[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Poems by Sujoy Bhattacharya – Issue.XXXV : December 2017 ” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″ margin_design_tab_text=””]experienced voice…[/ultimate_heading]

Wally Swist is one of the most popular poets in the USA today. He is known mostly for his nature poems but his poems vary in themes and tone. A 1953 born senior word artist, he resides in Massachusetts, USA. He has written many collections of poes as well as other books. Read more about him on Featured Authors

After Haying


The first round of haying the south meadow begins in late June,

with the tractor equipped with the large rear wheels and the baler,


looking like a streamlined backhoe, rolling through the barnyard

for an entire day or two; the blonde swaths of grass harvested for


fodder, leaving the land sheared; the brown stubble turning light

green again in the sun, even though it has been a drought year.


The second haying started in late July, early August, which then

left the meadow cropped with a golden tinge bordering on rust,


the color of varnish, through which it began to be populated with

a veritable multitude of Queen-Anne’s Lace, infused with so thick


a pattern, it could be a repetitive motif for a William Morris

blueprint of nature’s design.  The flat white tops of the wildflower


announcing each as themselves, as well as a congregation unto itself—

florid white inflorescence upon lavish green stems—invoking not only


an ethos of flora but also an eros, which Gustav Klimt sensed in

his landscape paintings, which also honored the divine feminine


by his ostensible exhibition of the sweep of what is sensual

and sybaritic in nature; what its abundance is distinguished by


in an entire meadow glistening white and green at the end of summer,

glittering in its opulence, in utter abandon with such lushness.


However much it is munificent in its own simplicity, what sprouts

and blooms after haying is beyond measure, of all that can possibly


be contained only in just one meadow, but flowers within us

with a copiousness that is luxurious in its magnificence.





These deciduous plants

adorn the lawns on which they lavish


with large white flowerheads,

known as panicles, growing among


large spear-shaped evergreen leaves.

They grow gorgeous into large bushes


and their showy flowers are often

thought of as looking like pom-poms.


Every spring and summer, I observe

their enormous flowers bob among


the green of their leaves, almost like

noticing someone one hasn’t seen


for however long but whose name

is now forgotten, as I forget


their names every season, needing to

reference hydrangea again in


a flower guide.  My forgetting every

year takes on the pattern of wanting


to remember their name but seeking

the memory to arise with an easy


volition of its own, which it doesn’t,

as the flowers bloom steadily through


midsummer and deep into August

lushness, until the flowerheads begin


to turn a blush red in the coolness

of the early mornings that are


the harbingers of the frosts of autumn.

Every year I remember and forget until


the next, while the hydrangea bloom ever

so whitely, then dry in their pink blush,


while my memory slips ever so much

from year to year, until it may lapse


entirely: Hydrangea, may I remember

your name, as I might inhale your spicy


fragrance; may I recall your  summery

whisper, as I picture  your petals.



Salvage from the Flames


Whether it is apocryphal or not,

when we see Marie Feret, who plays

Nannerl Mozart in Mozart’s Sister,

burn the leaves of her manuscript,

containing the clavichord sonata

she composed, due to her father


Leopold Mozart’s discouragement

of his daughter’s musical genius,

we can’t help but think of all

of the other lost manuscripts which

were fed sheaf by sheaf into a fire,

either intentionally or accidentally.


The Cotton Library fire in 1731

was thought to have started by

sparks in the fireplace in the home

of the eminent book collector,

Sir Robert Cotton, the library having

contained such originals as The Magna


Carta, The Lindasfarne Gospels, and

what came to be the burnt edges

of Beowulf.  Schoolboys were en-

courage to chase the burning embers

of the manuscripts like butterflies

and there are still archivist boxes


of blackened but barely readable

scraps that are yet to be put back

together again.  Then what of Hadley

Hemingway, Ernest’s first wife,

who had assiduously collected

her husband’s early work from their


bookcase to bring to an interested

editor in Lincoln Steffens who he

was meeting in Lausanne; and while

waiting for her train in Gare de Lyon

her unattended luggage was stolen.

