Skip to main content
Poetry

Baseball introduced me to poetry.  At the kitchen table on a rainy Sunday afternoon at age thirteen, I composed a rather lengthy poem in tribute to my favorite baseball player, calling it “The Ballad of Eddie Mathews,” actually a takeoff on a popular song at the time.  Somehow it fell into the hands of my English teacher.  Sensing some faint flicker of promise (or the complete opposite), she became my self-appointed tutor during the noon recess each day, introducing me to a new world of rhymes, beats, and sonnets.

Thereafter, I could only steal furtive glances outside, where the rest of the guys were whacking baseballs and running the bases in my beloved sport, all wrapped in visions of baseball glory--home runs into starry skies, ticker tape parades, the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.  All the while I fidgeted in my one-armed wooden desk reciting the “daDUM, daDUM, daDUMs” of the endless dance of iambic pentameter.  Only years later did I come to appreciate this curious lesson in irony.  How could I not put those lunchtime hours to some use in the future?

After a lengthy detour into a legal career, I’ve come full circle.  I suppose Mrs. Starr would be glad (and possibly astonished) to know that seven times my poems have been ranked as finalists in the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and ten poems have been selected on the short list for finalist or semifinalist in the Faulkner and Boulevard competitions.  My poems have been published in Blueline, as an Editor’s Pick in Pooled Ink, and in the anthology Coffee Poems.

Thanks, Ms. Starr!

Periodic Poems

As a welcome to the website and an invitation to return, I would like to share with you an occasional original poem.  These offerings will cover a variety of forms, subjects, emotions, and life events.  I hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, July 02 2020

 

 

We’re into a year of surprise and mystery—

       Making its mark in the world’s dark history.

Stores are closed and locked, and streets are bare.

       The noisy crowds have all left Times Square.

 

Closed tight are the doors of the butcher and baker,

       The man of the hour is the toilet paper maker!

No more hanging in bars and getting all kooky—

       Just stay home and dance to the “Quarantine Boogie”!

 

We’re all wearing masks and wiping things clean,

       And many stay glued to the television screen.

If you have a day when you’re feeling grouchy,

       Check the new rock star, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

 

People socialize on Facebook and visit through Zoom,

       Maybe vacuum the floor or re-paint a bedroom,

Stare out the window, dreaming of travel,

       Or spend the day playing checkers or Scrabble.

 

On the Central Park Lake no lovers are wooing,

       Holding hands or cuddling, or slowly canoeing,

No eager receiver of Cupid’s dart.

       Even the fish are all swimming six feet apart!

 

Songbirds sit quietly in the leaves of a tree.

       They can’t trill music through a mask freely.

It’s a weird world now, but we’ll make it rock,

       All cheering for the medics at seven o’clock.                                  

 

Though the world seems dark, the worst we’ve seen,

       Our earth stunned and held hostage by Covid-19,

Throw in some protestors and an early curfew,

       Some looting of stores, and our world’s all askew.

 

                                    *****    

But there’ll come a day when the sun will rise,

       Bringing rainbows and purity to clear blue skies.

There’ll be music and dancing, fresh air that’s clean,

       Restaurants open and offering their finest cuisine.

 

Theaters and nightclubs will return with a flair,

       The applause of Broadway again filling the air!

Then on to Montauk for the sandy beaches,

       Steaks and seafood and strolling in breezes.

 

Maybe Colorado for a celebratory toast,

       The world our oyster from coast to coast!

So come forth and listen, all my friends,

       Around some future corner the party begins!

 

 

                                  P.S.

 

AND … after we’ve survived this long, bumpy ride,

       We may find life’s even richer on the other side.

After a crash course in brotherhood and honoring our neighbor,

       Perhaps we can all join hands and sing out together!

 

-Larkin Edwin Greer

Tuesday, July 02 2019

-Larkin Edwin Greer

-Published as Editor’s Choice in Pooled Ink
-Finalist/Short List, Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition

Thursday, January 31 2019

 

You walk the high wire.

I guess you always have.

Like a mountain goat

at the peak

of an Alpine ridge,

you see the sunrise first.

 

There are times

you may quiver

and stretch wide your arms

as all balance

seems to forsake you.

 

The world gasps

in dismay and quakes

at your fate.

 

But with a set jaw

you hold to the course,

and the wild pendular

oscillations

swing with less violence

 

until the wire’s

mad mutiny

finally subsides

and you skip lightly

to the far platform.

 

The moment we all

at last settle back

and sigh in relief

you turn and step

onto the wire once more.

 

It’s your greatest

incredible charm

and your truest asset—

you insist on living

your life with no net.

 

-Larkin Edwin Greer

 

Sunday, December 30 2018

 

When I’m rounding

the final curve

on this spinning planet,

muscles strained and heavy,

the finish looming,

now in sight,

 

seconds ticking wildly,

watches raised and ready,

noise of the crowd

an ascending roar...

in the blur of it all

my soul will mark its savage tally.

 

My arms struggle upward,

a weary celebration,

with my final burst

through the waiting string…

for I’ve lived a focused life,

goals forever rare and noble.

 

I’ve set high my sights,

chasing Mount Olympus rising

into the parting clouds,

a place among the gods,

nameplate of hammered gold

from the fire of falling stars,

 

perhaps to lift aloft

a gleaming silver goblet

with Apollo, Zeus and Heracles—

a perfected life to present

that final day at heaven’s gate.

 

And yet…

something deep within

compels me now to ask—

have I ever raised my glass

to a fiery sunset, looked deep

into the patient eyes

of a pure-hearted child?

 

Have I listened for the music

in the summer wind,

searched for rainbows

through a misting rain?

Did I find love?  Give love?

Bring some joy to my corner

of this twisting globe?

 

Or was my lofty goal

a mere illusion,

the impossible dream

of one dazzled by the world?

 

Have I measured life

through approval

in the discerning eyes

of friends and strangers,

in the collected words

of my obituary-to-be

as though it were some

redeeming resume?

 

In all the years

of sweat, toil and aspiration,

was I really only racing

on a carousel—

atop a carved

and lacquered stallion,

nostrils madly flaring,

drugged by throbbing thunder

from a bleating organ,

rhythm matched by flashing hooves

that never touch the earth?

 

Have I pounded the flanks

of my imitation sweating steed

to speeds unthinkable

to insure this vital race be won...

yet traveling the same eternal circuit,

charging forever round

                        and round

                                    and round

 

and going nowhere at all?

 

-Larkin Edwin Greer

Tuesday, November 13 2018

There are times

when the senses

seem to recede,

when all that is left

for a stark moment in time

is an intense waiting silence.

 

     A man stands at a counter,

     hooded face hidden in shadow,

     hand gripping

     a pocketed object,

     forefinger pausing on the crescent

     curl of the trigger...

 

          A girl new to her teens

          shivers in the dark,

          unpersuaded, yet haunted

          by words of false promise.  

          With the low purr of a zipper,

          the word “yes” begins to form

          on trembling lips...

 

               Muddy water swells

               inch by inch,

               as teeth of the river

               bite into the belly

               of the ancient levee.

               The weakest point strains

               with the first small quiver,

               and pauses there

               as a trumpet declares the blues

               in the distant streets,

               and the future

               begins to destroy itself.

 

In that instant of silence

the soul straddles

two worlds,

walking on the edges of time,

a choice being made

by man or nature

that will alter

some corner of this life forever.

 

-Larkin Edwin Greer