Remembering Hemingway







Sunday Morninghemingway
July 2, 1961

The road home was flat.
Miss Mary drove.

The old hunter, watching
The distant hills,
Small breasts against the plains,
Thought of Kenya, the rugged
Mountains, where death was
Close as brush,
Gentler than the
Slow defacing of flesh.

He wrote of sin as no small town
Methodist ever had,
Carving his prose with a new
King of tool;
Honed in the woods of Michigan,enhanced-buzz-23302-1311259181-2
Sharpened by a fascist war,
And tempered for an old man of Cuba.

Fragile as the light birds he
Picked from the sky
Decades and miles away,
He no longer heard the call.

Pencils now were hollow in his hands,
The juice that flowed so ready
Had yellowed in his veins.
He was what Gertrude had proclaimed.

Sunday he woke to our tragedy,
Sought in the library of his exile
His own Kilimanjaro.

Feeling in sick hands the shape he loved
His mind slide back to Africa.
The gun grew hot.
Seeing the maimed lion chargeenhanced-buzz-23293-1311260491-9
He threw the bolt,
Shaking the Idaho home,
Waking Miss Mary
To know.
                                                 John Coyne
                                                (Ethiopia 1962-64)


Leave a comment
  • I believe I recall when you wrote this. It’s as good 50some years later. Currently enjoying Hemingway’s Boat (the book).

  • A bit of a coincidence that as President Obama and Gov. Cuomo are trying to restrict guns we are reminded that people use guns not only to kill others but themselves. Another reason for more laws to enhance gun safety!

    But beyond the coincidence, a very moving poem and a memory of such a great writer. The photograph showing Hemingway sitting as he writes is partly out of character. Because he had a back problem he often wrote or typed his prose at a stand up desk.


  • Thanks, John. I’ll add your poem to my office wall, where I have many photographs of Ernie. I’ll put it between Ernie and Emiliano Zapata and Zapata’s quote: “It is better to die on my feet than to continue living on my knees.” Your poem now hangs in northern Michigan, in Hemingway country.

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