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Poetry by C.H. Coleman

Almost New England Winter

The Absence of Romance


Almost New England Winter

Ground soggier than saturated bran

Air heavy as sod, even tractors mold.

Dampened emotions, I beg the bedroom window

for a glimmer of morning light.

Days of rain flow into weeks of darkness,

the autumn crop turns from bountiful to rot.

Absent are fall foliage, colored corn and horns of plenty.

Fields grow shallow lakes, a crop no one can reap.

We harvest grass because the animals have been eaten,

and hunt the river for fish and empty the trees of birds.

My children cry because their hollow stomachs ache,

my wife cries because one more child grows inside her.

With no eggs and no butter and no milk for market,

we no longer shine in anticipation of the coming spring.

Instead, good men, lessened by the weight of lost muscle,

make the journey to the city in hopes that the factories are hiring.

My father once told me, "The world does not die, only dreams

when you have lost the images of what you want to want."

And the rain that falls in front of my bedroom window

feels like the weight of Noah’s great flood has fallen upon me.


The Absence of Romance

Young women and young men, offering

lives, far from mature, during the season of romance

instead become vehicles of destruction.

At a time when lovers woo intendeds and wedding

proposals grow into chapel and church ceremonies

soon-to-be brides and bridegrooms don helmets

and masks made for artificial breathing,

rather than smelling rose petals tossed

by flower girls imagining their own appointed day.

A missed chance meeting in a supermarket or library.

This spring at dinner time the restaurants will be filled with

travelling salesmen in traditional blues and greys

explaining that the world is based on acquisitions

and the costs associated with establishing new territories.

And weekend afternoons in the parks will be afflicted

by the sounds of little children and dogs running through

the empty spaces where lovers once lounged.

These places expanding in lieu of those who

went over and did not come back and the lovers who miss them

will, instead, fill the gaps in the children’s glee with the silence

of grief without any ability to restore what has been lost.


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