Richard W. Halperin – When the Lamp Is Shattered

Richard W Halperin LEP&W V1 Sept-Oct 2022

Download PDF Here Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One Sept-October 2022. 

When the Lamp Is Shattered, poems by Richard W. Halperin


When the Lamp Is Shattered

Paris, summer 2019.
My street is being excavated.
To lay fibre, I think.

The tarmac, stripped back,
reveals tramway tracks from
the early twentieth century.

The people on them, the hats,
the worries, the anticipations.

The world of Welles’s masterpiece
The Magnificent Ambersons
All those souls.


Bridge of Dreams

Old Uncle Ralph, sitting in his chair, interpreting,
is the bore at the party. Listeners are listening
to their own inner worlds anyway.

A still small voice – ‘here I am’ – God briefly
in the Bible. It is enough. Roses and pine trees
and coasts say very little, so, invite me to listen.

I read Lady Murasaki, Shakespeare, Henry James.
They wrote beautifully because they thought
beautifully. Has no one ever noticed?

Old Uncle Ralph sitting in his chair.
Cassiopeia sitting in hers. You, when you were here.
The blood in my veins. Constellations.


Sears R. Jayne

1920 – 2015

Your hand holding a coffee cup.
Your face on every occasion.
Your way of saying ‘hello.’
Ditto ‘good-bye.’
Verbs would ruin it.
You were the verb.

Today the man who got me to write poetry
died.
I hadn’t seen him for forty years.
His Spenser classes were packed to the rafters,
people used to bring their friends along.

There is no such thing as any teacher.
Rather, a unique particular flawed cracked
sentient one hopes sympathetic being.
And – of the face; of the hand; of the look;
and sometimes of the word – language.

Getting through even the next second
can have all the characteristics of a road accident.

Goodness and mercy are not the name of a law firm.
They are quite what they are
when come upon.


James T. Farrell

He wrote about bedbugs and God. A passionate
artist. I think of him to-night, after rereading
The Death of Nora Ryan. In all his books,
a describer of glaring wrongs over which
the oblivious step and still step. His favourite
author was Proust. His second favourite, Yeats.
An immense output of novels, short stories,
essays. Then he walked away like a cat.


© Richard W Halperin

Richard W. Halperin holds Irish-U.S. nationality and lives in Paris. Since 2010, he has published four collections via Salmon Poetry, Cliffs of Moher. The most recent is Catch Me While You Have the Light, 2018. In complement, he has published sixteen shorter collections via Lapwing, Belfast. The most recent is A Ballet for Martha. In Spring 2023, Salmon will bring out a Selected & New Poems, which will include poems from both publishers.

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