Bourbon And Waterside Terrier

Poetry by Michael L. Newell ↔ Art by Sue ClancyChip Monk



fingers dance up and down guitar strings

dresses flip flop and fly up and down calves and thighs

of lasses whirling twirling flying across the floor

lightly attached to hands of swains swirling behind


around and side to side their partners

while a bow hand releases a cascade of notes

wildly exuberantly ecstatically fiddled

the night is aflame with the freedom of Saturday night


tomorrow the sturdy bassist who is the band’s foundation

will don his janitor’s suit to sweep up the ashes

still hearing the music around him still seeing

bodies flying above the music and the floor


still remembering the little red head who kept

bringing him one cool drink after another

Cardinal Birdseed
Cardinal Birdseed






Have you never skipped, hopped, bounced, twirled, swirled,

felt the earth turn into a trampoline beneath your feet

just before you floated into the air, song in your throat,

fiddle on your shoulder and bones clacking in your knees;


as a lad or lass loose in a field

were you never flung among clouds, deposited

in the highest branches of trees, hung by

wind from the wing of a passing plane;


when you see a river of children stream past

your stunned feet and form swelled with years,

do you never remember those days so many years buried

when every morning shone with a possibility of flight


and a host of evenings brought fireflies to light a search

for mystery and suspense in the shadows beyond

the reach of moonlight or starlight; even now when movement

requires three legs, do you not rummage through memory


and when certain shapes emerge and once familiar voices murmur

round your slow moving path, do you not feel the old soft shoe,

the frisky jig, the Texas two step, the waltz’s lift and fall, the meaning

of life encoded in breath, breeze, wind, and movement’s embrace?

Bourbon And Waterside Terrier
Bourbon And Waterside Terrier


seated on the ground, back against

an oak tree, no movement anywhere,

not even a faint breeze, all is still

still still, all the weight of the world

suspended in silence, even thought

has ceased, and for a few moments

or minutes, who knows at such times,

all has joined, all is one, seamless,

inseparable, full of hope, one is

a child again alone with the world

and all its magic and possibility


La Paz, Bolivia, January 2009



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