Pint of Guinness: An acrostic sonnet
Perhaps you’ve dreamt of what there’ll be to drink
Inside the pearly gates of heaven’s wall?
No doubt they’ll have fine wines there, but I think
Their Guinness will be godliest of all!
On top you’ll see a luscious creamy head
Froth over an elixir of dark gold.
“Good Lord!” you’ll say, “I’m happy being dead!”
Upon your lips their chalice will you hold,
Imbibing their divine seraphic brew,
Not wishing e’en a drop should go to waste.
Nirvana’s cultured draught will render you
Ecstatic as you savor ev’ry taste!
Suppose you’re loath to wait for such delight?
Some say it’s served in Dublin ev’ry night!
by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons
Editor’s Note: Guinness should always be celebrated, and this poem is a rollicking good time. TGIF!
It only takes a couple of small matches
to torch a total forest to the ground.
A flick of the wrist, and kindling quickly catches
and palms and rubbers hiss and soon the sound
grows louder as they crackle, snap, and sputter
as lizards skitter, hummers rise and flutter,
and sloths, absurdly slow, stay put and fry.
One match. A million matches. Same effect
for anaconda, frog, or butterfly.
The lungs of Earth are now ablaze, unchecked
as our encroachment on the last pristine
preserve—when nothing will again be green.
But then there is the match of CO2
heating the homeland of the kangaroo,
koala, wallaby, and flying fox
imprisoned in a broiling greenhouse box
where plucky firefighters fight and fight,
where even the sun can’t match this matchless light.
by Martin J. Elster
Editor’s Note: Iambic pentameter is always pleasing to the ear, but this poem’s content is unfortunately more grim than pleasant. A lament, however, is still a poem, and this one is beautifully constructed.
Trapped in a solitary dance
where means and ends refuse to meet,
the desolated body chants
its mantra: Eat. Excrete. Repeat.
Muzzled and shielded, we advance—
till someone nears, and we retreat.
We’ve rolled snake eyes: we’ve lost our chance,
our time, our lives, our salt, our sweet.
Exchanging sorrows with a glance,
we wave farewell like wind-blown wheat,
while vultures wheel the bald expanse
and wait to eat, excrete, repeat.
by Susan McLean
Editor’s Note: Iambic tetrameter trips through the lines of this poem, chillingly reminding the reader of the singsong cadence of Ring Around the Rosie, another plague song we can’t seem to forget.
Take the dimmest purple
known to the mind of spring
and infuse it in lilacs, let it
fill the great wisteria on King Cæsar Road.
Meanwhile, let the wash of water run down
where it powered pilgrims’ grist mills
and return to lap beds of mussels
clinging to salty mud. Let the tides
and the purples continue to rise
and fall through the last two weeks of May.
Then take two yellow-shafted flickers
and send them winging diagonally
across the lawn. Take one
shaggy hedgerow and perch it
at the end of the lawn, above
a path dropping quietly to the beach.
Add an æon’s worth of horseshoe crabs
mating in the shallows. Now
let the tide ebb until the eelgrass
glows as green as summer.
Take one large house, insert tubular dormers
in the third floor, and set it
behind the lawn. Make it one
of a pair with its ghostly twin,
the house that used to adjoin it –
or the one that dwells landlocked
yet tideborne, afloat in the winter mind.
Furnish with wicker; garnish
with a screened porch; assault
lightly with Junebugs.
While you let the drafts cool
and the kitchen heat up, listen
to mockingbird radio through the
water-heater vent, or take a walk down
to the site of the Standish place
and think of Myles, killer of
three men, vicarious suitor. Compare
your courage, your folly to his as
you walk back to the house
hearing the slap and slurp of possibly
radioactive water, awaiting the foghorn’s
calm reassurance and a whitefogged
morning as still, blank, and
patient as paper, a day lucid
as sunlight, a week endless and
finite as time.
by Paula Bonnell
Editor’s Note: Hints of the narrator’s life are sprinkled within the imagery like unexpected grains of salt—just enough to delicately season the extended metaphor that gives this poem structure.
You’ve seen the pictures:
rows of beds or reclining chairs,
men and women covered in blankets,
some wearing hats, pillows like snow drifts
cushioning their heads, the fresh air
believed to cure lungs
squeezed by disease.
Lying at present in my own lounge chair
in my own yard, I feel a kinship with those invalids,
soaking in the mountain or desert or sea air,
a blanket wrapped around me, feet to chin.
