Wednesday, December 19, 2007


small sparrow
rest with me
a while

do not hurry
to the bleeding vine

sing your broken heart
that beats with such
heavy rhyme

the Father knows
the best time
for you to fall

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Little Foolishness

(The following appeared on a website promoting a novel I wrote a few years ago. At the time, I was determined not to put up the same old bio.)

Hammett was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father was an aristocratic anarchist; his mother was a pearl diver for the Ceylon Import and Export Company. He contracted yellow fever when he was four, and after a long period of recuperation, he was arrested many times for shoplifting garden supplies from Woolworth’s. Accordingly, he was placed in Miss Clara Pottinger’s School for Suspect Children. His teen years were uneventful, discounting numerous accusations by debutantes and their fathers. Nothing was ever proven in a court of law, this being long before reliable DNA testing.

When only nineteen, Hammett was kidnapped and brought to Ireland, where he was forced to hand out political leaflets advocating celibacy for local politicians whose progeny was consistently disappointing the local electorate. He escaped to Dublin, where he eventually married Molly Dwyer O'Grady, who later starred in Irish Spring soap commercials in America.

The marriage was ill-fated, and Hammett worked his way back to the States on a merchant marine vessel after his divorce from O’Grady, who had insisted that her husband join The Sons of Irish Liberty Pleasure Club. Back in Louisiana, he purchased his law degree from Tulane University. Failing the bar exam three times running, he played the banjo at night in local jazz clubs in the French Quarter. By day, he was a writer, publishing the now-famous juvenile series The Muffin Twins, mysteries starring Judy and Julie Muffin, Siamese twins who could really put their heads together to solve high crimes and misdemeanors.

Hammett married the beautiful and exotic Baroness Maria del Mariposa and moved to a posh Garden District mansion haunted by the Rotomandino family—seven brothers who died in a tragic trapeze accident. He began writing adult fiction, and has received such honors as The Best New Writer to Emerge in Years Award and The Azalea Society’s Annual Award for Lengthy Prose. His wife died in 1996 in an accident involving a barbecue pit and the family’s beloved terrier, Noodles. He now writes as food critic for Wine and Trout Weekly, Amazing Hushpuppies, and Crabs. He is also author of several volumes of poetry, which have been labeled by one critic as “undeniable verse.”

Copyright, 2001, William Hammett

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Turning of the Stars

This was published in the same edition of POEM as "White Water Bend" (see previous post). It's also another poem in which I have stars on the brain ... but then I almost majored in astronomy! The pic (public domain) is of the Pleiades, a star cluster in Taurus and representing the seven daughters of Atlas.

The Turning of the Stars

Out in the field after midnight.
No street lights to renovate the sky
with cheap white paint.
Things are fine the way they are.
The Milky Way pinwheels with the hours,
and I am content to breathe cold air,
anchored in dry blades of winter
while Orion chases the bear.

It is good to be alone in the night.
The faraway diamonds, though precise as lasers,
cannot throw your shadow to the ground
so that any question remains as to who you really are.
The only black shape in human form is you.
You are the life of the field,
the whisper of winter
forming whatever constellation of syllables you wish.
The other selves known to the man or woman
in the cabin by the tall pines
do not exist.
Things are fine the way they are:
the sharp air carving your midnight life.

I come here often.
Life is, after all, standing in the darkness
and whispering who we are.
It is the confidence to gaze in winter
at the turning of the stars.

Friday, December 7, 2007

White Water Bend

Down by the creek, under trees,
where foam washes a green sound
over gray stones
in the undiscovered country,
I cannot stop thinking
of wheel ruts up the road—
always the same road—
of concrete cracked with dark veins
threaded through the years
in front of the feed store—
always the same store—
where I swing sweet oats
over a sour shoulder
that turns toward sunset
and a wagonload that rocks my bones
farther down the ruts to death.

But the rushing water—this water—
never sings the same note twice.
The finch catching fire
in the poplar above the canopy
tells me that all rivers marry the sea.
I have been single and sour too long.
No life should know the imprint of a road
well enough to travel by Braille.

I taste the white water.
Vines threaded through woods
are alive and supple,
veins connected to some underground heart
that is now my own heart—
not the same heart.

With the sweet smell of a bride in the air,
there is no turning back.
I will marry the sea.
I am a green sound
washing over gray stones.

Copyright, William Hammett, 1999. First Published in POEM, a journal of the Hunstville Literary Association.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

All Afternoon I Have Been Looking

(Thanks to my subscribers for checking in. I've had the flu and am on Rx codeine holiday.)

All afternoon I have been looking
for a poem that could hold
the coming stars of evening.

at twilight,
I sense the presence of dreams,
constellations of love
just beginning to rise.

Around the corner
in the next room,
I realize
that you are sleeping,

and already
I wish to kiss
the possibility of moons
on your horizon.