Dennis Maloney

Dennis Maloney

Dennis Maloney is a poet and translator. A number of volumes of his own poetry have been published including The Map Is Not the Territory: Poems & Translations and Just Enough. His book Listening to Tao Yuan Ming was published by Glass Lyre Press in 2015. A bilingual German/English, Empty Cup was recently published in Germany and The Things I Notice Now is forthcoming from MadHat Press.

His works of translation include: The Stones of Chile by Pablo Neruda, The Landscape of Castile by Antonio Machado, Between the Floating Mist: Poems of Ryokan, and the The Poet and the Sea by Juan Ramon Jimenez. He is also the editor and publisher of the widely respected White Pine Press in Buffalo, NY. and divides his time between Buffalo, NY and Big Sur, CA.

Life Among the Ruins

High above the throngs
of tourists, in the scorching
summer sun, a worker,
unnoticed by most,
returns day after day

to sit patiently cleaning
the flutes of a small
section of a Doric column
of the Parthenon, not unlike
the ancient relative

who carved them
when the gods
and goddesses
of the ancient myths
were more real.

Later we stroll the paths
of the Agora walking with
the ghosts of Socrates and Plato.

The Secret Within the Seed

Across the Ponte Vecchio
on the other side of the Arno River
away from the crowd of visitors
hiking toward Piazzale Michelangelo

overlooking the city, I stop to rest
in a small park full of children
gathering pinecones from
the adjacent trees and placing them

in buckets. An olive-skinned
grandmother strikes the upper
branches with a pole, knocking
more cones to the ground.

I thought all this industry
was to gather the cones as keepsakes
or toys before watching the children
strip nuts from the cones

and discard the empty husks, later
to garnish a lovingly prepared dish.
The secret within the seed.

Michelangelo’s Prisoners

The sign tells us they
are unfinished, unlike
the smooth curves
of the grieving Mary
and the lifeless, almost
sleeping body of her son
or the magnificent young David.

But I think you deliberately
left them unfinished,
the muscles of prisoner Atlas
straining under the weight
of the load he carries,
struggling to emerge.

These tanned,
muscular, sweating bodies
of the workers you sketched
at the quarries of Carrara
who cut and hauled
the stone by hand
still wrestle
to break free.

Poetry in this post: © Dennis Maloney
Published with the permission of Dennis Maloney