Peter Neil Carroll

Peter Neil Carroll

Photo by Jeannette Ferrary

Peter Neil Carroll’s newest collections of poetry are An Elegy for Lovers (Main Street Rag, 2017) and The Truth Lies on Earth (Turning Point Press, 2017); Fracking Dakota: Poems for a Wounded Land; and A Child Turns Back to Wave: Poetry of Lost Places which won the Prize Americana. His poetry has appeared in many print journals and online. He is currently Poetry Moderator of and lives in Belmont, California. 


Outside the chilly panes
only sparrows fly, feathers
smudged as city snow. Grandma
liked to leave stale bread
on the fire escape, but me
she gave chocolate cherries,
teasing if I didn’t come to her funeral,
she’d haunt me as a ghost.
She frightened me and I did go.
She returns anyway, taunting
my bookish ways. I know
nothing about sparrows—
if they prefer rye to cornbread,
make their nests in Florida
or hatch at the Bronx zoo.
In spring, the sparrows sputter
at Grandma’s window. I offer
a muffin; they show no hunger.
I whistle; they fly away. Come back,
I call, seeing a language go extinct.

–Peter Neil Carroll

From The Truth Lies on Earth: A Year by Dark, by Bright (2017)

Nothing Important

Days of mist complete the season.
I move the clock ahead one hour
and find myself in a state of grace
that knows no freeze.

All winter, nothing important has died.

Hours before the equinox,
not a leaf whispers. Even unruly
ravens are at peace. The world waits
for the axis to turn.

With spring comes responsibility,
an impulse to affirm, to seed
our little clump, to leave
something of us behind.