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Michael Glaser

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Department of English

Michael S. Glaser

       Sample Poetry


                  The Presence of Trees


                                           Slowly, I am remembering
   the language of awe,  

                                           how to take in, say,                                               
                                           the living complexity of a tree

                                           its gnarled trunk,                                          
   its ragged bark,

                                           the way its leafy canopy
                                           filters sunlight

                                           down to the brown
   carpeted ground,

                                            the way the wind bends my heart 
                                           to the exquisite presence of trees  

                                            the forest that calls to me as deeply
                                           as I breathe, 

                                           as though the woods were 
                                           marrow of my bone as though

                                           I myself were tree, a breathing, reaching
                                           arc of the larger canopy

   beside a brook bubbling to foam
                                           like the one 

                             deep in these woods,

   that calls 

                                          that whispers home.



                                                                     . . . Michael S. Glaser


From:   Before the Hands
also in: in Between Earth and Sky, by Nalini M. Nadkarni  (University of California Press), 2008
Tree Magic, [CD anthology} Spring 2005 SunShine Press (copyrighted, please do not use without permission)


   Angles of Sunlight


                                                   As I read Zen in the morning,
 my young daughter leaves her bed
      ‪                                                   and lies next to me on the sofa
                                                         where sunlight angles through the window.

                                                         In half-sleep, her brown eyes
                                                         stare off at the large oak
     ‪                                                    unleaving in front of the house.  

                                                         I cup her head in the palm of my hand,
     ‪                                                    feel the chambers of my heart fill and empty,
     ‪                                                    fill and empty like the words on the page fill  

                                                      my spirit like the air in her purple balloon
                                                     like the breath of her lungs as her chest
                                             rises and falls like the leaves on that tree
                                                         dancing in the wind and knowing  

                                                as they know,
                                                   something important
                                                  about attachment,                                            
  about letting go.  


                                                                      . . . .Michael S. Glaser

From Being a Father
(copyrighted, please do not use without permission)


The Economy of Days

                                                           To want, to have, to do--
                                                           the verbs I live
                                                           in perpetual unrest. 

                                                           How difficult to be--
                                                           to embrace the homely
                                                           details of my days

     to open my heart
                                                           to the flow
                                                           of this amphibious life,

                                                           to trust in the motion toward
                                                           as a fish trusts
                                                           the river at its gills,

                                                           to trust in this journey,
                                                           to swim,
                                                           to be still.



                                                                                           . . . .Michael S. Glaser 


from:  Fire Before the Hands
previously appeared in Turning Wheel
copyrighted (please do not use without permission)




                                                            May your names remain songs
                                                            on each other's lips, and your days

                                                            dance like crystal in sunlight
                                                            as you celebrate a rainbow

                                                            of everything that is beautiful
                                                            and wondrous and new.   

                                                            May laughter lace
                                                            the rivers of your lives  

                                                            and each breath remind you
                                                            that the bread you share

                                                            comes from the earth
                                                            which bonds us all. 

                                                            And when you return home
                                                            each evening, may you find there

                                                            a Sabbath of rest and peace                            
                                                            where you are free to choose

                                                            the place of your own kneeling,
                                                            where you worship at the edge

                                                            of each other's open door.


                                                                                                     ….Michael S. Glaser 


(please do not use without permission)

Letter to My Fifth Grade Teacher

                                            Dear Miss Lorenz:

                                                I 'm writing because I was remembering you today,
                                                  how soft and kind your voice was and how your eyes
                                              sparkled with laughter and light   

                                                       which is why I wanted to impress you
    ‪                                                and why I was so afraid of spelling
    ‪                                                where I knew you would discover
                             I was just another stupid kid.  

                                                        And so, on the day of the Big Spelling Test,
                                                    I made that tiny piece of paper
                                                            and when we put our books away,
                                                            I cupped it in my hand for use

                                                            only when absolutely necessary. 
                                                    And you moved up and down
    ‪                                                the rows of our desks
   ‪                                                 pronouncing words until
                                                            you stopped next to me,
                                                            called out a word and,
                                                            when everyone was writing,
                                                          reached into my clenched fist,
                                                            took the paper and then
                                                            walked on.    

                                                 You never made an example of me,
                                                            never spoke to my parents about it,
                                                            or even mentioned it to me.
                                                            And you never treated me differently either,
                                                            just went on as though nothing had happened.  

                                                But, of course, something did:  

                                                I never cheated again, Miss Lorenz.

                                                     I never stole another candy bar
                                                            or money from the box
                                                            in the top of my father’s dresser –
                                                            or from my mother's purse. 

                                                        And I am writing to thank you
                                                            for treating me with dignity
                                                            even as you caught me,
                                                            red-handed in sin.    

                                                    It was as close to Grace as I have ever been.
   ‪                                                         Perhaps some day I'll know it once again.  



                                                                                    . . . . Michael S. Glaser


From Disrupting Consensus
   Previously appeared in  Igniting Creativity in Gifted Learners, K-6  Corwin Press, 2009
(copyrighted, please do not use without permission) 



                                     Tonight, on holiday in Oxford, Bach's Magnificat.
                                      The top windows of the Sheldonian are open and music
                                          surrounds the building, drifting down Broad street
                                                           where we walk in the cool of evening's extended light.  

                                      Eva races down the cobbled path, leaps small tour jetés
                                      on the gravel.  We try to hush her exuberance,
                                                           but her grin is too full, the brightness
                                                in her eyes too light, too light . . . .  

                                       Watching her, I think of my grandfather telling how
     ‪                                              in the old country, near Kiev, his family locked
                                                           their doors and hid in the basement each Easter
                                                       when Christians, leaving church, raced down
                                                           the cobbled streets of the Jews, hurling stones
   and dung at anyone they saw, chanting
                                                     "Christ killers, Christ killers . . . ."  

                                       This evening, the inheritance of generations overwhelms:
                                     the impossibility of even imagining all this,
                                                           years ago when grandfather, escaping from Russia,
                                                knocked down a guard and ran for his life, for the life
  ‪                                                 of this very child, running with abandon,
                                             to the sounds of the Magnificat--  

       ‪                                    Gloria Patri, Gloria Filio,
                                                     Gloria et spiritui sancto.   

                                                                                                                  . . . Michael S. Glaser


from:  Being a Father
also published in  The Silenus and  Outsiders, Milkweed Editions, 1999
(copyrighted, please do not use without permission)




Aerial view of St. Mary's College of Maryland campus

St. Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Rd
St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001