Rain by Risa Denenberg


Most days, I no longer long
for you. The rain has become
my welcome mat.

I soak clothes and skin in it,
bleach these personal stains,
staunch my body’s needs.

Nowhere is it fully documented
how terrifying it is to be me.

I dream in haiku
as it taps at my window
in tart syllables.

by Risa Denenberg, from blinded by clouds.

Editor’s note: This poem is not quite a haiku, but it holds the spare simplicity of the form. Emotional impact doesn’t always require a thousand lines.

Confessional Work: Late Advent by Maryann Corbett

Confessional Work: Late Advent

Long lines at this season, everywhere.
I’m used to them: airport security,
checkout, post office queue, holiday movie.
In darkness that falls early, they fold into corners,
hugging the buildings for something like support.

Always the choreography of burden,
balanced against the hip, hugged to the chest,
kicked ahead of me in the snaking line:
the carry-on that I already know
will not fit in the overhead compartment,
the package that can never arrive by Christmas
to buy me an impossible absolution,
the near-despair clutched at for thirty years.
the pointless sin, the life I never fix—
when my arms tire, I will drag it across the floor
through a trail of puddle left by slushy boots
to a counter where a face, with practiced patience,
will ask me, Anything else? and motion me on.

And all this longing for no reason I know,
except that even now, the lumped gray sky—
as if it heard earth sing Rorate coeli
plops down fat flakes, thick with springlike wetness,
and parking lots filled with the scraps of autumn
look cleaner, in the very way we beg for
in the prayer of another season: white as snow.

by Maryann Corbett, first published in Rock and Sling. Appears in the book Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter.

Maryann on Facebook

Editor’s Note: The winter season isn’t always calm and peaceful. Sometimes it’s filled with despair and regrets. This poem illustrates that with impeccable starkness, giving only a glimmer of hope at the very end.

Indwelling by Ralph La Rosa


Inspiring air animates my trees,
informs their crowns and trunks, their leaves and limbs
when rousing Santa Ana winds increase.

The ancient trunks are limber as they sway
and bow; their scions lunge from side to side,
then pause before they pirouette to play.

Each tree’s a dancer and Aeolian lyre
beckoning me to join them and aspire.

by Ralph La Rosa

Editor’s Note: The iambic pentameter and rhyme lend this poem a meditative slant that complements the seasonal scene.

Daylight Savings by Joan Kantor

Daylight Savings

In the silence
there’s an aura
of mingled shadow and light
as slowly the day switches over
and in sadness I sit at the dining room table
looking inside and out
through confusion
towards the warm glow that wafts
from the top of the stairs
and the rouge-tinted blanket
of leftover fading blue sky
beyond the bay window
as darkness falls
over late afternoon
in this room
full of unwelcome evening

by Joan Kantor

Editor’s Note: Some poems tell one simple story, and like this one, tell it exceedingly well with staggered line breaks and clear imagery.

Beyond All Bearing by Susan Delaney Spear

Beyond All Bearing

In winter, when pines weary,
When aligned limbs quiver with longing,
And the ground moans under gravity’s weight,
It’s then, through the northern night
That concentric silver circles radiate
Like wind-borne waves racing shoreward,
Beautiful beyond all bearing.
. . . . . . . .Swifter still—
God speeds across the cosmos
Earthward, arms open wide.

by Susan Delaney Spear

Editor’s Note: “Anglo-Saxon strong stress alliterative meter with tiny variations” is how Susan describes her poem. I simply read it for the imagery—a light so brilliant in the cold dark that all one can do is stand there and stare.

From the archives – Once by John Savoie


“Like gold to aery thinness beat.”
—John Donne, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

Consider the climbing vine, how the tendril
clings to the trellis, knowing just which way
to turn and twine its charm three times around.
The sheerest filament, somehow strung
in black of night, though this no dream, glistens
between two blazing tips of goldenrod,
bellies and sways, then shimmers out of sight.
Wide eyed, sucking wet breath, the newborn curls
his fist around whatever it can clasp—
blanket, finger, nose, lip, ringlet of hair—
and will not let go, more fierce than death.
But once I saw a thing more subtle, more true,
through all the miles and years and wasted hours,
a strand of light that ties my soul to you.

from Autumn Sky Poetry 23 — by John Savoie

Photo by Shannon E. Thomas

Vintage verse – Winter Sleep by Edith Matilda Thomas


Winter Sleep

I know it must be winter (though I sleep)—
I know it must be winter, for I dream
I dip my bare feet in the running stream,
And flowers are many, and the grass grows deep.

I know I must be old (how age deceives!)
I know I must be old, for, all unseen,
My heart grows young, as autumn fields grow green
When late rains patter on the falling sheaves.

I know I must be tired (and tired souls err)—
I know I must be tired, for all my soul
To deeds of daring beats a glad, faint roll,
As storms the riven pine to music stir.

I know I must be dying (Death draws near)—
I know I must be dying, for I crave
Life—life, strong life, and think not of the grave,
And turf-bound silence, in the frosty year.

by Edith Matilda Thomas (1854-1925)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim