Hurricane Irene by Alan Walowitz

Hurricane Irene

Next time we’ll try and do what’s right:
tie the lawn chair to the deck,
stow in the shed what’s apt to fly,
listen close to those who know by heart
what breaks in times like these
and what might keep.

This is no age that holds bad news at bay:
the big storm brewing in the night,
and written daily in the skies.
The umbrella we forgot outside
gets called to duty in the reckless wind–
all we can do is hunker down and wait.

We find out middle of the night
more of what we might have known–
a tree comes down with whoosh and crack–
the circus sound of whip in air,
not the earth-shaking thud
we’d dreamed and feared.

We stumble out at dawn to gasp and behold
this streetscape we wished we’d memorized—
now downed trees, smashed cars, life’s debris,
chainsaws gearing up to go. All subject to change
at the whim of winds—we thought was ours
was not ours to keep.

by Alan Walowitz

Editor’s Note: This poem’s impressive rhythm breaks down in the last stanza, mirroring the destruction the narrator realizes could not be helped.

Men without dreams by Alejandro Perez

Men without dreams

Dreams like a white Christmas.

Beautiful to think about but difficult to live through.
The streets are closed. The family is not coming.
Friends are locked inside their homes.
You can take pictures but it is too cold to go outside.

It is too cold to build snowmen or go out on the sleigh.
It is better to stay inside and speak of what could have been.
It is always better to speak of what could have been.

Dreams like chocolate. Hot chocolate. Dreams like liquid chocolate.
Sweet dreams which pass in front of you with no notice.
They are almost intangible, almost in another dimension.
They are worthy of finding, but too hard to find.

Dreams like a ruler. Noble at first and then a disgrace.
Brave at first and then cowardly.
Always changing.

Let us take a moment of silence for dreams. For empty dreams,
Like an envelope with no letter. For fluffy dreams like cotton candy.
For those dreams worth nothing. And even so,
Let us mourn for men without dreams.

by Alejandro Perez

Editor’s Note: The sentence fragments in this poem highlight the narrator’s haunted thoughts. Some dreams are too difficult to approach directly. Some dreams don’t exist without the dreamer.

The Orchard On Its Way by Laura Foley

The Orchard On Its Way

I wish it would slow,
not the train, but the ponies
shivering in a rain-soaked pasture,
a hundred geese fluttering
in a soggy field,
the eagles we saw this morning
from a station in Vermont,
their wild mating dance—
not the train, but the passing
into memory—I want it all
to last, the chimney falling
back to bricks,
the orchard on its way to bud,
the kiss you gave me
twenty miles back.

by Laura Foley, first Published in DMQ Review.

Editor’s Note: Nostalgia and yearning move through this poem. The last two lines are perfect.

Finn’s Acres by Jean L. Kreiling

Finn’s Acres
for Suzanne and Ed

A flash of black and white across the green
of six a.m. Maine meadow—flying fur,
a mighty heart, a nose for prey unseen,
an eye for playthings tossed—Finn’s always sure
to catch the disc that sails across his lawn,
to catch the sunlight in his glossy coat,
to catch and so to share whatever dawn
might promise, in his flight the antidote
to vague human complaints. He runs a race
he always wins, past drifts of Russian sage,
beyond the trellised grapes; he owns the place,
and us as well, demanding we engage
with earth and atmosphere and things that fly.
Our hearts rise with his, happy to comply.

by Jean L. Kreiling

Editor’s Note: As always, this poet’s easy grasp of the sonnet form supports the central theme—Finn. This poem explains why we love our pets.

From the archives – Another vessel, as seemed good — James S. Wilk

Another vessel, as seemed good

The pounding in your studio
is house-shakingly violent.

Dishes rattle and tumblers
quake in their cupboards.

You are angry and punishing
the clay tonight.

The chthonic aroma of powdered
earth and water tickles

my nostrils as I descend
the stairs to watch you work.

It’s astonishing how deliberate you are
as you remove air from the clay,

your fists swinging the way
a mason’s sledge strikes the chisel,

how you and the art are at once
elemental and humorous,

how blood and melancholia,
earth and water are transformed

in the alchemy of kiln and glaze,
how proportion means more

than the ratio of height to width,
how perfect comes from imperfect,

and how a cracked pot may
make the ideal vessel.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, September 5, 2016 — by James Wilk

Video thanks to All Satisfying

Vintage verse – Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day by Anne Brontë

Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day

My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
. . . .And carried aloft on the winds of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
. . . .Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.

The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
. . . .The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
. . . .The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.

I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
. . . .The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
. . . .And hear the wild roar of their thunder to-day!

by Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

After by Ciaran Parkes


In the weeks after your death,
your face, the sound of your voice
disappeared from my memory,
then came back, projected onto people
on the street, turning up everywhere, as if

you had swung into a darkness where
not even thoughts could reach, and then
echoed back, amplified. The dark side
of the moon perhaps, I remember you telling me
how the moon dragged all living things towards it

and we had to fight against its pull. Too late
now to balance out the pull
it had on you, for you to give your side
of this conversation, bring me down to earth,
tell me strange facts I hadn’t heard before.

Gone, like your pain and all the things
we could have done together, your smile,
your restless intelligence, your touch.
I could have phoned you once or wrote, but now
can’t reach to you, can’t lose you from my sight.

by Ciaran Parkes

Editor’s Note: The narrative imagery in this poem amplifies the confusion of grief. The heart still loves, even when the person is gone.