Jean L. Kreiling

Another Plaster Idol Smashed to Bits

You didn't think, this time, that you'd expected
too much, that you had set him up for blame
right from the start, your high hopes misdirected,
until the very moment he became
another plaster idol smashed to bits.
Of course, you never know until the smashing
that something's made of plaster. Oddly, it's
surprising every time--the silent crashing
an insult to the heart's ear. But you'd swear
that this time had been different: you had taken
this man for mortal, hadn't made him wear
a halo or a laurel wreath. You're shaken
to hear again the din of mute disaster,
to breathe again this dust that tastes of plaster.

Old South Carriage Tour

(Reunion, July 2009)

The weary horse pulled six loud tourists through
the streets of Charleston, through a history
of war and earthquake, where magnolias grew
to lush and sturdy heights, as graciously
as if they'd witnessed only years of ease,
as if they'd found exactly what they'd needed
among these palms and wrought-iron balconies
and southern sun, and so they had succeeded.
We too had bloomed, each where she had been planted,
and all of us knew just what had been lost
and gained, in decades poor and prosperous.
The yearly sharing of our stories granted
a peace more dear because we knew the cost--
and neither years nor sun would weary us.


Jean L. Kreiling is a Professor of Music at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, and previously taught English at Western Carolina University in North Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in several print and on-line journals, including 14 by 14, Contemporary Sonnet, Dogwood, Ekphrasis, The Evansville Review, The Formalist, London Poetry Review, and The Pennsylvania Review. She was a semifinalist for the 2009 Richard Wilbur Poetry Award and a finalist for both the 2009 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and the 2010 Dogwood Poetry Prize. Her interdisciplinary essays on music and poetry have been published in the academic journals Ars Lyrica and Mosaic.


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