Poets’ Corner

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…

A Young Hummingbird

A young hummingbird approaches my feeder, Wings a flash of anxious silver, Grimly eyeing me, the giver Of the gift of glinting nectar. Head aswivel, tensely twitching, Guarding his own greedy sipping, As if worried, maybe wondering When I’ll snatch back all he’s loving. Frantic bird with frantic trill, Ever-moving, ever-shrill, Maybe someday we both…

  BRIEF VISIT FROM A RAINY DAY

Tires on wet pavement whooshing, wavelike, by. Raindrops, in their staccato rhythm, tapping Blurred windows. Morning barely half awake. A recently arriving rainy day, When a small girl— Still, green-blue eyes and almost yellow hair, Warm in her raincoat, backpack on her back, Riding the bus to school—watches the rain, Watches black puddles, splashed by…

Blue Heron by the Pond

With sunlight on his plumage, noble stance, he’s fully grown, a handsome specimen, ideally formed, by some design or chance— exemplar of the avian citizen. He’s quite alone; he wants no company Immobile, his attention occupied by possibilities I cannot see below, he rules the grassy berm, with pride, you’d say.  For him, it is…

Whitsunday

Three days before the mystery of Whitsun A large tree across the road cracked in half The wind too much for its dried trunk As two men brought hedge clippers and a saw, Insufficient in tackling the mess, Looked for some time but finally left it Branches loosely strewn, uncut and ungraved Like an homage…

From Solitude

A mother to her daughter Gazing out over the water: ‘Back up you come, honey.’ I would not be without The love that puts paid to doubt For lust nor money. My sense of you is thorough As church bells rouse Hillsborough And the children play – Like the sudden certitude That saved us from…

Alfred Hope Patten

1885-1958, Anglo-Catholic priest and restorer of the Shrine in 1922 Your name has a certain gleam to it – eccentric sounding, as you were yourself, misfit farmer’s boy, dodger of tests, perhaps the printed word oppressed you unlike the sensory glory of High Church. You loved the drench of incense, the cleansing douse of holy…

Excommunication

“IT IS ORDERED that the defendant be placed on probation, and the defendant  shall … not consume intoxicants at any time or any place, and not be present in a place  where the sale of alcohol is the major business.” I was most sad when they said unto me, Let’s go into the house where…

The Dream of Descartes

I A dry heat glowing in his shins and brain afire, The night sky gray behind the distant münster’s spire, He found himself awake upon a rain-slicked street, His boot heels slipping on the stones; the wind searched every pleat Of his brown cloak and struck his body till it spun Him back and all…

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