Friday, October 12, 2012


So pleased to be sharing J.R. Solonche's work with you today. Thank you, Joel!

Portrait of the Dickinson Children
by J.R. Solonche

Even if you did not already know, you would know.
It's the ten-year-old redhead on the left.
It's the one with her head on fire.
It's the one with the faraway look in her eyes.
It's the one with the open book and the rose in her hand.
It's the one with the one thousand seven hundred seventy-five secrets in her smile.


To My Beard
by J.R. Solonche

What can I say but I am sorry,
I apologize for what I do to you,
my daily ruthlessness and cruelty.
What can I do but ask for your forgiveness
and your patience. For someday,
I promise you, someday I swear
on the beards of the prophets
and on the beard of the poet Whitman and
on the beard of the president Lincoln,
I will not stop you any longer,
I will let you go free, I will take down
the fence around you made of sharp blades.
For someday, I promise you, I will let
you run wild through the valleys
of my face like a stallion, I will let you
wander over the desert of my face
like a holy man in his vision of heaven
and hell, I will let you grow, blossom
and flourish, and I will stroke you
and comb you and keep you orderly
and free of knots and tangles,
and you in turn will make me look
distinguished, a wise old man as I stroke
you looking serious, looking as though
I were thinking deep thoughts about
life and death. But I will be thinking
only about you, my beard, my second face,
and this will be our secret.


Blue Butterfly by Dexter Wasyliszyn

A Blue Butterfly
by J.R. Solonche

I was outside reading.

A blue butterfly settled on the table.

The opening and closing of its blue wings

looked like a small blue book opening and closing to one blue page.

Then it looked like a blue eye opening and closing.

Then it looked like the blue book.

Then it looked like the blue eye.

Then the blue book.


by J.R. Solonche

When I was six,
my father used to take me
to the firehouse on Wadsworth Avenue
in Washington Heights
to visit the black and white dog
and to ring the silver bell
above the silver bumper
on the front of the fire engine
with the silver dollar he took out
of his pocket and placed in my hand.
Then we crossed the street
to the hobby shop where I watched
the electric train chug round
and round on its round silver track.
Some years later,
with my mother in department stores,
I would look at the silver jewelry
in the jewelry counter, but never the gold.
And still, it is the moon I love,
not the sun.
It is the moon I love,
even one night into new, even one night from none,
even then when it is but a sliver
of silver,
it is the moon I love.


"Portrait" and "Silver" appeared in Eclipse: A Literary Journal (2007), "To My Beard" in Atlanta Review (2003) and "A Blue Butterfy" in The Adirondack Review (2012). Posted with permission of the poet.

Betsy at Teaching Young Writers is our Poetry Friday host today.


jama said...

Thanks for introducing me to yet another fabulous poet! Enjoyed all the poems, especially the blue butterfly and the beard. It's so refreshing to come across poetry that is accessible, brings a smile to your face, and makes you think sideways :).

Renee LaTulippe said...

Wow, what a delectable bunch of treats! Thank you for sharing this and introducing me to this poet. Encore!

"one thousand seven hundred seventy-five secrets in her smile" - I'd say that's a swoon-worthy line. :) And how fabulous is "Blue Butterfly"? Love them all!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Love that blue butterfly poem especially! Thanks for sharing these.

Author Amok said...

Loved "My Beard." A poet friend just posted re: whether or not he should grow his beard out. I'm going to share this poem with him. Thanks!

Joyce Ray said...

Thank you, Tabatha! I love the Dickinson poem. The poem about the beard is great. And I could not help reading the reviews on your link to Joel and his wife's book of poems about their adopted daughter, Peach Girl. It sounds like a fantastic collection.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

What a range this poet has! I loved the Dickinson poem, too especially the line about all those secrets hidden behind a smile.

Liz Steinglass said...

So fun ! Thank you.

GatheringBooks said...

Oh Tabatha, I have fallen in love with your poet (or was it with his beard? Or the blue book? Must have been the blue eye - nope the silver blue wings!). I enjoyed ALL the poems. Great selections for us this week.

Betsy Hubbard said...

These were all a delight. My favorite is "To My Beard." I will go back and read that one again and read it to my husband too. Thank you for sharing these today.

Ruth said...

Wow! I loved every one of these! I will have to look for more by this poet, who is new to me.