Author photo: Mary Swartz  
In Tasting Precious Metal, Danny Dover takes us on an expansive journey across ranges of emotional terrain spanning loss, love, nostalgia, and wonder. He writes like a prospector, examining any crevice of human nature that might yield a glimpse of something rare and immutable. Under his keen eye, even laptops and budgets are revealed as objects of gleaming treasure. With honesty and humor he invites the reader to join in the search to discover all that we hold to be truly precious, sometimes in the most remote and unlikely places. M.D. Drysdale writes that “Danny Dover's poems invite you in with their plain, direct speech, but before you know it, you're in a grand room, where the air sparkles with similes and precise allusions, and secrets lie in the corners and crevices, waiting to be discovered. Who but Danny Dover could pair "simple Jew" with "Super Glue" in a poem that gives us the profundity of love in a pile of smashed porcelain. These poems are beautiful and delightfully readable--but also encompass an ambitious scope.” And this from Tom Slayton: “Danny Dover’s vivid and insightful poems inspire us to think in new ways about the Vermont experience.
  Front cover photo: Bob Eddy & Tim Calabro
(First Light Studios)
He has the ability to brilliantly meld the particulars of our everyday life with the universal concerns we all share in a way that is both touching and meaningful.”

Danny Dover lives with his wife, Mary Swartz, in a remodeled schoolhouse in Bethel, Vermont. He received his B.A. from Antioch College in 1971 and also holds Associate Degrees in Surveying Technology and Keyboard Technology. Danny was the piano technician at Dartmouth College for seventeen years and continues servicing pianos part-time. Previously he worked as a folk singer, contradance musician, dulcimer-maker, foundry patternmaker, and surveyor. Danny serves on the Board of Hands in Outreach, Inc., a small non-profit group coordinating educational sponsorships for very poor children in Nepal ( His poems have appeared in Blueline and numerous issues of Bloodroot Literary Magazine. He has published one chapbook, Kindness Soup, Thankful Tea (Dhotarap Press, 2006). Danny was a 2013 Pushcart nominee.

Click here to read samples from the book, here to hear the poet reading "Jesus of Comcast,"

and here to hear him reading "Tractor Man."

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ISBN 978-1-936482-67-2

Copyright © 2014 by Danny Dover

6" x 9" paperback, 104 pages


copyright © 2014 by Danny Dover



Heavy freight cars
glide by our café window
festooned in costumes
of bold graffiti
Please pass something lighter
you plead as my burdensome
prose derails at your feet

Words often roll out of me that way
all fat-cartoon-font-and-primary-color
blustering down a wide track
on well-greased wheels

Yet now and then I awake
in puzzled awe of the vagrant
who’s been prowling through
my dreams again
leaving provocative scrawl
sprayed over my rusty imagination


Color Wars

I am a veteran of the Color Wars of
Lakeville Connecticut YMCA Camp
in the year mile-high bombs bloom
in Nevada deserts and we practice
diving under school desks when sirens
wail, way before ’Nam
the Blues against the Golds fighting for
points in foot races and rope-pulls
penalties for foul language and sloppy
beds bunkmate against bunkmate
I’m hiding behind enemy lines
the only Jew of three hundred boys
feeling neither golden nor blue but
maybe white eager to surrender
more taken with lanyards and toy
boats of pine scraps and pipe
cleaners than waging war a time
of life when the greatest ambition
is blending in to be just average
and not draw attention not like
my perfect two-point lay-up
once in gym class for the
wrong team

Huevos Revueltos

Coarse bands of hard granite
once flat as sea-bottom
now fold and arch
like elephant skin
on a bare-rock mountain
named for the back
of a foreign beast
draped and curled
in graceful curves
proof enough
of nature’s enduring
patience in softening
even the hardest places

even this gritty town
near my birth where
Old World neighbors
greet dark-skinned
newcomers with
grinding suspicion

and where the subtle
shift and bending of
bedrock might easily
be missed
one Sunday morning
in the local diner
as a friendly waitress
seats shy Salvadorans
trying their first meal
out in America

How d’ya say

in Spanish?

I’m learning


huevos revueltos
huevos revueltos


Camel’s Hump, VT / Peekskill, NY



Consider the child
who awakens happy,
primed and charged
to seize the gift
of each new day.

Watch how the sun
excites her
and her friends
bouncing bruised
and battered
like free electrons,
by solid objects.

Imagine the origin
of our Universe,
the cosmic burst
of nascent energy
expanding out past
countless galaxies
to these pink-faced,
laughing, pig-tailed
specks of scattered
star dust swirling
through the maple-
slanted morning light.

Shopping Days

Swirling through a sea
of gloves and parkas
at LL Bean a few days
before Christmas
but my heart’s not in it,
not since storming away
this morning drenched
in your accusations.

There’s blood in the water,
in these aisles flooded
with shoppers lunging
at the scent of sales,
young staff staring
from their mountains
of student loans.

Thirty years is more
than enough
, you cried,
whatever “enough” is.
I’ve never had enough
gloves or firewood or
enough sense of what
you need from me,
but after this bad
meal of a day
it’s you I’m hungry for.

Let’s clean our closets,
sell everything, start fresh.
I’ll pay full price for you,
no more discounts.

Jesus of Comcast

When our phone first went dead
I reached out in despair
to Customer Service on Live Chat:
Hello, came the instant message,
this is Jesus, how can I help you?
Now, I know what you’re thinking
but please do not go there
although it crossed my mind too,
the shortest straw of a doubt
that indeed, I might
have once been blind
but now could see
gentle hands hovering
over our hundred-year-old
house and its slender thread
to the world-wide web.
Yet, whether from Oaxaca
or Nazareth, a miracle
truly did settle upon us that evening
in a subtle shift of electrons –
the phone resurrected,
our sins relieved.
And outside
in the cold crisp fall night,
bushels of bright stars
hung like ripe harvest fruit
while back inside,
faith restored,
you and a vintage red wine
stood beckoning again,
full-bodied and brilliant.

Virgin Mary

Her favorite figurine
now a sad pile of broken
blue-and-white porcelain
heaped on the counter
and my wife implores a
resurrection be performed
by me
a simple Jew
armed only with Super Glue
and trepidation
but setting mind and jaw
squarely to the task
of all mankind
I do manage restoring
her slightly-cracked
sly smile
to its proper place
the same smile
that smashed me open
more than thirty years ago
still thrilling in random glances
over a sandwich or pillow
and though we’ve been broken
a few times as may happen
to most things brittle
when hit by something hard
the scattered china
always beckons us
to the bare floor
on bent knees
searching eye-to-eye
under chair and table
for the missing piece
with jagged hands
sparkling blue-and-white
and soft in prayer

Yukon Territory

A destination first takes shape in the mouth,
syllables rolled together like gold nuggets
in a sluice box and gathered into a feast
of dust-choked highway until one
evening you find yourself alone
outside a mine shaft on night shift,
your hard-hat beam no match
for a burst of Northern Lights
and wolf howls. You are
in the spring of your life,
your name still a destination
for others yet to be born,
with only a lunchbox
at midnight
to tide you over
to another arctic dawn.
How is it
that two feet can track
through a billion
stars so the eyes
may follow later?
Look – now –
where you’ve been,
where you once thrashed
through thick brush
like a grazing animal.
It’s all that remains,
this trampled grass,
a taste of precious metal.

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