Poets’ Corner

Spoiled

Once Emma knew someone who thought it funny that she had no brothers or sisters. Having grown up with many siblings herself, the woman liked to say that Emma must have been awfully spoiled when she was little. Because to be an only child meant to be spoiled. It was inevitable. Somehow she never realized…

The Monk

This winter I have let my beard hang like litter from my face, and boiled tea, and for a time, looked on and longed to be taken alongside the fields by undisturbed whiteness. There I would mind the cold for its finch-thick sill of bone, and watch last week’s split ash burn like the debris…

The Rector’s Wife

She was wont to laugh, then not at all. She stood at the door dripping rain, He waved her in, he was on a call — a parishioner ringing to complain. She was wont to laugh, then not at all. “They think you are of ill repute and lacking in propriety that you would wear…

Estuary

But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar . . . —Matthew Arnold I’d wait each day for tide to turn as it released the locks imprisoning the oyster-boats moored at the creek’s old docks, and watch the sand bars disappear when morning’s current ran, so knob-kneed piles beneath the pier across our…

Saint John the Baptist

This is the wilderness of fasting, prayer— a rugged landscape, marked by rocks and caves— and of the crying voice which will declare the coming of One mightier, who saves. Emaciated, clad in cloak and hide (the beast’s head visible), pale face, raw hand, the prophet waits at sunset, to abide until the time is…

GOLD OR GLORY

Me once: slumped in a deckchair out the back, Reading a wholesome Reader’s Digest book Which told the story of Heinrich Schliemann Gazing upon the face of Agamemnon – Only, he hadn’t; his discovery Went further back than that. My own history Had its funeral mask – hardly gold, rather The skin over the cheekbones…

Woman, Tree, Rain

At the corner of Church and Fair, in rain she pauses, cool in the invisible and rainless room below her umbrella… The low, wide Japanese tree’s elegant. Its salmon maple leaves are rained to red, Its splay of spindles slicked to jet by rain… Its bonfire burns the rain, and all the world Seems thirsty-eyed…

Rocks and Stones

For what is  lumpen ore no more Cold forged and grey upon The  darkened smithy floor Now  Irradescent is the heart Of one that loves, and yet No longer has to play a part For  whom there be but one port, One harbour, one perfect creation Who from lifeless clay was wrought. One light at…

Covenants

Whole townships flooded as prodigal hosts survey ruined Decoration Day wreaths— and as I never could help but count the ghosts in TVA lakes, their basin museums reefed with antediluvian husks (a schoolhouse, tobacco hooks, two ox-tongues), strange priests wavering rusted fronds in the Cumberland, its sediments eddied with curls traced tight, so each morning…

Jeanne d’Arc

People are like dinner glasses Born long laid dusty Time slowly spins them Round in wash of water and cloth Till dripping full of soapy years they reach their age of translucence. Yet you shattered young, Flûte à France What life within would Wrinkles echo forth? Would we see England’s Joan, rancor Calcified, sagging maniac, Or…

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