It’s 79 degrees out, but I’m in the shade,
and there’s a breeze, and the incision
under the white pillow of gauze adrift
on my chest is aching, whatever quietive juice
they pumped into my arm floating away.
I have a port now, and imagine weary sailors,
too many days afloat on an ocean,
readying to dock at the jetty jutting
from my rib cage. I smile, warming
to the sense of welcoming I feel,
as if I am someone’s homecoming,
a safe harbor, a whiff of soil, pine,
and home cooking, a chance to wash away
the salt from so long at sea.
by Yvonne Zipter
Editor’s Note: The repetition of images and words in this beautifully constructed poem creates a cohesive emotional landscape for the reader.
on being constantly civil towards death
in great black stillness
she lights a small candle hoping
to see the rich colors
and hear its breath
from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 12, 2015 — by Nic Sebastian
photo by Christine Klocek-Lim
The lushness of city living
the darkness. . . .the noisome
stench of summer. . . .the cracks
that scar the boulevards as winter
bites. . . .as halogen erupts. . . .a
secondhand life of voyeuristic
obligation. . . .the jacket torn
the ramshackle shoes of sidewalk
life. . . .a fleshy strength. . . .his
shoulder shrugging nonchalance
the choice of violence. . . .avoiding
TV windows. . . .the dead
eyes of yesterday. . . .a memory
of Kentucky clay. . . .the kernel
of his presence. . . .his forgiveness
his blamelessness. . . .the corner-hugging
saxophone that infiltrates
his dreaming. . . .resplendent
in his filth. . . .he walks in circles
living on the tangent of his line.
by Paul Ilechko
Paul on Facebook
Editor’s Note: This poem is even more free than most free verse, but the choice of form (spaces, missing punctuation) skillfully emphasizes the fractured mental space of the speaker.
–after W.H. Auden
You are my kitchen.
I can’t make my eggplant dish without you.
You dice the onions so I won’t cry.
You strike the match to light the oven.
You are my salon. You serve rosé in cut-glass goblets.
I have no desire to sweep the floors without you here.
You are my critic, my lost amethyst ring, my favorite berry.
You are the knife that scrapes the pith of me, the toothy grin
of the missing boy on the milk carton, my root beer float.
My legs cannot wrap around this emptiness.
You are the postcard of Calliope you airmailed
from Mykonos, that other time you left, vowing
to never return. And then, the present of you.
Gifts of brisket, banter, sidesplitting quarrels.
I make rugelach every year on your birthday.
You are my morning shower, my evening biscuit.
by Risa Denenberg
Editor’s note: This ode’s first line offers a metaphor so unusual that the urge to read on is impossible to ignore. Happily, the rest of the poem lives up to this opening, proving that sentimental poetry is not dead, and never has been.
Ophelia’s Fare Thee Well
Love is not Love after all.
The powerful twist it how they like.
They will call my heart and my grief
while Hamlet is plainly bi-polar
and Claudius—a murderous
They will wrongly say I am a silly girl
mooning for an important boy.
This will be easier for them.
I have no place in their court
of corruption, in this world
of shifting sand and illusive reality,
of killing behind a curtain
of fabrication and denial.
Where truth is malleable,
and words are bandied about
into endless threads and soliloquies
to phantom audiences.
I am no fighter.
I am flora, I am different.
And different scares them. I long
to be at peace with my family—
my father, my brother.
But that is dead now.
Let them call me crazy.
Let their court destroy itself
until they all lie in their own blood
on cold expensive marble.
I will be free
in the arms of the willow,
in the embrace of Mother Earth.
Washed clean in the river.
by Tina Klimas
Editor’s note: The short, emphatic lines of this poem give Ophelia a strong and remarkably sane voice, and this encourages the reader to view a Hamlet through a modern lens to great effect.
In the Pool at the Bourbon Orleans
Behold the empty courtyard with its army
of pristine lounges guarding the empty pool—
empty but for a beach ball trapped, untroubled,
spinning and skimming like a drunken fool,
making Venn diagrams on the water’s surface,
skidding and tilting—perhaps randomly,
perhaps not—from edge to travertine edge.
Hold in your mind the glad captivity,
the lavish nonchalance, the willingness
to be blown and batted, possibly ignored,
instructed only by small breaths of wind
in a game that seems to be its own reward:
aimless and fruitless and purposeless, perhaps,
but altogether pleasing to the Lord.
by Jane Greer
Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s extended metaphor is perfectly supported by its clear imagery and excellent closing line.