I Want to Bring Back by Geraldine Connolly

I Want to Bring Back

My organdy Easter dress and straw hat
with a navy ribbon, tight green blossoms
in April, gravestones among apple trees,
the Virgin’s long blue robe, the startled ringing
of the altar bell like breaking icicles, that moment
when bread changes into the body of God.

Bring back crocuses and Easter chicks, reborn Jesus,
dogwoods and sycamores, who wore their blazing hats
of color. Eggs and lilies, the first moment
the orchard above the farmhouse blossomed
pink above the muddy Pennsylvania creek, a ring
near furrowed fields, of laden apple trees,

pheasants with wings like helicopter blades, trees
that bloomed, lifting their faces toward God,
the whole of the newly ploughed garden bringing
thoughts of hope. We tied on our hats
and to the ribbons fastened dry blossoms
with certainty, and that quiet instant

before we prayed became the moment
we wandered, lost among the trees,
muddied our stockings, crushed blossoms
beneath our shoes, cried out to the old God
to save us from falling. I remember that
once we were innocent, once we wore our ring

of belief like a badge, a feeling of being wrung
clean as we prayed, as if we could begin again.
I call to innocence, to girls in Communion hats
about to ascend the steep rows of church steps
to kneel, to bow and greet their god
as rows of widows and penitents like dark blossoms

light candles in the apse, their flame blossoms
illuminating the faithful, gathered and singing
songs of praise, hymns to the one God,
our faith restored, all of this in the moment
before mystery approached, belief failed, before trees
of new knowledge grew up into the heat

and fervor of the world. Tight green blossoms,
gravestones in the shade of apple trees, I call and
call to them. There is no answer.

by Geraldine Connolly, first appeared in Mezzo Cammin

Editor’s Note: This brilliant sestina contains a wealth of spectacular imagery and a final stanza that perfectly encapsulates the emotional narrative.

From the archives – Stars Fall, Doors Open by Eleanor Lerman

Stars Fall, Doors Open

Spring, summer. Oh come again
Lay wide open the bright new world
then close it up with flowers
if only for one more season
Why not? I have lived long enough to be
sentimental. To be permitted to awaken

in June, rested, ready, alive. Oh come again:
days when the sun lives like a friend and
there is always more. See the door that has

been left open to the house on the path by
the river: yes, there is always more. I remember
it so and I demand that it be returned to me

Though of course, somewhere beyond the sky
a force to be reckoned with clocks in
and reads the notes that were left behind

An eyebrow is raised, a finger is lifted,
which puts into play unimaginable forces
I imagine them anyway. Night falls, stars fall

This is all real now and I know it
Make time stop is not one of the spells
that has been cast upon me but others have

I will open my book now and I
will read them. Stars fall. Doors open
Away, away

by Eleanor Lerman

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, March 17, 2016

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

March Morning by Steven Knepper

March Morning

The maple limbs sprout tight-bound nubs
Of burgundy. Green scissors through
The withered grass. The once-trimmed shrubs
Shag out new licks of growth askew.

Here on the cusp of day and spring
We sit and window-watch a jay
Pick suet seeds, shake loose a wing,
Tuck up and tumble off away.

Bright eager light spills on it all,
An augur of the gilded boom
To come: the buzz, the pollen fall,
The flowering cascades of bloom.

How can we think of work and school
Now that each dewy dab’s a jewel?

by Steven Knepper

Editor’s Note: This sonnet contains a bounty of startling imagery, perfect rhymes, and skillful meter. Such poems are a joy to read.

Waldeinsamkeit: An acrostic sonnet by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

Waldeinsamkeit: An acrostic sonnet
When you’re alone and walking through the trees,
Anxieties and worries fade away.
Leaves fluttering in springtime’s gentle breeze
Disturb no creature’s thoughts. And if you stray
Entirely off the beaten path, you know
It’s safe to chill inside your green cocoon.
No city dangers threaten where you go.
Street noises are displaced by nature’s tune.
And when the light grows dim, and you are drawn
Meanderingly to the EXIT word,
KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs by your city lawn
Erupt into your thoughts, and seem absurd! …
Inside the forest, far from city sounds,
Tranquillity in solitude abounds.

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

Editor’s Note: The human ability to create a word for every emotion never fails to impress, as this sweet poem demonstrates. (Waldeinsamkeit: (poetic) woodland solitude; the feeling of solitude in the woods)

Whale Constellation by Greg Watson

Whale Constellation

Of all the constellations in the night sky,
my daughter and I like best
the large, benevolent whale which
has emerged from the worn and cracked
galaxy of the ceiling. We imagine
his long nightly travels, out beyond
the reaches of our dreams, where
ocean and sky become indistinguishable,
always bringing him back, calm and
sleepy-eyed in the gray-blue of morning.
We count the small shapes of stars,
still visible beneath thick layers
of paint, the years not yet erasing them.
We follow the crumbling lines
drawn by time, sometimes spotting
the shape of a snake or an old woman
cooking an oversized pot of stew.
Once, we saw a bear standing on two legs;
a bushy-tailed fox slinking through
the trees, its shadow thin as a thread.
But they are mere decoration
surrounding the body of our beloved,
making his long and sacred journey
on our behalf, slow moving and scarred
as love itself, silent in his passing,
knowing just where to find us again.

by Greg Watson

Editor’s Note: As anyone who loves astronomy knows, the stories of the stars begin in childhood, and this poem’s contemplative imagery illustrates the beginning of what might be a life-long passion.

