Guest Poet Paula Grenside


What will happen to poets? 
Dreamers or realists as they might be
they'll have to search the tunnel of this
ending time for glimpses of light to ride on
and scatter denied truth on contradiction.
What, if we forget the moon at sunrise
and swallow bait and hook
while fishing after fortune prey.
What, if  we smash wild flowers
and march on grass carpets
while building concrete cathedrals.
What, if we are unable to yield to smiles
and  affection dashes off
while sinking in self-centered courses.
What, if   waves that kiss the rocks
and subside sound like rage insults
while fighting through insomnia.
What will happen to poets?

May, 1998

Paula Grenside's Questions:

1. Is the imagery effective to express what modern man is losing or destroying?

2. Are there too many repetitions?

3. Are languege and movements tied in the poem?

4. Is the subject clear?

Correspond with Paula Grenside at
with your ideas about this poem.


In summer when the stars take all the sky's weight
I  go home crossing the river bridge,
a hanging arch over the dimmed banks
that mark off the whisper of dark water.
I cross it once...or twice, I can't remember
I think  at the speed of time.

The river smells of algae bloom, 
while starrry twinkles sink
in weeds and swirls.
Each side I walk to is 
like  prison door 
flung open  to my sadness 
although it is too dark to see.
I put one board at each one foot 
" A passage to nowhere" it reads,
you'll never get away, no matter
how suddenly you shoot forth.
I wing down to the other side 
and close my eyes
but see your eyes, they hurt.
And so I glance around, 
just glitters of electric traffic
from blackened road beyond
and then my eyes I close again
and here it comes the utter
nothingness of grasping void.

Once I was a river lit by perennal stars, fast flowing
to the open sea, but now  I move so slowly, I am the trap.
Such weariness, I cannot even step the last few yards,
the stars have lowered and try to track for me,
but I don't know whereto I am supposed to go
that's why I cross the  bridge and at each side I stop.

May, 1998

Paula Grenside's Questions:

1- The poem aims at painting the irregular flow of the river and of the speaker as well. The rhythm gets a bit faster in the central part where the shorter lines come like a bridge between the opening and the close. Does all this result clear to the reader?

2- The speaker feels imprisoned by time and memories; he/she can't bridge past and present reality. Does the poem focus this message?

Correspond with Paula Grenside at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop