‘The Apprentice of the Dead’ and Other Poetry by Reid McGrath The Society November 12, 2015 Beauty, Poetry 1 Comment The Apprentice of the Dead He painted the lines of the country road. He painted the leaves: saffron and gold. He painted the canopy, round the mere, all rubicund this time of the year. He painted the trees, without any bark. He painted the swamp, pickerel-dark; the cattails, herons, the Berkshires east, the Katerskills west, where the sun had ceased to show itself, but still cast its light up on the clouds, neon-pink and bright. (Giddily gobsmacked inside the Loeb, he wanted to wear that River School robe.) He studied their paintings. The picturesque celestial clouds shone down on his desk in his studio-flat, where he would write, about the same clouds: neon-pink and bright. View from the Wallkill Valley (a Tanka) Like a submarine: gray flanks and conning-tower— or Leviathan— rising out of the water— the rugged Shawangunks crest! The Things that Keep One Grounded (I am reprieved: “The cows are out next door!”) When plunged in deepest, philosophic thought, the time will come when I will have to chore… Plumbing the bottoms of some question or trying to find an answer where there’s naught, I’m spurred to act: The cows are out next door. I read sometimes; I sit too still. Explore conundrums of society. I’ve sought to find a healthy medium: I chore to balance overthinking. It’s a bore; and I will have to feed the grain I’ve bought to cows who presently are out next door, to chickens, pigs, or calves who don’t implore philosophers for answers which are caught in riddled webs. The time will come to chore. I know that I must fight a local war work with my hands, live simply, although fraught by lowly tasks. The cows are out next door. (Quit writing, then.) I’ll get them in, then chore. Sonnet for Jervis McEntee You knew the intimacy of snow-storms, the muted colors of this no-name town. You knew the backwoods kid and the hunched form of a fatigued man who would not know renown. These overcast skies, you knew, this muddy barnyard; leaf-litter, ash, and tawny grass. You were a Painter who saw the beauty of a quiet country life and Autumn’s pass. McEntee, you were one of us born late: no longer en vogue, passé, a Poet who’d loathe these modish terms. You were a great friend, husband, Christian, diarist. We know it now. Melancholy forged your pensive art; and thus I see, in these bare hills, your heart. Reid McGrath is a poet living in the Hudson Valley of New York. Featured Image: “The Hudson River Valley” by Jervis McEntee Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) One Response "Wired Clues" Abe November 25, 2015 Travelling New York, you may have walked with the gods, down its winding paths, Reid McGrath. I very much admire your tanka, View From the Wallkill Valley. It does so much within the confines of the tanka’s meagre syllables. It captures that spectacular vista through a vivid double simile. No syllable is wasted—even the two the’s are appropriate here. I particularly enjoy the modern diction and the realism of your picture. You have brought the tanka to the American landscape in a manner that is genuine and heartfelt. Your poem is the equal to any of similar length of the American Imagists. Who other than you could have seen that vision? Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.