Jack D. Harvey

Jack D. Harvey

Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Bay Area Poets’ Coalition, Mediterranean Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.

The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.

Mark the Dwarf

Mark the Dwarf
by Jack D. Harvey (Author), Shannon Harvey (Illustrator)
Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Publish Green; 1 edition (18 Dec. 2015)


Let us convey
of the same
melancholy to one another,
let us indicate our distaste
for one another, delineate
the way things are
with hundreds of delicate lines
of alienation, of disassociation,
only agreeing to agree on
setting a scene, an ancient myth,
later to be illustrated
on a krater, a wall, a floor,
somewhere, anywhere.

So Persephone picking flowers
in some faraway timeless field,
the grassy rippling surface
folding away
below the black wave
of her hair.

We observe her in
the slow-moving procession
of our past, her myth
some never forgotten
religious rite.

Reminders of her
in the remains of
a Grecian frieze,
a scabrous vase
captured from some
dark wreck
pulled from the sea.

Are there cracks in that face,
still showing tender and cruel
after thousands of years?
Clouds, trees, birds
embroidered on the hem
of her robe
show some certain tranquility.

We are delighted with her decay,
but thoughts of her loss, her rape,
make us droop
like flowers in the cold.
Is it already fall in the cosmic order?
Will she forever steal
in and out of this fatal landscape?

The stone birds in the frieze,
if that’s what it is, the trees
on the hem of her robe
still smell of rose and chalk;
how can that be?

In martial rows of Mars-red armor
lonely men
at the ends of kingdoms
inhale her far-off scent,
remember her legend.

Bursting through the rent earth
the king of the dead
in his black chariot dismounts
with never a shout
picks her up
and off they go,
the hooves of his horses
black butterflies flitting,
lightly bending
the flowers of the field.

Faster and faster,
quiet as the tomb,
down and down they go
through the straits of the earth
to his kingdom of shadows.

Persephone of the dark hair,
don’t look back and
don’t drop your girlish mien until
it’s too late to be seen.
King Death himself
will make you
harsh and pitiless,
become his other face.

The sun will shine,
the rain will fall
on the grass, the grain,
the beasts of the field
not yet blasted by your absence;
the world will grow
and thrive for a time
then pine for you
and straightaway die
without divine intervention
to bring you back.

Willful as ever
the powers that be
who allowed this catastrophe
get busy again,
more than providence
brought to bear;
persuasion not an issue
when the foremost god speaks.

Your return, Persephone,
if eroded, is guaranteed;
eat of the pomegranate
in the kingdom of the dead
eat of the honeycomb
in the land of the living,
the ending is still the same.

In this world without faith,
heavy as lead and barely balanced,
a bargain is struck
and half a loaf, as always,
is better than none.

Look at the vital spring in bloom,
the sleepy summer,
the dying leaves in fall,
the harsh dearth of winter;
at the end of the coming
and going of all of this
is the daughter of life
and the queen below,
the other face of death,
who always gives
and always takes,
dealing out
through our days on earth
the dark and the light;

like it or not,
be satisfied with that. 

For other contributions by Jack D. Harvey, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Jack D. Harvey
Published with the permission of Jack D. Harvey