Saturday, April 18, 2009

Doug Smith has something to say

Douglas Smith has worked at Community General Hospital for 12 years. He's part of the team in food services, easily recognizable by his broad smile. Many know Doug by his trademark thumbs-up and his friendly wave with fingers spread wide.

Some may be surprised to learn that this quiet man has just published his second volume of poetry, called Wake Up The Ghosts [1]

Doug's poems show a thoughtful and sensitive observer who cherishes both his solitude and his friendships. Some poems refer to events of ordinary life -- for example, the warmth of a holiday in “Christmas at the Williams’s.” Others are filled with longing. Some, such as "Bad Brunch," use wry humor:

"If only"
Is a bitter dish to swallow
That leaves an empty hollow
In a hunger that won't end.

"What if"

Is a side dish served cold
With a spoon to add to the
Sour after taste when chewing
On the meal you have cooked
For yourself...

Both Ghosts and Doug's earlier book, The Window at the Top of the Door [2] are available on

Doug writes about the difficulties and importance of communicating. "In a Cold Rain” (from Ghosts), a reflection on the death of his grandfather, he considers the meaning of silence:

I have found that silence is
The most and the least you
Can say to show respect

In one poem from Ghosts, the poet tries desperately and unsuccessfully to communicate:

"Wake up the ghosts!”
I scream silently with
A smile toward the cobwebs
No one else seems to see.
“Wake up the ghosts!”

After getting no response from the ghosts, “I pleaded," says the poet, "in a voice no one can hear.”

For Doug, the poet is an observer. He explains that "…life is lived and enjoyed through/ the Eyes of the Beholder." But the observer does not necessarily say what he sees. Doug writes in Window:

My tongue never follows
The path I see with my eyes,
Leaving me to speak softly
In wishing sake.

If the poet does not always say what he sees, he is sometimes frustrated when others don't listen. “I rage," he writes, "in a voice no one seems to hear” (“The You I Never Met?”).

Doug's voice may be quiet, but his poems speak clearly. We have only to listen.

* * *

[1] (Outskirts Press, Denver CO, 2009, 127 pp.)
[2] (Outskirts Press, Denver CO, 2007, 69 pp.)

No comments: