A Phone Is Ringing by Ed Hack

A Phone Is Ringing

A phone is ringing, waiting for a voice.
The shadows mime the source they’ve travelled from.
All nature speaks, and what is Time but choice?
The phone’s alarm might be to urge the dumb
to speak, to wake from their bad dream, the one
they call their truth. Two ducklings in the stream
send ripples like a broadcast tower. They’ve swum
away and left more messages that gleam
then fade away. That ring might be a scream
or plea—or stranger’s voice that wants to sell
the cure for everything. Bird song redeems
the silent trees. The ring might be a knell
announcing who knows what? So shrill, the sound,
so small, so vast the space where it now drowns.

by Ed Hack

Editor’s Note: The disparate images in this sonnet coalesce into something resembling a life philosophy, but the closing lines remind the reader that any conclusion about existence is relative.

On Hold by Ed Hack

On Hold

Sometimes, as now, the light’s enough, the sun
behind a massive cloud that sweeps like sea
across the blue. The birds are still; songs sung,
they’re quiet, gone. The tree and stream agree
that silence is what’s needed now—as if,
for this brief once, the clock has stopped. On hold,
the sky, the leaves, white flash of wings—this is
the world as poem upon a page, untold.
The fan still whirrs, and that is all I hear,
like water far away. The books that burst
with languages are dumb, and each appears
exactly as it is. The world’s been purged
of Time. Is this a warning or a gift?
I think it’s both, like any granted wish.

by Ed Hack

Editor’s Note: Careful punctuation creates space in this sonnet for the reader to breathe in the imagery and worry woven into the lines.

No Less Beautiful by Ed Hack

No Less Beautiful

So new and old, the stream that hurries by,
the hands of wind all over it and trees
that rock and shuush, like whispers from the sky,
go still, then murmur more, by wind released
to say what can’t be understood. Up there,
the clouds, white, passing shapes. They are. They’re not.
And blue is no less beautiful, though bare
and blank as unsaid words, as untied knots.
A hawk glides by like ice, a razor’s edge
that doesn’t leave a trace, and I’m all that
I did and didn’t do that’s long been etched
in others’ lives, my life become their fact.
The trees are whispering as dark comes on
an indecipherable, ancient tongue.

by Ed Hack

Editor’s Note: Regret and nostalgia meet up with startling imagery in this sonnet to describe a life that seems ordinary, but holds beauty nonetheless.

Winter Hawk by Ed Hack

Winter Hawk

A hawk among the skeletons. Macbeth
out there, the sky a freezing silver scrim,
the trees the bones fall left behind, the death,
the final, stinging death of spring, the grim
white light of ice. The hawk, a sharpened knife
with wings as unforgiving as the snow.
The winter says this is the end of strife—
accounts are closed, in case you didn’t know.
It’s now you see who rules the world outside
your warmth of walls, that bubble of a self
that’s tethered to your myth. You cannot hide
from ancient cold. You can’t be someone else.
The hawk’s the night that breaks through winter sun.
The hardest time, it says, has just begun.

by Ed Hack

Editor’s Note: Evocative imagery sets the scene for this sonnet’s pivot in the last four lines, where life lessons are offered with unequivocal emphasis.