Early  Poems

These poems were written many years ago, some of them when I was in my 20's or younger.  Most of them are undated and impossible to determine exactly when they were written.  I discovered them May 10, 2020 as I was cleaning out some books from a bookshelf unit.  They were handwritten, folded, and tucked away inside an old style log book that I had written in and forgotten about. 

 

Some of the poems are somewhat juvenile, but as is true of the rest of this site I include almost all of my poems, those I like and think are pretty good, and those I don't like and think are pretty bad. The poems on this page were all written before computers were available to the public and in some instances I have had difficulty deciphering my penmanship.  Some samples of which you can see in the banner above.  It is easy to see my immaturity in these poems, but as I said in the author's note for "Self Pity," it assures me that I am and have always been just an ordinary man who took time to exhibit his ordinariness in his poetry.

 
 

Weekend in New York             Print this poem only

After long weekend in New York

it takes a while for the numbness to wear off.

On the plane flight back

I can feel the release of tension

as if her huge embrace

no longer has control of my psyche.

This suburbanite feels the release

on the trip back home

while the native back there must learn to cope and ignore

her for his respite and release

and make plans to be relaxed.

Written sometime in the 1970s

​​Manhattan Hotel            Print this poem only

 

I cannot hear the deep-throated groan of the lawn mower

pushed by the neighbor across the street.

I cannot smell the freshly cut grass.

 

I hear horns and whistles and sirens blowing

and the whine of a bus

hurled by a driver from Brooklyn.

 

The hotel room has a clean outer layer

but the odor of a smoke-soaked substratum

and the dingy carpet

permeates the room betraying its age

and the habits of its previous occupants.

Written sometime in the 1970s, slightly revised 5-15-20

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Seasons            Print this poem only

 

The Arizona Ash once cutback

is not a majestic angel reaching toward the sky.

There is a young dove resting in the Tallow

preparing for her motherhood.

 

The grave vine planted last year

winds its way through the chain link fence

with fresh new growth. 

 

Life is filled with new possibilities

old loves are transformed

and signs of new growth are dawning.

 

The past is slipping away

the paint on the house is pealing

the piano keys are turning brown

dust has settled on a picture frame

that old cactus plant is gone.

 

She hears my greeting on the telephone

her voice is voice of feeling.

The joy of sharing food and drink

the laughter and excitement upon opening Christmas gifts

the shared tears shed upon our troubles

all these feelings slip into the past forever.

 

But the new day a multifarious array of life

spring-grown leaves made translucent emerald green

by late morning sunlight

newly painted siding,

a young camphor tree growing here this year.

 

I embrace the new day and the excitement of its possibilities.

 

Author’s Note – 5-15-20: As I typed this poem from the original hand-written copy it did not mean a whole lot to me until I finally spotted that last line written in the margin of the first page. Upon reading that line memories and feelings of being a young man, looking forward to a  full life, flooded in. And for a moment I was transported into my 20’s.

 

“Seasons,” Copyright 2020 by Glenn Currier

Undated poem but probably written in the mid-to-late sixties when I still lived at home with my parents in Pasadena, Texas.  They had a large Arizona Ash, a Chinese Tallow tree and a Camphor tree. 

 

Speak, Oh Spring!            Print this poem only

 

First a whisper of mist

covering roads and shop windows,

slowing feet which ache

for a dry living room after a day’s labors.

 

But mist and clouds

are but restless gray preludes

to a symphony of sun and wind,

dandelions and budding elm,

and azaleas shouting their message

that spring should enter here.

 

But the air, neither cool nor warm

bespeaks the indecision of the seasons.

The sun tells me too it’s time for spring,

but still the misty memory of the morn

reminds me that winter hangs on,

its frosty grip still poised.

 

Speak oh spring!

Sound your vital call!

Fill my pores with sun

my nostrils with the sweetness

of your fruits.

Undated poem

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A Love’s Conclusion            Print this poem only

 

She gathers her things now

now that I’ve said them

limping through them

unsure I could do them

unsure of the moment

for the words of parting.

 

Eyes resist a single gaze

refusing to focus

on the things of our moments

that blue and green curtain

will remember the morning

it hid from our eyes.

 

The overstuffed couch

will have to recall

the soft touch, the sighs

the book she gave,

the recording I made

the dishes we washed

the Frisby we tossed.

 

And now she is going,

but still she is staying

in the things of our moments.

