Village Streets, by Mary Ann McDonnell, is available as an e-publication.

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Sample poems from Village Streets by Mary Ann McDonnell

Village Streets

These are the streets we walked along

A long time ago.

I walk them now alone.

I look in shop windows we looked in then—

“Old George's antiques.”

I see he sold a few pieces.

Ah, but the Chinese console table

With the patina of dust

Is still just as it always was.

I can still see your face so clearly darling—

I don't think I'll ever walk down this street again.

Like George's Chinese table

I find

Some memories are best left, undisturbed,

Covered gently with dust.

     --Mary Ann McDonnell © 1991

Hm! I Wonder About You Silly Clown

You there, silly clown in your harlequin suit—

What are you laughing at?

You have the world on a string

You silly old thing,

Dancing around in a sawdust ring.

Actor, mime, mummer,

What are you really thinking?

Are you laughing with us, or at us?

You obnoxious cuss

Riding through towns in a carnival bus.

Are you just passing through,

To leave us a laugh?

Are you hiding a tear on your funny clown face?

Are you really no different than us?

Do you hurt sometimes?

Are there days when you're very, very happy?

Are there days when you feel so blue you could die?


Clowns aren't supposed to cry

So you don't—

I often wonder about you, dear silly clown.

     --Mary Ann McDonnell © 1991

Some Things Old Men Do, Day In And Day Out

Very early in the morning

They rise

Tread familiar steps

To the bathroom

Perform their ablutions


Put on the coffee pot

Spread generic jam

On generic bread

Reread last night's newspapers

Talk to the bird

Feed the cat

Take the dog out

Exchange a few words

With their young neighbors hurrying off to work


Back to the house

Water the plants

Some of them (promised their wives they would

The wives who died first

Leaving them alone)


They take out the garbage

Throw the spread across the bed

Take books back to the library

The laundry can wait till tomorrow

Old men are busy, busy, busy

Attending to all the tasks

That hurry their days

Till the ten p.m. news

Then they can wind the clock

And tomorrow they must

Take the laundry

     --Mary Ann McDonnell © 1991

Girl On Saint Mark's Place

See her

See how slowly she walks,

So slow

So tired,

Not yet twenty—so old!

A child, girl child, old woman—

Drying fast, flower in an autumn garden,

Withering, drying into dying,

Here on the street before our eyes.

She was so fragile, so beautiful, so fair—

Now see her there—

Aged by frenzied, rushing, crushing

Life sucking mad hours.

She is dying, right here

                 For all the world to see

                 Right here on St. Marks place.

     --Mary Ann McDonnell © 1991

The audio of Mary Ann McDonnell reading her poetry was recorded around 1990 on a cassette  and converted into mp3 format in 2020.

Village Streets

What Do Little Boys Keep In Old Cigar Boxes?

Why treasures of course!

Aggies, glassies, and cat eyes

Cola caps filled with wax for corner-to-corner, skelly

Priceless cards of Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Hodges

and Joltin' Joe DiMaggio.

Yes lots and lots of magical things—

A two-ply weight of good kite string

Assorted fishing weights and flies

Two broken pen knives with Empire State and

Niagara Falls painted right on them

Some bubble gum hard enough to break a tooth

A rubberband that will never expand

A medal all dull with a ribbon decrepit

Won years ago at the Fourth of July Community Fest

Two ticket stubs to a Yankee game

A rusty jew's harp and a cracked kazoo

Yes sirree—

Little boys keep all their “good stuff”

In old cigar boxes—

I thought you knew . . .

     --Mary Ann McDonnell © 1991

Things Old Men Do,

Day In And Day Out

Girl On Saint Mark's Place

Hm! I Wonder About You Silly Clown

What Do Little Boys Keep

In Old Cigar Boxes