Arthur w. MCMaster, III

                                    Poet, Playwright, Educator

                                 Arthur McMaster is Contributing Editor to Poets' Quarterly

 What my Students Teach me About Darkness and Light

  No good in touting the difficult and long-forgotten lessons

  of the Transcendentalists, no point in pointing out

  the timelessness of twenty-eight-year old Henry David Thoreau,

  camped two miles from town in his peevish cabin,

  needing only one decent pencil to record his observations

  from last night's stars, to contemplate the temptation of dreams,

  the slender fingers of those dreams ever-reaching for meaning

  as he wakes and rises and steps from the clapboard cabin, perhaps

  to rendezvous once more with the unsettled Margaret Fuller,

  who will have left to discover her purpose apart.

  No earthly reason to encourage them to find something

  in Emerson's Nature that might chide them, that could inform

  and infuse their day, as they turn the pretty stalks of their heads

  as one to the morning sun beaming in from the windows between us,

  like so many drowsy sunflowers seeking only the brightness of day.


            (from, Need to Know - a Memoir, Outskirts Press, 2013)


Golf in the AgencyMy boss moves his ball around in the rough,
in order, no doubt, to improve his lie—
knows no one will care to call his bluff, feels service abroad means the rules don’t apply.           My boss plays golf in the African veldt, asks me to join him for nine or more holes, then meet the boys for a Pyms or two, having excelled at what passes for sport; achieving nefarious national goals. My boss grounds his club in a bunker of sand, in order, once more, to garner advantage—
thinks no junior officer dare judge the man
lest the wrong word said would invite his quick passage
back to HQ—sitting one year on the Antarctic desk, there to ponder the purpose, I suppose, of America’s timeless game of burlesque.


                                      (from, The Spy Who Came Down with a Cold,

                                            Finishing Line Press, 2011)