Sunset: Haarlem

The sun melted behind the silhouettes of leafless trees
Colouring the canal a marmalade orange,
Sweet close to a day in Haarlem

Leaving me wondering:
What if the bridges in this little town rolled up or not each evening as presaged by the colours in the sky?

Original handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, March, 2017, Haarlem, Netherlands


Grey Inside (the Rijks)

Floating, sitting, waiting,
Parceling thought
Adrift in van Ruisdael’s cloudy landscapes
Soul, mind, spirit, imagination, heart
Stuff of madness ill explained:

Simultaneously awash in Van Gogh’s fragile Sadness
Sea of yellow pulling at cardiomyopathic tendril’s tales

Of yesterday
An escape
To a view of Haarlem

From the Northwest
With American senses
Eyes away

Hallucinatory driven glances
Clouds moving
Across azure, no, grey skies of blue

Challenged to craft into words what the Artist
Created that lives on
To create in the viewer
Centuries later
Across space and time

Like the clouds sweeping the Dutch
Azure sky of blue, no grey
On a day without rain.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines written in the Rijk’s Museum’s Gallery of Honour,  Amsterdam, March, 2017IMG_1241


Day in Dun Laoghaire

Joyce’s snot green sea pulled me there
On a train from Dublin to Dalkey
Boots across cobbles
In search of the ghosts of Ulysses

While Oliver’s blue grey green lavender Tides pushed me back today
On sea mists of harboured memory
A day in Dun Laoghaire

Smelling again the briny air
While sitting in my inland upstairs study
Reading Tides
Feeling the feels of that day
And ready to go back to lay down to sleep

to wisp to float to dream

to awaken with the sea salty breath of Dun Laoghaire in my hair
Her moist lips on my skin
Biting at the surface to get in.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, March 17, 2017

I started writing this after reading Mary Oliver’s “Tides” in her “A Thousand Mornings: Poems”. The words “blue grey green lavender” describing the sea belong to her. This “Tides” poem wouldn’t let me go and took me back to a day in Dun Laoghaire last summer which was our most remarkable day on our trip to Dublin so I had to attempt to put those feels down in words.


Sound Check

Sitting in the old Guitar Factory
Since 1972
Saturday morning setups
For joy on the strings after work
A Saturday morning pilgrimage across town to the luthier shoppe

Broken leaves cellophane and dirt on the worn high traffic carpet that is the floor
And the smell of woods of dust of metal strings of phosphor bronze of sitka spruce

Sounds of strings winding strings tuning
And the old air conditioner click click clicking along
Pushing air against the faded out wood paneling
The fluorescent lights whispering their secrets
Brush whisking across the fret board after the oil rests

Mixing with
Chimes hanging on the door sounding
As more guitar travelers enter and exit
As guitars getting renewed life sound off
With fresh oil on the fret board
And bright new strings

While the luthiers do their special work
Bringing life to sound
Sound to life
Potential of a few chords a few arpeggios played

How they can change a day from bright to sunny bright
Or express an ode of sadness
In a moment of stillness
Alone in your room
Just you and your old guitar

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, March, 2017




As big as the wind his thoughts were
And then on trade winds of ecstasy
On a jumbo jetliner to Amsterdam
On a high speed train to Lille
To Bruges To Brussels
To Cologne to Luxembourg
Canals, cathedrals cafes and windmills sweeping…
Awash afloat in the bloody brown baptism of the Seine of the Rhine of the Rhone

Filling feeling felt
His smoky dreams
Of incense, of Gothic ghosts
Of Van Gogh’s shadow,
The footsteps of Ginsberg and Céline
In scents he was
Ready to get lost in the smells of the streets
The sights and sounds of these cities
The slight whisks of the people moving
In all directions

These cities, these streets
Beckoning his soul
As the words flowed to paper
And his passport pressed against his chest
In his left breast pocket
Where his heart was.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, February, 2017