Whit Griffin


Four Poems



A Welter of Cormorants


If you’re not too busy, my

house is on fire.  No close-ups

please, I’m too old.  Everything

can be mitigated with the proper

use of scented candles.  The

Supreme Court turned the tomato

into a vegetable.  Let’s not tussle

on this sandy shore; share the shell.

Around here we say carapace.

You’ve a penchant for the superfluous.

Outfitting a bass boat with an

astrolabe.  A moped with no petrol

is just a bike.  Help yourself to as

many samosas as you think you

deserve, then go back for seconds.

If animals could talk there’d be

more vegetarians.  The moon

shines enough light for the muskrats

to find their ramble.  We found

a didgeridoo in Saskatchewan.

The most heavily-scored eleven

minutes of my life. 



Ever Fugitive (Another Alchemical Poem)


If we were to look at reality

unaided by the filter of perception

we would be blinded.  To see

the fire inside green wood.  To

catch dragonflies, appeal to their

desire to rise above their peers. 

The sound of song birds, attractively

measurable.  No wind to shiver in.

A warmth somewhere between the

human body and June sunshine.

No one knows when the last weariness

will come.  Hannibal marched his elephants

past innumerable Burma Shave signs.  A poor

finish for a man of his standing.  Poison

in the ring.  We have the measurement but

not the time.  Five is a fortuitous number.

Five stones from which man first extracted

copper.  Melanosis is the first stage

towards transmutation.  Teach your

acolyte a few illusions and let him loose

upon the world. 


Easy, Midshipman


A slight indiscretion a long

time ago has caused us to grow

old.  China’s done away with shame

parades.  Nothing you can do

in the house I can’t do in the yard.

Domineering and overdressed, even

the Brahmin’s dentist suffers

occasionally from bettor’s elbow.

Colonel Corn will only communicate

in couplets starting tomorrow.  Useless

as flashing a freight train.  Everything

is already in the hands of the enemy.

Jimmy stole a motorcycle in Morocco,

and rode into Kew Gardens on the back

of a camel.  We foraged for

raspberries and mixed them with

our ployes.  Now we’re drinking Moxie,

listening to Bach.  This rural

hideaway is an acoustic powerhouse.

Will you be my hen of the woods?



Conceal Your Intent No Longer


It’s all true and it’s all false equally.

Perhaps it’s the alignment of the stars

or that my food is slow.  Nourishment

for the reflective mind, like fire conglobed

in highest cloud.  Whet your appetite away,

but come home to eat.  Commander Lee

is in the river with Mildred, washing their sins

away.  Kicking Buddha’s gong.  I can’t stand Scotch,

but love the sound it makes coming out

of the bottle.  They’re cloning Neanderthals

in northern Spain.  This can only end in tears. 

That’s the second time tonight they’ve ended

with a seventh.  A fidgety pick.  Whatever

happened to the great empty spaces?  Used

to be a man needed a gun to steal money.

My uncle calls the garbage dump our local

bird sanctuary.  If you were a seagull I’d

call you King Oscar. 



Whit Griffin is the author of Pentateuch: The First Five Books (Skysill Press, 2010). Chaplets include Wanhope (Longhouse) and Fugitive Cant (Country Valley). Recent poems have appeared in Sixth Finch, Cannibal, The Equalizer, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Forklift, Ohio.  He currently resides in western Tennessee.