The maple limbs sprout tight-bound nubs
Of burgundy. Green scissors through
The withered grass. The once-trimmed shrubs
Shag out new licks of growth askew.
Here on the cusp of day and spring
We sit and window-watch a jay
Pick suet seeds, shake loose a wing,
Tuck up and tumble off away.
Bright eager light spills on it all,
An augur of the gilded boom
To come: the buzz, the pollen fall,
The flowering cascades of bloom.
How can we think of work and school
Now that each dewy dab’s a jewel?
by Steven Knepper
Editor’s Note: This sonnet contains a bounty of startling imagery, perfect rhymes, and skillful meter. Such poems are a joy to read.
Waldeinsamkeit: An acrostic sonnet
When you’re alone and walking through the trees,
Anxieties and worries fade away.
Leaves fluttering in springtime’s gentle breeze
Disturb no creature’s thoughts. And if you stray
Entirely off the beaten path, you know
It’s safe to chill inside your green cocoon.
No city dangers threaten where you go.
Street noises are displaced by nature’s tune.
And when the light grows dim, and you are drawn
Meanderingly to the EXIT word,
KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs by your city lawn
Erupt into your thoughts, and seem absurd! …
Inside the forest, far from city sounds,
Tranquillity in solitude abounds.
by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons
Editor’s Note: The human ability to create a word for every emotion never fails to impress, as this sweet poem demonstrates. (Waldeinsamkeit: (poetic) woodland solitude; the feeling of solitude in the woods)
Untamed, your modest April limbs can lead
to pies and heady ciders, dumplings shaped
to give the blush to Johnny Appleseed.
Your fame proceeds by way of bees who shed
your pollen yard by yard, a profligate
procession as the Fall from Eden tours
midsummer’s eve. When you play hard to get
the future’s caught up in your suckers, whorls,
and water sprouts—your fruit diverted by
ambition. That’s OK, we’ve all been led
astray chasing some sun, some destiny
prolonged that keeps us from the one given
today. Fresh underfoot. That keeps us strange
in our own skin. Wondering if we can change.
by Ed Granger
Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s ode to the apple tree elevates the simplicity of the tree and its fruit from pie to philosophy.
The decades creep, then—suddenly—rush by,
like sand you try to hold, until a storm
blows through and sends it, scattered, toward the sky.
The breeze upon your skin is not as warm,
and the tides approach too fast. You walk the path
you always walked, but it doesn’t feel the same.
You take the one you think might lead to truth,
you search the sand and hope to see your name.
But we are all like waves—-part of the ocean;
we touch the shore, then get pulled back just when
we think we have our footing. Then our passion
to have it make sense drags us back again.
Like all the other waves, we must recede,
and trust the ocean’s wild, capricious speed.
by Diane Elayne Dees
Editor’s Note: This Shakespearean sonnet speaks of the human condition via metaphor because what else could possibly encompass the vagaries of life?
—after the painting by Alex Colville
His wife asked him to listen, so he does—
his straight-backed chair encouraging attention
as she plays Brahms. He can’t say when it was
she last made this request; they hardly mention
their private interests to each other now,
so he’s a little baffled. But he sits
respectfully, while marveling at how
the dog naps right through all the noisy bits,
snout pointed at the baby grand. Is this
the “living” called for by this room—this hour
of patient joylessness, this fear he’ll miss
something that he should love? Brahms has no power
to move him. Though his wife plays earnestly,
the notes only confound him. So does she.
by Jean L. Kreiling
Editor’s Note: This ekphrastic sonnet depicts a relationship of resignation delicately paired with love that has grown comfortable, even if the chair in which the speaker sits is not. Please click through to see the painting via the link.
I’m old, but I was glad to move my den.
My humans made my bed next to the fire—
a comfort on these winter mornings when
The South Lawn doesn’t beckon, and the choir
of shutter-clicks and shouted questions wear
me down. These days I run my best in dreams;
let Major ’s woofing end up on the air.
This good boy understands that all regimes
begin and then they end. You humans choose
your dogs and cats and Presidents, and put
them in this house to charm the world—or snooze,
like me, the dog who didn’t break Joe’s foot.
Real wisdom’s seldom something loud and fleet.
An old dog knows the fireside is sweet.
by Christine Potter
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Amazon Author Page
Editor’s Note: Doggie wisdom is always more intelligible than the blather humans tell each other.
From leafless branches etching crooked lines
against the sky—scars coldly cut across
a bloodless cheek—some poets weave designs
of desolation, stories laced with loss.
They find in webs of winter-blackened limbs
the shapes of emptiness and elegies—
but those who see the stuff of requiems
miss what another eye obliquely sees:
the rugged grace of living filigree
that scrawls a promise on the open air,
a craggy silhouette of constancy
that tacitly rebuts boot-deep despair.
Though darkly drawn, these etchings may impart
the vital signs at winter’s still-warm heart.
by Jean L. Kreiling
from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 19, 2015
Photograph by Christine Klocek-Lim
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.
from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 21, 2017 — by Gregory Palmerino
Sculpture by Auguste Rodin courtesy of Rodin Museum
How difficult it is to move
even from simple place to place,
how hard to pack the books, to shove
the cat into its carrying case;
how hard to sit in Airport-land
through one more endless flight delay
while Trebizond or Samarkand
sits half a universe away;
how hard to get the papers filed
that separate you from your past,
newly and legally enisled,
and yet, and yet my father’s last
great journey out of self to shade—
how easily and quickly made.
by Gail White, first published in Measure
Editor’s note: Sonnets often say the hardest things with the most ease.
A New Year Begins: An acrostic sonnet
Adieu to Twenty Twenty! Now it’s gone,
New hopes arise for what we could soon share:
Emancipation from a marathon
Withdrawal of companionship and care.
Yet ending this pandemic with vaccines
Entails their distribution planet-wide——
An end to loneliness in quarantines
Requires the rich to help the poorer side …
Below the radar, or behind the scenes,
Essential workers toil, and in return
Get all too scant support, while those of means
In comfort stay secure with scant concern …
New Year must face a truth the old laid bare:
Society’s most free when it’s most fair!
by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons
Editor’s Note: Hello 2021! Might as well start off with a poem that rhymes ‘vaccines’ with ‘quarantines’—not something you see everyday in a sonnet.