Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Richard W. Halperin holds Irish-U.S. nationality and lives in Paris. Since 2006, he has seen over 450 of his poems published in literary magazines, mainly in Ireland and the U.K, with an especially large number taken by Cyphers and, until it closed, THE SHOp. Since 2010, he has published four collections via Salmon Poetry. The most recent is Catch Me While You Have the Light, 2018. In complement, since 2014, he has published thirteen shorter collections via Lapwing, Belfast. The most recent is Richard Dalloway in Wisconsin: Two Poem Sequences. The second sequence, A Country I Remember Fresh as Morning, is dedicated to the peace educator Betty A. Reardon.
‘How can I restore what I have never stolen?’
They cry of the oppressed.
The eternal cry of the oppressed.
The cry of the eternally oppressed.
My cat looks at me.
Whatever he is thinking
It is never that.
We both get to the next minute
The name for the full moon in February.
First used in Maine, where snowfalls are heavy.
Language, though, is alive, cannot be confined
Even by the good people of Maine.
For me, snow moon is the full moon in any month,
Pure as driven. White is not necessarily something
To be emulated. The dead turn white, for example.
I prefer luminous.
Garbo, after retirement, received an honorary Oscar
For her ‘luminous performances.’ It could as well
Have gone to moon phases. Snow moon.
Soon gone. Never gone. Eventual resurrection.
The Book of Kells is also snow moon. The colours
Mask it, as did the paint on ancient Greek temples.
Snow moon. When I say the two words, mountains,
Valleys, libraries, I myself, drop sheer away.
With schoolmates. With teachers.
Where are they now, those conversations?
Not about literature or science,
Although that’s what we thought they were about.
Conversations about ourselves only,
About how intelligent we all were being.
Most of which subsequent tragedy burnt entirely away.
Conversations which continued on without us
Through inter-stellar space.
To be eaten by angels maybe,
As the resurrected Jesus ate that grilled fish
For Elizabeth A. Farrell (1942 – 2021)
‘What he could do he did,’
Virginia Woolf writes.
About the moth
In ‘The Death of the Moth.’
And I, as my life nears its close?
I have not done what I could.
Do is a terrifying verb.
Be is the verb for me:
Be I cannot help.
A moth flutters against a windowpane
On a summer day.
Bangs against the pane.
Slows down against the pane.
Falls nearly weightless to the sill.
In one regard I do do what I can:
Not to be read by readers.
Not to be read by myself.
Not to be read by windows.
One can open windows.
I write to be read
I can see through them
But I can never pass through them.
© Richard W Halperin