new poetry

The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.


A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

15.4 (Fall 2015)


New Poetry by Traditionalists



The Climate Changes in the Year Fifteen
George Shirley

A weeping May rained. During forty days
Throughout May and June it poured.
The mornings grayed, while the noon displayed
The maroon of gathering storms.
Any window shade might as well have stayed
Untouched from the night before.
Whatever green game under sun was played
We by satellite lured indoors.

On Noah’s Ark as if long embarked,
We captured leaks in pails.
At school or the mart, every place we parked
The blabbering flood assailed.
No jogger drew barks; no dogs prowled yards;
Umbrellas ran out for mail.
The suburban marks of complacent hearts
Were stripped clean by the rainy flail.

Yet by mid-July, the memories died
Of sleep to the rainfall’s drum—
Pale, shriveled, and dry, they breezed from our minds
Where the heat spread a wakeful hum.
We fidgeted nights, but would nod in the bright
Noon’s backlog of jobs not done.
As September sighed into autumn-tide,
Not one parcel of hope had come.

Blanched, spindly, and spare like an old man’s hair,
The beans put the locust off,
Who vengefully pared the pecan tree bare
While he scoffed at the stillborn squash.
Our retirement shares shrank beyond repair;
The old truck was too sick to cough.
Rates soared through the air, while the Stones and Cher
Were the hotline’s unique response.

O, put us back on the former rack!
Let us splash through a riverborne town
Like wet alley cats in a burlap sack
A-riding the Maelstrom down.
Better much was that than this utter lack—
Not a swallow to moisten a sound
Nor the cool head’s knack to sum up the facts
And to cry the foul out loud.

If the globe is warming, then give us warning
Enough to dig wells in the lawn.
If the sun’s gone storming, explain why its roaring
Can’t soften these stone-cold Laws.
Explain how the Lordlings all slipped their moorings
With water supposedly gone.
Explain that morning when May was pouring
Not far in the past at all.

George Shirley resides in South Carolina with his family and many relatives. He has taught at several schools and academies in the South and writes purely for pleasure and catharsis.

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