Poetry Issue 9

When Herons Move as One
By Amy Beth Katz

When Herons move as One shimmering body of white against the teal sea of sky,
forms take shape in some archaic language that only whales and angels speak
with heads bowed like the bow of violin on Spiders’ strings.

This is when crickets making love on the desert cactus leaves leave us breathless
as autumn’s empty branches, breathless as the dead and I fall away to nothingness
and become an empty reed. This is when I hear my voice and understand the weight
of my own authority: the ground I stand on; the granite that flows.
This is when I close my eyes and see through years and ages.
When I feel the push and pull of our flock-bodies migrating back to primordial
nesting grounds.

When Herons move as One we harmonize as wisps of wind; molecules which hold and lift the weighty avian body beak,
one and claw. When we allow for lightness,
I am you and you are me and we are us! Aloneness recedes deep underground.
This is when we fly and move as mercury, as hot lava at Mt. Vesuvius covering the dead, as Eros and Psyche’s love
reunited after all of Aphrodite’s impossible tests— perched, now, on the lap of a golden thrown of feathers high on Mt. Olympus.

When Herons move as One, God breathes and we become the pause between
the inhale and the sigh; we become the lift between the current and the mighty wing;
the sun shining through the clouds that frame this dream of flight, of destiny’s movement.

When Herons move as One, we become
safe landing.

 

 

Cities In Dust
By Christy Lee

Dead water laps
Lazily maps her shore
She’s lost her roar
Stolen on the trollin sea floor
Chlorinated
Fluoridated
Constellated
Fractionated
Used
Abused
Refused
No longer amused
Cities in dust.
A world on the edge of thirst
And water boy drives his H2O hearse
Hot city town
Wasted on a daft day
No lawn sprinkler play
Drowned out water-shorts
Cancel the water sports
Her dowry’s drawn
Cities in dust.
Downtrodden waters
Downstream feed’n potters
And green suburban toddlers
Nowhere is clean anymore
The pools are thin
Polluted mists of misshapen sin
Cities in dust.

Oblivious urbanites
Summer suburbanites
Fly their fancy kites
Slip’n’slide late nights
While wasted pipes
And proctor frights
Argue irrigation rights
Down-on Hellespont Heights
Cities in dust.

Dead water laps
Between fracking gaps
Plastic bottle caps
Plastics and elastics
Sink to the brink
Where is the shrink in this stink
To tell us what to do
Where will our tears all go
When the water dies out?

Are we just running toward a mirage?
Cities in dust.

 

 

Hermes in Winged Sandals
By Laura Smith

I cannot move as quickly as
my thoughts travel,
darts of venom or love,
and I the bewildered actor
awaiting a prompt from
the Book-Holder,
as if there were someone
else who would know
what to do.

As the Fates would have it,
no cue is forthcoming,
no action to take, no innocence
lost nor accounting to be made;
only silence and in the silence,
Hermes in winged sandals,
my head bowed to breath
and the beating of my heart,
a stage whisper,
meant only for you to hear.

 

 

An Impressive Anomaly

I flip my computer open in the morning and punch its keys not like the born-blind reading braille but with the brute force of the jazz pianist. I am fast on the keyboard but the curl of my fingers and vigor and flare of my pounding reminisces an old Underwood.

Last night’s crumbs fly up and I take a perusal rest and sip my coffee. I have found some news of great moment.

“Scientists looking to uncover hidden chambers and other ancient secrets of Egyptian pyramids for the first time using powerful scanning technology, have detected an ‘impressive’ anomaly within the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which could indicate something hidden behind the ancient walls.”

Of course I want to know what is hidden. What could this impressive anomaly be? The treasure but a mouse click away!

I pause, hear the fire crackle in the wood stove and the dog sigh. I look out the window and see a woodpecker tap-tapping on the old maple tree.

(Written during the Depth Psychology workshop: Cultivating Poetic Sensibility in a Wired World: A 4-week interactive course Robert Romanyshyn, Brian Tracy & Bonnie Bright)

 

 

In the Mean Time
By Nance Harding

I know there’s not much left
I’ve done the math, I see
the lines, the sags, I feel
the aches, the pains,
the losses, the gains.

