Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — Harry Truman as a Child

Born this day, 1884, Happy Birthday Harry!

The fields were boxed into sounds, weren’t they,
as carefully as books beside your bed,
and a necktie draped for the next day on a chair?

And you owned it all, didn’t you?
You owned the priceless fields
and start of day as warm as Mama’s voice.

You owned the inexpressible,
the catch in the throat,
the joy that was not stopped
because it was not seen.

And then Mama bought you glasses,
and you were confirmed as prince of strawberries
and the only boy in the county with spectacles.

I understand, Harry.
It was Mama who saw you listening
to the fireworks instead of watching,
and took you to the doctor.

Your mother, my father.
The days blaze, don’t they?
Aren’t they amazing, those lilting sounds?
Every biscuit, every goat?
Every single passing train?
The fields like linen that can’t be soiled?


— Charles Bane, Jr.


Harry Truman as a Child continues our serialization of Charles' 2011 volume of poetry, The Chapbook (Curbside Splendor). Part of a years-long journey, where we share and explore Charles' passion — his poetry — with you, our readers. 

Today, on the occasion of the birth of Harry Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, and the President who presided over VE Day — also May 8 — we present Charles' poem of a bucolic Missouri childhood.

Charles is also the author of Love Poems (Kelsay Books, 2014). His work has been described in the Huffington Post as "not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them." He created the Meaning of Poetry series for The Gutenberg Project and is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida. A career encompassing collection of poetry, The Ends Of The Earth was published in 2015.

We thank Charles for his continuing contributions and wish him well in the publishing of a collection of short fiction entitled, For Whom The Bell Tolls: The Sequel And Other Stories.