William F Dougherty

William F Dougherty Poems

(Sonnet as Keynote to WS)

The stout man puffs on his Havana cigar
And picks canary chords on his blue guitar,

(For Cynthia Ann Dougherty)

Towing your tattered doll,
you would fetch your storybook

[from the Crab Sonnets]

They sank a silver zipper in my chest:
a foot of snag-toothed staples used to chain

A soldier's curse is not the copper pay,
stationed here in this gods-forsaken place!
I'd bribe a centurion to leave today.

The archived rite returns in gothic gray:
a bruise-dark sky, a blunt and tugging rain,
a sheen of black umbrellas, spaded clay.
The camera obscura, mind, ingrains

The unction cools my brow; the candle shines
and braids a line of sacramental brede;
the priest half-chants the text, and makes the signs,
jogging my mind with the redemptive creed

I slouch into my class, bowed by the brute,
apocalyptic shock. No student's eyes
forsake the glowing screen; the sound is mute.
Their center, Yeats's vatic lines forewarn, flies

Words are for those with promises to keep. — W.H. Auden

I promised her the garden's glory:
marigold's monarchal blooms,

The mole catacombed under dripping roots,
gnawing grubs like clustered shrimp, pulpy white
dangling in gloom. In the oak, patient hoots

The parking lot is full, but not for me-
Churchgoing first, and then visiting day.
Perhaps a glove is lost, perhaps a key:
Something, some other annulling delay,

[Moodpomes: Calendar of Correlatives]

Chalks of birch
lambent, lean

Mocked by a carnival mirror,
a contortion cruel as doubt,
I wrecked the woozy image:
a snicker clinked out.

I traced his tracks in crunching snow,
printed crisply under the solemn pines:
they left a trail like doubt in doubt—
shuffling in murk, as if for signs.


Churning in a spiral shell,
a monotone of waves
rolls from a mouth of opal
into memory’s caves

[Moodpomes: Calendar of Correlatives]

At twilight scrawny starlings screech
like harpies hunting empty streets,

Candle Power in Intensive Care

The unction cools my brow, the candle shines
and forms a line of sacramental brede;
the priest half-chants the text, and makes the signs,

Epochal Bells
In synagogues of cedar hills
weathered shepherds prayed

I had to break my
yellow pompons fat

(For Cornelius Patrick Dougherty)

Piebald pigeons waddle about the bench
The old man takes beneath an elm to hunch

Year by year the pond
puckered into marsh,
stifling the orange carp

William F Dougherty Biography

William F. Dougherty, Ph.D., has published two books of poetry and served as a newspaper editor, critic, lecturer, reviewer, and speechwriter. He wrote his master's thesis on W. B. Yeats at Central Connecticut State University and his doctoral dissertation on Wallace Stevens for his PhD from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Dougherty has taught courses at Central Connecticut University, University of Connecticut, University of Hartford, Teikyo-Post University, Manchester Community College, and Eastern Connecticut State University. . He has published poems in The Wallace Stevens Review, North American Review, Descant, Forum (Houston) , Romantics Quarterly, The Lyric, Maine Life, Connecticut River Review, California State Poetry Quarterly, The Raintown Review, Best Poems of 2005, and the International Who’s Who in Poetry. Poetry Books: Owl Light, Wings Press,1982. (Available at Amazon.com) and Poems: New & Used, Poemeaters Press,2004. From 1960-1981, he served as chief editorial writer or editorial page editor of the Waterbury Republican-American, The Hartford Times, Boston Herald-Traveler, Nashua Telegraph, and New Bedford Standard-Times. He lives and writes in West Hartford, Connecticut.)

The Best Poem Of William F Dougherty

Wallace Stevens: The Click Of Marbled Orbs

(Sonnet as Keynote to WS)

The stout man puffs on his Havana cigar
And picks canary chords on his blue guitar,
Fashions flawed words and spindrift sounds
Into day-glow verbs and glass-blown nouns.
How much the notion of a supreme fiction
Derives from bric-a-brac and spiffy diction
None knows. Say his thickest absolutes
Derive from blue rotundities of fruits:
His crispest jugglery performs the feat
Of hardening stealthy points into concrete
Trombones, sausage-makers, cattle skulls,
And pettifogging buds. His monocle's
Univocal, a prop that lets him see
Glories in pewter, and mere poetry.

(Published in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Fall 2005. Vol.29. No.2 p.304)

William F Dougherty Comments

Francis X. Burns 20 April 2012

Work here reads like a study in poetic forms: open lyrics, sonnets, villanelles, triolets, couplets, tercets, epigrams, haiku, clerihews, even a sestina. Professional at work.

10 0 Reply
Jim Hogg 01 December 2012

For depth and density of analysis, breadth of learning, mastery of detail. connection and concept, his criticism compares with the very best. A mind to admire, work to learn from and his commitment to his art leaves me in awe.

7 0 Reply
Scotty Dogg 08 October 2012

William, you still on the site? Just wondering. S

5 0 Reply
Robert Dyer 28 April 2012

Anyone who dares to challenge the two poems who, to my mind, soar over English poetry, Epithalamion and Notes towards a supreme fiction, has my instantaneous respect. I will read more.

10 0 Reply
Mark Pollins 27 April 2012

it's great to come upon a true poet on the PoemHunter circuit

9 0 Reply
Jim Hogg 26 April 2012

A virtuoso at work. Long may he continue to produce such authentic poetry.

10 0 Reply

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