So what to do with this shadowy
in the mean time?
Purple doesn’t look good on me.
Too much yellow in the skin I hear her
say through a white chicklet grin.

I say do nothing to be the light
of your own magnificence!
Quietly rise up within
remembering from where you came.
A watery cave is where we all begin
as we return to the mother from
without and within.

Worship the mystery of who you are
and where you’ll be in the far and far
away place we all call home.
The heart of where we all come from.
Strip the wheat from the chafe
drink the milk so sweet from
the teat of loving kindness.

Let the earth be your mother and
the sky be your father.
Make amends, plant a flower.
Make yourself ready for the final hour.

Then watch the leaves turn in color
as they luxuriate in their own splendor.

 

 

spring eternal
by pm eagles

this weather dampens my fuses
with every molecule of wet air
glomming onto my dear skin, for life
all resistance, now overrun and laid bare
by fused rivulets of mist and sweat
that seek refuge in entanglement
the good and the wholly unhealthy
are clinging all together now
this stuff of cloven hooves,
of vines and roots
and poisons that heal
have diverted me from my usual route

the air is too soupy for light travel
and so it seems,
that by foot and not wings
this journey will bring earth energies
and healer spirits that walk lightly
despite their cloddish feet
they know of the ground and streams
through which their lives eternally spring
instinct keeping amnesia at bay
they hold the secrets of that womb securely
and challenge the rest to not forget

the moist foggy blanket of molecules
ferrying tree knowledge and animal pheromones
whispered through the howling, cackling and groans
is short circuiting the usual pathways
beckoning the old wisdom

 

Compassion
by pm eagles

the heart grows   best when breaking
and through the         skillful taking of
suffering and sorrow    into its breast
left are the remnants that grow love
and other nutrients   that feed  the
roots of empathic    connection
its torus field    vested only
in reaping   and sowing
the seeds that yield
mira   culous
heal ing
turns
ever
more
porous and transparent
with each act of blessed sharing

 

 

~ Ode to the Heart ~
By R.A. Ballestrin

The Wisdom of the Heart is not a concept,
not Air
It’s not something you can touch,
like Earth;
or even ‘feel’,
like Water
rising in her long swells

of Orphic emotion.
It’s not even

a link with spirit,
(which many mistake, you see,)

only to find their wings charred
and useless
on that high and soaring path,

to Fire,
and his neutral Sun.

No, the Wisdom of the Heart
is none of these.
These separate Worlds.

Without the Wisdom of the Heart,
Thoughts,
Feelings,
Objects,
Insights
stand in monstrous singularity; Force.
And stand alone;

Distortions,
terrible things
that repel union.
Certain and always proud
in their own, shameless
Impotency.

No.

The Heart is the Reason,
Yes.
The Four Lovers,
Yes.
The catalyst of Life,
the Home.
Yes.
The way through,
the way out,

The Way.

It is the Conduit, you see.
The honey,
and dark and sacred
Temple.
That sweet bed
where Father and Mother meet
in infinite lovemaking,
stitching and weaving,
winding and pulsing
these Great Worlds together.
In More than Love.

In Them.

And in the Heart
their divine coupling
sings worlds and wisdom into Being.
Within and Without,

in Breathing.
and Weeping
like Quivering at a lover’s Touch,
like a time-transcendent Thought.
The Stone that pulls disparate light
into One Light.
A place full to brimming
with nectar,
And stars,
and Life.

And Wisdom.

The Heart.

The True seat of the Divine.

 

Trailing
By Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb

I stood in the foggy, dark woods
trying to read the many trailhead signs
while waiting for her to arrive, wondering
which way we would hike and surprised
when she suddenly pulled up on a bike,
the crunchy sound of wheel to ground
unearthing my attention. “You didn’t
mention that we weren’t walking,”
I whined, but softened at her whisper
that this was something she had always
wanted to do. She was my best friend
for over thirty years, so we chose
the widest path, and she disappeared
ahead where I could barely see
the narrowed trail curving around
into the shadows of aspens and conifers.
And just as my breath seemed to be dying
in the high-elevation, ash-scented forest,
she would race back to me, vibrantly
retracing her way until just out of reach
of my slow, heavy steps, then turn and
be gone into the dense trees again,
until we had crossed over the steepest
point, where I once again anticipated
her image framed in the distance,
facing me, moving closer into view,
but she did not return from wherever
she was; there were no more ridges,
no mountains, no peaks, only sea level—
a flat green line and a long, loud beep
which had pulled me from sleep,
and a little time dreaming after
so many weary nights without—her
hand was still in mine.

