November 30–December 6, 2009: Taylor Graham and Dave Waddell

week of November 30-December 6, 2009: 

Taylor Graham and Dave Waddell

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Taylor Graham

Bio (auto)

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada Her poems have appeared in American Literary Review, International Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere Her book The Downstairs Dance Floor (Texas Review Press) was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize Her current project is Walking with Elihu, poems about the American peace activist Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith (1810-1879).

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Oregon Question

for Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith (1810-1879)

1 “Fifty-four Forty or Fight!”

You’re sitting in your bare-bones room in Worcester, 
Massachusetts, a continent away from all those settlers
from Kansas and Ohio stirring up dust on the Oregon Trail 400 miles south of you, in Congress, the talk is Manifest
Destiny, the Stars and Stripes over Vancouver Island.

Such a small, intricately laced world! This morning’s post
brings a packet from a stranger across the sea: a letter
from the plain folk of Edinburgh, Scotland, to unknown
friends in Washington City They beg for reason and
goodwill: a Motherland at peace with her distant child.

And here’s a letter to the citizens of Philadelphia
with the same urgent message, signed by the good people
of Manchester, England You’ll accept the mission,
carry these letters to the Capitol and the City of Brotherly
Love: each single voice louder than slogans for war.

2 A Ship Goes Aground off Nantucket

from “A Child’s Question” by Elihu Burritt

“Fifty-four Forty or Fight!” It looks like war, 
United States against the Motherland And off the coast of Massachusetts, Mother Nature
brews a storm.

Against the wind, English seamen
wrestle down their sails But still, their solid British ship
wrecks on the shoals off Nantucket.

Merchants and whalers, good Nantucketeers
rope themselves in, throw themselves
into the waves to save seafarers
from a common foe and friend, the Sea.

Observe this English mariner
shivering and drenched,
wrapped in Yankee
comforters and warmed with tea

as a small child asks
her father, isn’t this the enemy
we wish to go to war
to kill?

3 On Board the Hibernia, May 1846

Here you are, Connecticut New Britain son
of a dead shoemaker – who could have guessed
you’d be riding the same ocean waves
that tide so many storms between your New World
and old Motherland? This steamer ship
christened Hibernia sails today with blessed
tidings for Britain – some might call it
Serendipity – bearing you east so far beyond
your berth and birth-land, a vessel that holds
your hopes, and answers all your letters
Its news: the Oregon Question is settled –
yes, settled peaceably
at last.

Dave Waddell

Bio (auto)

I am an amateur award-winning photographer, poet/writer and retired gentleman I live about 40 minutes from Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada Out in the country here we are greatly concerned with metaphors and almost every farmer i’ve met has a tall twisted yarn Often they go too far but I still like them.

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Dave Waddell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Baby Likes Cats

Baby likes cats
Ooh, baby likes cats
Baby likes cats
Moves like that
Baby likes cats
Moves like that.

The Sea Across The Bottom Of The Sky
(read by comma, pause by space, end by period)

Each composer of, Raw fish Japan, Each gem Ramble tremble, Love nature’s quake, Recursive Every journey illusion, Look at my eyes, See astigmatic shudder But for full awe, But for way no, Heaven Earth Blast ring sound, Head space none, Duration relent O joy Helen, Halt her hobble, Always A Birds fish, Day night, Eyes Canon, Talons Nikon.

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