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Throughout the Valley by John Hamel


Fields and garden gone to seed;

The sun’s only warmth,

Brussel sprouts, deflated squash.


Frozen rain on wires and trees;

For days wind-dropped ice

Rings on lacquered snow.


Mist dilutes the valley,

Blanching burrs and pine needles

With a wash of frost.


Windy night by the pond.

Shifting ice groans and whines:

Hoot owl. Silence.


The cold wind

Of many-weathered March

Steams the rotting leaves.


April downpour.

Birds make noise as if

To talk away the weather.


Blank-eyed bass drift

Under yellow reflections

Of the wet-footed iris.


Snail school:

Rainbow slime chalks

The flagstones.


Goldenrod and goldfinch

Firefly the fields:

Evening day.


Empty farmhouse.

Cut-grass breeze. Dew fall.

Peacocks call and call.


First cold night:

Peepers have gone under mud.

No one remembers the noise.


Indian summer

Misting the driveway.

October and July commute.



John Hamel grew up in Central New Jersey and is currently a High School teacher living in Minnesota. He has published poems in journals such as Notre Dame Review, Arion, Journal of American Poetry, Edison Review, and Wandering Hermit. He also runs his own imprint, Briarwood Editions, where he has published small, limited addition booklets with his poems and drawings.

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