Leo Yankevich Poems

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One rarely finds
just wholesome scraps:
a slice of ham,
potato rinds,

Spreading Democracy

(Serbia 1999)

How to explain?


Where paint peels in the summer sun,
I sit down on the wino bench,
a sinner who must break a bun
to stay alive. I ask: whose stench

Out Back

Amid the sudden flurries, shrill
bells toll beneath December cloud.
Martha opens lids, her will
one with the rooks that curse out loud:

Old Meerschaum Pipe

A friend sent a pipe made
from petrified sea foam,
froth that was life’s first home.
A bearded craftsman’s blade


Oh, but a thought ago a baying hound
had led him to a clearing in the sky.
The stars tolled beyond the sombre clouds
and on the frozen pond the forest sighed.

Poem In October

On this breezy October morn, I walk
in the swift shadows of cloud-cursing rooks,
watching the world wake on the horizon.

Visiting her cottage I remember ripe ears of corn,
drawers full of bent knives, mouldy crusts of pumpernickel bread,
high shelves of hoary berry jams, curtains threadbare and torn,
and an axe brighter than the cracks in the wall near a bed

Plato Returns To Earth

In the utter clarity of that new dawn,
having wrestled Socrates all night
until a world of purest forms was drawn,
he put away his thoughts and stepped outside,

This Morning

(for Dylan Thomas)

This morning I woke to the sound of bells
and to the dark sermons of black-frocked rooks.