Although Hemingway’s youthful


writings weren’t lost by fire, they

very well could have been, as he

complained to Pound in a letter that

what remained were, “three pencil

drafts of a bum poem, some

correspondence, and some journalistic


carbons.”  V. S. Naipaul lost his early

manuscripts in a storage fire and Philip

Larkin had his secretary, Betty Mackereth,

burn twenty-five volumes of his Diaries.

She said, “He wouldn’t have wanted

people to know what he really thought.”


Robert Louis Stevenson awoke from

a medicinal ingestion of cocaine only to

compose Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,

writing in a white heat at ten thousand

words a day, after which upon reading

the draft his wife destroyed it; and


Stevenson went on to write it again.

George Gissing wrote a book regarding

finding inner peace, spiritualism, and

theosophy in the early 20th-century,

then later, disenchanted or not, had his

agent burn it.  Playwright August


Strindberg was said to regularly torch

his plays.  After composing Opus IV

of the Chamber Plays, he was so dis-

gusted with it he wrote, “it is more

dreadful than the other.  I throw it

aside,” claiming the reason as a self-


defence, that’s why it was burned.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay completed

a manuscript, Conversations at Midnight,

during a vacation in Florida, and when

she returned from a walk on the beach

her  hotel was engulfed in flames.


From the foreword of the published play

she writes that she salvaged the work

in her mind by what was “made up from

poems  from the first draft, remembered

word for word, poems incompletely


remembered and reconstructed, and new

poems.”  Bruno Schulz’s lost masterpiece,

the novel Messiah, was confiscated

by the Gestapo after they gunned him

down in the Warsaw ghetto in 1942,

and it is thought to have been reacquired


by the Russians and supposedly has

been seen misfiled in KGB archives.

If only we could engineer a way to retrieve

literature that has gone astray, or has

been consumed by flame, some app that

could take us back to the moment before


fire crackled and ravaged the pages

of this manuscript or that, possibly even

creating a library of such lost pages and

bindings housed within the fire-free walls

of perpetual gratitude.  Even Shakespeare

seems to have suffered from portions


of his voluminous writings gone missing,

since it is thought that Love’s Labours Won,

published in 1603, is only the sequel

to a play of which we are bereft,

Love’s Labours Lost, since there isn’t

a copy of the original that has survived.



Ode to Jack LaLanne


Charles Atlas had nothing on you.

Those of us who knew that knew

the muscle-bound boys who


kicked sand in our face at the beach

weren’t of the same caliber,

nor of a similar inner substance as


you, who would never even think

of stepping down from your firm

moral fiber, as steely as the muscles


you exercised to build.  Only

a bully such as Trump would be

attracted to the mindless authority


of kicking sand into people’s faces,

only a true weakling would even

consider something so reviled.


You were one of my boyhood heroes,

and I think of you every morning

now when I raise the shades,


beginning my own morning routines,

my three laps at the mall.  Even

before our fathers rose from their


sleep from the late shift, or were on

their way out the door for the first,

you had already slipped on your wet


suit, and were pulling a tugboat in

New York harbor, stroking through

the cold currents of the Hudson River;


or shackled with chains, swimming

from Alcatraz to San Francisco,

police following in a boat to keep


sharks, just twenty feet from you, at bay;

or doing over a thousand pushups in

only a matter of some twenty minutes.


Children, who were still in their pajamas,

lucky enough to be watching your

15-minute morning exercise program,


were in awe of you and your brand, of

your proving yourself, and the risks

you took.  You showed us how to love


ourselves, to nurture our bodies,

always on your way to doing something

more deserving, writing books,


acquiring a doctorate in exercise.

I still think of you every morning, Jack

LaLanne, every time I raise the shades,


each time I complete a lap, you who lived

to be 96; who espoused the Greek ideal

of the American male; who, even if he had


the chance, and we are sure that you did,

would have deferred, would have walked

away from any opportunity of kicking


sand in someone’s face, especially that

of Charles Atlas, and certainly would have

stood up to the insolence of Donald Trump.

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