John Clarke

Books by John Clarke for the Backwaters Press

Good Lonely Day Good Lonely Day by John Clarke

Author: John Clarke
Format: Paperback, 106 pages
ISBN: 9781935218067
Published: June 2009

Buy This Book: Small Press Distribution –  AmazonBarnes & Noble

Critical Praise for Good Lonely Day

John Clarke writes beautifully about the natural world, about marshes, orchards, blackbirds, deer, a one-footed pheasant, or the arrival of “first snow / tapping its small canes.” His poems, like the country night sky to which he often calls our attention, glitter with fine detail, are compact and tightly tuned with a Zen-like clarity of line. A Good Lonely Day is essentially about watching that leads to seeing, about inner and outer weather. Clarke’s poems register both the small and immense changes that seasons, days, and hours bring; they are a source of beauty and wisdom that invite a reader to return.
Peter Makuck, founding editor of Tar River Poetry and author of Off-Season in the Promised Land

“Whippoorwill” was featured on the site Verse Daily.

Poems from John Clarke’s Good Lonely Day

White Pine

I lift my walking stick
toward the earliest star—
time to turn home,
time to keep the fire.

But I see a branch of white pine
so heavy with snow
it touches the earth.

I run my fingers through it
and run them through
again and again
until they sting.

It is you, my love, holding
out your hand to mine
as well as you can.

June Night

The tail of the Scorpion
a light-static

over the road,
an old barn water-logged.

Then wind, northwest,
the clouds baled to the east,

and now the whole
covenant of stars:

the Dolphin’s jack;
the Dragon we traced at school;

the Lady in Chains,
who suffered, who was fair;

and stunned at last
the scythes of Herculean limbs.

And here the shut
petals of chaste houses,

the last fall of rain
left to the pines.

Attending My Son’s Planetarium Show

So easy to be sleepy
inside this dark,

the chummy stars,
a garden with no mosquitoes,

a little Mozart
another place at home;

but then, deft and unseen,
my son’s hands

drive the hours
and soon the seasons on

over the picketed
legs of girls in shorts:

the Summer Triangle,
the gable of Seven Sisters,

then snow-scaling Orion.
And now he reels

us back to where we were;
and I am here,

though hardly at all,
like that shimmer of dust

low in the west
above the EXIT sign.

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