 

 

The Heroine’s Journey
By Andrea Slominski

Awakening

No map, nor compass, has art made

to show or tell, or wright the way

no cart, nor ferry, might be paid

for passage to the land O’ Fae.

The Fae tho’ wee are beauteous fair,

once captured, they’ll compel your stay,

in a world o’ dreams, their bonnie lair,

all green and gold, pure nature’s fleur.

Your heart will rest from every care,

‘till fresh, renewed, your spirit’s cured.

In wake or sleep, now clear you’ll see,

what ere’s ahead you might endure.

‘Tho begged I long upon my knee,

to tarry there and serve the queen,

her majesty denied my plea,

and sent me back to where I’d been.

I woke to forest still and dark,

no way or path was to be seen.

‘Tho others here had left their mark,

‘twas long ago, no words to hear,

no breath, no breeze, nor meadowlark.

Stealth silver mist crept like my fear,

and would have froze my feet in place,

but for the love of ones so dear,

a mother’s mem’ries of their face.

So dragged I up from out the fern,

and entered back into the race.

Blindly stumbling on to learn,

how those who spun and wove my fate,

intend for me now to return,

and start anew if not too late.

Soaked and bruised, thus I emerged,

into a meadow song’ed with birds.

 

The Passage

Soft and warm upon my face,

the sun, he beckoned me to rest,

lay covered or’ with Queen Anne’s lace,

in grasses green to make my nest.

While eyes with gaze toward heaven bound,

my ear did hearken from the West,

a horses rhythm swift and sound!

A mounted steed with friend or foe,

not knowing if I should be found,

creeping forward, keeping low,

I tried to spy just who had come

at breakneck speed and with what woe?

“Lady, rise and tarry some!”

He bid me sweetly, join him there.

Despite misgivings I did go,

to see who’s banner he might share.

The Knight o’ Green was faire o’ face,

an emerald armor he did wear.

“I am your escort, from this place,

through yonder woods, your future lies.”

Behind me dark, ahead the race,

“Then to the forest!” was my cry.

His ungloved hand he offered me,

his counsel too, both brave and wise.

This darkened road was meant to be,

away we galloped thru the wood.

He promised me that I would see,

where all before me, once had stood.

A castle soon came into view,

he left me gently, as he should,

in a garden maze, now fresh with dew.

The labyrinth’s path I braved alone,

the door ahead remembrance knew.

The Return

I struck the knockered threshold thrice,

All thoughts becalmed, all speech run dry,

to enter here one pays a price.

A hag did answer, old and wry,

no words were spoken twixt us two,

all knowing passed between the eyes,

she bid me enter, fear, it grew.

In splendid great hall, candle lit,

a host of ancients came to view,

what ’er I’d brought with which to knit,

a future lived in sovereignty.

Near roaring fire she bid me sit,

revealing all her majesty,

now old, now young, entwined in one

the thrice-fold Goddess, Hecate!

From birth to night thru setting sun,

She rules all gateways from within.

“ From Father Time you cannot run,

yet, now is your time to begin,

to know yourself, your power too,

your time of Regency, to win.

A task there is, a drink to brew,

your draught of life, from vintaged vine.”

The time was coming soon I knew,

by entering, I’d crossed the line.

The twists and turns of life’s hard road

had made me like these shades in kind.

They bid me leave my heavy load,

“Drink life’s cup, you cannot pass,

and you’ll remember all once know’d.”

Next, handing me a looking glass,

awash in curiosity,

I hoped I could complete the task.

When gazed within, what did I see?

Myself within eternity.

knight and lady on horseback
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. (1500). Knight and Lady on Horseback Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/b71c0340-e148-0132-f944-58d385a7bbd0