactly
but each flake circles for awhile
looking for the time and place
to land
picking out its own
blade of grass
as if to say
will try
to purify


John Greenleaf may be Whittier
but Henry David’s more Thoreau.


What is so clear
as a tear?
Not soul penetrating
as a drop of  blood,
not so devastating
as a sudden flood
is, my dear,
but simply clear?


I made an imaginary garden
and grew giant vegetables there,
but who should rob me of my gains
but an imaginary hare!


Danny went into the woods to see what he could see.
Johnny went into the woods to see a maple tree.
Danny saw a snake, a frog, three birds, a stream, a bee.
Johnny saw--well, what else?--Johnny saw a maple tree.


Louisa May Alcott,
. . . but then again, she may not

I know my chords,
and, trust me,
she’s an E minor.


To Archibald MacLeish I meekly say,
a poem should not mainly mean,
but mean it may.

Carmen Leone
© 2009-the present


  1. I love the whimsy (thinking of someone as an E minor chord, and the Whittier/Thoreau lines) and then moments of quiet beautifully crafted devastation or loneliness. Numbers XI and XII stand out for me.

    1. Hi HKatz: Those were two of my favorite moments as well! Thanks so much for stopping by & commenting on Carmen's poem.


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