Poetry Reading at the Somerville Library by Skip Murray


Went to a poetry reading, right here in Somerville, at the Somerville Library, this past Wednesday evening. Lots of lyrical imagery and metaphors and such flying all over the place. And clean endings, yes, clean endings. Each tied together as nicely as you like.

“Braids to the small of the back…Treason of Golden Cape.”

“Where, alone, is repose?”


These poets have been around a while and you knew right away they knew their stuff.

It is remarkable what talent can do with words, words, words. Images explode, jump, fly around and leave you remembering and sensing and feeling them long after all the poets have gone home and the lights have been turned off.

“I knew him before love left.”

A particularly poignant poem about an older dad,


“With his will, my father dreamed.”

The confidence of these writers, amazing. What a charge. The word counts so much when put in the hands hearts and minds of those who know the beauty and character of what lay behind those words.
This poem, by Tomas O’Leary surely demanded its time for all time.

A Level Tongue


It takes a level tongue to roll a vowel

over a consonant. When high pique

infiltrates a pitched debate, more spittle

than language flies. Our cocked ears miss

the meaning of the meaning.

The deities of speech observe us

lazily, their irony reserved

for stabs at sumptuous truths

unleashed in spartan syllables.

But how do we dare to speak at all

who’ve come to speech unspeaking?

And why in particular is my brain

battered with daft abstractions

when my whole intention here’s

to grab a timid bull by both horns

and explicate the fine points of dilemma.

The rude bull can’t quite give a shit

that fancy straddles it for metaphor,

while I, like my words, am dead or alive,

an arc of sharp between two blunts.

And the way we leap from I to we

is loath to tell us if we are, or aren’t.


                                         –Tomas O’Leary


An array of subjects covered. We traveled clear across the world high into the Himalayan mountains to rainbows and stars to the inside of a head not sure believing in God was something to be believing in while another was sure of it.


Poetry, the poetry on this night, was fresh with the news of the day. “Men die for the news in poetry,” as William Carlos Williams said. And that is exactly what we got in this poetry reading on this night. We got the sense of what it is of human beings being human. 
Trust becomes particularly the richness of who we are and what we do. Trust is part of that news, it is part of our everyday carryings on with each other, with ourselves. Do we do that? Can we do that? How do we know? Sometimes just a…Well, wait, let’s let the poet speak to it.




It was Wyeth country,

all crisp edges

and clipped speech.

Reticence was

the name of the game.

I remember the tension,

the charged air.


At the isolated cove

surrounded by spears

of pine and jagged ledge,

The green was gone,

enveloped in a gray

membrane of wet fog.


We took the boat out

on heavy chop;

you rowing—out to prove

your strength, your ability

to steer, your unwavering will;

me—full of the fear and thrill

of having no control,

feeling the recklessness

of trust.


​​​​ –Priscilla Turner Spada 

Listeners and poets went away that night knowing more of richness, of vitality, of the substance of life and living.


Thanks to Ibbeson Street Press, located right here in Somerville, its Publisher, Doug Holder, and poetry editor, Harris Gardner,


and, of course, the poets for making this great night of poetry happen.


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