Almanack Contributor George Cassidy Payne

George Cassidy Payne

George Cassidy Payne is an independent writer, domestic violence counselor, and adjunct instructor in the humanities at Finger Lakes Community College. George's blogs, essays, letters, poems, and photographs have been published in a wide variety of national and international outlets such as USA Today, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Buffalo News, Albany Times-Union, Syracuse Post Standard, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, The Toronto Star, The Minority Reporter, Chronogram Journal, Ovi Magazine, CounterPunch, Moria Poetry Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and more.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Poetry: After the Flowers

After the Flowers

Into the hush a mother
needs when she strokes
the soft temples of her infant
son, outside the dewdrops
emerge once more. After the
flowers are gone, on a blanket
of peat moss, feeding the frogs
and snakes, they emerge,
hurtling toward the starved
emptiness of another daybreak.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

What Can Never Be Named

 

What Can Never Be Named

What I saw in the Green
Mountains can never be
named. Across an idyllic
forest of embryonic fluid,
I saw an unborn spirit
arriving as an ancient
memory. I saw dark matter
in your eyes. Neither created
or destroyed. Like rogue
planets ejected from their
birthplaces. I saw an invisible
halo and smoke the color of
ivory and ostrich eggshells.
I saw the holy. In my bathroom.
In front of a broken sink faucet.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Spring Fed Brook

 

A Spring Fed Brook

Like a spring fed brook,
we all start without answering.

Held together by opposite sides.

Deeply cleft, grey-green with
lichens bent by the wind


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Poetry: Maundy Thursday

 

Maundy Thursday

In my canoe on the Raquette,
I saw smoky, hexagonal,
cream colored osprey eggs
appear out of the premature
slush on the lurched pillars.

On those yawning coppices
and Eastertide melt,

I felt the holy.

Like resplendent, lukewarm
air on my neck.

For the first time


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Poetry: Last Virgin Pine

Last Virgin Pine
Solitary and heavy
under the unseated saddle
of an infinite sky,
Immortality is a ruthless
harvester of data: an endless
string of half breaths from the
last remaining virgin pine.
Covered in a bright burst of
December snowfall, the sun
struck diamonds smile back.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Poetry: A Spring Fed Brook

A Spring Fed Brook

Like a spring fed brook,
we all start without answering.

Held together by opposite sides.

Deeply cleft, grey-green with
lichens bent by the wind.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Poetry: The Thunder

The Thunder

Like the hunger of
Adirondack blackflies
in summer, the thunder
roars. The savage rapids
of our lives. The seduction
of a morning’s panorama.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Poetry: Close to Timberline

Close to Timberline

I want the spacious
sweep of a
green mosaic,
those Tupper Lake
marshes and
fountainheads of
majestic streams.
I want countless
warm ponds
wrapped in cold
weather. The
teardrop of the lake
itself. I want the
secret sources of the
Hudson, log bridges,
and vanished paths.
I want a thin mist.
Ferns, sedges,
grasses, and white-
cedar thicket.
The deep woods.
The spring thaw.
Just early snow on
the tumbled rocks.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Poetry: Pledge

 

Pledge

I pledge allegiance
to the Creator,
who gives life to all
beings, and to the
animals, plants, insects,
water, and rocks,
which the Creator
allowed to exist. One
Universe neither above
nor below, indivisible,
with love and
compassion for all.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Poetry: In the Tent

In the Tent

Before the sizzle of cast
iron on grease and chattering
crows sounding the alarm,
such a supple space to
lay awake in a sleeping
bag, rolled up like a napkin
in a French bistro, zoned out
to the blithe, unconditioned air
bending the fly with dribbling rain.

In the tent, the world loses
its power. Wandering without
rising through a Black Widow’s
web, the last frontier of the dream.


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Poetry: Mountain Sun

Lewey Lake in Indian Lake

Mountain Sun

Poisons from air and
Hormones from cows
Carbon from oceans
And algae from lakes
Sin from the priesthood
And racism from schools
Glitches from computers
And infections from cells

Still the mountain sun rises

No need to be detoxified
A fragrance rinsing the vapor
Of our moral stains once more

Photo of Lewey Lake in Indian Lake.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Poetry: A Prayer for the Adirondacks

A Prayer for the Adirondacks

Divine partner, grant
That I may respect
These mountains.
Where there is pollution,
Let me plant wildflowers.
Where there is extinction,
Let me spread conservation.
Where there is toxic rain,
Let me share purified water.
Where there are forest fires,
Let me bring regeneration.
Where there is fear, let
Me be a calming voice in the storm.
O divine partner, grant that I may
Raise from the dead all that is wasted.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Poetry: Find Your Tree

Find Your Tree

Find your tree.
Accept its broken embraces,
like the air of late spring,
a sonata and carnival of animals.

Find your tree.
Once through again,
a songbook for the latter days,
like old Deuteronomy or
the ad-dreaming cat.

Find your tree
and everything Zen
made of sky. For the world
has gone wrong; the gamma rays
are all off. The heart breaks and
the brain is losing power.

Find your tree.
Old and in the way,
waifing near the morning after,
such a strange condition is a tree.

Another life on a chain.
Another in between dream.
Another helpless dirt farmer.

Find your tree
and Nirvana, too.
Everyday when the world ends-
mother, father, angel, and the space
between. Find your tree.

Unplugged,
running on faith,
the ghost inside.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Poetry: The Hiker

The Hiker

As the hiker capers through
an unpainted gallery of birch
logs, the crackling of chipmunks
on sticks carries no weight.
Captured by the sculpted breath
of a grey-lyre like wind-his love
of the trail corresponds to inter
rupted questions: the cadence
of candy apple brown pine cones,
and the moon hiding its migration
within the amber colored glass of
monarch eyes. Yes, the hiker walks
towards unborn steps, since before
his seed heart began pumping in
the silent chamber of the placenta.


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Poetry: Carries No Weight

Carries No Weight

Cradled within the
cleavage of a copper
moon ceiling hiding
its color, the hiker
capers through an
unpainted gallery of
birch logs. Over the
crackling of chipmunks
chewing candy apple
brown pine cones.,
the cadence of his
cares carries no weight.