Arrowhead, Melville’s Home, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

J.R. Solonche


It’s hard to see him as a farmer, isn’t it?
Bending over the rows of lettuce and corn, 
feeling the ears between his thumb and forefinger, 

all the while remembering breadfruit and mango?
It’s hard to see him here at all this time of year.
Pacing the oak planks of the writing room upstairs,

sitting at the table, wearing these glasses, 
staring through the window out at Greylock,
Greylock whose back reminded him of whales. 

It’s easier in winter. In winter when the five
hemlocks in the yard  are a five-masted bark.
When the mountain wears a hump of snow.

When nothing stirs in the wasted field.
When white wind bangs at the door. 
When it cries, cries at the window.


J.R. Solonche has been publishing in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions), Heart’s Content (Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (forthcoming in April from Kelsay Books), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.


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