Innocent wonder: The poetry of Ben Groner

Transformation

“And I can add I found this world sufficiently miraculous /
 for me, before I’m changed.” – Franz Wright

The grey lake beyond those oaks
mirrors the gunmetal Ohio sky

and the man with thinning hair who
comes weekly to the bench, clutching
a bit of Whitman or Rilke
or Psalms,
is here again today

pacing along the edge of water, flask
in hand, now kicking the mossy
bank, cursing some “James,” now
staring about in innocent wonder,
now screaming at the heavens,
arms pleadingly outstretched

even the prophets
have their demons I suppose

now he is prostrate on the cold
earth in prayer, and I realize
he is like me

some perceiving ape, born from the
pre-eternal dark brightness,
(those endless years
only the earth
remembers)
into the present
light—

a sense of privacy compels me
to drop my gaze and
when I turn back to the lake,
the man is gone, the sky
filled with the soft warbling
of doves, when only seconds
before, all
had been quiet.

 

 

Photograph of My Father In a Tarnished Silver Frame, 1999

In the bruise of a cloudy afternoon
I noticed, perhaps for the first time,

a picture amongst the little
ceramic boxes and knick-knacks
on the bookshelf

those pools of blue seemed
surprised and amused as the
crest of his brown hair broke and
tumbled over his forehead, his
smile stretched through the
canyons in his cheeks and
for a moment—

I thought I heard something that
sounded like his laugh, although

I had never heard it before.

 


Ben Groner III (Nashville, TN), recipient of Texas A&M University’s 2014 Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry, has work published in or forthcoming from Appalachian Heritage, Third Wednesday, New Mexico Review, Texas Poetry Calendar, and elsewhere

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