ISSUE NINE
November 1999

R.H.W. Dillard

RHW Dillard R.H.W. Dillard is the author of five collections of poetry. His most recent book of poem is Just Here, Just Now by Louisiana State University Press. He also has written two novels, a collection of short fiction entitled Omniphobia by Louisiana State University Press, and two critical monographs. He is the chair of the creative writing program at Hollins University and has been awarded the O. B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize by the Folger Shakespeare Library. Aristophanes 2: Wasps, Lysistrata, Frogs, the Sexual Congress, by the University of Pennsylvania Press which he co-edited with David R. Slavitt and Palmer Bovie is part of the Penn Greek Drama Series.

Living Among Trees    Click to hear in real audio


Living among trees, we can only be
So proud, so much "in control"
Of things, so sure of what
We're sure, so filled
With self regard.

No breeze, heavy and hot, moves
At the foot of the tulip tree,
Yet high, high overhead,
Tips of branches turn,
Leaves lift.

It is the passage of time, of air
We hear, rustle and shush
Of leaves, this rush
Of motion, of flow,
Of letting go.

But we hold on tight, arms embrace
The rooted trunk, smooth bark,
Just as we hold each other
Those moments when we
Touch, then part.

 

Great Summer Sun, Great Summer Sun    Click to hear in real audio


Today I don't feel down so much as dazed,
As though this summer sun and thick hot heat
Has emptied early all the livelong day,
Has somehow drained the better part away
Of what I am, may be, might wish to be
To summer indolence and summer haze.

Layers of leaves filter the sun's hot rays
Into quick trembles and green sway, a breeze
Yes, but hot, smothered, even the shade
Less shadow than muted heat, shelter betrayed,
This tangle of shrubs, hung vines, bent trees,
A chaos, clutter of light and leaf, dismay.

Then finally twilight, sunset, sun's last blaze,
A first star so bright it seems unreal,
The curving winks of fireflies in the gray
That slowly fills the air, a moving spray
Of speckled light, the rising night, peals
Of stars, stars, a sky ringing with praise.

 

 

R.H.W. Dillard: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue NineThe Cortland Review