IMG_1352Award-winning Rockland County Times poet Harry Waitzman celebrated his 87th birthday this week. To mark the occasion we offer you an extra-strong dose of Harry.

The Beacons of High Tor

When my memory bends to the wind
and channels storms in my ear,
the sound of a mouse resounds
as it munches crumbs fall from
South Mountain Road dining tables.

I’m lost between flakes of yesterdays
snowstorms whipping the top of Hi Tor
whose sheers of traprock graced
sides of the Palisades above the huddle
of Haverstraw’s bricks and brogues.

Residents heard sounds of German bombers
flying over the Hudson while German subs
dove under the Tappan Zee. None came-
while Rockland’s squirrels stood guard,
gossiped and cracked chestnuts and jokes.

Max Anderson and Kurt Weill on guard
drank tumblers of booze. These overage
civilians enlisted, searching high cirrus clouds,
daring German bombers to fly over High Tor.
Meanwhile Ike led armies landing in Normandy.

I watched this from the bottom of the Mountain,
made fighter airplanes from paper and glue,
and swore to friends as we signed up for the duration
shivering as 14 year old boys do
while Monty led the break-through at Caen.


Dutch Gardens

This morning, leaving my condo,
I forgot my hat, coat and wife.

I rest on a bench in Dutch Gardens
behind the Court House.

I count my heartbeats and the number
of breaths per minute.

Is my new pacemaker behaving
while I doze?

I rise and kick off my shoes
and spread my arms like a bird.

Oh! My body pirouettes on the sharp pebbles.
of the gravel path. Ouch!

I dance between puddles and ripples
and shake my fist at the sun.

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