Category Archives: Poets

Inspirational Poetry

Prayer on a Friday Morning – Poem by L.R. Harvey

 

A wispy one gets tangled up
beneath the lampshade, sets off
the smoke alarm when it flares up
in purple flame.

Another grows a pair of arms
and legs. It sprouts a healthy beard,
goes off to art school, starts living on
its own. I hear it’s opened up a studio
out on the coast of California.

A sticky one is spinning
on the ceiling fan. I try to peel him off,
to take him back, with spit,
with WD40, with lemon wipes,
but somehow still he orbits above
my head on quiet afternoons,
just watching, listening.

But how I love it when
one slips between my pores,
the kind that just evaporates,
floats past the fan
and out into the February sky,
where pigeons pluck it up like breadcrumbs.

Image credit: Dimples & Tangles Abstract Art, Abstract 2 by Jennifer Griffin

I do not ask for much – Poem by L.R. Harvey

 

To live like bicycle bells,
and grease the build-up of
a life-thick heart as I pass
on the left. The chance
to tell a porch-front cardinal
about his art, to watch him
splash a print of red on sky-
-blue canvas. To learn to see.

To spread wild the love
of clay mugs, of clocks
that tick a minute off,
of granddad’s leather shoes
toe-scuffed and sole-worn,
of children’s books.
To lose myself. To be aware.
I do not ask for Much at all,
but All.

Image Credit: vintage tea cups, photography by Martin Vorel (Libreshot.com)

Ursa Major – Poem by John C. Mannone

The Big Dipper is really Santa’s sled
freewheeling around the North Pole
through frosty stars and a red nosed
bear taking pointers from Rudolf as
his reins arc to a super giant red-eye
star, coursing through the circumpolar
tinsel of stars, a garland of firelights,
but avoiding the unwinding glittering
coil of that dragon, Draco, whose cold
aspic heart, Thuban, thumps the night,

but it’s a certain Santa & his Bears
who bring all those stardust wishes
full of hope sifted from a special star
that’s twinkling in the silent night.

[First published in Abyss & Apex (Jan 2017)]

Image credit: John C. Mannone (image design) and Camille Alvey (image production in Pixlr)

Author’s Commentary: For this American sonnet, it occurred to me that Santa’s sled and reindeer could fit the outline of the Big Dipper. To the best of my knowledge, this is an original concept.

The Big Dipper is known as the constellation Ursa majoris, the Bear, but in the Nordic tradition, it is a wagon. So in that spirit, a large sled is consistent with that image. And with Santa being in the North Pole, it is fitting that the sled points to the North Star, Polaris. [The two pointer stars—Dubhe (Arabic for bear) and Merak (Arabic for loins of the bear)—are aligned with the back of the sled.] Polaris is actually a variable star, so I imaginatively speculate that this pulsating variable could have undergone a catastrophic perturbation which caused it to suddenly shine brightly, as if the Star of Bethlehem. (I am well informed about stellar dynamics, so this conjecture is pure science fiction.) The Big Dipper is a circumpolar constellation, which means it revolves around the pole star, so it is visible throughout the night. I love the symbolism of making the pole star the Star of Bethlehem. Santa Claus, that benevolent gift-giver to children, travels all around the world while always pointing to that bright and shining star.

In star-hopping lingo, stargazers follow the stars in bend of the handle of the Big Dipper to locate a red supergiant star, Arc to Arcturus, which I find as a convenient proxy for the guiding red light (like Rudolf’s nose in the popular legend). In the image, I use poetic license with respect to scale because Arcturus would not be that close to the Big Dipper, nor would it be glowing that big and that bright!

Not shown in the image is another circumpolar constellation, Draco, whose brightest star, Thuban, is the serpentine dragon’s heart. It is in contradistinction to the goodness implied by the Star of Bethlehem. Of course, the allusion at the end of the poem to that wonderful German hymn, “Silent Night,” has special seasonal significance for some that transcends a peaceful gift-giving Santa.

FIRST FLIGHT – by Helga Kidder

. . . and in its shadow
we know one another

~ W. S. Merwin “The Rock”

Married one week, mid-air between
continents, hunger for anything new
quivered inside me like a leaf, unfurling.

The sky February blue.
Behind me a Black Forest village,
mother, and nosy neighbors.
In front of me a town in Tennessee
full of strangers speaking
in a strange language.
Continue reading FIRST FLIGHT – by Helga Kidder

My Daughter’s Black Eye – by Marsha Mathews

she will not look at me
hurries through the living room
hand covering her face.

I go to her
see it

the eye
raw bruise

pink iris
distorted pupil

puffed almost shut
opening the truth

of her relationship
with her boyfriend.

who did this?

she shakes her head
shame spills

my fault

# # #

Poetry Editor’s Note: October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Image credit: Photography by the staff of Black Celebrity Giving

Outcry – by Marsha Mathews

The church with dirty elbows,
whitewashed knees
finally shuts its doors,
sucks in its steeple.
We watch it shrivel.
Bells sway in paroxysms,
chime mute blows.

The sanctuary stiffens.
Pews turn blue.
The altar moans.
No one’s left
to care
if the emeralds and purples
of the stained-glass Christ
weep shards of blood.

 

Image credit: Niki Feijen photograph of an abandoned church in the Netherlands

Soldier’s Last Letter – by Wesley Sims

Nearly unreadable now, paper wrinkled
as her hands, veins of ink blurred by tears.
But she had the words imprinted in her
mind to recall when memories surged.

She need not know that a fellow soldier
likely persuaded him, loaned him paper
to write an apology of sorts—I wish
I’d not enlisted,

Continue reading Soldier’s Last Letter – by Wesley Sims