Irving Layton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thing could barely stand. Yet taken
from his mother and the barn smells
he still impressed with his pride,
with the promise of sovereignity in the way
his head moved to take us in.
The fierce sunlight tugging the maize from the ground
liked at his shapely flanks.
He was too young for all that pride.
I thought of the deposed Richard II.

“No money in bull calves,” Freeman had said.
The visiting clergyman rubbed the nostrils
now snuffing pathetically at the windless day.
“A pity,” he sighed.
My gaze slipped off his hat toward the empty sky
that circled over the black knot of men,
over us and the calf waiting for the first blow.

Struck,
the bull calf drew in his thin forelegs
as if gathering strength for a mad rush…
tottered…raised his darkening eyes to us,
and I saw we were at the far end
of his frightened look, growing smaller and smaller
till we were only the ponderous mallet
that flicked his bleeding ear
and pushed him over on his side, stiffly,
like a block of wood.

Below the hill’s crest
the river snuffled on the improvised beach.
We dug a deep pit and threw the dead calf into it.
It made a wet sound, a sepulchral gurgle,
as the warm sides bulged and flattened.
Settled, the bull calf lay as if asleep,
one foreleg over the other,
bereft of pride and so beautiful now,
without movement, perfectly still in the cool pit,
I turned away and wept.

©Irving Layton

The economy of language, the spirit of truth; sociology, philosophy: the distillation of experiences reflected, and altered, in one brief poem – that’s the magic of poetry, and a great poet.
Irving Layton is a poet everyone should read, and hear reading his own work.  http://irvinglayton.ca/Recordings/index.html

Irving Layton was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, twice. He was friend and mentor to Leonard Cohen. Leonard called him “Canada’s greatest poet.”

Looked up to by Allen Ginsberg, Williams Carlos WilliamsMichael Hamburger, and many other fine and great writers for decades.

Disclosure: Irving was my friend for decades. He once said of my very early writing, ” Dean is a combination of thought and torment that has made him write more than a baker’s dozen of fine poems.. he might produce a collection that could astound us all.” And he did not play favourites.

my books http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

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Everywhere I Go – John Newlove

jnewlove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are people talking about. Everywhere I go they whisper.

They stick their eyes at me, right at the base of the breastbone,
when I’m not looking.

The breastbone seems flat, pointed like a dagger to the top
of my stomach.

O, my stomach, my stomach… when the knife rips you open
it will find coffee and four strips of bacon, pieces of chewed
beard and a handwritten note saying I have left town forever
again.

©John Newlove
– excerpt from his brilliant work, Lies, jnewlovelies1972 and from A Long Continual Argument, The Selected Poems of John Newlove

John was a friend of mine – yet I had only said hello back him when I heard him read this live one time at York University. I’d been searching for the room in which the reading was to be held, and came around a corner to come face-to-face with him, and Joe Rosenblatt.

https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/links-to-my-books-in-print//

The mothership: http://deanjbaker.wordpress.com

©Dean J. Baker

Dark Earth


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks without you; not
in, nor anywhere but about,
is a long
lie: which may contain the truth,
or let it out again.

I have kept on waiting, simply
impatient; relishing the pain of
separation:
though like two twigs we wind
into one another, bind the common root.

 

© Dean J. Baker

“Having read Dark Earth by Dean J Baker my first reaction is WOW. This was written for me. His poetry speaks to me deep down in my soul. The style of writing then the naming of the poems is so on target. A must read for poetry lovers AND all who just love to read.”

Dark Earth is a thought provoking collection of poems..”

Rabelais and Hieronymus Bosch look out of dark chinks in these poems…”

Here’s the link where you can buy my books, in ebook or print format. http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM/

Biography Literary Publications Books In Print and Links to Buy

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These Dogs

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The only things wrong with dogs are people.
We have a contract where they desire only
us: our company and their bliss the same.

These mutts, or pure-breds, are our spirits,
civilized for a moment, otherwise our low
and high freedom to do as we would and please.

We send them off to roam the world, we
eagerly await their return: our ambassadors
soliciting praise and pleasure from others.

You do not own your spirit, you create this
from rags and bones, from balls thrown high:
the sense grown to a great sophistication.

What you abandon, beat and strangle, often
torture and eventually murder is a repeat:
you have not overcome that terrible nature.

Off the leash as we are all, you become more,
canine or human creature: these dogs you call
to your home are all you need to love and know.

©Dean J. Baker

-* all the above pictured dogs have shared their lives with me

all my books on salehttp://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

go ahead and discover a book of mine…

alternatively, direct from CreateSpace – https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/links-to-my-books-in-print//

also posted – https://ohcanaduh.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/the-herald-2/

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The Herald

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing more than abstract ornament,
explanations and discussions
keeping us to ourselves; we were
too petty for anything else. God
and Spirit, man and God again: no
insight into the common denominators.

Stupidity categorized the crews
taking over. In Canada, one was
reduced to waiting; at best,
you sent yourself notes (not poems)
hoping they would stay closed, or
fall open revealing all upon arrival.

You are lost either way. Death
enters your life: a troubadour
strolling through the provincial town.
Each gesture of government singing
the unwanted guest to bed, who is
finishing the last bite of food.

One brought no plans for conversation,
issuing invitations in the dark
he slips from his clothes. The livery
stark amusement, leaving only the arc
of a streetlamp which constellates:
the hard vistas of distant expectation.

©Dean J. Baker

  • first published in Jewish Dialog
  • I wrote this and sent the first copy to John Newlove, a fine Canadian poet, who phoned me with what amounted to a surprise and wonder at the poem that I fully could not appreciate til much later. Joe Rosenblatt later opted to publish it in Jewish Dialog, which he was editing then. (Later I would edit two of Rosenblatt’s books – Tommy Fry and The Ant Colony, and Loosely-Tied Hands.)

all my books on sale – http://www.amazon.com/Dean-J.-Baker/e/B00IC6PGQM

 

alternatively, direct from CreateSpace – https://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/all-print-books-links/