Three Poems

David Sapp

Photo Credit: Tony Hall/Flickr (CC-by)


It was the same wooden sound
As the pews at Saint Vincent,
The same complaint of arthritic joints,
The same burnished surface
Slipping beneath my fingertips,
The same lemony redolence of polish
And something more: the stale
Remnants of previous tears,
Rage, fear, despair, finality.

The wood of the courtroom
Did not evoke the same assurance of
Or comfort in salvation or redemption
As in the church nor a reason to gaze
Upward at predictable but reliable
Narratives in stained glass—
Where my mind might wander
Over Mother Mary and the Trinity.

In the passage from witness room,
A heavy door to witness chair,
I looked at none of them,
I acknowledged none of them,
I resented all of them,
Mother, father, lawyers, judge,
As I was merely a utensil—evidence
To confirm the tawdry domestic
Details in their melee over children.

Initially, an anxious young man,
My responses were wooden. And then,
I suddenly comprehended the battle
Over my little sister’s sanity—
And why young men are willing,
Eager, to be led off to war,
To die on a distant, obscure shore.
Their idealism and purpose is pure.



I am astonished
By the skepticism
As they walk past
This abundance.
At the edge of the meadow,
The nice young couple
Afford me an overly
Generous berth,
An eccentric old man
In a funny hat, bent
Picking wild blackberries,
A mess for my wife’s
Breakfast. Berries, berries,
Everywhere berries,
Who wouldn’t covet
These berries flying plump
On vines, irresistible,
These roly-poly cherubs?
In their indifference,
These two could not know
That with this plethora,
Daring the pricks of thorns,
I am ecstatic in nostalgia:
Fifty years ago,
My aunts would stop
Their day for berries.
In her flowered cotton dress,
Aunt Martha gathered
Cousins, pails, and
Grandpa’s dog, Henry,
To make a morning of it,
Chatting happily,
Scheming preserves,
Pies, cobblers, crisps,
Blackberry jam spread
Over warm bread,
A poignant memory
Of a ripe summer day
In the heart of winter.


Solitary Temperaments

Where the trail turns
Further into the woods,
Densely lush and leafed,
Where encounters are infrequent,
Dainty hooves pierce the dirt.
Long-legged creatures, two
Does, wander into my path,
Heads high, ears keen,
Eyes wide and wary,
Their lean flanks rippling.
And two young women,
Runners for the team,
Sprint by, flash a chary glance,
Shoes sucking the mud,
Their lean thighs rippling.
Apparently, we are the odd pair,
The lonesome fox and I.
She’s up early, darting about,
Crimson piercing viridian,
And pauses. Our mutual
Astonishment turns to
A fleeting, unabashed regard,
Each as curious over the contrast:
My bright neon-yellow jacket,
Her ruddy red coat—
Black socks fashionable in June.
Our hearts beat faster
As we are slightly skittish
Over our chance rendezvous.
“Why, how do you do?”
And then there’s a recognition:
We are as reclusive as the other,
Disinclined to apologize
For solitary temperaments.


David Sapp, writer, artist, and professor, lives along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. A Pushcart nominee, he was awarded Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Grants for poetry and the visual arts. His poems appear widely in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His publications include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior, chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha, a novel Flying Over Erie, and a book of poems and drawings titled Drawing Nirvana. Email: danieldavidart[at]

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