Last updated: August 03. 2013 10:13PM - 1352 Views

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Neil Carpathios

Contributing Columnist

Stephen W. Cooper is a talented young local writer. In fact, his book, Silver Turtle, Golden Mule, is seeking an agent and publisher. He has a graduate degree in English and Creative Writing, and his goal is to be a leading novelist. Don’t be too surprised if one day he succeeds.

Cooper also writes some poetry between novel-writing sessions. Here is one that is about the accompanying photo below. The poem deals with Cooper’s father’s general store in New Boston where the CVS Pharmacy is now located. In the poem, the speaker directly addresses his father and his father’s ambitions. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane:

Cooper Brothers Merchants

Square and solid, built of bricks,

dominating the central corner of the entire town;

you must have thought it would last forever.

Cooper Brothers Merchants—Provisions and Notions,

Dry Goods and Shoes! Shoes! Dry Goods and Groceries!

—This is what’s solid, this is what lasts.

The hulkish building looms over the dirt brown street under

the cloud grey sky, beckons passersby into the darkness

of its yawning doorway and its ever-watching windows,

its cavernous shelves of solidity.

This is what’s solid, this is what lasts. I wonder

if, as your empire was photographed, if

the band began to play, if the mayor shook your hand.

There must have been people, somewhere.

You were a baron, solid as a brick. And now you are dead

and your building is gone, your house on the hill sold,

razed for one newer and bigger; now your son writes poetry

about provisions and notions, dry goods

and shoes.

Nothing lasts forever, I suppose. How nicely the poem captures the passing of time, of a place, and the nostalgia of dreams. Stephen W. Cooper is a writer whose name we may be seeing soon on the cover of a book. I wish him the best with his work toward that goal, and thank him for sharing this special poem.

Address poem submissions and correspondence to: ncarpathios@shawnee.edu or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).

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