City Boy

The botanical gardens of Ft. Tryon Park

Grace the Northern tip of Manhattan Island

The abundance of flowering plants

Are protected by warning signs

Wisely engraved for the visitor

But giving a New York City boy

His first awakening to poetry

The words tactfully beautiful

Softly suggesting warning and wonder

Which now eighty years later

Are remembered with timeless certainty

The words and the boundaries of the park

Are magnified by the city’s summer

The blending of historical evidence

And medieval European artistry

Sheltered in the reconstructed cloister

Whose ancient walls rise above the Hudson River

History endlessly flowing past

The great city

Seeking the source of its Legacy

In antiquity and the Palisades of New Jersey

The elegance of an old continent

Oceans and miles of voyages away

Sending these sacred words

For generations forever to hear:

“Lest none should say it

And say it to your shame

That all was beauty here

Before you came”

 

Ted Goodell

March 2017

Christ’s Buckle

 

Christ wore his buckle

On the other side

It was the center

Of his strength

He gripped its full

Metal girth

Between both thumbs

Like an American cowboy

He made the

Prairie Palestine

His home

And all his prayers

Brought butterflies

To his fragile flame

 

Ted Goodell

1975

The Spider

 

I caught a spider

In a cup

It resonated fear

It knew my home

Was not a church

No sanctuary lost

Between its world

Of web and fang

But something alien

To touch

A surface inaccessible

To stealth and sting

Now in captivity

The agile acrobat

Dreams of a god with wings

 

Ted Goodell

2007

In Memory of Michael Brown

 

In Ferguson Missouri

The memory of Michael Brown will not retreat

For those of us who watched that street

We cannot know how far his name will reach

If what we know can ever end this breach

We who were there must face this dread

And send to all the boys who fled

Our upraised hands and lowered heads

To mourn those black disciples who are dead

 

Ted Goodell

November 29, 2014