At Pacem in Terris
The Wawayanda creek spoke verses to July’s Dog Days,
as the Chamber Organ tuned and patrons waited
to enter the remains of the old water mill.
A woman wandered the sculptures.
Her red blouse bespoke Summer flower gardens and her smile reversed time.
She had not heard Theorbo nor Viola da Gamba,
but past lives are often forgotten in the new world beneath the Sun.
Ancient river beckoned and we surveyed the grand cave of the mill;
where Italy met England, over 400 years ago.
The trees whispered tales of eldritch people; ghosts watching in approval.
The woman sat in awe of holy music, noble, untroubled, and at peace.
August 11, 2015
May offered glimpses of Winter-released garbage, on the mud-mired creek bank.
A black coffee maker, half-buried in stream sludge, standing close to the currents;
lid open, container full of rainwater. No carafe.
An Ermine swam across the waterway; climbed ashore, over leaf and moss near the dead
machine. I gazed from the bridge above dark fluid, as Blackbirds and Finches called.
He is harboring the coffeepot in his den.
Ermine may have turned the creek to endless coffee;
beans stolen from nearby farmer’s market, pungent dark roast ground by his fangs.
June 1, 2018
A Meditation on Ravel’s Trio
May’s chilled fog and deep rains have beckoned all
to introspection’s meadows.
A Piano calls beyond the garden’s slate-grey walls.
Cello and Violin rains punished the remaining white blossoms,
creating rivulets in cold mud, like those of the dark, Great War.
Honey Bee colonies hidden for days, return,
when Sun blooms for a promised afternoon pageantry.
February 23, 2016
Snowmelt Ides in March
Mid-March, and the firmament is grey, like a turbulent creek in snowmelt.
A light breeze buffets dead leaves; snaps old tarps; plastic bags, and forgotten flags.
Spring is struggling to be born.
The heavy cloud’s water breaks!
Daffodils and Crocuses crown—
Sun Doula guides the new mothers in rough winds.
The air becomes pungent with rain. Old glacial exhalation above winter-tired church spires,
manors and shacks; waking forests; damp and desolate meadows.
In Frost’s pasture, the spring sings up through ancestry’s leaves,
withered grasses, careless straw; and offers clear drink to chanting Geese,
fraternal orders of Crows,
reciting verses from the Romantic Era of late Winter.
March 15th, 2016
Omen on a January Morning
He arrived at Dawn to speak with a silent coven,
atop the grand Victorian building on Main.
A large, angry pickup blew through the ice-stern street,
like a troubled Autumn leaf dislodged from my thoughts.
Aurora’s disciple did not flinch at his warm, chimney pulpit.
He turned to watch the purple clouds scab to consternation’s Grey;
saw me observing him, from my garret window.
Fellow Vultures called— crouching on the rooftop, shoving the horde.
He raised one wing from his shabby perch.
No Maestro Hawk, but a playwright, above drowsing commuters.
Snow keeps Memory; Ice jails Desire throwing plans to disarray.
I can not see their breath, but the fifteen black emissaries, are a morning collegium;
watched by a chorus of Crows, who bark challenges to a waking snowstorm.
January 25, 2015
He dances, waving commuters on,
Under a bleak, late autumn sky.
Which ballet is this?
Crisp November aires—
crows taunting, cars haunting his afternoon and evening.
Who is this grandfather of school children’s safety?
He swings the red, plastic stop sign—
quixotic thrust, but his windmills are giants!
The chaperone of shadows, as dawn barely tinges the winter clouds.
His bright orange and yellow vest is a carnival costume.
His hair and moustache, a shade of winter fields—
cheeks chafed by sharp Sunrise gusts,
and his baton is a scepter—
mocking royal coaches as they hurry along the cold highway,
never turning to his theatre; as children on buses do,
missing this jester at the end of an empire, a clown in the circus of rush-hour.
A Legacy of Grey
Applying shadows to a Spring afternoon; recalling Winter, without the woe;
recanting promises made to a Crow; wandering with a burden of poems.
A leaf, a sheaf of colder breezes cast from North cloud ego,
as a reminder of the ephemeral season, with atavistic paints of Autumn.
Fog and mists hold flesh in stern garments; worn in word armaments—
folly and regret renewed in damasked thoughts.
Daisies reach through forlorn pastures of mood;
call to creekside Lilies, and White Birch woods, release tawny Fox prophet from
legends, out to a meadow, where Sparrows guard secrets of sectarian Crows,
whose séance secures rural ancestors—manors of ghosts; cadres in continuums of rain;
endless hues of grey; to nurture moss, mould, and grains,
before sprouts and Butterflies faint in the Dog Days.
