To a Six Year-Old on Fifth Avenue: A Sonnet by Betsy K. Brown

To a Six Year-Old on Fifth Avenue: A Sonnet

The coldest winter in a hundred years.
You weave your small pink scooter through the mob
Of coats and shouts and shoppers. I chase you,
Ice in my lungs, city-din in my ears.

We watch the Christmas windows flash and dance
Like bright ballet upon your wind-burned cheeks—
Your mittened hand takes mine. You stop, entranced;

And then I turn my head. Across the street
Saint Patrick’s cathedral looms silently
And stares with unlit windows, dim and peaked.

And from our clasped hands on this crux of street
Two roads branch out—one into shadows tall,
The other into fairy-light, but both
Into the place where sound and silence meet.

by Betsy K. Brown

Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s lively imagery provides the perfect backdrop to the sublime, quiet joy of the last two lines. 

Sonnet by Those Who Stay Behind by Betsy K. Brown

Sonnet by Those Who Stay Behind

I’ll see you again in many days, or a few.
Just leave your echo here within these walls
To wait in corners with your old footballs
And piles of papers, artifacts of you,
Reminding those remaining what is true
Behind the curtain every time it falls:
Choirs wait in quietness, till the calls
Of trumpets reunite them at their cue.
Till, then, dear friend, I ask you, leave your echo
For me to gather up while you are gone,
Like wildflowers, or penny after penny
Into a jar of moments I won’t let go
Of till again you fill this room with song.
I’ll see you again in a few days, or many.

by Betsy K. Brown

Editor’s Note: The repetition in this lovely sonnet adds a mournful musicality to the sorrow of the speaker.

Volleyball by Betsy K. Brown

Volleyball
or, of the high school athletes who preferred form to free verse

The players love the net. They raise it high
Like heraldry in the gymnasium,
Unfurl it edge to edge, a standard set,
A boundary for their bounding, bruising play.
A battle line drawn firmly in the earth,
The net expects a leap and a long reach;
The players reverently touch its stern face
At every spike; it flutters, unperturbed.
The net conducts their dance. The back-and-forth,
The contra and the canter to the line,
The gentle set and death-defying dive,
The meeting, parting, serving, sprinting. Then
After the game, they show me all their wounds.
No glory, they say, if not for the net.

by Betsy K. Brown

Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s direct comparison (via the title) of poetry with a sport juxtaposes two things that don’t often go together, with delightful results.