click for John T. Cullen COM main page

back home to main index page    POETRY CONTENTS    SAMPLES    HIGHWAYS    CYMBALIST    OCTOBER    CALLING    INFO    YALLO?

John T. Cullen: A Young New England Poet Teen & Y.A.

return to Poetry starter page return to Poetry starter page click for Poetry Contents starter page - different sequence from samples starting at right

Teen and Young Adult published poet by age 18 - nearly 500 poems created in all

after reading poem at right, click for the next in a series of sample pages Start: Quick Sampler. Click through the autumn leaf motif at right to read through over a half dozen poems chosen randomly from hundreds I wrote all over North America and Europe over two decades, long ago. Each poem to me is like a leaf that captures sunshine and the code of life before falling down to vanish into the earth.

click to begin the Highways portion of this Poetry section Poet of the Highways. In my teens, from high school through college up to age 21, I had no car so I had to hitch-hike constantly. It was an adventure, to say the least. It's a bit like space travel sometimes, or being in a movie. At age 23, I parked my car in New Haven, CT and hitched across the USA about 5000 miles one summer. Here are a few pages of info capturing the spirit of hitching between my home in West Haven and the UConn campus at Storrs (about a 90 minute drive; several hours hitching. Click *READ* for more info.

click to begin the October Leaf anthology of this Poetry section October Leaf anthology. A smaller collection of my poetry. Has read-link to my website Galley City. More info at page (click *READ* button).

click to begin the Highways portion of this Poetry section Calling Earth: Poet of the Highways. My huge, final poetry anthology is titled *Calling Earth: Can Anyone Hear Me?* celebrating my late teen and early 20s adventures as Poet of the Highways.

click to begin the Highways portion of this Poetry section Lili Marlene, a Soldier's Song. "Under the lantern, by the Kaserne…" so goes the famous song beloved by soldiers of both sides in World War Two about a young German soldier and a girl who waits for him under the lantern before the barracks entrance (originally a poem by German soldier Hans Leip in 1915). Becoming Lili Marlene (with variants on that name) the poem was put to music in the 1930s, and sung by a series of famous female stars, starting in 1938 with Lale Andersen.

I mention all this to recapture in memory the nightly romantic air as I would return to my office at Panzerkaserne (lit. 'Tank Barracks') with the U.S. Army in Kaiserslautern during the late 1970s when I was in my twenties. Any G.I. far from home, homesick, and lonely, would identify with the theme of Hans Leip's poem, which in fact by 1915 already echoed sentiments of soldiers stationed far from home as long ago as the Roman legionnaires stationed in remote outposts like Koblenz (Confluentia) and Trier (Augusta Treverorum), all within a few hours' drive from my barracks and workplace. Key to the whole thing is that it's vaguely congruent with the Gilded Age 1890s era faux-Oxford architecture of Yale University, under whose lanterns and stained glass windows I spent my adolescence.

Looking back on those years of exile (as I saw it, not knowing they were some of the best years of my life), I see now that I blended the romantic and almost ghostly poetry of those tropes in some strong poetry and fiction, including my novel that ultimately is titled On Saint Ronan Street. It's a wistful, melancholy ode to love, which the Literature student in me painted with various brushes including most of all John Updike's themes of university, infidelity, romance, and passion. Later in life, I paired that novel with a special collection of poetry (*Cymbalist Poems*). Click the *READ* button above to learn why and read more on a dedicated page.

click to read samples Try A Few Quick Samples. Starting here: I composed the poem below during the height of my lyrical arc around age 20 c.1970. October Leaf below is the featured lead poem in my On Saint Ronan Street novel (age 27 c.1977 Panzerkaserne, K-Town, US Army FRG). For background, picture ancient Egyptian desert under a luminous moon in dark starry sky, switching at end to a windy fast take of New York City modern skyscrapers and opera singing… Lots more on tap. Click the autumn leaf to read onward.


     We worship the Sun.

Even in our architectural criminalities
     is justice, as in the dagger's shining eye.

All light is the light of atoms and stars.

The moon and the knife
share splendor's distance.

The knife is on the Earth's dark side
—stabs but she does not whimper—
and the knife is
     miles, miles from the Sun,
     miles from the Moon.

The Moon is an eerie dream of the Earth head.

The knife is carried by a lunatic messenger
     who built the pyramids—
     drowsing tortoise herd in the desert.

     In the Sun.

But the Sun also shines
on the archaic sky line of New York.

     The winds there
(the windows are opera glasses)
     sing songs of empire.


intellectual property warning