Our eyes will not meet

lest our tears show defeat…

for the parting is certain

the reasons clear

the feelings of hurting

and pain and fear.

 

But along with the sadness

there will be the joy

of our conversations

and days of meeting

of changing vistas

and ideas and feelings.

 

And now she is parting

and in her eyes betrayal

of inner confusion

of fears and regrets

of a love’s conclusion.

 

Undated poem, but it was probably written in the late sixties, for then I was courting.

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Bucolic Elegance            Print this poem only

 

It’s Friday. Hello weekend

goodbye another week

the week’s pressures

are yet pent up inside

my pores will not open to let them leave

no demon, simply taut

strings inside me,

tense and sitting in crowded office

tears of anxiety and fears

charge the air

with electricity of pain

yet alive with meaning.

 

But the aftermath is burden

another strand of my diaphragm

pulled tight – short breaths,

staring at the calendar in front of me

at anything upon which I can fix my eyes.

 

A try at a deep breath

but no success.

Friday night the hope of a peaceful weekend

away from the tensions of professional life

the hope of a few moments of rest and quiet

for two hours of continuous meditation

a while with some good music

a time enjoying a book.

 

These simple yet sublime

moments of intellect.

 

Author’s Note: This was probably written the summer I taught at Richland College in Dallas, Texas. It was just one summer away from El Centro College where I taught full time for 35 years. A former colleague of mine at El Centro, Jim Hankerson, may he rest in peace, had a keen skill with turn of phrase and he used to half-jokingly refer to Richland College, in the more wealthy climes of the college district, as a place of “bucolic elegance.” We all smiled or chuckled when he said it because it was a backhanded compliment at the somewhat snobbish attitudes of some of the faculty, administration and students at that college. I can say these things now since I am retired, having recently found the yellowed copy of this poem tucked away in an old book of my poems.  It was probably written in my temporary office after a hard week of teaching in that new environment.

 

Undated poem but probably written in the late seventies

 

Self Pity            Print this poem only

 

If only I could cast my thoughts beyond the lake

the lake I can see and hear ahead of me,

then I’d be another man

with no troubled breast nor nervous hand.

 

I think I’d be happy if I weren’t the man I am

but somebody else…

But they say that all men are troubled

and beset by sorrow.

 

I am an unhappy man with no cause to be happy…

I am a civilized man and I like it.

My forest is the park, the city park, and I like it.

 

My lake is the fountain which spurts and splashes

its white column.

My heart loves the city park,

the park brings brightness, clearness, happiness.

 

There is something that makes me happy,

it is the fountain, the trees,

the statue old Sam Houston,

the garden at his feet,

The ducks wobbling by me,

playing the sex game with each other,

and the beautiful blue sky

that gives my troubled soul freedom… peace.

 

I am but a little baby upon the stormy sea

and the world and the stormy winds are threatening to me.

And all the while my thoughts are turned upon my ugly self

and all the while the world is there so full of beauty’s wealth.

 

What is it that restrains my soul within so small a place,

that holds my heart's throbbing love at such a petty pace?

God help a lover such as I release the imprisoned dove

so he can fly away from the present day to a future of hope and love.

 

Author’s note: I do not remember writing this poem, nor can I remember the lake, the city park or circumstance but as I read it and typed it for my website, I was almost embarrassed at the degree of self pity I felt.  The poem was written by a post-adolescent young man still searching for himself.  But I should not be embarrassed because of my inadequacies at an early age, nor at my need to grow. I am glad I found this poem in the little notebook here in 2020.  It is humbling to experience my immaturity here, and sad to see my lack of self esteem or self love, but I am glad I had the ability and the will to write it down.  Poetry has always helped me to process what was going on inside of me. It assures me that I have always been just an ordinary man, one ready and willing to grow. As I type this poem from the handwritten notebook paper and post it on my website, I am struck by the degree of depression I must have had for so many years, and not having a clue about the yet-to-be diagnosed condition.

Undated and untitled poem.  Titled by me 5-16-20

 

Cedar Valley            Print this poem only

 

Morning sun ache through clouded sky

sweetgum trees reach for its rays

the grass, patched with brown

from the harsh winter

Cedar Valley rests patiently

nourishing its young life

in its second spring. 

 

This place, fixed in verdant terrain

not quite hills, but not quite plain

feels now so natural during spring,

its essence - the fertile

young but healthy trees

and placid, clover banked lake.

