ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Francis Blessington


“It ain’t hay.” But he could tell
its texture in snow.
Value is the effluence of the bale:
how green, dry, tasteful
he smells in the fodder.
Like an acolyte, bends at the waist,
kowtows into the reaped grass
a moment. Then we see rise
his fedora and the long-
smeared dress shirt
of flowery blue, white, green,
like a bouquet in the rotting wind.
He nods, swings, bars the gate. 



 A Muster of Storks

As we worked the hay, they dropped,
not with their accustomed clacks
or angular dance of joints, but
noiselessly assuming positions of ease.
I was the novice, the others heedless.
“Happens,” someone said. Their circle
settled the small field with statuary,
the marbled feathers and beaks examining
aslant, ignoring the groaning baler.
Pickets, on Sunday leave, before rising
back up church roofs to guard their nests.



The Tommyknockers 

They lured us to rooms of gold,
Or sapped your mountain
With their underdiggings.
Their knack was wealth or death,
Devils in ruins for you
guilty of gutting earth.  

Today they are catacombed
in books, and disenchantment
rules out spirits to creeking
plates and fracking timbers.
Sometimes, creviced in a granite mantle,
I feel them swarm, snitching my pickaxe,
barrowing my grave, or hollowing
little to keep my rescue alive.


  Blessington says: My latest book of poems, Poems from Underground, will be published this year from Deerbrook Editions. I have published two books of poems. Wolf Howl and Lantskip as well asParadise Lost: Ideal and Tragic EpicParadise Lost and the Classical Epic and many essays, short stories, verse translations of Euripides’ The Bacchae and Aristophanes’ The Frogs, and a novel, The Last Witch of Dogtown. My translation of Euripides’ Trojan Women won the Der-Hovanessian Prize for the best translation in 2011. My latest book is Euripides: Trojan Women, Helen, Hecuba: Three Plays about Women and the Trojan War. Verse Translations. University of Wisconsin Press, 2015.

My poems have appeared in Appalachia, Arion, Cumberland Poetry Review, The Dalhousie Review, Denver Quarterly, The Florida Review, Frank, Harvard Magazine, Light, Literary Imagination, New Letters, Offcourse, The Sewanee Review, Southern Humanities Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Yankee, and in many other journals.

See also his poems in Offcourse, the latest in Issue #65.

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