My Coat—a Haiku

God pays no heed to
disguises He can see through—
I’ve worn myself out.


The Old Poet’s Tree

I’m bent with age
and the cold, empty page
has a lesson it can teach:
the fruit I see
on the Old Poet’s Tree
is now well beyond my reach.

Yet still I strive
though I’m barely alive
and my pen is nearly dry.
All night and day
to the Master I pray
for a way to say good-bye.

Then one last verse
as I wave from the hearse
and if it should make you laugh,
please bury me
‘neath the Old Poet’s Tree
where I’ll need no epitaph.



Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet.

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@ with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.”

7 Responses

  1. Mike Bryant

    I agree that poets need no epitaph. You’ve written yours in verse and it’s just right.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    Joe, your poems here suggest a tone similar to Dunbar’s “Lament for the Makars,” with its refrain of “Timor mortis conturbat me!” (the fear of death troubles me).

    Pay no mind to death. Just keep writing.

    • Joe Tessitore

      Thank you, Joe.

      Did you see my suggestion, in a different thread, that you consider an on-line course?
      I, for one, would be seriously interested (your comment of “a finely-chiseled poem” has never left me) and I’m sure others would be as well.

  3. Joe Tessitore

    Beyond that, Joe, I often have delayed reactions with things and this is one of those times.
    I realized that you sensed that I’m on the verge of stopping and cared enough to say something about it.

    Thank you very much.

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    Joe T. —

    I’m not especially skilled with computers, so running an on-line course would be tough for me. At some of the schools where I have worked over the years, the budgetary administrations have attempted to force faculty to do ALL their courses on-line (persons from the world of business and finance tend to be stupid about educational policy), but there has been solid resistance from both faculty and students. Nothing can replace the face-to-face lecture and discussion mode.

    As for the comment in your last post, remember this, which was told to me many years ago by an elderly scholar:

    “Wake up every morning with the firm conviction that you will live another hundred years. And work through the day as if you were going to be executed in the next twelve hours.”

  5. Rob Crisell

    Very touching poem, Joe. It might be one I’ll dig out in a few years and reread. “Fragment I have shored against my ruins,” as Eliot says. Well done.

    • Rob Crisell

      Sorry–“Fragments.” One of my favorite passages from the Wasteland: “These fragments I have shored against my ruins.” Poetry as solace in the 6th and 7th ages of our lives…


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