Don Schofield

Don Schofield

Don Schofield’s poetry volumes include In Lands Imagination Favors (Dos Madres Press, 2014); Before Kodachrome (FutureCycle Press, 2012); The Known – Selected Poems (of Nikos Fokas), 1981 – 2000 (Ypsilon Books, 2010); Kindled Terraces: American Poets in Greece (Truman State University Press, 2004); Approximately Paradise (University Press of Florida, 2002); and Of Dust (March Street Press, 1991).

A recipient of the 2010 Criticos Prize (UK), he has also received honors from, among others, the State University of New York, Anhinga Press, Southern California Anthology and Princeton University, where he was a Stanley J. Seeger Writer-in-Residence. He has been a resident of Greece for many years.


Salonica Bay, an evening walk

Crude tankers anchored off the city’s port
with nothing but their hulls against the depths,
each pilot house with one thin blinking light,
a fervent kind of patience floating there.

And then there’s you along the water’s edge.
Nothing you can say, just feel their weight
beyond the personal, a larger self.

You’ve heard the engine room, its metal grinding,
the silent axis of a broken world.
Divinity should be a part of this,
a presence passing in the night at least.

Instead it’s you, it seems, who’s floating there,
a man against the weary, endless waves.
Amid those waves you lift your head, continue on.

Be an Expatriate for a Week

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You’ve come to reap the blessings of escape,
the sun, the sea, this whitewashed village street.

The locals welcome you into their shops.
You know the more you smile the more they’ll like you.

Cops and waiters look at you askance,
underneath their silence endless questions.

You can’t explain their little roadside shrines,
why, amid Aleppo pines, you’re crying.

Μountains you once knew, the ocean’s pounding—
memories inside your head expanding.

That cabin you once loved burned down by a father
you once loved. Both gone. The char’s still unexplained.

Blessed be the writer now returning
to his room for another midday nap.

First Letter Home

Athens, 1980

Relentless traffic, taxis racing past
bright kiosks with their tired faces. At four
the streets are quiet. Shutters closed. The nights
are loud, easy laughter in the club next door,
the dancers leaping, slapping boot then thigh,
then dropping to one knee.
I hate it when
they push and shove but love the way a mule
with crates can stop noon traffic, how they sit
me down and bring a coffee while I wait
for photocopies, how an office of workers
smiles brightly when the agent I’ve hired to help
me get a work permit brings each one
an ice cream—
so the flow of wonder never stops
as if it’s childhood I’m living in.

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Poetry in this post: © Don Schofield
Published with the permission of Don Schofield