The Kiss by Gregory Palmerino

The Kiss

Something is cast in beauty that receives
the mind and won’t let go: it seems as fine
as sunlight dappling beneath the eaves

or yellow jasmine fragrant on the vine,
and you, with florid lips and furtive eyes,
inviting me to cross that whirlwind sign;

it keeps compelling me to recognize
this look of yours, in half a measure’s time,
is only half of splendor’s sacred prize.

For music sought inside this holy rhyme,
the scent of flowers, and the taste of wine
all flee to me from Rodin’s cold sublime—

when last I tempt that spell and cross that line
then take your hand and press your lips to mine.

by Gregory Palmerino

Editor’s note: Valentine’s Day has passed, yet this ekphrastic sonnet lingers in the mind like fine wine, or romance (click to see Rodin’s The Kiss).

From an Empty Nest by Gregory Palmerino

From an Empty Nest

He watches each leaf
drop painfully slow,
parting the way two
hands shaking let go

after a final embrace:
one remains
outstretched, silent, and bare;
the other strains

and falls away
by sailing outwardly
through seas
of dubious air quality.

He knows this leaving
is natural: leaves
must fall for newer vistas
just to tease

the hairy sky; and he
must trust the bole
that memories of spring
will fill the hole.

by Gregory Palmerino

Editor’s note: Careful rhyme provides a startling contradiction to the enjambed lines in this poem, subtly supporting the narrative.

Line Segments by Gregory Palmerino

Line Segments

I see them in the country road we took
into the limestone hills, above a mass
of purple rows outside the village Grasse,
and trace their path in every place I look:
the tartan spread, the marching ants, the brook
of bursting bubbles rising in each glass,
between our lips the blades of tender grass
that mark a page—our last unfinished book.
But now I see them in your hands and eyes
(the rays of sun, the feet of passing crows)
and there beneath your muslin dress, where lies
a line of skin, whose length some doctor knows,
then toast the day from this enduring sphere
where all these pointed ends might disappear.

by Gregory Palmerino

Editor’s note: The delicacy of the lines in this sonnet suggest the ephemerality of a life lived (but no regret).

After (Litter) Fall by Gregory Palmerino

After (Litter) Fall

My winter is nothing like an old man
who gripes and broods over the rags of fall,
worn out clothing stitched by summer’s hand,
whose weedrobes trip the light ephemeral:
a final dance of deciduous waste,
when light and color step over the brink
from nature’s first green to autumn’s posthaste
to fashion an interstice out of sync.

My winter is like a woman, instead,
who weaves lost fibers into living yarn.
With season as form and color as thread,
my lapsarian seamstress comes to darn
a fertile garment round her lover’s feet
so colloid and crystal at last can meet.

by Gregory Palmerino, first published in The Road Not Taken (pdf link)

Editor’s note: This sonnet turns the usual winter trope inside out with skillful use of personification and imagery. The result? Something new at the volta when speaking of winter: fertility.

Cats Abroad by Gail White

Cats Abroad

“It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.” -Thoreau

The cats of England at the cottage door
look up expectant, when the milk man comes,
like furry Olivers who beg for more,
beneath a shelter of chrysanthemums.
The cats of Belgium in the baker’s shop
adorn a window — in the bar, a stool.
The cats of Greece, at every culture stop,
are waiting for a tourist to befool.
I judge the nations by the way they treat
these purry gentry just below their knees.
Where cats are loved, I know that strangers meet
a kindly welcome and a will to please.
Why spend so much and haul myself so far
if not to count the cats in Zanzibar?

by Gail White, first published in Sonnets in a Hostile World.

Editor’s note: This made me smile and sometimes that is all that is necessary.