Thursday, January 16, 2020

Poem For A Thursday: Steele

Jardin des Tuileries
The boy stood weeping in dismay,
Duffle-coated against the cold,
Watching his sailboat bob away
On a pool vast and granite-bowled.
No aid was asked, but seeing him,
I rolled my trousers to my knees
And waded from the basin's rim
To where the boat had sought the breeze 
And, like a giant, lifted her
Up by the mast and centerboard.
Still sniffling, with "Merci, monsieur,"
The boy walked off, his loss restored. 
This happened thirty years ago.
The trees were pollarded and bare,
The benches empty, and light snow
Fell to the powerless parterre. 
For several weeks, I'd launched campaigns
To all the tourist sites I could.
Most I've forgotten. What remains
Is how the boy drew up his hood, 
Cradling his boat in winter light,
While I sat down and bowed to muse
Upon the gravel and draw tight
And tie the laces of my shoes.

-Timothy Steele

Timothy Steele is a contemporary American poet (born 1948) generally given to more formal verse, and associated with the New Formalist movement. This is from his book of 2006 Toward the Winter Solstice.

He is also the dedicatee of Vikram Seth's first novel (in verse) The Golden Gate.

Jennifer is featuring a poem by Willa Cather this week.

I typed this up in advance, but I'm in California currently and should have picked a California poem. However here's a picture of the Jardin des Tuileries from when we were there ten years ago or so. (No
boat-sailing pool, though.)


  1. sometimes instant perceptions are the most important things in life... never been to France altho my brother lives in Paris (i think, anyway...)

    1. It's the things you remember, isn't it? THat's what really matters.