Richard Fenwick ~ Poet

March 10, 2015

Helsinki

 

My small black journal

would have borne a hundred poems –

or at least a thousand lies – 

had I not forgotten it in Helsinki

 

where I sat in a hotel bar

watching from my poet’s window

as city workers in white overalls

swept up piles of clean snow,

 

firemen threw candied tarts

at packs of children whose hands

rose like exclamation marks

to a sky full of birds and blue.

 

I only wish I could remember

the poems hidden in that book:

a piece about my mother’s smile,

the comparison I once made

between Freud and Seattle,

 

the bartender in his red

waistcoat, selecting my vodka,

saying you will drink Finnish,

how crisp and bare the trees were

on the Esplandi, pale-haired 

women waving back at me.

 

These were American poems, 

casual observations from airports,

cafés, places you would find

in San Antonio or Traverse City,

 

perhaps a tiny bistro, beachside

near Delray, all the places

I carried the journal, as if

it was a part of me, 

 

though Helsinki – a city I loved –

decided to swallow its leather

whole, as I sipped too much vodka

in a true display of Finnish force.

Copyright 2012

 

I personally find this poem an excellent example of writing from afar, the poet’s collection of thoughts put into the poetic collection, then lost for all times. The lament of losing what for a poet, is part of the poet’s soul. The lines having been lost, from human foible, the memories remain. Having written poetry from a foreign country, learning the local customs all to directly, infects the writer’s normal routine, sometimes in ways that benefit, sometimes in ways that end in tragedy, as this poem reflects. Kudos to Richard for putting all these philosophical possibilities into well crafted lines.

 

 

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