The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Myron Ernst

White Peony


When I put my nose into it

And breathe deeply,

Time’s grit falls away

And what was done, is undone;

I have not harmed.

What I have trampled

Grows again

And will flourish.

All good lies before me

In a rediscovered country

Where a young woman

With a golden Pekinese

In her arms, smiles and waves

From a high porch.

She wishes me well

As I pass by.

I smell so good.



Myron Ernst

Near Joliet


Somewhere between Macomb and Joliet, Illinois,

at a shaded place on a rural road, a hot day

in June long ago, when my wife and I were young,

we stopped to rest on the long drive to Chicago.

Not a half mile away, a small, white clapboard

town, its quiet street lined with tall oaks

and elms, was shining in the heat of that prairie

afternoon. “Wait for me here in the shade,” I said..

“I’ll be back soon with cold drinks.” I inquired within,

And a family took me in, gave me room and board.

I was hired to catalogue books in the public library,

and became an honored member of the Rotary,

for my good works and gentle ways.

Years later, on a hot day in June, I remembered

to stop at the soda fountain for the cold drinks

and bring them back. “I’m glad you waited for me,

it’s all right”, I said, “we can go on to Chicago now.”



Myron Ernst

Place Setting


A day seeps in,

a day peters out;

so it is for all days,

coming up, going down,

and all it takes to make it so 

is that the dessert fork

be set above the plate,

and that the dinner fork

be placed left of the plate

on its napkin, folded just so,

neatly, corner to corner.

Do it this way,

and the day will be done.

And do remember also

to set the spoon,

to the right of the plate

and to the right of the knife,

its close companion.

Do it this way, every day,

so that the sun may rise

steadily up, and slip

placidly down.


Myron Ernst


Everything Is Where We Put It Long Ago


It’s too late for grand plans and rearrangements.

We no longer consider where household objects belong.

Those decisions were made so many years ago,

and now, after all this time, we don’t make changes.

We are content to survey it all, and are thankful

that so many things remain where we put them 

when we were young. The places for the chairs, tables,

couches, and chests of drawers must be respected

because they were chosen with the unclouded vision,

and the wise impulses of our young years. No,

we will not move the recliner chair from

the picture window to the stair, or the Delft

Dutch vase, a wedding gift from a cousin, now dead,

from the low, round coffee table over here

to the top of the buffet over there, because of

all the unrecalled reasons of the past,

and in tribute to the years of our youth.




MYRON ERNST  is a retired co-owner director of a Montessori school. He taught French at the college level for several years. His poems have appeared in Poetry East, Hopkins Review, Chicago Review, Quarterly West, Ninth Letter, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Salmagundi Magazine among others.



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