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The Cave by ROBERT A. DAVIES   The poet is saying his poem, has opened his picture gallery.   One is crawling into a cave the floor covered in cigarette butts dried shit and blood where something horrible took place is still taking place.   From the two eyes of the  cave one makes out […]

Davies and Beaudin


The Cave



The poet is saying his poem,

has opened his picture gallery.


One is crawling into a cave

the floor covered in cigarette butts

dried shit and blood

where something horrible took place

is still taking place.


From the two eyes of the  cave

one makes out carvings on the walls

pictures drawn by a child

over the years,

almost unbearable–

without the pictures unbearable.


One looks for the entrance to make an exit

but there is no leaving.

One is wrong from now on,

there is no pleasing except

by begging for punishment

by those one most loves,

living a nightmare

an empty plate, cigarette burns, The Cutting

screams still echoing.


Time for the poet to put on

his smile, his stetson.

Time also for one to leave.



Ethan’s View of Things



Worse than drunken Mr. Foss

back from the Oxford Grille

Ethan totters down the street.


He keeps his cane for home.

Last time he took it he got looks,

pity from brazen neighbors.

He’d rather fall if it came to that.


He repeats, “And another thing I hate

is the smiles I get from perfect strangers.”

His list of things he puts up with is long.

He grumbles to himself as he walks.


Nor does he end there.

Cell phones internet and pods:

we’re going to hell in a handbasket.

There’s no reason to adjust.

That’s the word that gets him going.



Ethan Considers His Youth



You read about the West

New and Old   that low sky

lone rangers laconic

their feelings hidden even to themselves.


But here in New England

the place where I’m from

the sky hovers over hills

spaces are small

little room for talk.

“Wild” means out of control.

A meal means only

Eat your meat and potatoes!

Effusive talk forbidden.

Contain yourself!

Summer camps had Nature Lodges

where most of my friends kept lists

Birds identified.


Howe, Wheelwright, Walker

Wood and Green:

how little they talked and when they did

they spoke of things.

So many hot to name

birds  plants  trees

all the stars in the heavens.


Robert A. Davies lives in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at



[Editor’s Note: The tradition continues! Past Birthday Poems can be found here:]


Birthday Poem, 2013



The morning snow

becomes steam rising from the road

into the Lamar Valley

where I slow for crossing bison,

elk and pronghorn antelope


Rippling sheets of juncos

and ribbons of mountain bluebirds

decorate the grey air

as I park and hike above Slough Creek –

carry a buffalo skull

to the top of a Precambrian outcropping,

place it facing West and

burn sage collected on the way up


I’m answered by a pair of flickers

chasing a red tail into the spruce

rising above me


a bowl-sized indentation

in the lichen-spackled rock

holds just melted snow

like a font of holy water

so, like some fool pilgrim,

I lie flat on my chest

and drink


I’m answered by chorusing wolves

from somewhere across the creek


Back at my camp,

the fire’s heat is swallowed by icy air

before reaching me

so I retreat to my sleeping bag

and dance these words into my journal


I’m answered by the staccato song of snow

tapping on the skin of my tent

throughout a night too cold for sleep

or dreams of anything


Marc Beaudin is the poetry editor of CounterPunch. His website is


Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

Poets Basement is now on Facebook. Find us as

To submit to Poets Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx – use “Save As” to change docx or odt files to “.doc”).  Expect a response within two months (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.

For more details, tips and suggestions, visit Thanks!