Poetry

Linda Pastan 9-23-2015
Maniola / Shutterstock

Maniola / Shutterstock 

what do you call
a skeleton
unburied, performing

a slow dance
in the wind,
limbs akimbo?

Geri Doran 8-10-2015

Lay me down, oh lay me down bankside—
scratched by the blue wildrye, I hear the freshet-rush
of the river drunk on winter’s waters, what lie
it makes of a hushed name.

Cricket

SARIN KUNTHONG / Shutterstock

One by one the stars come up over the Mekong,
and the Buddhist novices,
finished with the evening prayers,
rush out to the water in their orange robes,
and stand with their hands over their eyes,
as if the light were too much for them.

Their master tells them,
Boys, if you want to dream to the stars
you must ask the universe as you go to sleep.

Aaron Brown 6-08-2015
Micael Nussbaumer/Shutterstock

There’s a photo he carries for long journeys
like this one, for trips on loaded market lorries
where the passengers take their seat, perching
on top of cargo, or sitting on crude benches
inside the buses coming from Sudan with names
like “Best of Luck” or “Mr. Good Looking.”

Richard Schiffman 5-06-2015

The Greeks know how tightly coiled
are circumstances with many windings
before tragedy’s spring snaps.
The horse bolts flame-like from the gate;
we do not see its years of training.

So too, the thunderhead today slow bloating
and thickening with muffled rumblings.
The steeds were restless, but the reins
held tight, until a crack of the whip
unleashed the pummeling flood.

 

Lisa Dordal 4-01-2015

You hear a voice speaking
about a bird dragging its dark universe
of feathers across your yard,
and you realize it must be you

telling the boy how you carried its body
beyond the ambit of your dogs.
One eye, round as a coin,
fixing fear upon you, the other,

half shut. How the bird hauled
its body back into your yard,
dying with a will you could only
admire. Am I the bird?, the boy asks.

Gene Grabiner 3-09-2015

Mother, mother / There’s too many of you crying / Brother, brother, brother / There’s far too many of you dying            —Marvin Gaye

then they stomped
          John Willet
as he lay on the sidewalk
hands cuffed behind his back
and shot
                      Michael Brown

who was on his way this fall to college

Donna Pucciani 2-05-2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tale of nails and wood
is retold on the BBC from Winchester,
with hymns about a balm in Gilead,
a wondrous cross, and the choirboys’ echo
of the Fauré Requiem. Cardinal Newman
sends blessings from the grave,
and the organ grumbles “Amen.”

I.
The wailing and the murmured prayers,
the animal ruckus, and coin against coin,
smoke hanging in the temple spaces—
offerings that bear our love to the seat of heaven.

For sixty years my soul has leaned
so hard toward the Almighty, I’m open
like a flower drenched with light
that blossoms into words.

Yet I wonder, will I rest too soon
will I sleep like Miriam
with no honey from the Promised Land
to sweeten this old life?

51.

Marilyn Seven 11-06-2014

Wizards! Caspar! Melchior! Balthasar!
Why fly straight to Fox Herod? Through
Unbounded night—! Bringing only news
Ripe for bloodletting. How black a star
You follow. Herod knows. How bizarre
A kingly claim. Will he oppose? Muse
Like Mary? Ha—! Mothers’ sons lose
Heads to swords & axes. Herod bars
The throne to Jesus. Who kills first?
Herod orders. Dash ’em every one—!
Every male child under two years old.
God’s son Jesus flees to Egypt. Thirst

Naomi Shihab Nye 10-10-2014

Boys on a beach,
women with cookpots,
men bombing tender patches of mint.

There is no righteous position.
Only a place where brown feet
touch the earth.

Maybe you call it yours.
Maybe someone else runs it.
What do you prefer?

Lou Ella Hickman 8-05-2014

for miriam

Brian Doyle 7-09-2014

And it turned out that they had gone over the million / Prayer mark for our son

Madeline Mysko 6-04-2014

I consider the moonflower: / how the big spent blooms look like / three linen tea towels rinsed and wrung out

Samuel Harrison 5-13-2014

"Elevation of the Cross," by Peter Paul Rubens

Through the slippery spirit's incomprehensible means / A perfect surrender.

Kathleen Gunton 4-03-2014

So that for a short moment there is no death.

Zach Czaia 3-05-2014

There are tour guides who speak / all the human tongues, and we are trampled / for being famous blades / but then are resurrected.

Kathleen McCoy 2-04-2014

Sometimes even we— / pierced with arrow-words, with brassy / cacophonies of slurs—stand in calm.

V. Jane Schneeloch 1-05-2014

If my belief were a hickory nut / I'd keep it safe in my pocket

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