Dick Greene’s first book of poems, Explorations, shows him to be a man for all seasons whose delights and loves far outweigh his occasional moments of despair. The work in this book moves from the joys of childhood to the joys of immersion in the world of nature, then descends into a section depicting the horrors of war and its attendant defilings and destructions, from which it rises into a final section returning us to a world in which the poet’s continuing delight and love outshine his darker ruminations. Explorations is a book that will provide solace in a world too full of war, a book that will give great pleasure to those who have for years enjoyed Dick Greene’s Poems of the Week.
One reviewer has written as follows: “Dick Greene’s first collection of poems, Explorations, unabashedly celebrates the ordinary, the landscapes and fauna of our backyards and beyond, the seasons, childhood, youth, aging, family, domesticity. Much of what he writes is suffused with memory enriched by the perspective of his now almost eighty years. His verse is transparent but subtle, lyrical but contemporary, openly feeling but not sentimental, educated but not ostentatious. It is informed by social consciousness and an acute sensibility to the realities of life and the imperfections of human nature but is, at the same time, leavened with wry humor.”
A retired international development program planner and manager, Dick Greene first became interested in poetry at age eight when his parents bought him a set of children’s books, one of which was a volume of poetry. Among the poems in that volume was Burns’ “To a Mouse,” which captivated him then, as it does still. Introduced to Longfellow’s Evangeline in eighth grade, he was inspired by its majestic opening lines to try his hand at writing poetry.
Soon after beginning his freshman year in college, he showed a sample
of his work to a young lady in one of his classes, who declared it trite—his
poem rhymed at a time when modernism was in the ascendant—and
he stopped writing poetry for two years. Then in his junior year he
encountered Henry Rago, editor of Poetry, who taught the section
of a humanities course to which he’d been assigned. He began poetizing
again. After college Dick attended law school and continued writing
poems, but wrote few then or afterwards when he served in the army for
two years and subsequently entered upon his 38-year international development
career. Toward the end of that career, he began to write poetry again,
enjoying the support and editorial wisdom of his wife, Celeste, and
continued to write even more intensively after retiring, first to New
Jersey and more recently to Massachusetts. He currently lives in Northampton.
A Special Invitation: readers of this book who wish to receive the author’s Poem of the Week should send their names and addresses to email@example.com. Comments on the book and individual poems in it are also welcome and may be sent to the same address. In addition, readers are invited to visit Dick’s website, www.greenepage.net, where his weekly poems and other writings are posted.
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IN THE BEGINNING
I was there
Apple, blueberry, cherry, peach,
I used to stop at the bakery
Shades of Simple Simon,
Though winter is with us still
Night having gathered the haze
Crowds of geese
Stepping outside I find
Just below a great snowy cone in the Andes
Who can look on Ayers Rock
My sister lives on a Caribbean isle,
but birds flower there
Put boots on the ground, they said,
They said nothing about
I was a soldier once
There were field exercises, to be sure,
as if some cunning craftsman
I’ve taken in recent years to thinking about my funeral