The sun conquers morning mist

sifts through translucent leaves,

kissed softly by an early breeze.

Cedar Valley whispers now.

 

Author’s Note: This poem was written in 1978 about Cedar Valley College, opened in 1977 in Lancaster, Texas.

 

Written in spring 1978

 

A Neil Diamond Sunday Coming Down Evening            Print this poem only

 

A confusion of duties and demands

fills the week past.

Must get out this report.

Can’t forget that proposal.

 

Tree branches and leaves

are sheathed in ice

and clatter against one another

in the wind.

 

They are telling me

they are reminding me again:

there is another world outside

outside the walled, dutied one

that surrounds me

and envelops me each day-in-day-out.

 

Listen crickle crack, hey!

I’m cold, moist, don’t ignore me.

Stick your head out,

let your mind join me a while

just a while

let loose

loosen the leather string

so tightly holding your insides together.

 

Author’s Note: This was obviously written after a long day or week of work many years ago. My wife and I have had a long love affair with Neil Diamond and his music.  I think the last stanza is telling me to let my hair down, get out a glass of rose wine, relax and listen to one of Neil’s albums, preferably the one that contains his big hit, Cracklin Rosie.

 

Undated poem

 
 

​​​Ingress            Print this poem only

 

My cerebral cortex

insulated by a patina

of the day’s complexities

was not ready for this intrusion.

 

The stupor

induced by a plethora of professional pastimes

was comfortable until he entered.

 

Had he not been so passionate

about his idea

had he treated it more lightly

I would be at ease now

questioning the cozy assumptions of the past.

 

I am a crystalloid.

I am a primordium.

 

Author’s Note: This was probably written after hearing a speech or presentation by a charismatic speaker but I do not remember who that might have been. I do remember this was a period in my life when I was very open to learning and becoming.

 

Written February, 1976

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Time            Print this poem only

 

Pensive, quiet melodies

bluing twilight cooled

by soft-waved breeze.

Time finds space

for unhurried thoughts –

meanings and values

sift through the mind.

Precious, unsullied respite –

creator of the inner cosmos

which is I.

Written 9-21-74

Being and Becoming            Print this poem only

 

To my left and to my right

no simplicity

no unity

no being

being is becoming

being is fluid

being is the mountain stream

being is the sun reflecting

on the multiplicity

of the tumult down the mountain

movement makes the water pure

stillness is stagnation, deterioration.

The rush of the stream

cleanses the rocks

fills the water with life-giving air.

 

But the plants grow on the banks,

on solid ground

fed by the water

which has seeped through to their roots.

Life is order

life is process

being is the rushing waters

life is both

confusion

and order

patterns bring unity

only now is a time of change

conflict

movement

confusion.

 

Now there is not unity it seems

but the stream flows between its banks.

It has as its restraints the land

through which it cuts.

It has a bedrock.

I am on the surface

being jostled as an errant cork or a leaf.

I will catch on to something for a while

but will be wrestled free again.

Enjoy the process, the freedom

let yourself soar

swim freely.

 

So many stimuli around

where do I go?

What do I do?

What do I read?

Who am I?

 

Being in society

being of society

knowing who I am

knowing what I want

I am a process.

I am chaos.

I have no unity.

I am confusion.

Too many things to do

from which to choose.

 

Author’s Note: This poem was obviously written at a time in my life in which I was searching for an identity, for something to hold onto while realizing that I was changing and that was okay.  I remember long periods from 1965 through the mid seventies in which I was insecure and unsure of what or who I was meant to be. Even now as I recall that season, I feel tense. In retrospect now in 2020 I see that my much later diagnosis with Attention Deficit Disorder gives a good causal explanation for my state of mind especially during this period of change. I was definitely familiar with and remembered studying the Greek philosopher Heraclitus whose thesis was: being is becoming. I identified with his thinking a great deal, as indicated in this poem.

 

Undated poem

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Belonging at Christmas            Print this poem only

 

You may have noticed and you may see

there are no presents from us under the tree.

We have been busy and we have been rushed

and by our work we have felt crushed.

 

But that’s not the reason

for no gifts from us this season.

We thought of some neat and wonderful things

we thought of perfume and books and games and rings.

 

But none of these things seemed right this year;

they didn’t really make us feel near

in our relationship to you and each other,

to you, the Dal Curriers, Genie, Dad and Mother.

 

And so we decided to write you a poem instead

of wrapping our packages in green, gold and red.

