Arrowhead, Melville’s Home, Pittsfield, Massachusetts by J.R. Solonche

It’s hard to see him as a farmer, isn’t it?
Bending over the rows of lettuce and corn,
feeling the ears between his thumb and forefinger,

all the while remembering breadfruit and mango?
It’s hard to see him here at all this time of year.
Pacing the oak planks of the writing room upstairs,

sitting at the table, wearing these glasses,
staring through the window out at Greylock,
Greylock whose back reminded him of whales.

It’s easier in winter. In winter when the five
hemlocks in the yard are a five-masted bark.
When the mountain wears a hump of snow.

When nothing stirs in the wasted field.
When white wind bangs at the door.
When it cries, cries at the window.


J.R. Solonche
Professor Emeritus of English at SUNY Orange, J.R. Solonche has been publishing poems in magazines and anthologies (more than 400) since the early 70s. He is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions), Heart’s Content (chapbook from Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (Kelsay Books), Tomorrow, Today & Yesterday (Deerbrook Editions), If You Should See Me Walking on the Road (forthcoming from Kelsay Books), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.

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