Spring by Johanna Ely

Spring

spring
has come
and flung
herself
upon this tired world
extremely wet
and green behind the ears
the daffodils aflame
she came
last night
and sang herself a tune
the little old balloon man
whispered her sweet name
she came
and
tumbled
rumbled
into rain
spring
has birthed herself
upon this weary world
bright eyed and winter wise
she collates leaves on trees
the bees
mistake her for a rose
high ho high ho
her blustery refrain
the rain knows
spring has come
and
the world
all lily lost
and dewy eyed
will never be
the same

by Johanna Ely

Editor’s Note: This poem’s short lines and airy imagery encourages joy.

From the archives – Poem for our Anniversary by Johanna Ely

Poem for our Anniversary

I ask you if you still want me
the way the shore wants
the ocean to lap
against its edges,
if you still feel the strong desire
of tides that pull and push
against a moon that is
slivered forever into my skin.
I ask if you remember me,
how I was before you really
knew me,
before you pulled me
to shore, breathing life
into my collapsed lungs
with your slow blues
and blackbird calls.
I want to love you
the way the shore delights
in choppy waves hitting
the seawall at high tide,
or longs for the silent calm
of receding water caressing sand.
You answer yes to everything,
even when I ask you if you imagined
my poems flying across your lips
the first time I kissed you.
I tell you I am the swallow
who will always return home
because you follow me there,
carrying marsh grasses in your beak,
the setting sun blossoming
like a bloodshot rose in your wings,
the ebb and flow of who we are inhaled,
how the love we have smells like the sea.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, September 30, 2016 — by Johanna Ely.

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Consolation: Poem of Joy by Johanna Ely

Consolation: Poem of Joy

Why would we ever
miss each other?
The yellow rose still
smells of sunlight
and miracles.
The lone egret still
balances on one leg,
listening-
your voice
my voice.
The water is
our resurrection-
healing the damned,
the innocent.
Everywhere is grace.
Caught on a spindle,
we spin in space.
I am light.
You are light.
Like two trees,
our branches bend
wildly in joy, in frenzy.
Dance!
Dance!
Find me everywhere
you find yourself.

by Johanna Ely

Editor’s Note: This ode’s opening lines grab the reader’s attention by asking for an active consideration of a relationship. Clever imagery guides the rest of the poem into an emotional dance.

From the archives – What Still Matters by Johanna Ely

What Still Matters

The water stain
on the dining room table
still remains,
a perfect circle left
from the vase of irises
I received on my fortieth birthday.
That, and the table,
lined and scratched
like an old man’s face,
remind me
there is a beauty to aging.
All these millions of years,
water tumbling over riverbeds,
the ragged rocks thin and clean,
smoothed into glass stones,
scarab green,
or wind howling in the crevices
of ocean cliffs,
how it erodes and softens them,
dunes of bone white sand, rising.
All that once came
kicking and screaming
into this nascent world,
weakened to a whisper-
the veneer chipped,
worn to a thin gold band,
takes on its own polished patina.
While a voice low, far away,
murmurs what still matters-
how the purple tongued
irises turned
a deeper indigo
in the waning light.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 13, 2016 — by Johanna Ely.

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

This Rain by Johanna Ely

This Rain

What’s extraordinary is this rain-
after years of
dry, cracked soil,
dead lawns,
and drooping tomato plants,
I don’t complain,
a prayer has been answered.
It arrives like a two thousand year old miracle,
translucent seeds falling from heaven.
The maple tree’s old fingers shake and quiver,
straining to catch the steady drops
that spill from a slate sky.
Children slip and slide across town,
happy little fish swimming upstream.
I don’t complain that the sun and moon
have run off together behind a curtain of clouds,
I wish them well!
I open my mouth and guzzle down raindrops,
content as an old drunk tossing back a shot.
Camellias lay scattered in my front yard,
as pink as Monet’s waterlilies.
What’s extraordinary is this rain,
and how this wet morning light
smells of dark muddy ground,
with all who slept
or dreamed of death,
waking.

by Johanna Ely

Editor’s Note: This poem’s vitality (imagery as sharp as a photo) suits its subject—life after drought. [apologies for the double-post today… typos are the devil]

Poem for our Anniversary by Johanna Ely

Poem for our Anniversary

I ask you if you still want me
the way the shore wants
the ocean to lap
against its edges,
if you still feel the strong desire
of tides that pull and push
against a moon that is
slivered forever into my skin.
I ask if you remember me,
how I was before you really
knew me,
before you pulled me
to shore, breathing life
into my collapsed lungs
with your slow blues
and blackbird calls.
I want to love you
the way the shore delights
in choppy waves hitting
the seawall at high tide,
or longs for the silent calm
of receding water caressing sand.
You answer yes to everything,
even when I ask you if you imagined
my poems flying across your lips
the first time I kissed you.
I tell you I am the swallow
who will always return home
because you follow me there,
carrying marsh grasses in your beak,
the setting sun blossoming
like a bloodshot rose in your wings,
the ebb and flow of who we are inhaled,
how the love we have smells like the sea.

by Johanna Ely

Editor’s Note: Imagery, metaphor, personification, simile, enjambment—this poem’s craft is stellar.

What Still Matters by Johanna Ely

What Still Matters

The water stain
on the dining room table
still remains,
a perfect circle left
from the vase of irises
I received on my fortieth birthday.
That, and the table,
lined and scratched
like an old man’s face,
remind me
there is a beauty to aging.
All these millions of years,
water tumbling over riverbeds,
the ragged rocks thin and clean,
smoothed into glass stones,
scarab green,
or wind howling in the crevices
of ocean cliffs,
how it erodes and softens them,
dunes of bone white sand, rising.
All that once came
kicking and screaming
into this nascent world,
weakened to a whisper-
the veneer chipped,
worn to a thin gold band,
takes on its own polished patina.
While a voice low, far away,
murmurs what still matters-
how the purple tongued
irises turned
a deeper indigo
in the waning light.

by Johanna Ely

Editor’s Note: The lovely imagery in this poem reminds us all to stop and take a moment to just breathe.