William Trowbridge

June 21, 2018 Trowbridge William



My grandfather bought a set for his living room,
fifty-one imitation-leather-bound volumes billed

by Collier & Son as a liberal education distilled
to “a five-foot shelf.” He was a university dean —

OK, of agriculture — but they looked like something
from bookshelves in films about the highborn,

had that air of seasoned privilege, of green swards,
laced with groundskeepers, footmen, upstairs maids.

When Grandpa died, my father, who didn’t read
books, moved them to our living room, said they

showed class, taste, education. The room tried on
their eminence, became a trifle less unHarvard.

One afternoon, intrigued, I pulled out Volume 4,
Complete Poems in English, Milton, whose sermonics

in thundering blank-verse dismissed me back
to my shelf Classic Comics. Ten years later,

the books languished in a yard-sale, marked down
with their kind in yards across the country.

William Trowbridge’s ninth poetry collection, Call Me Fool, was published by Red Hen Press in the fall of 2022.  He is a mentor in the University of Nebraska Omaha Low-residency MFA in Writing Program and was Poet Laureate of Missouri from 2012 to 2016. For more information, see his web site williamtrowbridge.net.