local_library Five Poems

by Don Mager

Published in Issue No. 216 ~ May, 2015

August Journal: Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Evening gathers up its colander of

crisp mantis-green okra pods. Its swift

wrist snaps each off. Nestled with them, lie

shiny cucumbers and a matched pair

of tomatoes. Setting its harvest on

the hammock net, sunset opens the

grand cotillion of puffed and flaring clouds.

Fuchsia foxtrots with a full bosomed

yellow matron. Burgundy sweeps gold

across a slender wisp’s exited arms and

spins the sweet young thing high above his

lithe elegance. Horizon burns in

brassy blasts of orange. The colander

forgets to pick up and go inside.



August Journal: Thursday, August 15, 2013


The slant of early sun burns fast through

shadows, and streaks the lawn. The mower

spews out swathes of tangy grass mulch forth

and back. Like coffee steam, dew lifts puffs

from the shaggy slope waiting for its

predestined shearing. Cap and sun-block

pretend to help. As the snarl nears the

stream, frogs, arrow-quick and lean, leap from

their undercover blinds and splat the

water’s bared chest. Roused from its morning

bask, a Box Turtle’s overturned bowl

glints the shuttling light. The sun

goes right on fanning its blinding flame

higher. The mower jerks left and veers.



August Journal: Friday, August 16, 2013


As sun taunts the horizon edge, clouds

bloom wide moorlands of rippling heather.

Hold your breath. They don’t last. In shifting

kaleidoscopic acrobatics,

light and clouds are sly and shiftless. Streaks

shift up into billows. Vermilions

shift to creams and yellows. Striated

sheets of gray open into tucks and

folds. Nothing stays. Standing in firm bare

feet and dewy grass, each easy breath

inhales its own cloudscape, and as it

escapes into a gasp, each scape is

already something else. Sun’s raw now

already rolls up a crimson head.



August Journal: Friday, August 16, 2013


Where it lies in its secret lair set

behind the trees and well behind the

row of houses, pomegranate blood

streaks the small lake in the woods. It is

split in two by the evening light. One

half is a mirror of motionless

upside down dark green trees with char black

trunks and branches. Shafts of sunset stab

through gaps between leaves to lacerate

the other half with dapples and raw

sanguine slices. Between the two, in

the silent borderland, six ducks drift

on their fluttering underwater

feet. Six heads bob in synchrony.



August Journal: Saturday, August 24, 2013


Out of old myths of quest and wrath, tall

thunderheads march down from mountains

in the west and out across flood-plain

cities. Faster than newsman radar

warnings, they lash treetops until their

skirts whip up a frenzy of trollish

dancing. Droplets smack windows. Windows

slam shut. Angry threats knock about the

sky. Frantic wind-chimes clank. Door locks snap.

Crackling excitement in the lower

clouds, flashes fizzle like a scoreless

game of soccer and, as the ogres’

bullying exposes its bluster,

excitement packs up the rain and shrinks off.



account_box More About

Don Mager’s chapbooks and volumes of poetry are: To Track the Wounded One, Glosses, That Which is Owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns and The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook Drive Time and Russian Riffs. He is retired with degrees from Drake University (BA), Syracuse University (MA) and Wayne State University (PhD). He was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University from 1998-2004 where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011). As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian. He lives in Charlotte, NC. Us Four Plus Four is an anthology of translations from eight major Soviet-era Russian poets. It is unique because it tracks almost a half century of their careers by simply placing the poems each wrote to the others in chronological order. The 85 poems represent one of the most fascinating conversations in poems produced by any group of poets in any language or time period. From poems and infatuation and admiration to anger and grief and finally to deep tribute, this anthology invites readers into the unfolding lives of such inimitable creative forces as Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandelstam.