3 poems by David A. Stuntz

Beethoven String Quartet in C Minor Op. 18, No. 4

With care I placed the sapphire stylus
of the Garrard turntable
onto the Columba LP record
which came in a simple blue jacket.

The first bars told me
my home-made bass reflex cabinet
and my vacuum tube amplifier
were up to the challenge.

The quartet, was it the Julliard?
I’m only sure about the blue cover.
Very simple, no stern Beethoven portrait.
No boxed set. All that came much later.

The record, the cabinet, the amplifier
have not survived.
But the first two bars, and the blue cover
always are still there.

(first published in WestWard Quarterly)


Surface Tension

Withered pine tree needles
litter our familiar path.
But on this cold bright morning
a few remain on a branch,
tiny droplets balanced at their tips.
A collection of morning dew.

The perfect spheres display
with pride the laws of physics.
Each molecule holding
its neighbor’s hand.
All together singing
the sun’s praises
in rainbow color.


Partridge Hill, Center Sandwich, NH

First the forest, then the bulldozer.
New Hampshire granite tumbled down
the hillside, coming at rest at random.
Soon a fine floral border
surrounded a new hilltop house.
A thick layer of grass,
then a productive vegetable patch,
sloping down to the boulders.
Sandwich range in the distance.

It’s this boulder field I want to tell you about.
Untended, soon a yearly display.
Yarrow. Hawkweed. Black-eyed Susan.
Clover. Vetches.
Purple Asters in the fall.
That’s what I want you to remember.


David A Stuntz celebrated his 100 birthday in August, 2020. Along with his poetry, he has been a researcher, story-teller, dog-trainer, maple-syruper, genealogist, traveler, and as a member of the Over the Hill Hikers, he climbed all of the 4000 foot peaks in New Hampshire. Twice. He was also a WWII Navy veteran and rose to second in command of a Destroyer Escort. David is a graduate of Harvard University, class of 1942.

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