Chamber Musicians Also Wash the Dishes, Check the Mail

Our Poem of the Week is a piece by one of our favorite poets, Jack Ridl, who is from Michigan. It’s a great poem with an even greater title.

Chamber Musicians Also Wash the Dishes, Check the Mail

But now the chamber musicians are
just past halfway in Glazunov’s Elegy,

the part where in rehearsal they stopped.
“It feels as if I’m behind.”

“I don’t think so. I think I’m ahead.”
When I listened all I heard was a whole note held

in the third movement of a symphony
by Tinnitus, all I felt was the wax waning

onto the timpani of my ear drum.
Next comes another elegy, this by Suk,

Suk who was fifteen when he wrote its
sorrow-filled walk through what he did

not yet know. The chamber musicians
know.  They carry elegy in their fingers.

They open the world on the other side
of every note and let us breathe

within the haunting space between each
touch of key and pull of bow. They believe

heaven is between the stars, music
in the empty sleeve of the one-armed man.

-Jack Ridl
Douglas, Michigan


Our poem of the week is by Michigan poet, Joy Gaines-Friedler. It comes from a series of poems, nine of which were just published in our Spring issue of Third Wednesday. This one was chosen for its wonderful images.


The sea surprisingly warm,
the sky a blue room I wait in. Fearless
pelicans plunge headlong into waves.

I walk the imagery of my mother’s life.
There are no birds in these images,
I have never seen her dip her toe into the tide

never seen her startled by stars, no wonderment
at the way water ripples or forms clouds.
She is never looking up.

Here in the space between waves
where a kind of sanctity floats
I praise what I can:

A porcelain blue saucer,
the smell of Aqua Net & acetate
nails polished Frank Sinatra smooth,  

the Formica table worn pale from hours of Solitaire,
cravings to leave – hers
                                        as much as mine.

I return to her room –  keep shut the blinds,
the way she always liked them.

The day clings to the edge.

Outside a cloud of a thousand starlings
move in unison, left then right – then left.
They land. Settled-in for the night.

Skiing In March

We’ve had our first day of spring, but it’s still March.  Here’s a poem from Canadian poet,  Susanne von Rennenkampff, that reminds us that spring may not be just around the corner in all parts of the world, and for some people, that’s cause for celebration.

Skiing In March

if you forget it’s March,
forget that elsewhere
they’ve been wearing shorts
for weeks;

if you are suddenly
stopped in your tracks
by the intricate pattern
rising on the white trunk
of a birch, the rows upon rows
of silvery beads;
if you feel the bright splash
of rosehips on fresh snow,
crimson like blood
from the queen’s finger,
and do not flinch;

if you kneel down,
put your two fists
side by side
in the prints
of the moose
that crossed the trail
this morning;

maybe then
you will be grateful
that you still can ski
while elsewhere
snowdrops and primroses
have bloomed for weeks.

     Susanne von Rennenkampff
     Alberta, Canada