Trudy and Me on the Tube by Mary MacGowan

Trudy and Me on the Tube

We had a truck tire innertube at the lake
for playing in the water. Trudy and I
were grownups with youngsters of our own,
but we liked to stand on it, or try to, one of us
on each side. We’d paddle out, away
from the dock, pushing or pulling the tube,
and stop just about even with that old dock
across the way, falling apart, half submerged.

Our overly-large feet pressing down, toes
curling under to keep the grip, we held hands
across the open middle keeping each other
steady. We never lasted long, but when
we were up we were up, and hollered about it.
We looked a lot alike, but our feet were identical
twins, veins bulging in the same places,
second toe as tall the big one. Hammer toes
for had none & all the way home.

Trudy had all the trouble though, including
a car accident in college that left her in a coma.
Mom in a panic came to me in the night,
shaking my shoulders, Trudy’s going to die,
Trudy’s going to die! She didn’t die.
She’s fine. But, horrors, it was decided
that I had to wear an ID bracelet just in case
I was in an accident in the middle of nowhere
like Trudy’s and almost died for want of a parent
to say, Yes! Yes she’s our daughter, yes she can have
blood transfusions, yes, heavens yes! It looked like
a shiny silver going-steady bracelet
and I thought I might die of embarrassment.

I was far enough behind my siblings
to be considered an only child by psychologists,
of which I had plenty. How I loved holding
my sister’s hands when we stood on that old tire.
And how reluctantly I let go every time we fell.

by Mary MacGowan

Editor’s Note: This narrative poem describes the complexity of sisterhood when one is much younger than the other, and how the longing for kinship stretches into adulthood.

Ghost Limb by Lane Henson

Ghost Limb

From my chest
there is a hand that extends
a hand that opens into the dark
like an eye led by moonlight
that unfolds the dog-eared maps
unrolls the charts across
the table’s worn top
measures the contour lines
the Lake’s bottom
and the sheer cliffs along the shore
navigates the burr oak leaf’s
waxy curves
thumbs agates
hunts the glistening light of geodes
turns over and over again
the milky green sea-glass,
stretches back to the prairie
to horsehair and dust
clutches at that wide sunset
and returns burnt and blind,
drops memories like pins
along the trail
where the black bear might have crossed
joins wind on a high outcropping
swirls my daughters’ hair
crosses the snowy paths
where human tracks disappear
the tracks where the wolf hesitates
and turns away,
that strokes the shape
within driftwood
brushes along the guitar’s strings
like an echo
holds starlight
in a vastness of pines
holds itself aloft above flame
rises as smoke to the canopy
stirs the raven’s wing
falls as a pinecone from
the golden tamarack branch
falls as a muffled voice
a black feather
back to the forest floor.

by Lane Henson

 

Editor’s Note: This poem’s lush imagery invites the reader to cast aside any preoccupation with grammar and instead let the emotional narrative carry you into the woods.

From the archives – The Vase by Bruce Guernsey

The Vase

—For A.L., 1975-1995

May in March: our daughter’s birthday, somehow now twenty
as the crocus uncurl in their black beds, everywhere
yellow, yellow, a whole week of weather
yellow as her hair—

even the bug light on the north porch
where a moth this birthday evening, back too soon,
flaps against the glass flower,
the dust of its wings on the yellow bloom.

In the mild of this scented night, so fragile,
we walk her to her car and back to college:
seat belt on, doors locked, half a carrot cake
in a box beside her and leaning against it the vase

we found and filled with twenty daffodils
to brighten the table tonight, yellow, yellow,
yellow as the petals from its delicate neck
like wishes we’d given light to, gone in a breath.

by Bruce Guernsey

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, March 10, 2017

Photograph by Christine Klocek-Lim

The Plate by Jo Angela Edwins

The Plate

slips from my wet hand,
cracks in two at the bottom
of the empty sink.

No favorite. I have
eleven others like it,
but still my eyes well

over another
good thing broken this season.
Outside, the wind howls.

by Jo Angela Edwins

Editor’s note: The haiku stanzas of this poem blend strict syllable counts with the freedom of imagery. The last line closes the poem by gluing all the broken pieces together.

Apple Tree by Ed Granger

Apple Tree

Untamed, your modest April limbs can lead
to pies and heady ciders, dumplings shaped
to give the blush to Johnny Appleseed.
Your fame proceeds by way of bees who shed
your pollen yard by yard, a profligate
procession as the Fall from Eden tours
midsummer’s eve. When you play hard to get
the future’s caught up in your suckers, whorls,
and water sprouts—your fruit diverted by
ambition. That’s OK, we’ve all been led
astray chasing some sun, some destiny
prolonged that keeps us from the one given
today. Fresh underfoot. That keeps us strange
in our own skin. Wondering if we can change.

by Ed Granger

Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s ode to the apple tree elevates the simplicity of the tree and its fruit from pie to philosophy.