R W Haynes Poems

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R W Haynes, Ashvamegh Featured Poet


Introduction to the poet:

R W Haynes
R W Haynes

W. Haynes, Professor of English at Texas A&M International University, teaches Early British Literature and Shakespeare. His poetry has been widely published, and his second book on playwright Horton Foote will appear early in 2016, the centennial of Foote’s birth. He also writes fiction, plays, and creative non-fiction.






Cartoonists Are Lucky in Love

She left with Hungry Chuck Biscuits, leaving

Him twisting in his creative hurricane

Where the quiet eye left the man conceiving

That gentle words water the spirit like rain.

And one day when the dawn came up he walked

Toward the sun on a red-clay Georgia farm,

Forgiving madly; all alone he talked

To mockingbirds and thrashers; he knew no harm

Was done.  He knew the weather had to change

And that expedient Alka-Seltzer affections

We have fiercely strained our prudence to arrange

Dissolve instantly in all directions

At the touch of the elemental. She and Chuck

Plopped and fizzed, but left the poet luck.



Colossal Catfish Crushes Cardboard Canoe

Three-story card house…don’t live there…

The stories build up a crushing weight and then

Everything falls, faces disappear,

And you either have to build once again

Or take your dim-lit wisdom elsewhere.

Cards may not be your game; if so,

Congratulations! That discovery

Should give you strength, for weaknesses you know

Often can be dealt with eventually.

Unnecessary games enforce distraction,

Ruining meaningful imaginative action,

Closing off a vast space of liberty.

The games we can but must not escape

Demand we set what wits we have in shape.



At Delphi

“Sagacity is relative,” replied

The Delphic Oracle, “but following sports

Or the latest Egyptian news reports

Can dry up what wisdom one has inside

And deafen one to the devastating

But not always happy harmony

Of the Fate we find eventually,

In strength or when disintegrating.”

“So you don’t just wink, shuck and jive,

Go back in the temple and smoke a joint,

And giggle about predictions you appoint

For me to await, desperately, to arrive?”

“No,” she smiled, “all the blue smoke I blow

Is true smoke for you, wherever you go.”


Cigar in the Agora

“Atheism,” he laughed, lighting a Cuban cigar,

“Is modernist superstition. These scholar-apes

Sneak like foxes toward the midnight grapes,

Never understanding what they are.

I quit drinking when I sobered up and saw

I was more deeply intoxicated when,

Without booze, I hit the world again

And, high as hell, played Fate for just a draw.”


“But how does wisdom come, and how do we

Benefit from teachers who explain

The only university is pain,

And life is war instead of liberty?”


Exhaling copious clouds of choking smoke,

The teacher smoked and smiled but never spoke.


Hawk in the Mist

That’s what thought should always be like,

Gliding with dignity, unthought intent,

Like part of the wind, itself, its weightless ascent

Actualizing like good, well-sworn words.


Above cold forest and steaming fjord,

An unheard heartbeat keeping perfect time declares

Mysterious mastery of shifting airs,

Escaping to conclude in covering cloud.



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