St. Mary's College of Maryland
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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:   Fire 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)

 

  

A Blessing for the Woods            

                                                            Before I leave, almost without noticing,
                                                            before I cross the road and head toward
    what I have intentionally postponed-- 

                                                            Let me stop to say a blessing for these woods:
                                                            for crows barking and squirrels scampering
    for trees and fungus and multi-colored leaves 

                                                            for the way sunlight laces shadows
    through each branch and leaf of tree
                                                            for these paths that take me in,
    for these paths that lead me out.   

                                                        

  

                                                                                                     ….Michael S. Glaser 

 

 

Published in
Christian Science Monitor
Between Earth and Sky, By Nalini M. Nadkarni
Tree Magic [CD anthology] SunShine Press
copyrighted 
(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) 

 

Magnificat!
 

                                     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)