|Jim Metcalf was a newspaper reporter, columnist and hosted his own television show,
"A Sunday Journal," on a local New Orleans station from the early 1960's until illness
prevented him from continuing in the mid-1970's. He was known as the unofficial poet-
laureate of the city. He had four books of poetry published, the first titled "In Some Quiet
Place." Many New Orleanians still miss the half hour respite he gave the city every Sunday,
when he would take his viewers to a quiet place and soothe away their troubles for awhile.
Although he's not with us anymore, we can still find a quiet place in his poetry. -- Nancy
|But mostly, I was there alone,
watching the world around me;
and wondering things like
why the sky is blue
and how much a grain of sand
if I were an ant.
|Rupert Brooke and Robert Burns
would come and sit
and write poems
about wars and flowers.
|I wish I could find
that land again;
but I've lost it,
somewhere in the noise
and hurry of my life.
|Beauty in the Rain
|If you fancy that you have an eye for beauty,
test it on a rainy day...
A cold and foggy day that wears no make-up.
Test it in the shades of gray
that consume the sun and rob the flowers of their colors,
|leaving them forlorn in dingy places
like tired and aging ballerinas in faded dancing clothes;
huddling in the drafty wings of empty opera houses.
|Gaze across the rooftops and the chimneys,
painted like Utrillo's Paris
On the canvas of the smoke and fog
of a dying afternoon in witer.
|It takes no eye for beauty
to find it on a lovely day.
It thrusts itself upon you
in the sunshine and the warm.
|But it hides; becomes aloof, elusive
in the cold and in the rain.
|Voices of the Bayou
|In whispers quiet, I hear the voices
from another time echo through the bayous.
And I listen to the tales they tell;
of life and death...
|of happiness and sorrow...
of men and boats
and sudden storms
and voyages unfinished.
|Where are they now, whose dreams gave life
to wood and steel and fashioned craft
to reap the harvest of the water?
|Where is he who homeward came
at sunsets past and waved to loved ones
waiting on the shore?
|Where are they who watched his face
as he drew near,
knowing the measure of the catch
would be reflected there?
|I ask, where are they now?
And the voices whisper,
"We are here and will forever be
in this quiet place...here, beside the water."
|Before I Sleep
|If I have let this day pass by
and can't remember something good about it,
then I have been ungrateful
and I beg forgiveness.
|If I have been involved too much with me,
my wants and woes,
to see the beauty that surrounds me,
then I have played the fool and I am sorry.
|If I have not stretched out my hands
to loved ones to show them that I care,
then I have been unfeeling and I am ashamed.
|If I have failed to help when it was needed,
yet asked others to help me,
then I have been selfish and I apologize.
|If I have not seen the face of God
reflected in a million ways and places,
then I have been blind and I ask for another chance
to try again tomorrow
|Bourbon Street at Dusk
|Time to get up now, you tired old sinner.
You've been resting all day
behind those drapes you closed this morning.
|just as the sun was coming up
and the day people were beginning to stir.
|They're turning on your lights now,
so it's time to roll out, cake on the make-up
and put those sparkling things in your hair...
those neon lights that attract the convention guys.
|Across the way, some of your friends
are taking battered old horns out of their cases.
A banjo's tuning up
and somebody's fooling around with an old piano.
|Any minute now, they'll be bustin' loose
with a hand-me-down version of jazz,
trying to hold onto the music
that all started somewhere down here by the river.
|And you saw it all.
I guess you've seen about everything,
come to think of it.
|Heard every sad story there is to tell,
and every tired old joke.
You've heard the steady step of reformers
chasing sinners drinking Hurricanes from plastic cups.
|That's your thing, old girl.
This is "New Orleens" as the tourists say,
and you're the star of the show.
|Curtain's going up, so please to begin,
you lovable old phony.
You're not half as tough as you pretend.
|I know...I've seen you crying
when you thought no one was watching.
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|You can find Jim Metcalf's books at Pelican Publshing
and this is the link to his page at Amazon.com.
|There was a place
I used to go
when I was very young;
when there was no world quite as real
as the world of books
|Across a meadow,
beneath the trees
that lined a sparkling stream
there was a magic land
where I was king
and others came
by invitation only.
|Tom Sawyer used to drop around,
and Huck and Becky Thatcher;
and I remember
one time Tarzan came
and swam up and down the river.
|A Place I Used to Go
|In Some Quiet Place
The Poetry of Jim Metcalf