Peter Piaskoski


Peter Piaskoski taught English at Shorewood High School 1968–2002. Semi-retired, he supervises student teachers for Stritch University and is membership chair for WFOP. He still lives in Shorewood with his wife Kathy where they raised 3 daughters and where they now both enjoy their 5 grandchildren.


Poem for William Stafford

This is for you, Will Stafford.
Before sleep last night
I read your poetry to my wife,
So it's logical I'd think of you
As rain came cool
On a northwest breeze
Stirring excitement.

Anticipating wifely instruction,
I closed windows
Against the midnight rain
To keep the house rooms dry.

Still she questioned, sleepily
My certainty the water
Would keep out, vaguely aware
Of the opening I'd left
For rainsound and rainsmell
To ride the tide of my sleep.

And I marveled how rain comes
Like poetry, hesitant, scattered,
Unsure even of its own coming,
Feeding its own fresh scent
To the rising wind
Like words becoming a poem.

At length, windows open again,
I lay easy, listening
To the dripping dénouement
Of summer rain,
Your poetry lingering
Like rain gutter music.

Ignorant Armies
(Pondering March snow and war)

Weary of watching worlds of war
Winnow its soldiery
Like chaff for oil or ego, 
We've got to wonder why
We sell souls so cheap, 
And why
This bitter barter, salves not
Our commercialized salvation.
Amidst the inexorable march
Of dawns and days, 
The clump birch this morning
Casts a peaceful shadow
Across the new fallen snow
Where the sparkle of frozen flakes
Creates prisms of fragile crystals, 
Which seem to melt
Like fading hope,
Beneath the ironic warmth
Of a sun rising upon
The just and the unjust alike, 
Flagging our perspective
With sinking visions of
Ignorant armies clashing by night.
Meanwhile, blame, 
Accepted by no one, 
But falling upon everyone, 
Shoulders its guilt, 
Begging forgiveness but
Needing repentance.

Ode to My Kitchen

Kitchen, kitchen, in my house,
Was it you who fed the furtive mouse
The coldest part of winter’s snap
Till late one night it found the trap
I’d set beside the open vent,
The passage where he came and went?

Oh, kitchen, kitchen, by your sink
I peel potatoes, muse and think
Of foods to buy and meals to eat
Or just how long to roast the meat,
And while the oven’s baking hot,
I wash the dishes and clean the pots,

Kitchen, kitchen, it is your space
That cooks to feed the human race.
Around your tables set with care
Our sacred daily bread we share.
Here too we find our food for thought
And share with food the love we ought.