Vintage verse – The Face of All the World (Sonnet 7) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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The Face of All the World (Sonnet 7)

The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink,
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm. The cup of dole
God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,
And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear.
The names of country, heaven, are changed away
For where thou art or shalt be, there or here;
And this… this lute and song… loved yesterday,
(The singing angels know) are only dear,
Because thy name moves right in what they say.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

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From the archives – December by Jean Kreiling

December

Arriving modestly, without a sound,
the first snow of the season fills the night
with tiny flakes of other-worldly light
that settles in pale patches on the ground.
The stone-cold air turns flannel-soft, transformed
by small wet stars that fall and thereby lift
the eye and heart—a fragile, frozen gift
that leaves our spirits fortified and warmed.
Another silent night may come to mind,
another star, another gift, but He
need not be sought as heaven falls to earth
in icy, cloud-spun pieces that will find
the pious and the pagan, equally
anointing all who see the season’s birth.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, December 2, 2015 — by Jean Kreiling, first published in The Tower Journal 5/2 (Winter 2013).

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Vintage verse – Holidays by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Holidays

The holiest of all holidays are those
. . . .Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
. . . .The secret anniversaries of the heart,
. . . .When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
. . . .The sudden joys that out of darkness start
. . . .As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
. . . .Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
. . . .White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
. . . .White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;— a Fairy Tale
. . . .Of some enchanted land we know not where,
. . . .But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – The Acrobats by Mary Meriam

The Acrobats

I spend my solo life in windy spaces,
way up above the throng, no safety net
below, exposed to row on row of faces
fixed on the acrobats in silhouette.
I’ll fall with one misstep or if the wire
splits or my fingers slip. I climb the rungs,
trembling, trembling. Rising higher, higher,
I cough out all the fumbles in my lungs,
and here’s my tiny platform, just a disk
that fits my feet. From here, I leap and swing
into the flashing lights, familiar with the risk
by now, but shocked to see you stand and fling
yourself from your own platform over there
and catch me from your swing through the thin air.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, December 4, 2015 — by Mary Meriam

artist Emily Nicole Tucker

Vintage verse – Patience Taught by Nature by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Patience Taught by Nature

“O Dreary life!” we cry, “O dreary life!”
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven’s true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle. Ocean girds
Unslackened the dry land: savannah-swards
Unweary sweep: hills watch, unworn; and rife
Meek leaves drop yearly from the forest-trees,
To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory. O thou God of old!
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these;—
But so much patience, as a blade of grass
Grows by contented through the heat and cold.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

After the Storm by Michael Paul Hogan

After the Storm

Wading knee-deep
for six-pack and cigarettes
I watch my feet,
three inches from my knees,
under a foot of water
negotiate the curb.

They look like two fish
hugging the tarmac bottom,
trying to turn some silt
onto themselves. Their eyes
stare up at me, trailing
four broken-off hooks.

In the package store
my sneakers slap slap
between the aisles of tinned fruit
and cornflakes. Mrs Morales
wraps up the dry goods
in a mermaid’s purse.

Wading back home
I stop while a car swims
past the front of our house,
a bottle-nose Chevy
sending ripples
right up to the screen door.

Three days of rain
have filled the garden up.
The clothes line is no higher
than a tennis net.
A pelican sits on the fence-pole,
surprised at itself.

In the Florida room
my wife is sweeping out water
so heavy with sand
it holds the track of the bristles.
The hem of her dress sags
like a broken wing.

I open two beers
and a pack of Luckies,
and reach up and spin
the ceiling fan with the flat
of my hand. It turns once
and runs aground.

by Michael Paul Hogan

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Editor’s Note: In this poem, simile and metaphor describe the surreality of a flood. The clean imagery and short lines convey how it feels when the ground becomes water, and home becomes unfamiliar.