Richard Halperin is an Irish-U.S. dual national living in Paris. His fourth collection for Salmon is Catch Me While You Have the Light. His seventh collection for Lapwing is Three Poem Sequences. Both published in 2018.
The Library of Alexandria
I start a poem about my father
And as often happens, it changes
Into something else because I,
Like many poets, have too many
Dead father poems. Unfinished
Conversations, I suppose.
The poem meanders to Ireland and
America. I have no family crests,
My two families had nothing
In common with each other
Except soul, love of art, manners,
And a complete absence of symbols.
I like poets of gentleness and strength.
The poets I sometimes mention
In my own poems all have that.
Soul, love of art, manners.
A friend told me that on the first day
Of college, the English teacher –
To her, an old lady – entered the classroom,
Put a pile of books on the desk,
And said, ‘If you have these, you can
Never be alone.’ This evening,
I pick up a poem by Jessie Lendennie,
‘The Search.’ Quite right.
I remember the first book I ever
Really liked: a Hardy Boys book,
The Tower Treasure. Interesting title.
© 2020 Richard Halperin