Robert Milby

Omen on a January Morning

He arrived at Dawn to speak with a silent coven,
atop the grand Victorian building on Main.

A large, angry pickup blew through the ice-stern street,
like a troubled Autumn leaf dislodged from my thoughts.
Aurora’s disciple did not flinch at his warm, chimney pulpit.

He turned to watch the purple clouds scab to consternation’s Grey;
saw me observing him, from my garret window.

Fellow Vultures called— crouching on the rooftop, shoving the horde.

He raised one wing from his shabby perch.
No Maestro Hawk, but a playwright, above drowsing commuters.
Snow keeps Memory; Ice jails Desire throwing plans to disarray.

I can not see their breath, but the fifteen black emissaries, are a morning collegium;
watched by a chorus of Crows, who bark challenges to a waking snowstorm.

Slamming Doors Around Mozart
   -"Music, in even the most terrible situations, must never offend the ear but always remain a source of pleasure." -W.A. Mozart

It didn’t just jar him; it changed the order of his day. Snow followed him home.
The tavern’s glow could not keep the maestro content with beer and flesh autographs,
not because of sonatas or string quarters; a chamber, with a high fire in an adulterous hearth;
blankets and sweets; perfumes not of Constanze.

He shook many a proper hand; lodge affiliates; patrons notwithstanding.
He retreated to the room where inspiration spread her seraphic wings;
fingers inked in proof of scores; magnum opus!
Until the fraulein—slammed the door!

He shook; he reeled; tossed the ink pot in the fire! Ripped the parchment to minutia.
Crude slangs of outrageous fortune; genteel salon talk forgotten!
The doors; the windows and shutters—to be closed gently; the touch of a child upon the knob—
a breeze across his desk and brow to rouse him from sleep.

No! a bull goring; a horse kicking; a cart crashing into a tree;
slamming doors to destroy the quintet;
the love letter;
the quartet painted in mere hours before dinner!

She had but one chance left…or the sack and home to penance at the peasants’ cottage.
Herr Mozart tore the curtain down!
His face contorted in a madness only the muse could sanction.
Constanze? Nay. Nannerl; yes!

His offended ears...covered in a fit of childish rage; his older sister was over 100 miles away.
Mozart’s idol had become another’s idol.
She was a mother; Salzburg could not hold the genius, this youngest of seven, father of six,
he had the door left open, snow covered the entrance hall; the snows of quiet December.

Winter Birds

Juncos and Chickadees converse at the plastic feeder perched outside a large window.
The pond wears an area rug of snow.

Red Oaks creak in arrogant breezes and Titmice drop Sunflower seeds, like black pepper atop frozen snow.

Squirrel is a warm, grey sweater, leaping from stonewall to ice-claimed roof.
She collects fine stocks of shocking, black seeds—scattered by Blue jay’s paranoia,
when identical twin Nuthatches leave cold Maple bark, and descend unto the clear feeder.

Her trembling tail is a feather duster to the algid fieldstone wall,
as she gathers dark treasures. Her patience prevails, as the tiny Chickadee fails.

Winds call new storms to the communal kitchen; sweet bread of new snow.
The drowsy black cat watches from an occasionally sunny windowsill.

Nervous Juncos and greedy Sparrows are decoys!
Squirrel doesn’t need wings. She does not have to climb up to the feeder.
Her tiny jewels fall like snowflakes.

About the Author

Robert Milby, of Florida, NY has been reading his poems, from the gutter to the garret, in the Hudson Valley and beyond since March, 1995. He hosts 4 Hudson Valley poetry series and co-hosts a 5th series.

Milby is published in over 2 dozen magazines, 1 dozen websites, and 15 poetry anthologies, in the Northeast, including Home Planet News, Chronogram, Waymark (anthology, Beacon, NY 2014 and 2015), Other, the Albany Poets’ Magazine, Riverine (anthology, Cod Hill Press, 2007), Waterwrites (anthology, Codhill Press, 2009), The Cliffhanger ( Sarah Lawrence College, 2014) and Oddball Magazine (2015).

Books: Ophelia’s Offspring (Foothills Publishing, Kanona, NY, 2007)
Crow Weather (Fierce Grace Press, Wilmington, DE, 2009)
Dickens’ Pet Raven (Fierce Grace Press, Wilmington, DE, 2014)
Victorian House: Ghosts and Gothic Poems (Lion Autumn Music Publishing, NYC, 2015)
CDs: Revenant Echo (Sonotrope Recordings, High Falls, NY 2004)
Underground (APB Productions, Wallkill, NY, 2008)

Every October, since 2003, Milby and performance Artist, Carl Welden haunt the Hudson Valley as Theremin Ghosts! in the most unusual poetry and sound performance ever conducted in the region.

Milby is a board member of Calling All Poets, in Beacon, NY and a member of the Woodstock Poetry Society, in Woodstock, NY. He is a listed poet with Poets & Writers, Inc. , and a monthly contributor to the Arts newspaper, The Delaware and Hudson CANVAS since 2004.

He is a Freelance Thinker.

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