Poems and Poetry

Roy Pullam

Raindrops | A Poem by Roy Pullam

I do not understand
A raindrop
Its chemistry so precise
Though unique
Yet it has the conformity
Of millions
Kindred element combinations
What coaxes it
From the clouds
The subject of prayers
Both before and after
First reluctant
Then with a rush
Becoming a flood
I can’t fathom
How it can help
So much
Then turn in rage
Carrying hopes and ambitions
Downstream
It is the nature
Of water
To be
A blessing and a bane
To defy both
My beseeching
And my curse


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Fruitcakes | A Poem by Roy Pullam

We raked the leaves
With our shoes
Like children
On Easter
The same zeal
For finding treasures
Pecans in twos and threes
Where they fell
Beneath the brown
An angry squirrel
Barked his disdain
From the top
Of the tree
We made search circles
Making sure
We covered the circumference
Of the tree
Gathering the nuts
With the knowledge
Of their destiny
When we would
Crack them
Before the grate
Separating the meat
From the shells
Digging reluctant pieces
From the fist
Of the covering
With the pick
Rustling the kernels
Eliminating the shells
That might
Break a tooth
Mother would combine
The different nuts
Adding other ingredient
To make the wonderful
Fruitcake
We so enjoyed
Its richness
So great
That no matter
How delicious the taste
One piece
Was all
I could take
How I think
Of that desert
Not matched
By store-bought
Fit only
As door stops
The memory fresh
The promised dried
Gone
With the other skills
Of my mother

Parthenon | A Poem by Roy Pullam

My knowledge
Of democracy rests
On Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
And a pile
Of broken stones
The beginning
Of western culture
On a hill
In freedom’s birthplace
I walk gingerly
My footsteps uncertain
On the wet rocks
Leading to the temple
Coming closer
To the skeleton
Marble columns
Two millenniums old
Reminders of a great civilization
That wrote the rules
That taught the world
And though in ruins
Enough remains
To give us a glimpse
Of the true greatness
That was Greece

Houston 2017 | A Poem by Roy Pullam

We have worshiped concrete
Making monuments
Of clover leaves and overpasses
Sacrificing wetlands and forest
To the deity
Of development
How the elements
Have risen in anger
Rains and floods
Hurricanes that blow
With rage
Across our false gods
Reclaiming the land
Tossing aside our efforts
To rise above nature
And to build
Our glass and metal shrines
How forces
Beyond our control
Made our efforts
To erect that air-conditioned world
That filled our chest
With false pride
Thinking our skills
Our marvels of engineering
Would overcome the weaknesses
Of our environment
Only to be smacked
Once again
With the backhand
Of humility

School Mornings | A Poem by Roy Pullam

I lay in my bed
Sinking in the feather down
The cover
High on my neck
The fire in the grate
Banked to save
The coals
For the morning
The cold gathering
In the back
Of the room
I could see my breath
The chill
On my face
Causing me
To burrow
Beneath the quilts
Gradually my ears
Regained feeling
I slept
A deep dreamless sleep
Until the clock
Urged me
From my cocoon
I took the poker
Stirring the fire
Reawakening the slumbering flames
Gathering the ashes
Into a shovel
Loading a bucket
Taking them out
Exchanging them
For the black fuel
That warmed the house
I waited
Watching the fingers
Of flame
Break apart
The lumps
Now warm enough
The water heated
On the kitchen stove
Poured in a #2 washtub
For my morning bath
Toweling myself off
I sat close
In my underwear
The warmth
Soaking in
Like a lizard
On a warm rock
I cherished
The moments
Stirring only
To get dressed
To begin
The long walk
To school

Life’s Eight Count | A Poem by Roy Pullam

Life is a dance
At first simple steps
The movement minimal
Almost disconnected
To the music
The tempo lifts
As experience
In the ballroom
Demands more craft
More freedom
Yet more form
No one claims
To be the choreographer
But all demand
A certain rhythm
A certain conformity
To match others
On the floor
At times I feel lost
Out of step
Trying to find
The beat
Confused
By the melody
But no matter
How poorly I perform
I must keep going
Until
The music stops