Sy Gresser has had more than 700 poems published over the past sixty years. Those included here are but a small sampling of Gresser's acclaimed work.

Autumn Vesper
Requiem (For Theodore Gresser)
Numinous Moment
Endless Night
The Voice That Is Not There
Of Stones and Exile
Early Passage


The wind is metal magnet to leaves
and whispers muffle listening sounds
tugging away terrors and trembling
fragments of torn memories
too jagged to escape the skull.

Others trickle like the narrowing stream
until it melts with landscape
where miraculous identification first became.

Anonymity reveals
the sacredness of names
and faces fumble to remain
within their place along the plowed
perimeters of recall.

Streets retain their time-framed petrifactions
and caves proclaim eternal image
while miraculous eyes
scan ancestral handprints
and winged enchantments of harbingers
to a misappropriated world.

This night I light a candle for the moon
and with a harmony of wind
tumble from listening abstractions
to the wonders of scars
among permissions that shaped our sight.

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Give me what your eyes have seen
not for display on carefully crafted thrones
that govern time but what your clasping arms
release invisibly as sea flows from its rivers.

Sanctions reign in the silence of your gaze.

Symbols slide as hours from the clock
and birth themselves from fragments of your fall

And when you stand a rooted rock
among the planted heavens,
give me who shaped you stellar
for moments when there are no stars.

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This spring the fat fluttering birds
basking in shadow of a once pure
ballet of blossoms
have not been told
a scent of famine hovers in the land
and love like a note from history
stains the written page
with indelible ink from shards of a statue,
leaning in the air with broken wings.

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Autumn Vesper

These leaf shaped days cradle our eyes
and covet color as the heart its brim
to spill no drop of spectrum from the hour
that is our calling echo over time;
those clockless hands
folding over image
hold autumnal promise
that we enfold the miracle of love.

Heartbeat into sleep, let these few symbols
flare the night with fire and dreams
predict a construct to relive
the face that finds in you
a canticle of seasons, melting
in the silence of its glow

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Stone images lend a sip of milk
to drought, memorialize
the clots that quiet wounds
blind with clover
invisible seepage
aching for the child who once
wrestled shadow and kissed
with all becoming the slender wrists
and mirrored arms of belonging.

Intimacies that lend the spirit
its reality, or sensibilities
to stone whose surface is alive,
mix to keep the madness
of reality’s presence pure
and crystal as the eye that senses
in your frozen gaze
the silk of sexual assault
from the hand caressing that would kill.

Little pond, you knew before the sun
skimmed your mouth and drank into mud
the substance of your silence
the profundity of censored speech.

A word in its beginning and the book
melted in your blood, the smell
of a wild root, the nameless berry
and nut bound in iron
cracked between your teeth, tasted
in the ferment of your violated eyes.

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Requiem (For Theodore Gresser)

The water knows he is there,
tap-lap tide at the beach house shadow
insists in a voiceless language
and absence of name.

The house cannot be filled.
paintings, statues, golden framed faces
do not still the trembling tiles
or weary TV room.

toys listen at the open window.

Time and the unforgotten enter from the sand,
climb among tick tock gatherings.
Flotsam and polished shells
emerge from the stillness of water
imagined in a vast curvature of cloud
among live discards where memory
shells its sweet nourishments

As roasted almond and pecans
mix their tragic aromas
with ashes of iron wood and red oak

And I imagine to my brother
gift of vanished sons,
a chrysalis whose listening walks
invisibly among the moon-bathed songs
and choirs of stars
humming bitter weed at the mouthing shore

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Numinous Moment

You can hear voices
echoing from despair.
Your name on claw thin walls
of a small apartment, or later in a garden
ending in a deep pond of lilies,
skims the green fingered frogs with shadows.

Night that has no foam
washes into waves
its scent and sand
blessing your hands.

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Endless Night

To all those dead whose voice invades our mind
and those forlorn arms reaching
just beyond the quilt, these images
persist as if they once
had tethers into time
translating images and ideas
to thin gray shadows
scanning for genetic ciphers.

Come closer, thin rimmed vagaries of form,
to lend belief to our reaching is not vain.

No expectation that prospective angels
also share their wisdom
beyond those doors behind the clouds
that lead to other doors, or else
the flames that turn us blindly
when our eyes are closed
enter the proscenium of now
to render love less human.

To all those risen wraiths
driven from despair
that we may smile, laugh, from mythological
teeth that suddenly inflict
a conscious pain, silhouettes of giant rocks
witness the melting of water
the speech of seabirth surf
waiting for eternity’s return.

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The Voice That Is Not There

As rain that gave you birth
you will betray and bear
the weight of holly wrapped to bleed your brow.

In wreath you will arise
discovering a newborn being
reflected in the crimp of water
curtained over a dish
where you wash your face.

I am your witness
who will curse and bless
to break among footsteps
over rocks and woodland traps,
snap at holy cloths
that flee your skin, perpetrate
your masked wounds that faith
once overcame.

You who could not
love the imprint
of your having been
as I, gorged with image,
stuff memory in hollows
to bind the spindled darkness into sight.

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Migration and nostalgias
follow the footfall over Lapland
and islands broken with bergs
bathing in seaflow that will wash us
with sandcrabs on quiet beaches

later burrowing to watch
with shipsails and snails
the same scrim of exchange
that resident in eye and tooth
lends time its taste
to all our clocks
poised at embarkations
waiting for those deep contortions
dragging us from sleep.

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These recapitulations of a hearth
are mimic to the leaf-fall, stilled
with mudpacked ground
and risen to spring as faces
in a mirror suddenly seen
through scrim of unfamiliar cloth.

The bloom is absent but fragrance
hovers at windowsills. The new
titans of innocent thighs
lift their faces to the moon,
listen to echoes
as if these cries were never known
to shatter ice gloss of a season
or spray to rhythms in the wind.

Of too many faces, pausing
at heirlooms of reflection,
this face returns.

All that was not ashen near the heart
trembles and burns.

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Of Stones and Exile

You will see with swallows
the tree-torn land, those small
tensile limbs, high among hills
melting down the flat face of mountains

you will, with rocks, tumble
from a place where gaze
is rooted in the vista of tribe
and listening blue tendrils of veins
that feed the stones

you will, clinging to imprints
held in your hands
turn toward abstraction

where fragments of affection
tether scent to memory,
tug with gentle leaning
to lift you from a place your footsteps
cannot find again.

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Early Passage

Only time evades the shadows
flailing stains
painting a new and painless world.

We reach for ghosts even now
when the heart is worn with wanting
and hands, stripped of their grasp
let lie in open palms
the withered gift of a flower
once sacred to all breathing,
that moment
that scraped knee one day
walled so many decades
with small uncertain footsteps.

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