We Real Cool
The Red Wheelbarrow
Joie de Mourir

_____ The following are some samples of the curgina (i.e. metrical poems with free verse linebreaks). To see them in "normal" (i.e. decurginated) stich form please click on the poem's title below, then again to return here.

We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

The Red Wheelbarrow
by W.C. Williams

So much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white


Let us speak of rumours
first. The pallid truth can wait
till later. Did she kneel
before a rosary
of priests behind the chapel?

Lenny says she loved a man
too many. Freddy White went further,
saying she would writhe
to any occasion; she would consummate
her nightly nuptials, leaving each
new orchard after biting
every apple. It will rain

champagne before I tell you
that I loved her.

aka "Panther That Crouches in Wait" or "Shooting Star"

You, Canadian? The greatest
American? You fought to be neither,
but nor were you panther
that crouches in wait. You were egret,
your feet in the mud as you stood
above weeds. Both

your fathers would leave you
to war. Brock would say no more
valorous warrior exists.
Sure as apple trees bud, the pleas
of a peacemaker can't be imparted
while even your traplines have
got to be guarded.

The cities were the bellows of the wind
that blew at Prophetstown,
across the rivers,
over you. Gray wolves surround
the egret. Foxes slink
away, their coats the colour of your blood.

You'd say: "Sing your death song and then die
like a hero returning home." Yours
was the song of that egret, your life
like a burning poem.


Once again he has made us
accept something better
denied: one more rose
on his breast before infinite moments
alone, one more snowfall to face.
It is just
as old Rex
he has gone
to his grace,
leaving us
so much less
of our own.


September came like winter's
ailing child but
left us
viewing Valparaiso's pride. Your face was
always saddest when you smiled. You smiled as every
doctored moment lied. You lie with
orphans' parents, long

As close as coppers, yellow beans still
line Mapocho's banks. It
leads them to the sea;
entwined on rocks and saplings, each
new vine recalls that
dawn in 1973 when
every choking, bastard weed grew wild.

Joie de Mourir

Beyond this arid pit is life, lived
incognito. Dreams resist
our beckoning. Just coax the one
that's closest: I can
see my wife, a rose
corsage adorns her wrist; her iris
catches the voyeur sun.

I see her neckline, hem and slit
unfurl then gather like geese
in flight. At dusk we dance and turn
to tell the termagant wind
to end its fit. Two shadows
move at the speed of night
across the shadeless halls
of hell.

by A. Michael Juster
as published in the November 1998 issue of the "South Carolina Review"

This is the time
for mercy,

time for letting
rage recede.

while not forgetting

a small act of grace
is how we squint at God.

Embrace this chance
with wonderment.


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