The Unattended Harp











ISBN 978-0-9859468-6-9

by Peter Waldor

Poet David Ferry: “I love the poems in The Unattended Harp. The things (the people, the animals, the objects) seen, sometimes only for the moment, have finally found their form in this book. That's what happens in these poems: Everything seen in the enchantment of its actuality."

Peter Waldor is the author of four collections of poetry, including Who Touches Everything (Settlement House, 2013) which received the National Jewish Book Award in Poetry, Door to a Noisy Room (Alice James Books), and The Wilderness Poetry of Wu Xing (Pinyon Publishing). His book-length poemLeg Paint appeared in the on-line magazine Mudlark. The Poet Laureate of San Miguel County, Colorado, his work has appeared in many journals, including the American Poetry Review,Ploughshares, the Iowa Review, the Colorado ReviewPoetry Daily, Verse Daily and Mothering Magazine. Waldor works in the insurance business and lives in northern New Jersey and Telluride Colorado.

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Excerpts from  The Unattended Harp

Excerpts from The Unattended Harp

Yellow Jacket

An ironworker looked away
the moment a yellow jacket landed
on a bolt hole, inching backwards
into the shade as the bolt
was placed and turned,
first by hand, then by wrench,
a quiet whistle of matching threads,
the yellow jacket tucked away
at the end of the chamber.
A bolt for a redundant brace
on a bridge above a dry gulley


Little Things

like a cripple married
to the goddess of love,
who thinks of that?
Or, a jacket under a jacket,
or a clerk taking five minutes
to fix the register after
a patrolman’s discount.
And misunderstandings;
and things not said.
Certainly the goddess
could never marry
the god of love.
And what shall I say
to my old friend,
who says he hears
the clock ticking…
funny how the metal
bends and snaps
straight and bends
on the saw tooth cog
of the second hand
wheel. Who isn’t
afraid to breathe?


Lost Medal

Just a Purple Heart
on my father’s
night table,
next to an IOU
from his long
departed brother.
The medal
was meant for a man
who lost his,
but my father
must have thought
better of it.
The ribbon fresh
and the bronze
bust, in profile,
has every sharp
line it had the day
it dropped
from the press
at the medal factory


In the Lobby

of the King David with the Italian
special security detail.
Accidently, passing through
the coterie I brushed against
an old man in their group
and he dropped some papers
which I picked up and returned
to him. He said “grazi” sweetly,
the guards turned and glared,
their earphone cables
stretching. The next day,
in the news, I saw the Italians
went to Bethlehem to upgrade
their diplomatic mission.
The old man I brushed against
was the president of Italy.
It must have been his speech
about peace that I dislodged.