ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Sarah White

I , Who Never Learned to Long

For the troubadours, longing was loving in its noblest form.
Love-from-Afar made words into poems, made melodies rise 
from the score.

Soon after the last World War, 
my widowed mother traveled to France every year 
leaving me in the care of Sadie, the Maid. 

When I wasn't in school, I would play in the park 
and a neighbor would say: 

 I'll bet you'll be glad when your mother comes home! 

Of course, you old bat, I'll be glad when she's home, 
glad to be shown her new French clothes, glad to hear 
of her afternoons on the shores of the River Adour.

When the Traveler returned, she told everyone how happy 
we were, she and I, and, at the time, 

I believed her.


Once, the Troubadour

went crusading/
sword in hand.

The pretty wives
of petty rivals
signaled from high windows.
Riding South
against the Pagans,
he flashed his blade <
at random Jews.                  

As William of Aquitaine,
sworn servant of the Cross,
composed "on horseback a song
of pure nothing,"

the tune stirred the wind,
the wind stirred a storm
that soaked his saddlebags
and the ink on his maps.
From that day on,

for travelers in Christendom
the road to Jerusalem
was blurred, hidden.

Deerbrook Editions will publish Sarah White's sixth poetry collection, "Iridescent Guest," some time in 2020.

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