Featured Poet: Bill Gleed, Danville
B. Gleed was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts and grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the master's creative writing program in poetry at the University of New Hampshire and has been a New Hampshire resident since 1988. He has taught English and writing at several colleges and universities including SNHU, Hesser, Franklin Pierce in New Hampshire, and Northern Essex Community College and Middlesex Community College in Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell, Massachusetts. He's also written news and features for Seacoast Newspapers and The Portsmouth Herald. He has been a contributing editor to Maelstrom magazine, and was poetry editor at the UNESCO award winning website Moondance. Currently he continues to teach in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and spends his summers as the manager of the Robert Frost Farm state historic site and national historic landmark in Derry, NH. He is cofounder, with Robert Crawford, of the Hyla Brook Poets workshop and reading series.
This poem, Labyrinth, was written a couple years ago when I was at a crossroads. The poem comes from that lost feeling that I think we all feel at times, when others and even institutions like the church offer advice on how to proceed and fall short. In the end there might not be any resolution to whatever problem you find yourself dealing with, but life goes on around you. This poem has not been previously published.
I take three steps into a labyrinth,
And am lost implacably, immediately.
I grasp indifferent phantoms. They
Glide like ice skaters round the pond,
Released like inane, dubious totems.
Here are possibilities of all that is and was and will be
In no straight lines and all straight lines:
Sunbeams spray from behind your head so I see God
Tilting over with his hand outstretched, the host
In his palm.
This is truth, golden and pure.
Errors and expectations, an invisible man, inventions
The stranger, leaf and bone and flesh
Imprecations strewn about the path, the labyrinth in which I am lost,
And you, God, withdraw from me
One minute more. I learn by heart to mouth the words
Crawling on my knees, cobblestone supplicant,
Endless sinner, impudent regressor ordinand.
Yet there is no trial balance, the host recedes,
No suture facile to staunch the flow of my blood
While beach plums redden their white flowers.