While Driving in Warwick, New York
There is the silence
I covet. A white mare
deep in her meadow,
wading in the shade
gifted by a pair
of stout oaks,
their limbs twisted
and rising above
a rail fence.
The mare swishes
her tail, twitches her
ears at the flies
that love her
even more than I love her;
yet, she cares only
for the apple
nestled in the tall grass
that hides her ivory hooves –
only for the apple,
and I envy her.
by S. Thomas Summers
Editor’s Note: The short lines and repetition of imagery lends itself to the haiku-like realization that unfolds at the end of this lovely poem. I, too, envy the mare.
We danced that day as two who knew the mist.
As evening cooled the meadow drew the mist.
Orion shyly peeked above the ridge.
Cygnus, spread your wings, pursue the mist!
Each evening the red foxes roam the valley.
Like them, there was a time you knew the mist.
One night the moon came up, unrolled its rays.
A screeching raptor woke and slew the mist.
I called your name, called loud a thousand times!
A katydid responded through the mist.
Far-off, the owls tu-whit tu-whoo the mist.
They infiltrate my mind. I rue the mist.
The songbirds have all gone, the leaves have dried.
Only bats that dimly view the mist.
The breeze picked up across the distant hills.
None can remove the breath from you, the mist.
I watched a flock of martins heading south.
Then, clean away, a blizzard blew the mist.
by Martin J. Elster, first published in Lucid Rhythms.
Editor’s Note: The use of mist as a repetitive device in this ghazal emphasizes the emotional yearning of the narrator. The clever use of the bird in the second to last line to meet the ghazal’s name requirement is delightful.
“It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.” -Thoreau
The cats of England at the cottage door
look up expectant, when the milk man comes,
like furry Olivers who beg for more,
beneath a shelter of chrysanthemums.
The cats of Belgium in the baker’s shop
adorn a window — in the bar, a stool.
The cats of Greece, at every culture stop,
are waiting for a tourist to befool.
I judge the nations by the way they treat
these purry gentry just below their knees.
Where cats are loved, I know that strangers meet
a kindly welcome and a will to please.
Why spend so much and haul myself so far
if not to count the cats in Zanzibar?
by Gail White, first published in Sonnets in a Hostile World.
Editor’s note: This made me smile and sometimes that is all that is necessary.
We Should Be Dignified
We should be dignified, austere, and act
Our age which added each to each would be
A century; we should accept the fact
That fumbling throes of hasty love that we
Once shared are past. And we should also brush
Three times a day and be polite despite
The silly things that others say; nor rush
But move in stately ways and shut the lights
Each time and other stuff, we should, we should.
But when I bring the morning tea and you
Are steamy shower naked looking good,
Your looks can shoo away the s’posed-to-do
And I’ve no choice but let the tea grow cold
Forgetting that we really are too old.
from Autumn Sky Poetry 10 — by John Byrne
Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim
From the Telephone
Out of the dark cup
Your voice broke like a flower.
It trembled, swaying on its taut stem.
The caress in its touch
Made my eyes close.
by Florence Ripley Mastin (1886-1968)
Video by Jonas Åkerlund
Snapshot: Kittanning, Pennsylvania, 1963
Looking north up South Water street,
the dying stand solid as
parking meters, finding finer spirits
underground than the ones
they were promised.
The stores here are shadowed in,
windows covered in soap and relocations-
lonely mothers clutch the gloves
of those who will soon be from Kittanning.
A fine layer of dust grows more confident,
as the Allegheny does its best to carve
new scars through the Rust Belt’s open wounds;
The sulfur sun finally glazes over a town
that stays locked away in its own dead storage,
trapped by the ice cold promise of something
darker than coal, stronger than steel.
by Michael Pollick
Editor’s Note: The demise of the steel industry in western Pennsylvania has been extensively documented, but what historical films miss is the personal destruction wrought by the change. This poem brings us closer to what it might have been like.
Edge of the Sea
Pale light breaks green
on afternoon waves. Froth
blunts each sharpening edge.
Kids flap and splatter
in shallows, not thinking
time will end or Mom will call.
Claws of crabs grope
toward nothing. Far out, I
dive deep. Spined creatures
fluorescing orange and blue,
whose eyes stick out or not,
enough our auras overlap.
Swimming back past rocks
alone in the middle
of life, I cross again
the sandy edge
of land because I must.
by John Nimmo
Editor’s note: The short lines and stanzas of this poem reflect the bits and pieces of life and debris within the great waters of our planet, as does the drifting narrative.