Barbara M. White



GRACIE

You had to like dogs. Or at least not mind dogs.
Or be able at least to tolerate this particular dog.

Mainly you had to accept that at random moments,
Gracie would launch her soprano ah-woooooo,

aiming it high above the highest notes of your right
hand's Mozart or Bach. If she kept at it too long,

Harry might pick her up, ruffle her ears,
but Gracie alone decided on the time to stop.

On sporadic Saturdays, Harry taught me to think
in phrases, build them into a coherent sonata allegro

or weave them into a meditative fugue. I learned
to seek out repertoire whose reason for song

reached deep inside me, creating a pedal point
far below reason or the musings of my five senses.

Whenever Harry taught, Gracie stayed near.
It was Harry's piano tuner, a man alert to the tiniest

variation in pitch, who noticed that Gracie sang
always on either the tonic or the dominant —

the home key or the note that called
all others to return to the safety and repose

of home. Gracie, that wriggle of brown and
white and black, understood what was important.

            In memory of Harry McClure



HER PRESENCE

for the class of 1958,
Brandeis University

The night Eleanor Roosevelt would speak
at Gen Ed S — it was our freshman year —
I had to go to the bathroom in the Student Union
before dinner. Afterwards I turned
the water on, heard the click
of a stall door opening. I added soap
to my wet hands, looked up to see beside
me at the sink — and full face in the mirror —
Mrs. Roosevelt.

For four years, I sang alto in the chorus
and attended every graduation,
every academic convocation.
Whenever Mrs. Roosevelt took part
in the procession, everybody stood
as she walked by. Her presence pushed us upright,
row by row by row.





Barbara M. White's poetry has appeared in Lilith Magazine and Innisfree. She has been a featured reader in the Takoma Park Library in Washington, DC, and the Takoma Park Poetry Series in nearby Maryland. She is a retired copy editor and has also worked as a Jewish educator, a free-lance writer, and (many years ago) a piano teacher.








                                    

 

Home
Current Issue
Submissions
Contributors' Notes


Email this poem Printer friendly page

A CLOSER LOOK: Eric Pankey

Franz Baskett

Kate Bernadette Benedict

Bruce Bennett

Ben Berman

George Bishop

Sheila Black

Ronda Broatch

Jeremy Byars

Ann Cale

Roxana Cazan

Norma Chapman

Nancy Kenney Connolly

Barbara Crooker

Michael C. Davis

Sarah DeCorla-Souza

Roberta Feins

Nan Fry

Martin Galvin

Vanessa Gebbie

Brian Gilmore

Howard Good

John Grey

Brenda Mann Hammack

Colleen S. Harris

Joy Helsing

Nellie Hill

Melanie Houle

Michael Hutchison

Jason Irwin

Lisa Kosow

Frederick Lord

Dan Masterson

William McCue

Claire McGoff

John Milbury-Steen

Anna Mills

Roger Mitchell

Barbara J. Orton

Richard Peabody

Steven Pelcman

Patric Pepper

Allan Peterson

Gretchen Primack

Oliver Rice

Margaret A. Robinson

Janice D. Soderling

John Solensten

Joseph Somoza

Sandra Staas

Micah Stack

Susan Stiles

Jennifer Sullivan

Colette Thomas

Barbara M. White

Kathi Wolfe

Ernie Wormwood

More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 


Last Updated: Feb 28, 2019 - 7:54:03 AM

Copyright 2005 - 2019 Cook Communication.