ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Three Poems by Geordie de Boer


Praise Poem for the Workingman

            from Chants for the Fellaheen

Praise the timber feller, the bucker and the whistle-punk, the bunkroom cook,
            the lust-drunk camp-following gals.
Praise all who turn the trees from green to yellow to house the women
            and their fellows under the beams,
            who in turn curse them for clearing the hillsides clean.

Praise the oilskin-boys, the scrapers and the gutters, the dredge tender
            and the long-line man, the go-fer deckhand, the gaffer and the greenhorn.
Praise those who seine the seas, who troll and trawl, cook and can what we eat
            so we can curse them for scouring our seascapes clean.

Praise the brick-maker, the clay-mucker and bale-boy, the brick-layer and the one
            without a prayer whose head is baked brick-thick.
Praise all who hoard and sell the land, who scour it thicket-clear and those who
            jeer from beneath the dome above their brick-hard heads.

Praise the hard-rock miner, the family who pines while he blasts the bowels
            of the mountains, the driller and cager, the spragger and powder-monkey.
Praise all who pick the coal to power the radio, which tells of the final blow
            while we curse the coal-black skies.



The Probability of Love

     We are a seething mass/Of probability.
     And probably I love you.

                                              Ruth Stone

Probably, too, I love many,
the slow and the sudden,
the well-heeled and down-trodden,
the smart and the ninny (so often
the same). We call it love,
but to name the ineffable
is to wrestle a wraith, or dam
a stream with a screen. Love
is but the name we give to
the unnamable sieve through
which our feelings get strained,
the open drain that feelings
and people slip down and away.


Send In the Clowns
When I say, the gray moon
stumbles through the branches of
the crab-apple tree,
I’m comparing the moon to an old,
bumbling, doddering fool
tottering through the dark,
a frail sliver three-quarters gone,
but it is I who stumbles,
not through tree branches,
but over the roots
of missed chances, missteps,
glances gone amiss, steps not danced…

I might have said tumbles
through the branches…          
but for an ess I’d be lithe and lively,
a gymnast with ¾ giants, handstands
and flyaways down pat
rather than practicing pratfalls
of the trickster glib of tongue,
but a total ass.

When I say, the gray moon
stumbles through the branches of
the crab-apple tree,
I’m the gaga old guy
who ought to be bundled off
to the moon while the band plays
Send In the Clowns.

Geordie de Boer, a rambler and wrangler of rhyme (internal), lives in southeast Washington (state). He’s been published most recently by Muddy River Poetry Review, The Meadowland Review, Mobius, Miller‘s Pond, and The Centrifugal Eye. Visit him at Cockeyed Fits ( His prose poems appeared in Offcourse #37, Spring 2009.

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