Daniel Bourne

In the Rain, After the Middle Ages

Długa Street, Gdańsk. In the rain,
the lady has draped plastic over her postcards

and now the entire Old Town grows fuzzy, the brown
overhanging beak of the ancient grain tower

staring down into the mud of the Motława River
like a drunk hunting in the darkness for his keys.

O to film this Baltic weather. The white
turning into darkness. The centuries

before the perfect slant of light
digs through the startled stone.



The Greedy and the Meek
                                                            (Gdansk, 2014)

Before now I did not realize how much the pigeons hated the gulls.
In the courtyard below

both sides mill around in the trash.
Granted, the way some birds conduct their business

no one would know
if they are angry or not.

Except the gulls screech so easily
just as poets also take too seriously

even the smallest scraps,
claiming them as food.

Meanwhile, each pigeon
keeps its own wise council.

When it inherits this earth,
no one will even know

that their life has been spared.



Daniel Bourne is author of The Household Gods (Cleveland State) and Where No One Spoke the Language (CustomWords). His poems have appeared in Field, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Guernica, Salmagundi, Pleiades, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Plume, Yale Review, North American Review, and others. The recipient of four Ohio Arts Council poetry fellowships, Bourne teaches at The College of Wooster in NE Ohio, where he edits Artful Dodge, a magazine of American fiction, poetry and essay with a special interest in translation.