Three Poems

Edward J. Renehan Jr.

Thoreau On Monadnock

He imagined old Indian trails:
marched pleasantly through the rain
(content, alone)
and sought arrowheads
on the saturated flank.

He slid down the gravel, wore
his soul like a hat,
and then wandered up once more,
up, above the treeline.

The wind always blows on this top
spot: the bald head of
the craggy mountain.
Erosion proceeds with strict
precision: more reliable than even
the atomic clock.

I always look for Henry here on this
peak with no shadows.
Rain collects where the stone
inhales. And if the rain is new, then you
are safe to drink before
you start your journey


Let The Veterans Dance

Let the veterans dance,
in their

Let them sway their hips
and raise their arms
like Hallelujah.

They reach for youth
that has flown
like an angel

They reach for something
that is dead as far
as regards

Let them bounce and wiggle
to the old songs.

Let them proceed
unobstructed to wherever
they must


The Broken Place

I’ve been to the broken place where the new road
tramples what was for
so long: what was then
and now will never
be again.

I’ve searched for traces of the old proud
house, but
found no sign of her succumbing.
Only the chill of

Ghosts, I imagine, still occupy those rooms
that are not there, those rooms that are
They sit at midnight in their familiar
chairs. They turn their eyes from the
high beams of the

and they wonder what has become
of their world.


Edward J. Renehan Jr. (erenehan[at] is a Rhode Island-based poet and writer of nonfiction. His books include The Kennedys at War, The Lion’s Pride, The Secret Six and John Burroughs: An American Naturalist. Renehan’s poetry has appeared in The American Scholar and other journals.

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