In Deep

Jim Pearce
Author photo by Janet Dinkel Pearce  

The poems in Jim Pearce’s new book, October’s Gallery, “ring the changes” from joy to sorrow to irony, but beneath such variety the world of nature remains a saving grace. There is a generous spirit creating the music in this most harmonious of books. Pit Pinegar has this to say about these terse, spirited poems: “Jim Pearce packs more into fewer lines than any but the Japanese and Chinese masters and the dedicated followers of their forms. Since the publication of his first book, Slant Light, Jim has moved back to his native Ohio and in this collection takes us back to that starting place. With wry wit and close, pithy—sometimes ironic—observation, Pearce writes of time, faith, sorrow, social (dis)order, and an environment threatened. Pearce is unabashedly a family man and a man vested in his communities. These poems are testament.”
Cover Jim Pearce
Front cover painting by Sarah McQuilkin

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Jim Pearce has resided with his wife, Janet, in Cleveland since 2010, having moved from New London, Connecticut, where they resided for nineteen years. Both he and Janet were professionals in the United Way field for thirty years in various cities around the country. Subsequently, he served as the Quality Improvement officer in a child welfare agency in New London, retiring in 2004. During his retirement, he has continued to be active, serving on the New London Board of Education from 2005 through 2009 and taking part in other New London civic activities. In Cleveland, he has continued being active in education, this time at the individual and school level. He has tutored 1st and 2nd grade boys in a low-income neighborhood school and has worked for educational improvement through a city-wide coalition of churches. Even with a change in location and activities, Jim continues to observe life and comment on it in poems, some of which his new book presents for your pleasure.

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ISBN 978-1-936482-55-9

Copyright © 2013 by Jim Pearce

5.5" x 8.5" chapbook, perfect bound, 36 pages




South of Steubenville

That afternoon in mid-war
we set off to walk
Grandpa’s farm—
my aunt and her friend
yearning for their men’s return from war
and we three cousins—
eager to discover secrets of this land.

On and on we walked
in rolling fields of sunlight,
lifted high with laughing fun
of our game—aunt as witch and we
as bright-eyed goblins—
so that time was suspended.

From sun fields we crossed into
primordial forests
of lichen-covered rocks, great oaks,
prehistoric ferns, sumac,
tiny flowers of pink and white,
and moss on stone, still to my mind
defining velvet.


Like most people who have ever lived,
I’ve wondered if I’ll live after I don’t.

Finally, the answer’s on the way—
which makes me curious enough to stay.

In California, Dr. Fischer, Philosophy Prof.,
has been granted five million bucks to look for proof.

In three years, all should be known including
Life’s Meaning; but I’m not going to hold my breathing.


When the bearded fellow down the block
took a shotgun to his wife
and left her in their place to putrefy,

the neighbors said what neighbors
always say to the reporter from the nightly news:
“He seemed like a nice guy”—“Yeah, a real nice guy”
which means he nodded his head,
smiled and said “Hi”
when they greeted him along the way,
always parked his car off the street,
kept his yard mowed, shoveled his walks of snow—

and, most importantly, he killed somebody else.


(DeSheney vs. Winnebago County Dept. of Social Services
489 U.S. 189, 1989)

Poor Joshua, sighed the black-robed judge
during oral arguments.
But compassion
didn’t keep the nation’s highest court
from ruling Joshua’s liberty had not been
taken without due process.

Poor Joshua, scream children and prophets
asking justice for the weak.
But the Court construes the Constitution narrowly:
holds harmless the social worker—State actor—
who, confronted with police reports of abuse
did nothing but record them in the file.

Poor Joshua, whose father, putative protector,
beat him so badly the surgeon found
pooled blood upon his brain
which left his life suspended in a twilight haze.


Do birds perch,
amused on tree limbs
trying to identify
varieties of homo sapiens from
each specimen that comes their way?

From their book
Homo Saps of North America
they might pick out
groups within the species
by coloration, song
(or lack thereof), glide path
to family car,
habitat, mating habits, migration patterns
and means of nurturing their young.

More likely they just sit upon their perch
indifferent to the glories of Homo Saps.

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