Reunion Planning Inspires Comeau to Pen ‘A Nostalgia Trip to High School Days’

Haverhill native and poet Raymond F. Comeau has been working on Haverhill High School/Haverhill Trade School Class of 1961 Reunion Committee. As happens to writers, the work inspired him to craft a new poem, “A Nostalgia Trip to High School Days.”

As WHAV has reported, the reunion—delayed by the coronavirus pandemic—takes place Wednesday, Sept. 18, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Bradford Country Club. Those looking for more information are asked to contact Tom Thornton by emailing [email protected] or calling 603-926-0125. Now of Belmont, Comeau is a retired dean and current lecturer at Harvard University Extension School.

Poet Comeau Releases Latest Work, ‘Ivy and the Tyrant’

Editor’s note: Dr. Raymond F. Comeau is a WHAV Wavelengths contributor, offering timely and topical wisdom and food for thought. A Haverhill native, and now of Belmont, Comeau is a retired dean and current lecturer at Harvard University Extension School. He is also a trustee, emeritus, of the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace in Haverhill. Ivy and the Tyrant
We used to have fun
But after elections it started
By creeping along the foundation
And railings on the porch
Then up doors
Siding and windows
Onto the roof
Family and neighbors
We all tried pulling it off
Experts were called chemicals used
Not a single
Green tendril unstuck
Our house is a prison dome of leaves
And inside it’s getting worse
Breathing’s bad
Darkness everywhere even media
Can’t make it in
My wife like an automaton
Just walks around the basement
With my daughters who cling for life
God help us what did we do

© Raymond Comeau May 2024

Poet Comeau Reflects on Gun Violence in New Work, ‘Bodies in our Times’

Haverhill native and poet Raymond F. Comeau, reflecting recently on 656 mass shootings last year, laments the growth in gun violence in his latest poem, “Bodies in our Times.”

Now of Belmont, Comeau is a retired dean and current lecturer at Harvard University Extension School. He is also a trustee, emeritus, of the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace in Haverhill.  
Bodies In Our Times
Every epoch has its bodies
And painters shaping a name
Like Botticelli
Whose bodies helped fashion the Renaissance
And David
Who gave Napoleon’s a noble look
But it’s noticeable
That our bodies have bullet wounds
Especially in crowded spaces
Like schoolrooms and malls
Cinemas and concert spots
Where journalists these days anticipate
AR-15s
And screaming bodies falling in mounds
Do you remember Guernica
Picasso’s painting of rabid war
Not too far from our favorite films
(Like paintings in our times)
Whose tantalizing bullet-sprayed scenes
Are as American as credit card debt
© Raymond Comeau January 2023

Timely Reminder: Poet Comeau Discusses Horrors of ‘Collateral Damage’ During War

As a Russian poet was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison for reading his anti-war poetry, Haverhill native and poet Raymond F. Comeau brings to WHAV his latest poem discussing “Collateral Damage” during the current wars. Comeau, a former president of the Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead, says his latest work is “written in the spirit of the fighting JGW and William Blake, it expresses outrage and disgust with the idea and practice of collateral damage, and shame that we humans can be involved.”
Collateral Damage
Imagine a boy
Running blindly through rubble
His cranium a bloody mess
Or a mother
Alone against a wall
Who suckles her child
As missiles zero in
And imagine they’re multiplied
Like cancer cells out of control
And disposed of in batches
Like dead cows
Casually in sly official words
Good God we slaughter innocents
As easily as we shave
Even with empathy on our sleeves
And lessons of history in our minds
And in our hearts religions galore
That teach us love
Satan himself will glorify this
© Raymond Comeau 2023

Unseasonal Warmth Good Reason to Reflect on Comeau’s ‘A Sign At Sunrise In A Wells Beach Motel’

This past Saturday’s unseasonably warm temperatures brought many to recall their favorite summer memories and destinations. Haverhill native and poet Dr. Raymond F. Comeau crafted a beautiful poem in time for the start of last summer, but time and space delayed its publication. This weekend’s reminder presents an opportunity below to travel back in time. Now of Belmont, Comeau is a retired dean and current lecturer at Harvard University Extension School. He is also a trustee, emeritus, of the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace in Haverhill.

Comeau Goes ‘Looking for Heart’ in Latest Poem

Dr. Raymond F. Comeau, a Haverhill native and poet, is sharing one of his latest works with WHAV audiences in a poem, that in his words, “lets the world know that we humans must do more to help correct the many flaws in our own conduct.”

Now of Belmont, Comeau is a retired dean and current lecturer at Harvard University Extension School. He is also a trustee, emeritus, of the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace in Haverhill. Looking For Heart
On days when my heart seems
As arid as a sponge
I’m tempted to peel my skin away
Down to the ribs
Just to see if it’s there
But I focus despite my shame
On human calamities
(They seem endless once you think)
On children for example
With greedy fingers all over their sex
Or toiling until their hands bleed
Or begging or being sold
Or stolen or maimed
And this helps with getting it back
There’s a church not far from my house
If I open its holy door
And climb the belfry steps
Will I be able looking down
To burst like withering bells
We must love more
We must love more
© Raymond Comeau June 2023

Comeau Reflects on Shared Spring Interests Among Humans, Outdoor Friends in ‘Approaching Rabbit’

Dr. Raymond F. Comeau, a Haverhill native and poet, notes “Springtime is for birds and flowers, but it is also for humans and rabbits.”

In his “Approaching Rabbit,” Comeau describes a meeting between a human and a rabbit, “to see if there is room for getting along.”
Approaching Rabbit
I saw yesterday through my window
One jump up and another
Run underneath like a clown
Then they frolicked
Around the holly bush
So today before I went in
I took two tiny steps
Toward a rabbit’s black eye
And speckled body
Then stopped
It didn’t move so I took another
Two steps slowly
No movement just a staring
Black eye I waited
Then two more but this time
It scampered about six feet
Away and on to eating
Like me so I went in
© Raymond Comeau August 2021

Poet Comeau Writes, ‘Springtime Isn’t Roses For Ukrainians’

Spring arrived yesterday afternoon at 5:24 and, while it brings happiness to many, Dr. Raymond F. Comeau, a Haverhill native and poet, wonders aloud how Ukrainians cope after more than a year of war. Comeau, who says the suffering in Ukraine still deserves special mention, offers his latest poem, “Springtime Isn’t Roses For Ukrainians.”  He notes, “All of this does not destroy an appreciation of the scent of spring. Humankind has always been able to find a place for this during periods of stress.”

Now of Belmont, Comeau is a retired dean and current lecturer at Harvard University Extension School. He is also a trustee, emeritus, of the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace in Haverhill. Springtime Isn’t Roses For Ukrainians
What does it feel like
Being Ukrainian
After Putin’s eternal winter
Of unnameable wrongs
I tried an experiment in my room
By lifting my shade and looking out
Then imagining a suitable scene
Like row upon row
Of tiniest feet and hands
Arms and legs
And other parts equally loved
All planted there in a garden
Replacing my lawn
Normally I’m counting daffodils
And crocuses coming up
But if I’m Ukrainian
It’s slaughtered innocents
How will they ever grow
© Raymond Comeau March 2023