October 4, 2016

Three Poems by Dan Jacoby: "Sleeping Sycamores," "Upton Cemetery," and "Chance Meeting"

Dan Jacoby is a former principal, teacher, coach, and counterintelligence agent. He is a graduate of St. Louis University, Chicago State University, and Governors State University and lives in Beecher and Hagaman, Illinois. He has published poetry in Anchor and Plume (Kindred), Arkansas Review, Belle Rev Review, Bombay Gin, Burningword Literary Review, Canary, Cowboy Poetry Press-Unbridled 2015, Chicago Literati, and Indiana Voice Journal, to name a few. He He is a member of the American Academy of Poets and the Carlinville Writers Guild and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He is currently looking for a publisher for a collection of poetry.

Hubbard- Autumn Breeze Linocut.jpg
“Autumn Breeze”  Linocut. James Hubbard, Indiana printmaker and IN/A Members Chairman


sleeping sycamores

in the early waxing quarter moon
like the snap of a heavy bottom branch
a heavy cast church bell sounds an unbroken stark clarion
cutting silence like a dull scissors
erasing the peace
like a rock to a windshield

frost has padlocked the orchard
only caramel colored apples remain
late fall is nature’s sleeping pill
just before snow brings its harlequin mask
and frost glazes antediluvian glass
with its own self-portrait

time of late night book lights
magnified by whisky filled shot glasses
and creaking old house timbers
old eyes roll over written lines
until early dawn strikes a mental key
casting first die of the new day

as life endeavors to bid
card hands to be played
backhands to be practiced
letters to be written
traditions to be broken
more books to be read

upton cemetery

from the hard road north
through hagaman town
to first curve
just there on the right
gravel road hugs the hill
down into bottom
bisected in 1878
by long bottom ditch
later otter creek
at top of first rise
just to the west
in thick hardwood timber
cemetery of thomas upton
set out in 1868
for daughter, elizabeth,
eighteen years and ten months
followed by her father, thomas,
aged eighty in 1880
catherine, her mother, in 1881
aged sixty seven
surrounded by rusted stock fence
held up barely by rotting posts
capped by knarled, broken, barbed wire
marked by ancient weathered obelisks
graves now sunken slightly
kept up religiously
by previous owners
relatives having long forgotten them
two holes cut in bottom of fence
so no creature be trapped there
speaks volumes of those
interred in that hallowed ground

chance meeting

last tuesday evening
chance meeting, a cousin,
on old farm place
stood talking, scratching
in waning sunlight
trying to figure
where old pens were
amazed that a pear tree
planted a century past
struck by lightening
trunk burned from fire
had blossom’s promise
spoke of old property lines
surveyors spike in oil road
created age long warring siblings
under sky filled with contrails
in red glow of setting sun
bearing unknown souls
to unknown compass points
to a song of a grey thrasher
high in an ancient walnut
that was heard years ago
day we buried our cousin
old man pushing seventy
looks up, eyes wet,
that’s him saying hi,
then stares off in fading light

Dan Jacoby

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