The Cricket

These mornings there’s a cricket cross the way
Whose chirrup purls and eddies in the air,
Autumnal now and cool, to counterpoint
The city’s muffled thrum as well anoint
The drowsy traipsing of my early prayer.

A cricket on the hearth is luck, it’s said,
And though to call an empty New York lot
A hearth may be a metaphor too far,
The thought of luck itself is quite bizarre
And either one buys into it or not.

In general I trust grace far more than luck,
Yet looking at the world and its upsets,
Although I know full well I should have qualms
At mixing lucky crickets with my psalms,
There’s mornings I must cover all my bets.



A Moment on the A

I think they got on somewhere in the Heights:
Two Mexicans; accordion; guitar.
Their harmony was simple and so dear
That suddenly my eyes were filled with tears,
And then they moved on to another car.



Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Agape Review, America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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13 Responses

  1. Paul Buchheit

    Paying homage to a humble cricket in the big city — very nice, Jeffrey!

  2. Sally Cook

    I guess, if you have followed any of the poems I’ve written about my mother, you may recall some of her beliefs about crickets; specifically that they do bring good luck. To her, luck and blessings were synonymous. Did you also learn this from your mother? Lovely poem !

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    I love “The Cricket” for the sentiment, the musicality, the rhyme scheme, and the playful wink in the closing stanza. Perfect! Both poems have cheered my day. Thank you!

  4. Cheryl Corey

    I like the touch of humor in both. In this election cycle, I sorely need it.

  5. jd

    Enjoyed, Jeffrey, especially as we recently had a cricket stuck and hiding in our home. Lucky for us,
    maybe but not for him, apparently, in his now total science.

  6. Cheryl Corey

    As someone who’s currently dabbling in Chinese brush painting, it’s also nice to see oriental art accompany your poetry.

  7. g.KayeNaegele

    Very much enjoyed the excellent meter and phrasing in your poems. I too think luck and blessings to be synonymous. The last three lines are so smoothly poignant.

  8. Margaret Coats

    “The Cricket” has an interesting form, but it’s close to a sonnet with the philosophical turn at line 11. Crickets are gifts of God, and this was a morning when we needed one.

  9. Jeffrey Essmann

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind appreciation of my work. Yes, Margaret, I’ve written so many sonnets—and love the form so much–that I instinctively put a volta into most things I write (even grocery lists, as I segue into vegetables…).

  10. Geoffrey S.

    Especially liked the second poem. A short poem like this is perfect for a moment. I’m a former NYer living in Mexico so this is especially touching to me. Is it all right to suggest a slight change to the fourth line to: “That suddenly my eye filled with a tear” to make it a perfect rhyme with “dear”?

  11. Anna J. Arredondo

    I found both of these poems to be elegantly constructed, yet comfortably conversational at the same time. They nicely highlight the beauty in the ordinary that is so often overlooked.


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