Poems from Providence, a huge compendium of all the poems Rutherford created during his first years in Providence, Rhode Island (1985-1988), was published in 1991. This great blossoming of neo-Romantic work was inspired by a change of locale to New England, by H. P. Lovecraft, and a deep immersion in the classical world, yielding the long "Ganymede" cycle, a prequel to The Iliad. Other memorable works in this paperback are "The Outsider," an elegy for Barbara A. Holland, Treblinka’s "Ivan the Terrible," "The God’s Eye: A Summer Diary" tracing a return to native haunts in Pennsylvania, the cat-memorial poems to Thunderpuss, and the first appearance of the now-famous poem, "At Lovecraft’s Grave." Illustrated with line-drawings by Pieter Vanderbeck.
To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of this volume, the poet has revised a number of the poems, and added six newer poems that are centered in or around Providence, including new Lovecraft poems and the Poe Providence mystery narrative poem, "Lucy."


Listen! October is coming!
It will not be like any other October.
You will be torn from your ease and comfort
by the one who loves you. You will follow
a strange wind northward, not as surrender
to an autumn urge, but as a warrior
for Spring. Glaciers will shudder back
at the green fringe of your beard. Your smile
will make strangers trust you, ask to know
what manner of tree sends youthful emigrants —
even the dry-leaf exiles will stir at your arrival.
You shall not pass the winter in random flight,
nor cling to the steeples and chimneytops.

Not for you the graveyard and its lying testaments,
not for you the vicarious touching of lovers and losers —

All shall know you and say of you:
Here is the one who loves and risks all.

*** ***


I am October.
I wait at cusp,
at equinox,
at crossroads,

the far-off chant
unfettered wind
nowhere contained
by walls,

the fire-fletched arrows
of burning Orionids,

the shape upon
the leaf-strewn hill
that calls you
and extends its hand,

the eyes in shadow
that will not let you sleep.

*** ***


Who needs witchcraft in this hexèd world?
Who needs Sabbats and the weaving of spells,
or an outcast crone to read the runes,
when the goat-horn shadow of the Old Deceiver
hangs over the praying hands of evangelists!
One lays hands on cripples and hypochondriacs.
One reads ailments with the help of a hidden
radio receiver. One lisps that the hated gays
are scourged by God for their unrepented sins.
Another assures us that Jews will never see Heaven.
(Where have we heard these odious lines before?)
Committees of Vigilance invade the schools,
the library flickers with hungry torchlight.
We must not read magazines with nudity,
must not give children books with sex.

Dungeons and Dragons promotes the supernatural;
these horror films just have to go!
I do not like the dry lips of these accusers.
Their Bibles’ leather wrappings snap like whips.
The joy they take in hunting for sin
is a thinly veiled erection, their glory in burning
a wet dream of pyromania.
I do not like their penchant for conspiracies:
the ethical humanists; the homosexuals;
the horned legions of child abductors;
the bearded Elders of Zion with protocols;
the darker races yearning to miscegenate;
every rock guitar an offensive weapon.
They’ll stand at the rail in Paradise
(the tickets sold, the places assured),
to watch the rest of us burn in Hell.
They’re looking forward to the spectacle.
In fact, they can think about little else.
They even believe in a literal Devil.
They ought to know. They’re planning
to run a minor demon for President.

*** ***


Ah! this is the moon’s business,
or the work of a moonless night.
Should we not speak of him
beneath the glimmer of Hyades,
the velvet pall of the void,
the primal ether in which the cosmos
whirls like a raft into maelstrom,
the vast interior spaces
of Time and the Angles
where the gods as he knew them
drool and chant?

But they will not permit us
to assemble by night.
They seal the gates
against our ghoulish
pretend that the coffined dead
cannot be heard
to turn in their neglected
crypts, deny
that lingering essences

drawn from the memories
of the living can take
an evanescent life —

pale shadows of shadows,
reflected gleams
from the dusty pane
of a mausoleum,
glints from polished granite
or marble,
a sliver of sourceless light
in the eye of an owl
or a raven;

pretend we are not
untuned yet powerful
receivers of thought,
transformers of vision,

as if we did not know
how night
vibrates with poetry,
eidolons plucked
from the minds of the dead.

Reporters and camera crews
take us in warily,
eye us for vampire teeth,

chainsaws, machetes,
jewelry and witches’ teats,
wonder what crimes we lust
beneath disguises
to perpetrate
upon their babies,
their wives,
their altars.

We smile,
keeping our secret of secrets,
how we are the gentle ones,
how terror
is our tightrope over life,
how we alone
can comprehend
the smile behind the skull.

Paperback edition. Published July 2011. 260 pages, 6 x 9 inches. ISBN 0-922558-58-2. $16.95. CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.

Hardcover edition. Published December 2021. 260 pages, 6 x 9 inches. ISBN 979-8789993583. $18.95. CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.

Or, CLICK HERE to purchase the PDF ebook for $3.00 from Payhip.



Version 24. Updated February 24, 2024.

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