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
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.
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.
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
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.
Ingress Print this poem only
My cerebral cortex
insulated by a patina
of the day’s complexities
was not ready for this intrusion.
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
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.
Being and Becoming Print this poem only
To my left and to my right
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
patterns bring unity
only now is a time of change
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
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.
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.
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.
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 crud
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
The poem was written in or about 1972
Ina's Music Print this poem only
She birthed me on piano keys
taught me how music frees
gave the treble-me melody
and the bass-me blues.
Taught the suburban boy
Robeson and gospel
and Debussy French.
Told me tales of Vienna wood
took my fingers to Norway
and my heart to Stokowski-hood.
From America's South
she swept my mind
to Beethoven climes
trained my tongue and mouth
in Verdi and Rimsky-Korsakov.
I was her star child
the Earth mother
of my Music.
Author's Note: Dedicated to Ina Jackson Carmen, my music teacher, my mentor, my liberator. The image to the right is not one of Mrs. Carmen but from flickr.com commons.
"Ina's Music," Copyright © 2022 by Glenn Currier