PoetryPause Blog – Matthew Ashbrook

Sanctuary Concerts

by on Aug.29, 2017, under Poetry

They’re closing down the venue,
Age will take its toll,
The Sanctuary Concerts
No longer will extol
The virtue of the poets
Who bring to life a song
And share the bigger picture
Of where we all belong.

A little Jersey Chapel,
A Chatham setting quaint,
An intimate arrangement
Where art and soul acquaint,
Concludes its running showcase
Of artists few will know
By name but know their songbooks,
Through others were bestowed.

McGuinn and Janice Ian,
Tom Paxton and Nick Lowe;
Suzanne Vega and Josh Ritter,
And Winchester’s last show
Where power was disrupted
And candles lit the stage
While pews of patrons gathered
‘Round Jesse to engage.

The man behind the project,
Undone by time that passed,
Unable to continue
Leaves memories that were cast –
Self-conscious teardrops forming
That fell without restraint,
Moved within the canvas
Of pictures they would paint.

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Antler Bar

by on Aug.13, 2017, under Poetry

The Antler Bar in Lewiston
A cozy atmosphere
To share a conversation ‘neath
A pewter chandelier.

Grab a couple corner stools
And sidle up astride;
A pair of potent potables,
Begin the evening’s ride.

Proximity insinuates
An intimate affair,
Like teeth rotating on a gear
Their legs engage in pair.

Between the appetizers and
The slipping out the door,
They’ll cover matters of the heart,
The past and what’s in store.

Beyond the tweeting Twitter scene
And FaceBook’s public posts,
The Antler Bar in Lewiston
Is hosting hidden ghosts.

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by on Aug.08, 2017, under Uncategorized

She’s falling in love and I fear
Very soon she’ll then disappear;
In pursuit of the passion
Biologically fashioned,
For genetically she’s engineered.

Unexpected her company’s been.
Unsolicited we’ve become friends.
But decades apart,
In both mind and heart,
From beginning an unlikely blend.

From the banks of the river that serve
As an outpost from which I observe
As the current she rides
Carries her from my side,
Forever in memory’s preserve.

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by on Jul.13, 2017, under Poetry

The poor little fellow
He’s stressed or depressed
By a board that was placed
Where he’d usually rest.

Forty minutes he rode
With his head to the door –
Face down, not respond
To his name anymore.

His ears were both curled
Like celery gone limp –
His joyful demeanor
And style were crimped.

It’s hard to imagine
What caused his distress;
But he saw something other
Than wood, I would guess.

The burdens we bear
Are secret to most;
And our closet kept locked
To harbor the ghosts.

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by on May.31, 2017, under Poetry

Hoagie Shotgun

Travelin’ dusty byways,
Ridin’ shotgun in a car
Cruisin’ passed the farmland
Stretching near and far,
Blue sky frames the vistas
As far as you can see;
There’s no place in the world
A fella rather be.

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It Should Be Easy

by on May.16, 2017, under Poetry, Uncategorized

Two months ago
A schoolhouse burned down
Where the Amish kids go,
Learn syntax and nouns.

Now it’s rebuilt
And ready to go –
The kids will return,
Their lunchbox in tow.

If the same thing occurred
In the public domain,
Years would go by
And budgets would strain.

Surveyors and lawyers
And ten engineers –
Architect planners
And twelve financiers.

Taxes would rise
And meetings convene;
Decades might pass
‘Til a building was seen.

While the Amish just gather
And the work is begun –
Collectively factor
To get the job done.

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Goose Down

by on Nov.20, 2016, under Poetry

A wounded bird
Left behind
The winter just ahead;
His flock flew off
To warmer climes
To seek their daily bread.

A goose that’s found
A place to hide
Each day beside a pond;
I see him scramble
As I pass
To walk the woods beyond.

He floats to safety
On the tarn
But something is amiss;
His wing is twisted,
Out of place,
And he can’t fly like this.

Unlikely that
He’ll live ‘til spring,
Not built for winter’s ways;
Not something I
Look forward to,
Beholding his last days.

We play the game,
The hand we’re dealt,
Abiding nature’s rule;
And to the weak
Discarded ones,
The world can be so cruel.

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Marineland 1987

by on Nov.18, 2016, under Poetry, Uncategorized


In Rancho Palos Verdes
Marineland once was king –
A million folks would visit
Through winter from the spring.

More lab than entertainment,
Where injured sea life went
For medical attention,
Well-being to augment.

Long before the Sea Worlds
And Disney parks would grow;
Before you felt the whales
Were tortured for a show,

I stood upon the stage there
When asked if I’d permit
A killer whale meeting,
Of course I would commit.

As Corky swam up to me,
He rolled onto his side
And offered up a flipper,
A thrill I must confide.

My hand grew ever smaller
When placed upon his limb –
My significance diminished,
My substance start to dim.

The universe grew bigger,
My place within it small;
Drawn into perspective,
Rearranged my sense of all.

Financially it suffered,
It sold a time or two
To studios of cartoons
And a grocery chain revue.

Then one day it shuttered,
Corky and his mate
Were shipped to San Diego
At night within a crate.

Everyone was fired,
They boarded every door;
A statue they called Bubbles,
Marineland’s troubadour,

Dismantled into storage,
A sentinel no more;
And the business of the whales
To disrepute would soar.

But Rancho Palos Verdes
Has tried throughout the years
To recommission Bubbles,
Somewhere on their piers;

In honor of her history,
The nature of the work
The city once had hosted
And in their memories lurk.

Thirty years since passing
Now Bubbles has returned
To stand outside in tribute
To all that was adjourned.

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by on Aug.14, 2016, under Poetry

The rain has finally fallen
On fields long gone dry –
And farmers are beholding
When the heavens start to cry.

It’s been a long hot summer,
No rain to speak of fell,
And the crops they hope to harvest
Have suffered from the spell.

The corn and wheat fields gasping,
They’re withered on their stalks;
The field mice now easy
Quarry for the hawks.

But rain is falling gently,
Redemption for the crops;
Arrests the dying silage,
Renews the framing copse.

The waterworks of healing
For the damaged and the meek;
Heavenly the rainfall,
Like tears upon a cheek.

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by on Jul.31, 2016, under Uncategorized

Everybody’s different,
Everyone’s the same;
Perhaps a contradiction,
Improbable the claim.

Through the time’s reflective prism,
The fundamental hue
Of every person passing
Is quite the same as you.

Twenty, forty, sixty,
It matters not a whit;
Underneath the pretense,
A larger mold we fit.

Social graces vary,
The secret and exposed;
The proper and improper,
Leave nature unopposed.

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