When I see a melon on the table glinting

in the morning light, why does my heart leap up,

go out to it as it does?  Why do I want

to sketch this melon, put it down in words,

or set it down in short melodic phrases?


It can never come closer to me than it is now,

at this moment when I see it before me

on the table like some small world I dreamt

as a child in my sandbox of dreams,

and seeing it as this world, I am taken by it,


possessed by it as surely as the spring

takes the elm, thawing it until the winter

is nothing in its life, until the skin

of leaves it’s lost is nothing.  I become

the melon’s then, exist only to admire


its beauty, its lime white skin and cold sweetness,

its Bethlehem and Golgotha, exist only to admire

its otherness, and see my self a part from it,

never closer to it than I am now, never freer

than now of my own place of skulls.







Photo by Sh4rp_i


About Author

John Guzlowski’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Rattle, Ontario Review, North American Review, Salon.Com, Atlanta Review, and many other print and online journals here and abroad.  His poems and personal essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his prose and poetry memoir, Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). Road of Bones, his novel about two German lovers separated by war, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press.  Of Guzlowski’s writing, Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz said, “He has an astonishing ability for grasping reality.”

1 Comment

  1. Charles A. Swanson on

    John Guzlowski’s poems have a wonderful musical quality, not just in the melodic cadence of phrasing, but also in the play of ideas. He can, and often does, introduce a stunningly beautiful series of notes–an image–but quickly shows that ethereal melody in a dissonance with the realities of war and human suffering. The song resolves to a full chord, but not a chord that ends the song, but one that has the uncanny quality of resonance. The song goes on in the reader’s head long after the poem is put down.

    I say all this, knowing that my text is dense, while his is open. His poetry frees the mind, the spirit.

%d bloggers like this: