Two Poems by Harry Calhoun

Early morning, just rising

It’s fall and tiny acorns crackle underfoot
as you trudge to retrieve the morning paper.
They crunch like cooled leftover embers
in the fireplace, backbeat to that old

Grateful Dead song sliding through your head.
And the train whistle, doing what it does —
imagine the engineer, out there creating that
at this time of the morning — and anyway,

I acknowledge that I am blessed today
to be regaled with these sensations, to feel the crunch
beneath my feet, to hear the happy random railroad
whistle bloom, to rise to this, the spectacular

everyday that it today, tonight and tomorrow,
pulled down from the canopy of sky
by the simple handshake of a train whistle,
soul caught up in its motion, its eye, its storm.


Another girl I wrote poems for: a true story

it was years ago   I was an undergrad or maybe
a dropout
I alternated during what I called
the happiest decade of my life

and Lisa was the latest
in a series of passionate but doomed

smart  lusty  and busty
with a wild streak that was
maybe two-thirds of her personality

and one evening just at dusk we were walking
half-loaded or somewhere beyond
and suddenly Lisa said, “Look at that butterfly,
it’s following you wherever you go.”

and sure as hell, over my left shoulder
was this big yellow butterfly
fluttering — is there any other word for what they do? —
around my head.

And I still don’t know
what made me do it but I turned
and raised my outstretched right palm
and said, “Look, it knows I’m

a poet.” And the beautiful creature
obligingly landed right on my palm
and stayed there until I shooed it away.
Lisa was awestruck

I can’t remember whether I got lucky that night
but I sure got lucky when the butterfly
and my palm collided
in some universal fluke

and made me look like a genius

and a sensitive guy

5 Responses to “Two Poems by Harry Calhoun”

  1. this is a very well-written, moving poem; i feel the energy so well. thanks for this great one. best, winnie

  2. Hi Winnie, which one?

  3. By the way, the Grateful Dead song in the first poem was “Uncle John’s Band” — heard it playing as part of a movie theme and it took me back over the years.

  4. i was referring to the second one. but, hey, both are really, really, really great! best, winnie

  5. I like the second one too… and I wonder whether the speaker did get lucky with that line “look it knows I’m a poet”… if he did, that is freakin’ hilarious.

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