Robert Klein Engler


A silly question: Have you been to singing school?
Not class where scales are plucked on strings,
but where we tune the heart and only admit fools.
The lesson starts when summer ends, so bring
a wrap, mountain nights alone out here are cold.
The fire of drink sometimes is needed, too,
but if you wait, time unrolls a blind review--
to let it go becomes the grace of growing old.
Some lives just don't pan out. My father worked,
but never got ahead. My roses struggle in a pot.
Just when he took his aim, the scenery jerked.
His wobbly dart fell short just like a sot.
I'm slow to say what's seen when we mature...
it's made from beyond light and dull nature.


We were poor and fatherless,
so nothing went to waste,
blessed or un-blessed.
When in hunger's haste I

spilt the supper milk, mother
would spoon it up from
the oilcloth into my tumbler,
along with dust and crumbs

and say, "Now drink, that or
none," and so I shut my eyes
and drank, there was no more.
Little money, little buys.

Mother never read the poem
by Walter Ralegh where nature
washed her hands in bowls
of milk, but I can say for sure

she'd have a spoon in hand.
A poet's love may live on air,
but children fare on milk--
nature's hands be damned.

Copyright  ©  2014 Robert Klein Engler

Robert Klein Engler lives in Des Plaines, Illinois and sometimes New Orleans. Many of Robertís poems, stories, paintings and photographs are set in the Crescent City. His long poem, The Accomplishment of Metaphor and the Necessity of Suffering, set partially in New Orleans, is published by Headwaters Press, Medusa, New York, 2004. He has received an Illinois Arts Council award for his "Three Poems for Kabbalah." If you google his name, then you may find his work on the Internet. Link with him at to see examples of his recent paintings and photographs. Some of his books are available at and Visit him on the web at