Jim Beschta

James Beschta



           Wisconsin bred, born and raised, Beschta moved to Massachusetts in 1970 to earn a Masters degree in English from Assumption College after graduate study in several University of Wisconsin branch institutions. A long time board member of the Worcester County Poetry Association, he was an award-winning teacher of writing and English at Quabbin Regional High School, won Promethean Lamp and Worcester County Poetry Awards while publishing in numerous literary magazines and published copious reviews and criticism. His published books include Cutting the Cemetery Lawn (Haley’s, 2002), North From Yaoundé (Adastra Press, 2010) and Bone Cages (Haley’s, 1996), a collaboration of five New England poets.

            He currently teaches writing and poetry at the Worcester Art Museum and has lived in Barre, Massachusetts, with his wife, Mary, since 1973.


 For the Nameless Girl in Mostar, Bosnia

Stari Most,
the old lime stone bridge
that traverses the Neretva River
linking the Quran to the Bible,
minarets to steeples,
has been rebuilt
following the war,
the western watchtower now
housing a memorial
to its destruction, the dead
and those left.

There is a girl
who studies from schoolbooks
while selling infrequent admission tickets
under black and white photos:
candid families bundled around small fires
in brick-rubbled streets,
portraits of smiling young boys
posing with homemade
model wooden guns.

This is for that girl
whose father defended
that fragile span,
lumber planks for cover
against artillery shells.
She will honor him
by telling her unborn
stories of bombings
he is too young to remember,
her father too old to forget.

This is for that girl
who struggles
to convince me in splintered English
that the bridge is repaired,
that she has Christian friends
at University
while her tone
and all that surrounds me
makes me afraid
to ask how many.

This is for the tears
she’s already preparing
for leaving her shriveled parents,
for fleeing this place
where nothing is over or ended.
How can it be otherwise
when each day she walks
past chiseled stones charging
“Do Not Forget”?


Mt. Monadnock  Photo

Mt. Monadnock / painting by Helen Miganowicz

Luke Waking: First Birthday

There is bear in his blood
this April morning
when he wakes
after his first winter
and its sleep.

He lumbers to
the crib side,
rising up
to sniff the dawn.
He paws the honeyed light
longing to feed
the new hunger
that gnaws at him.

I lift him,
hold him now
while he is young.
He cuffs me playfully.
I know this rascal
is filled with magic
and with columbine.


It is not the two
small ones I chased with the lawnmower
and shredded
into pieces
and blew out
the chute.

Not even the three
found at various times
on the patio,
one dragged out
of the stone wall
with a rake,
all cut through
with the hoe
and dumped over
the fence
and never seen again.

It was the larger
of the two
I found coiled
on the compost heap,
I think,
the one that I hit
with the shovel,
the one that writhed
as I swung and swung
while the other
shot off into
a chaos of
grasses. …
I could never find
the carcass
or a skeleton.

Now, all around the garden
I am followed
by whispers.
They all know my name.

Monadnock Fog Photo

Monadnock Morning Fog / Photo by Frederick Pitcher www.monadnocktrails.com