The Poetry of Samuel Irving Bellman

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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The Poetry of Samuel Irving Bellman
It was a surprise when Joel Bellman and his brother, Jonathan, discovered that his father not only wrote but published poems in his lifetime that they knew nothing about. It is our privilege here to publish two of their father’s poems. —Editor When my dad died in 2009, it fell to my brother, Jonathan, and me to sort through the archives and academic detritus he had amassed over a long tenure as a university English professor. As both a doting father and a dedicated teacher, he always championed a life of the mind, but was living disproof of the old cliché that “those who can’t do, teach.” He taught writing, but he also wrote, prolifically: reviews, essays, short stories, and poems for a wide variety of journals, frequently returning to themes of childhood, learning, his literary heroes, and mortality. Here’s a sample of his poetry (published between 1967-2005). —Joel Bellman 1. Professor to Student Teach me to cheat myself of time and I will steal a slate from who knows where and show each ache of truth that I’ve sustained. Grade me when I have raged about what others cannot help, that I might earn the boon of being near a growing mind that thoroughly itself trained 2. An Exceptional Child Waves lapping the shore Like dumb dogs their drink. Only the little sand crabs Know where they are going. There are too many bathers at this beach She looks blankly. Her face if milk white, It is like a piece of puffy cloud: She may laugh suddenly at any moment. The other children have a wide range of pleasures In or out of the water. Son her mother will have to take her home Where she will start to cry Because it is not full of happy umbrellas And wet people in all sizes. I will tell no one what we two have in common.
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