But that’s not all we decided to do

to bring our meaning of Christmas to you.

 

To us it seems that Jesus was born

in that lonely stable on that cold morn

to teach us the meaning of loving and caring:

accepting each other and suffering and sharing.

 

We want to make God’s message real;

we want in some way to begin to heal

the hurts perhaps caused by our neglecting,

by our pride or selfishness, by our not accepting.

 

Before our Christmas poem is through

we want to announce our gift to each of you:

we promise to give a gift of time

it may be a letter or it may be a rhyme.

 

It may be a visit, or it may be a call;

it may be in spring or it maybe be in fall.

Whatever the date, be not the worrier

you’ll hear from Helen and Glenn Currier.

 

And for now, let us say how special you are

as we remember that Christ is not very far;

He is in us, and we are with Him

as surely as he was born in Bethlehem.

 

And just for tonight, let our worries cease!

Merry Christmas! Love! Joy! and Peace.

 

Undated poem

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Verdi            Print this poem only

 

Now I am a memory

in recollection –

a silly smile, twinkling eyes –

betraying my plot to make you laugh,

for life was much too ridiculous

to be taken very serious.

 

But don’t low-rate memories!

A nephew of mine visited with me

no more than half a dozen times,

but he’ll remember me forever.

At first he’ll feel a void

but when he remembers

those crazy moments with me

the void will be warmed with a smile.

 

Memories are impressions,

and, by God, I made a lot of them

and - don’t you forget it!

 

I knew who I was.

there was no doubt.

I am a monolith.

 

I will be the natural wit of the earth –

I will be the daisy

growing from soil fertilized by manure.

I will be the hops

flavoring beer for a bachelor party.

 

But really, seriously…

death is peace.

The noise of the city finally silenced.

Death is freedom,

life’s burdens finally lifted.

 

Violence and disorder are no more,

now in harmony with the earth.

 

At last all is calm.

The earth and I are one.

I will renew it.

Written 3-15-1976

 

Farewell to Brown & Root        Print this poem only

I worked my ass off at Brown and Root

just to get a little loot,

for a teacher can’t live high on the hog

without working in the summer like a dog.

 

I ground and I buffed weld after weld

in weather so hot you’d think it was hell.

Burrows was the first to teach me the skill;

he said, “If you don’t know now, you will.”

 

He taught me to two hole, to grind and to buff,

and Dowd and Lewis taught me enough

to be a good helper for my welder and fitter.

and then I met the world’s best bullshitter

 

Working with MacAdams, also a kidder,

there was Dewitt Conles, a real rod dobber;

he didn’t eat much, but was a nuterment gobbger.

and in that foursome oh so great

came Troy and Jojo and Ellie Mae.

 

And there were amidst all that mud,

sloshing around in all that curd

our foreman, Bill, was a real nice guy

but then something happened to make him cry.

 

Those 45 offsets were oh so bad

that they made our whole group mighty sad,

but everything worked out for the best

for the X-rays were better than we had guessed.

 

 

And now it’s time for me to go,

but I want you to know

that I’ll never forget all you guys

till I make my final demise.

 

I can’t say I’ll miss the dirt and sweat,

but the friends I’ve made and the guys I’ve met

I’ll miss by tomorrow at about work time

when they start working in the dirt and grime.

 

I’ll remember a lot from that summer past

when I worked with those hands at Brown & Root

just to get me a little loot.

 

                     Signed, Glenn Currier, “The Professor”

 

Author’s Note: In about 1971 or 1972 I worked during my summer vacation for Brown and Root, a large industrial services company founded in Texas in 1919.  It was a non-union shop and for that reason many of its employees sometimes lacked skills that their union counterparts had, however, they were hard-working people, somewhat individualistic in their personalities and work habits. I worked for what was then Ethyl Corporation in previous summers in their pipefitting maintenance department. Some of the men sloughed off quite a bit and they actually seemed to me to have less of a work ethic that the Brown and Root guys. Even at my advanced age, I still remember Burrows. He was a tall lumbering man who always wore blue jean overalls. He was big but he was gentle and I also remember that he was a Christian. I think he even took his bible to work and read it during lunch breaks. He did not cuss like the other guys. Amazing I still remember that. He made a good lasting impression on me, a young man at the time.

 

“Farewell Brown & Root,” Copyright 2020 by Glenn Currier

Written in or about 1972

2020 Copyright by Glenn Currier