Robert Leary started writing poetry while at the University of Connecticut where he studied with James Scully and won the Wallace Stevens Award several times. He went on to study with Richard Tillinghast at Harvard summer school. Richard introduced him to Robert Lowell. He submitted a manuscript to Lowell and was formally accepted to Harvard to study with Lowell. He has published poems in the Wormwood Review and the Harvard Advocate. This is his first submission in many years.
It’s been over thirty years I’ve known these barns.
They’ve become a part of me like veins on the backs of my hands.
The sawdust and manure fragranced with spices of fresh hay
Wafted in my memories of being carried on to a field
Naked after a night of too much drink
Only to be salvaged by friends sober enough to realize
The mosquitoes would have their way with me.
Friends grown too old to play the game
Exiled to Argentina as all persecuted by time.
How I recall the barbecues
Perpetrated by heroic knights
Now gone but for their Memorials.
The girls, oh the girls from California, London, Australia
How we danced away our youth like Bacchus’ hooves
We bled the blood from every grape
And loved and sang as if it would last forever
Around the fires like Druids ignoring the Christians
We danced and now but for the barns it is remembered
And across the polo fields our amazing goals forgotten.
I Loved You All
I sit alone in the garden on the patio
Overlooking a heart shaped pool
Who would I wish to walk up these stairs
Hand on the white cement balusters
Who would I wish to join the flowers
The green Matisse furniture
Whose feet would I choose to climb the slate
And join me here amid the roses
That speak so freely to my heart
Amidst the bamboo furniture
Painted over a thousand times
Whose “hello… hola” would I cherish most
Through the smoke of my cigar?
Perhaps as in the dark all hearts
Like ghosts are close to mine
Your loves have touched me most
But who among you sits and stares
At a moon over an ocean but all
For hand and hand you dance together
To a distant drum and I, but one
Loved you all.