May 31, 2017
A Cemetery in Goshen
The November sky pours deliberate crows, washed from private thoughts
behind a massive, Celtic cross— lichen brushed by rough thighs of a grey wind.
November winds seduce each other in the watching cemetery.
I read Dickinson, and follow her carriage, just ourselves,
with strong coffee, after spilling it on my book.
The dead would prefer that I leave.
I impress them with dark verses.
An old man walks, out of a mausoleum, past my car, from the past
To the bars of iron, and through them.
Oak oil breath emerges, but there is no nearby woodpile.
Farm ghosts rise from rain darkened sod, through scattered leaves.
Tireless sentries of the naked orchard, dressing her in their dream fog
To protect her slender limbs from the withering Winter cold.
October 13th, 2011
Beethoven’s 9th Sonata
The piano sonata is Autumn leaves,
dyed in sound, chasing each other
like giddy schoolchildren
down a blustery country lane.
The leaves dislodge from the keyboard tree,
headlong to a path of afternoon windplay.
Orange and ruddy rustics carry softer yellows along,
coaxing those still younger greens with red freckles and wild opinions.
Yet, when grey brushes brood into later tones of day—
colder hues call the leaves over frost-dressed stone walls,
beyond harvest-abandoned fields,
and shadowed wells, quieting pliant faces to discs of ice.
Now Winter’s recital intones solitude,
notes hung like breath garlands above the gloom,
speaking in rustled pages; keys of frost and snow,
outside the desolate hall.
December 8, 2009
Above an algid, metal pan of seeds, the pair appears on Christmas morning!
He scouts the powdered rain;
she clings fast to a swaying feeder;
he routs through snow-blessed Millet, for the black gem of Sunflower,
presented to her— a Yuletide gift on a sacred morning.
January 17, 2018
The Yellow Monarch
The Yellow Monarch visited in his spirit cloak; past the apiary clock,
in the wall of a senescent barn.
A Crow carried bread over the yards.
Robins—spies for the Equinox,
having renewed their contracts, maintained their lawn outposts.
The Butterfly was an epigraph of the Sun’s poem; a voice of silence at Dawn.
A brief transit of thought along a brambled path to the Garden.
Mullein skeletons swayed in Clover and Timothy grasses.
Farm tractor field hand traversed haunted peat moss,
and white Willows on creek bank, trembled as breezes reminded of old country past lives.
The creek was ripe in natal Summer wildlife—
birddive sky antics—Goldfinches chased a Red Winged Black Bird as he called;
Swallows fell from wind-severed storm clouds.
Yellow Monarch maintained his court, in defiance of the setting Sun.
June 21, 2017
Night, Chester, NY
Main Street— old end; lamps wear Christmas wreathes.
Pass in car, wander afoot, sail on Crow wing.
Winds sing soot crumbs down freshly warmed chimney throats.
Oak rubs his hands together, seeking songs of summer.
Sparrows pray atop a church manger’s roof.
Magi and cattle don night-painted frost.
All but the infant stand in dried, elder Oak leaves.
The Snowstorm’s wet aspersions became a festival of brown receipts.
Maples and Oaks rule the lawns.
October’s haughty hues—
held in dusty trunks; dream ledgers,
collected in each house, barn, memory church.
Ghosts from the opera house wait for a train;
sit in the café, with Blues in its name.
Bare bulbs of Rosehips tremble in leafless shame.
Only the winds now know her.
Glories of the garden, rendered to a stain
of mulch upon Birch bark, and Black Walnut husks.
Signpost sweeps a cold, grey parking lot,
never reaching dancing papers—
the final proof of purchase made by springtide Sun.
December 19, 2018
Milby reading at Bertoni Sculpture Garden, Sugar Loaf NY July 2007
+ Event Details
Featured poet Corinne Aufiero and open reading
route 207 (corner of Stony Ford rd.)
Campbell Hall NY
+ Event Details
313 Main St.
+ Event Details
Lecture : From Boston to Baltimore; West Point's most infamous cadet
101 Main St.
+ Event Details
Featured poet followed by open reading
Host: Robert Milby
Mudd Puddle Cafe
10 Main St, (inside Water St. Market)
+ Event Details
Emma Lazarus Day
Readings of Emma Lazarus' poetry and contemporaries
11 Mill House Rd.
Copyright © 2019 Robert Milby Poetry - All Rights Reserved.