Tag Archives: poem

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

Icarus Phoenix – by Kelly Hanwright

For a dwelling so small, it was gargantuan.

That house came crashing down, crushing
my chest. Forced to gnaw and swallow
paint, I tasted chalk and lead.

My stomach burned but
I couldn’t throw up; insides already coated,
calendar pages filling until food wouldn’t fit.

Despite the odds, when the time came,
I flew. Like Icarus. Somehow, I rose,
but my wings did not melt.

I reached up blackened hands and grasped a Sun.

Image: Superposition of Fall of Icarus (René Milot) with a burnt house (mrd-stock)

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,

yet she perceived his special gift,
a declaration of affection, the only way
he could voice it, I miss you all,
tell the children hello.

He mentioned shrapnel in his shoulder,
minor wound he claimed. She clutched
the letter to her heart, transmitted warmth
of her body, like a bird hovering her eggs,

as though, like a Holy Eucharist,
its ink might turn to blood, transform
the paper to pulsing tissue,
grow lungs and start to breathe,

become a living presence nurtured,
resting safe against her breast.

 

Image: A Letter from Pvt. Charles H. Austin, Civil War soldier

Soldier’s Wife – Poem by Wesley Sims

She’d stopped counting the weeks and months
the stingy calendar doled out. Diminished
by tears, her anguish had dimmed some,
feelings that had raged like rain-swelled rapids,
about how he enlisted, leaving her and children
like orphans. Recruiters had pumped him
with speeches and patriotic songs, pretty
girls and liquor. But he would learn, verse

by daily verse, the gospel of war she’d taken
on testimony and faith—that war makes
a terrible mistress, tempting men with glory
and glamour, but feeding them empty bellies,
weary bones, bloody memories and mangled
bodies, and if fate chose them, a ticket home
with traumatized minds or missing limbs.

Continue reading Soldier’s Wife – Poem by Wesley Sims

Wish for the New Year – Poem by Yvor Stoakley

Another year has come and gone and a new one just begun.
We completed another circuit around our brilliant Sun.
As we reflect on how we fared this year,
Let’s also pause to consider what each of our relationships to us mean.

There are people that we value for their wisdom and insight,
And others who will stand by us in any righteous fight.
There are those we know through love, through friendship, and through tears,
And those with whom we work or worship or were classmates through the years.

Continue reading Wish for the New Year – Poem by Yvor Stoakley