Sonnet: Disquieting by Martin Willitts Jr.

Sonnet: Disquieting

This present moment — is gone, gone
like sparrows into the disquieting sky. Gone
white as sycamore branches before memory
releases their leaves. Gone as flattering light.
Gone as bliss and recognition of bliss. Gone,
taken away, the way rivers take silt,
depositing elsewhere. Moments are dissonant
and gorgeous, then — gone.

The pristine rains never last. It cannot rain
metaphorically everywhere with consistency.
Gravity cannot hold wind, even if wind
kisses our faces, even if it sheds sycamore leaves,
even if light folded, even if sound was shaken,
even if we clutched every moment to our chests.

by Martin Willitts Jr.

Martin on Facebook

Editor’s Note: This poem’s lack of meter and rhyme contradict its title while also emphasizing the meaning of it. This poem is an uneasy testament to the power of words used to describe difficulty.

The Snare Drummer’s Plight by Martin J. Elster

The Snare Drummer’s Plight

The highlight of the evening is Bolero.
The snare drummer begins the famous beat,
the marrow of the land of the torero.

The players, who have sprayed themselves with Deet,
ignore the insects swarming in the light
or lighting on the scores. The music’s bite
and lyric passion build each bar, with singing
strings, winds, and brass — while buzzing bugs seek meat.
One gently touches down and starts to eat
blood from the snare drum player’s nose. The stinging
clings like a picador’s sharp lance of worry.

How can he stop to scratch? His part must never
cut out. Time’s poky arrow will not hurry.
Bolero! May it live — not last — forever.

by Martin J. Elster, first published in Verse Wisconsin.

Editor’s Note: The poet included the name of the form for this poem, Stefanile triadic sonnet, and it is quite complex. This poem’s lighthearted narrative is an excellent example of how the best formal poems transcend their form, and speak to the reader despite the strictness of meter and rhyme.

I Nailed You by Rick Mullin

I Nailed You

I nailed you and I have you in a box
I balance on my lap aboard the train.
A 9-by-12 inch portrait that unlocks
what I believe to be your soul. A stain
on canvas, a permanent and mortal mark.
In years to come you’ll gather dust between
a night class nude and Landscape with a House
above my bookshelf. But for now the green
I mixed with red unbuttoning your blouse
is wet, the shadow on your shoulder dark
and thick, the highlight on your face
uneven, though it captures your distinct
appeal and can be scraped. I can erase.
But I will not, as neither of us blinked
tonight in your apartment on the park.

by Rick Mullin, from Transom, Dos Madres Press, 2017

Editor’s Note: Rich imagery marries painting to poetry in these lines, while delicately narrating the eroticism of an encounter that might be permanent (and might not).

Not on Her Original To-Do List by Jean L. Kreiling

Not on Her Original To-Do List
for Sarah

These chores so nearly weren’t hers—this drill
of clean up, pick up, cheer up, save the day,
read Dr. Seuss although she’s had her fill,
make chocolate milk, make monsters go away,
sing bunny songs, play hide-and-seek, explain
why everything, learn how to fix toy trucks
and choo-choo trains and how to toilet-train,
teach that a cow moos and a chicken clucks,
and kiss skinned knees. So when she has a few
free moments to converse with grownups, read
a grownup book, and eat as grownups do—
from toddler’s tyranny fleetingly freed—
she’s startled by her dread as it occurs
to her: this life so nearly wasn’t hers.

by Jean L. Kreiling

Editor’s Note: This sonnet describes the tediousness of parenting, yet by the end, the joy of it is much more strongly felt than the frustration.

Vintage verse – Epigram on Rough Woods by Robert Burns

Epigram on Rough Woods

I’m now arrived—thanks to the gods!—
. . . .Thro’ pathways rough and muddy,
A certain sign that makin roads
. . . .Is no this people’s study:
Altho’ Im not wi’ Scripture cram’d,
. . . .I’m sure the Bible says
That heedless sinners shall be damn’d,
. . . .Unless they mend their ways.

by Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim.

From the archives – No I in Team by Ed Shacklee

No I in Team

Inside of every hen there is an egg.
Inside of many hovels there’s a house.
In each and every beggar there’s a beg,
and soon, inside of kittens, there’s a mouse.

Within the vilest hater is a hat.
Perversions always have a bit of verse.
A man will grow inhuman, fate more fat,
by chopping her to bits inside a hearse.

There is no I in team, two eyes in I,
the devil is more evil than you know;
so hide a cask in casket when I die,
we’ll drink to death if God is short an O.

by Ed Shacklee

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 20, 2016 — by Ed Shacklee

 

Vintage verse – The Witch by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

The Witch

I have walked a great while over the snow,
And I am not tall nor strong.
My clothes are wet, and my teeth are set,
And the way was hard and long.
I have wandered over the fruitful earth,
But I never came here before.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

The cutting wind is a cruel foe.
I dare not stand in the blast.
My hands are stone, and my voice a groan,
And the worst of death is past.
I am but a little maiden still,
My little white feet are sore.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

Her voice was the voice that women have,
Who plead for their heart’s desire.
She came—she came—and the quivering flame
Sunk and died in the fire.
It never was lit again on my hearth
Since I hurried across the floor,
To lift her over the threshold, and let her in at the door.

by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim.