Finn’s Acres by Jean L. Kreiling

Finn’s Acres
for Suzanne and Ed

A flash of black and white across the green
of six a.m. Maine meadow—flying fur,
a mighty heart, a nose for prey unseen,
an eye for playthings tossed—Finn’s always sure
to catch the disc that sails across his lawn,
to catch the sunlight in his glossy coat,
to catch and so to share whatever dawn
might promise, in his flight the antidote
to vague human complaints. He runs a race
he always wins, past drifts of Russian sage,
beyond the trellised grapes; he owns the place,
and us as well, demanding we engage
with earth and atmosphere and things that fly.
Our hearts rise with his, happy to comply.

by Jean L. Kreiling

Editor’s Note: As always, this poet’s easy grasp of the sonnet form supports the central theme—Finn. This poem explains why we love our pets.

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.

San Diego Sky by Jean L. Kreiling

San Diego Sky

At first you doubt the San Diego sky—
you think such perfect blue is bound to fail—
but there’s no limit to the vast supply
of azure backdrop for white sand and sail.
It seems the palms stand tall just to be near
that crisp cerulean consistency,
where sunshine polishes the atmosphere
with warmly steadfast luminosity.
Blue graciously recedes at close of day,
and for a passing shower now and then,
but at Balboa Park or on the bay
or by the piers, blue soon prevails again.
There’s not a lot on which you can rely.
but you can trust the San Diego sky.

by Jean L. Kreiling

Editor’s Note: This ekphrastic sonnet slips the reader seamlessly into San Diego with imagery that is clear and descriptive, but not melodramatic. The scene is restful, as is the poem.

Photo by Jean L. Kreiling

From the archives – Beach Breathing by Jean L. Kreiling

Beach Breathing

I breathe the damp and dizzy ocean breeze,
inhaling salt into my blood and bones;
the air that bears the gull’s careening moans
fills up my lungs with fresh infinities.
I breathe the rousing ocean rhapsody,
my nerves and tissues widening to collect
the well-tuned blue that lilting waves reflect
in shiny, shifting swells of harmony.
I breathe the sea-struck sun, and like the sky,
my cells and sinews brighten and expand;
I breathe the world along this stretch of sand,
and feel its vast resilience amplify
my own. It seems I hardly breathe at all
until I see salt water rise and fall.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 6, 2016 — by Jean L. Kreiling

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Beach Breathing by Jean L. Kreiling

Beach Breathing

I breathe the damp and dizzy ocean breeze,
inhaling salt into my blood and bones;
the air that bears the gull’s careening moans
fills up my lungs with fresh infinities.
I breathe the rousing ocean rhapsody,
my nerves and tissues widening to collect
the well-tuned blue that lilting waves reflect
in shiny, shifting swells of harmony.
I breathe the sea-struck sun, and like the sky,
my cells and sinews brighten and expand;
I breathe the world along this stretch of sand,
and feel its vast resilience amplify
my own. It seems I hardly breathe at all
until I see salt water rise and fall.

by Jean L. Kreiling

Editor’s Note: Some poems are able to capture a singular moment, with all of its myriad images, as though infinity were easy.

December by Jean L. Kreiling

December

Arriving modestly, without a sound,
the first snow of the season fills the night
with tiny flakes of other-worldly light
that settles in pale patches on the ground.
The stone-cold air turns flannel-soft, transformed
by small wet stars that fall and thereby lift
the eye and heart—a fragile, frozen gift
that leaves our spirits fortified and warmed.
Another silent night may come to mind,
another star, another gift, but He
need not be sought as heaven falls to earth
in icy, cloud-spun pieces that will find
the pious and the pagan, equally
anointing all who see the season’s birth.

by Jean L. Kreiling, first published in The Tower Journal 5/2 (Winter 2013).

Editor’s Note: I’m waiting with bated breath for the first quiet snow of December, and I hope that it arrives as softly as this poem tiptoes into the mind.

November by Jean L. Kreiling

November

In morning’s chill, you watch your own hot breath
with doubt: its pale, ephemeral display
of life will fade fast on this heartless day
when frosted grass and downed leaves hint of death.
You hug yourself against the cold’s intrusion,
as if you could contract into a sphere
of self-perpetuating heat; you fear
that sunrise was a well-rehearsed illusion.
You envy winged escapees as they sail
toward southern skies, their flight propelled by lack
of faith or tolerance; they don’t look back
as solar furnaces appear to fail.
But you can see your breath—the evidence
of your warm-blooded, well-rehearsed defense.

by Jean L. Kreiling, first published in Snakeskin 212.

Editor’s Note: The volta of this sonnet belies the frozen despair of the preceding lines with classic sonnet form.