George Reitnour - Poet

PENNSYLVANIA LINE (11/5/1978 & 6/23/1999?)

Hunger bowled carboniferous hills, ushered rollers
down the vengeance-bent steel-guttered river
swath to Parker's Ford, to the utter thrill of the sentinel--
canal-house child chinned on the third-floor windowsill,
back crooked, brown belly-flesh pressed on plaster,
praying those pinned rails should yield their master.

Epiphany of the engine! Arms, legs thrown spindling,
stairpole to hallway to stairpole windging,
crashing, unhinging the screen door divide
and rushing the black risen iron, a wild-eyed
dog-boy running beside , crook-elbow jerking
to yank at the clamoring, cokey air, working
the windage until, from the coverall
breaks the turtle-head hand of awe.

Fingers unfolding from palm and waving
and pulling--oh Gloria! Gloria!--saving
him! Pulling and blowing the Horn out of pity,
rails strewn in His path all the way to the city;
hosannas for thunder, thunder to birth
in a boy every power on earth.

Copyright 1997 by George Reitnour



There is a light
No cold, dark night
Nor soul's despair
Can dim. Here,
In the eye, hand
Of neighbor, friend;
Here in the shared
Work, where we cared
To make better--
To help others.
Here! Here! The light
Seek! The light
The mystics starve for!
Right here! And we
Would light a tree--
An evergreen--
And come to lean
For comfort on each other--
Each bearer
Of hope, light for
The world's future.

Copyright 2004 by George Reitnour