A TRILOGY OF LOVE AND LOSS
The Time Passed By
Now that our summer's run its course
and winter's pressing hard,
will you still stay? Is there remorse
for what we've done:
defied the favors of the world,
marred sacred vows once taken,
received no easy tokens
of fevered friendships broken?
Say, now that all the years
have fled and fallen
and we with them are going,
can you regret the time passed by
with nothing other showing
than you and I with flowers entwined
and the bloom of love still growing?
At The Summer Cottage
The barren beach in these November days
still holds our footsteps at the cottage door.
The summer mornings when the rising tide
had washed them clean are gone;
the dinghy, upside down upon the shore,
is like an ancient monument;
its keel, sharp and stark,
cuts through the cold November air;
and your delighted cries have flown
with beach birds south to where
the sands are warm, the waters cool and green;
my heart would break if it were otherwise.
I sit and watch the window steam with ocean spray
in the summer cottage salted down with winter wind
and listen to the seagull's sharp-beaked scream
cut through the air of this November day.
There in the corner on the salt-filled sill
where we had left them when the sun left us—
our treasures, dry and dusty now,
that as the tide went out
when last we kissed
were whelk and coral, conch and living sponge.
The minutes come, the minutes go
between the bread, between the blows,
among the crumbs left on the floor,
among the dishes grim with grime
and hardened from the day before.
And what is left of you and me
to say we occupied this house,
to show we lived and loved and left,
except the window's shattered pane,
except the wind come blowing in
on sun-filled days and nights of rain?
Where will it end, where will it end,
this constant gabble in the blood,
this favored seed that grows on through
between us two, me and you?
Ah, never is unheard of time,
and never is unbroken line,
and never ends the world wheeled on:
the seasons climb; the years peel down;
the sun and moon and clouds go by,
and every star that ever shined
keeps gliding through the silent sky.
The circles move; they ever move;
the darkened sky is welded blue.
The fire burns, the red sparks fly;
the flame dies down that ever grew
between us two, me and you;
but flint strikes on and iron too,
and so do we, both me and you,
from whirls of gases in the void
to spinning earths that come in view
of some Big Spinner with his string
who spins out me and spins out you.
This poem won third prize in the 2012 Margaret
Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Tom Howard Books. Author Carmine Dandrea received a $400 award. Winning Writers assists this contest. Copyright is reserved to the author.
About Carmine Dandrea
Carmine Dandrea, Professor of English (Ret.), served with the 1st Marine Division in Korea and was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. At Hobart College, he graduated with a B.A. in English, summa cum laude. After a year at Brown University in the American Studies Program, he earned an M.S.E. from Elmira College. He taught at Elmira College where he developed an undergraduate program in creative writing and completed an M.F.A. in Poetry Writing at Cornell University, studying under A.R. Ammons, Baxter Hathaway and Ron Sukenick. He was one of four poets chosen nationally for the New York Poetry Center's Discovery '69 Program. In 1977 he was awarded a Certificate of Distinguished Contributions to Poetry by the editors of the International Who's Who Among American Poets. At Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, he was Chairman of the Humanities Department and founder/editor of Blossom Review, a magazine of the arts. During his tenure there, he developed creative writing courses and sponsored student readings.
His poems have been published in journals, reviews and anthologies and have won over 40 awards, most recently the First Prize Awards of the 2010 and 2011 Tom Howard Poetry Contest, an international competition. Dandrea was a Scholar in the 1993 NEH Institute of Chinese Culture and Civilization at the East/West Center in Honolulu and went on the Center's NEH Field Trips to the People's Republic of China and to India. These experiences have furthered his interest in Asian Studies and informed much of his poetry. He has published 6 volumes of poetry: Heart's Crow (1972), American Still Life (1992), Liberation: A Journey to India (1995), Undertaking the American Dream (2008), An Infinite Human Tale (2009), and most recently, Trying On America: A Mythos of Immigrant Life (2011). An ardent practitioner of poetry as oral art, Dandrea has read his work in Athens, Beirut, Istanbul, New Delhi and throughout India, in Katmandu, Honolulu, Ireland, in The People's Republic Of China, and in the United States.