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Sample Poems by William Kelly

Morning Rain

I have no star for wishing now.
All rainbows have eluded me.
Nothing is left but this dim room,
a bed, a clock.

The letter I wrote to mother is lost,
my only window, broken.
It has begun to rain outside.
I think the clock just stopped.

Today is Thursday, tomorrow is my birthday,
I have one clean shirt, no socks.
Maybe I'll shave if the sun comes out;
my mirror is worthless in the dark.

I watch a spider in the corner,
he caught a large white moth last night.
Many insects fly in past
the gleaming, jagged shards.

I lie on a soft mattress.
Rain falls.
Nothing to do this early morning.
I see a new face made by cracks in the wall.

Man Rescued from Como Zoo Lion Habitat

(St. Paul) Yesterday afternoon an unidentified man described by witnesses as disoriented and confused stripped off his clothes, climbed a barricade, and jumped into the Como Zoo lion habitat. Fast action from zoo workers prevented him from being attacked by three lions out in the exhibit area at the time.
According to the police report, the man, about 30 years of age, began calling out to the lions from a viewing area overlooking the exhibit. After removing his clothes he scaled a concrete embankment, and lowered himself over the edge. He fell about fifteen feet, landing within a few yards of the lions.
The intruder apparently injured his leg in the fall, but according to witnesses, still got up and moved toward the lions, talking and gesturing to them. The lions initially retreated to one end of the enclosure. One of them charged, but did not attack. A quick thinking zoo worker used a high pressure water hose to drive the animals into a tunnel leading to a separate enclosure.
Other zoo workers attempted to restrain the intruder, but he eluded them by leaping into the water-filled moat encircling the habitat. St. Paul police and paramedics arrived as a large crowd of onlookers gathered. The man became violent when policeman removed him from the water. One officer was slightly injured in the scuffle. The man was subdued and taken to St. Paul County Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, and today was transferred to White River State Hospital. No identification was found among his abandoned belongings.

from the St. Paul Times, June 16, 2004

Over the Wall

A slow, cool wind
sways the tall grass
of the lions' field.
I see no lions.

They love
sleeping in the sun,
far from the crowd,
sick of the man-scented wind.

I let go, twisting
loose-limbed down
from the line of cardboard faces
peering over the wall.

They look like cut- out pictures,
far away, flat,
set on a ledge
against soft blue atmosphere.

I turn to the landscape
green and wild, see
lions for the first time;
awake now, roaming

the high rocks
of a false waterfall.
I hear the deep
hollow of their breathing.

They stand
perhaps three leaps
away, listening
to the shriek- pierced

human droning
they will never escape.
Now I've dropped
into their captivity.

I want to doze all day
in sun-warmed grass,
stroke the kitten fur
of their slack bellies,

and hold the killing weight
of one paw in both hands,
longing for nightfall
and no voices.

Lock Up, White River State Hospital

It's raining. We lounge in the Day Room-
bruised fish mouthing
medicated water in a shallow stream.
We drown in our breathing.
Windows fogged with greasy hand-prints
begin to weep. How long have I been here?
Days. Nights
paled into day. Some nights the moon will appear,
some days, the sun. This rain doesn't help-
piteous thuds against thick glass, a sound
like electrodes firing through my scalp.
Pooled voices soak into plowed open ground.

Silence fills my lungs like the dirt smell
of plants and streams beginning to swell.