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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Two new poems from George Held


The photo shows me sitting in the old
Jewish cemetery behind my office

At Charles University, not far
From where gothic Charles Bridge

Crosses Vltava, on a sunny fall day,
And I am well aware about six layers

Of dead Jews are stacked below me
Because the Christian Czechs forbade

The burial ground from expanding
Beyond this space in the dense ghetto—keep

The Jews in their place—before they were rousted
And shipped to the extermination camps

By the Nazis under General Heydrich,
Who declared from his office in Prague Castle,

High above the other side of the river,
“We will Germanize the Czech vermin,”

Who had built this magnificent city
In concentric circles around Romanesque

Vyšehrad Castle, making it a living
Museum of European architecture.

A friend took this picture of New World me
Sitting in the heart of Old World Prague. 

Weather Alert

     “Thunderstorms have also been observed on Jupiter and Venus.”

Imagine that! Heavy weather
In the solar system but no
Busted umbrellas or downed trees,
No power outages on gleaming
Venus or giant Jupiter
With its Great Red Spot.

All the while, blue Earth
Rumbles and roars with thunder
And lightning, torrential rains,
Hail as big as golf balls,
And floods that would merrily
Float Noah’s boat away.

Yet the drought grows ever
More perilous in California
And the old Dust Bowl states,
Where there’s no water for irrigation,
Crops fail, food prices rise,
And the quest for oil and gas
Intensifies like that televised tornado
Bearing down on your lonesome house.

 George Held


  1. These poems appear in my new collection, Bleak Splendor (Muddy River Books, 2016).

  2. George- I've been watching the alignment of Venus, Jupiter and Mars for the past few weeks.
    Your poem is very cool.
    Looking forward to all of our poems in the upcoming Raptor anthology soon!