Frederick Lord


See how a moon-colored sun
squints from a scratched slate sky.
Hear how the gray grass crunches
beneath us like cheap plastic toys.

Brusque winds rouge your cheek,
fair lover, in this New Hampshire
mid-November. Are they roses
for the grave of Robert

Traill Spence Lowell, Junior,
who loved the ones who abused him
and abused the ones who loved him
and lied the truth about both?

Despite my leaning away from you
this time of year, whenever you bend
to read some tenderness long worn
to a whisper, I am diminished.

What the dead caution never changes,
though frost may have heaved
their chests like Lowell's sea.
How soon before we wear our names?

And can we still call death a brief
passage through cold shadow,
or is that antique comforter
shredded beyond all mending?

Now the flint sky on stone cloud
strikes stray sparks of snow.
Time to give up and go home
and with glad hands build love's slow fire.


"God made the world, Aquinas says, at play,"
and what we make we love as our own name.
But then that gifted child was called away,

from the beach where our world sandcastle lay,
by other children, for a different game.
God made the world, Aquinas says, at play,
with what odd stuff was handy on that day,
delight in the doing God's only aim.
But then that gifted child was called away,

to let the sea dissolve our lump of clay
with each caress, as if it would reclaim
the world God made, Aquinas says, at play.

Though some may wonder if our maker may
never have meant us for what we became
after that gifted child was called away,

who cares what novelist-theologians say?
Love by accident is love just the same.
God made the world, Aquinas says, at play,
but then that gifted child was called away.

Frederick (Rick) is the Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts at Southern New Hampshire University, where he also teaches English and serves as poetry editor for Amoskeag, SNHU's literary magazine. A finalist in 2007's Dogwood Poetry Prize and honorable mention in the Juked Poetry Prize, Lord has recently appeared in Blueline, Switched-on Gutenberg, kaleidowhirl, Main Channel Voices, caesura, Bent Pin Quarterly, Relief, and Bayou. He and his wife Heather, a painter, live in Bow, N.H.



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