• Peter Goodwin

Peter Goodwin, two poems


The tree is dead.

Twenty feet tall and dead

fifty feet off a point of land and dead.

A dead tree in a shallow meandering river

an isolated dead tree, separated

from the other dead trees and stumps

and from the flat featureless land

a dull green wet washed reedy land

a dead tree

with its bare bleached gray branches

covered with black birds

who watch with indifference

as a small boat winds its way

up the channel and anchors

a boat anchored in the shallow waters

watched by the black birds on the dead tree

a solitary boat passing through

waiting by a dead tree

watched by black birds

waiting for another day.

The Elk River, Calm and Indifferent

Under a cool winter wind and bright sky, the river sits still,

serene; seeing or doing nothing while winter has its sway,

just a squawking gull piercing and disturbing the quiet,

landing on the river, unsatisfied, screeching, taking off

as a larger, darker gull approaches, a gull which is no gull at all

but an eagle, a young eagle not yet with its bright white head

and tail. The raucous gull dogs and bombs the eagle

as it circles pretending to ignore that wretched noisy gull,

gliding down almost to the water and up again, circles, and

dives again to the water, and up again, all the time tailed

by that gull and down again, this time catching a dead fish

in its talons, but dropping it, retreating to the trees that line

the river bank, the gull returning to the river and its dead fish

loudly proclaiming possession, tearing at the flesh of the fish.

The eagle returns, the gull takes off and their dance

in the air continues, circling, weaving, gliding, the gull loud

and aggressive, bobbing and dogging the eagle, the young

eagle’s motion smooth and silent as it swoops down toward

the delectable dead fish, misses and tries again and misses yet

again, retreating once more to the trees on the river’s bank,

the gull noisily returns to its dead fish, as the current conveys

it and its prize down stream,

the young eagle watching warily,

the river calm and indifferent.

Teacher, traveler, playwright, poet, celibate or married and points in between, Peter Goodwin was raised and educated in USA and UK, settled in New York City enjoying its vibrant clutter until priced out of the City and now lives mostly near the Chesapeake Bay, becoming a reluctant provider to squirrels, deer, raccoons, birds and mosquitoes, etc.

Poems published in: the chapbook, No Sense Of History; and anthologies: September eleven; Maryland Voices; Listening to The Water: The Susquehanna Water Anthology; Alternatives To Surrender; Wild Things–Domestic and Otherwise; and The Coming Storm.

Poems published in various journals including Rattle, Memoir(and), River Poets Journal, Delaware Poetry Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Twisted Tongue, Poetry Monthly, Main Street Rag, LockRaven Review, Sliver of Stone, Literary Nest, Greensilk Review.



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