In a Silent Way – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

In A Silent Way

Steel-blue feather, with white
chevron tip & ready quill, lies
on my doorstep . . .

By what logic do I pick
it up & twirl perfection
between my fingertips?

I think for something so
light, it has heft.

Long ago in winter, you
gave me a gift of feather
earrings, and beneath

..the porch light full of dizzy
..snow, you said: Taking off the first step . . .

And I thought
you were talking
about poetry.

M.J. Iuppa ‘s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past  29 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

Spirit in Matter – a poem by Emily Peña Murphey

Spirit in Matter

This was the morning when I saw through their grey veils
The souls of the stones.
Suggestions of weathered faces
Peered from beneath hoods of moss and the detritus of fallen leaves.
One bore a beard of pale lichen,
Another sported a downy cockade of unfurling fern.
A slick quartz boulder revealed itself the group’s leader;
The others encircled, it heeding a silent homily
Imparting the wisdom that accrues
To a being that has lodged for centuries in an earthen hollow.

Round about the trees kept watch,
Drawn up erect, all cellular senses honed;
Their alert intelligence vibrated
With the hum of a tautly-stretched wire.

Regiments of bloodroot
Massed on a southward slope
With green mantles folded beneath snowy helms,
Awaiting the high-pitched blast
Of a fairy trumpet.

Meanwhile, a grateful pool slowly filled
As a replenishing brook rushed down its throaty channel.

To be here at such a time each year,
To be silent,
To perceive the world with unnamed senses;
This is my commitment.


Emily Peña Murphey is a retired psychotherapist who has published work in several literary journals. She was recently designated a finalist in the short story and essay categories of the Adelaide Voices Literary Contest. She has family roots in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Texas’ Río Grande Valley.  She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S.A.










Emily Peña 2016

Arête – a poem by Jeff Burt


I am, the voice said, speaking from the charred figure
of a small madrone, a lifeless thing.

I’m spent, not simply tired, exhausted,
but empty, un-animated, without.

I did, and did, and did, and now I’m done.
I know you came for inspiration,

for certainty in spite of your disbelief,
for one more fiery ignition of knowledge

or a rabbit of faith pulled out
of the magical natural world you conquered.

I’ve run out of flame, I’m extinguished.
I could only keep it going so long.

That’s why I said listen to the little voice.
That’s me. That’s all that’s left.

The earth is done, you know. Don’t think
you’ve killed it, though what you’ve done

with its magnitude of riches is remarkable
in a negative way. Perishing is part

of life, and even this wet marble of a world dies
or changes every millennia. Fickle thing,

creation. I didn’t exactly plan it
in the way you think, nor is it an accident

or an evolutionary spin in the way
you think, either. I can’t explain it.

It simply was, in the way you think.
But you came here on a hike

looking for beauty and solace.
I’m no agent of grandiosity any more.

But sit. Stay with me. Talk. I’ll listen, give comfort.
It’s what I do. It’s what I’ll always do.


Jeff Burt lives in California. He works in mental health, and has work in The Monarch Review, LitBreak, Terrene, Nature Writing, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review poetry prize.

The Iron of the Holy Spirit – a poem by LA Felleman

The Iron of the Holy Spirit

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LA Felleman is currently an accountant at the University of Iowa.  Before that, she was a seminary professor. Prior to that, she was a pastor.  She moved to Iowa City with her husband in 2016 and started writing poetry soon afterwards.  In order to learn this new craft, LA attends the Free Generative Writing Workshops and participates in local poetry readings.

Omens – a poem by D.A. Lucas


The ancients saw omens
in the stones
and how oddly they settled
after the storm.
Observant of how the frost collected
on the timbers that eventually
they lopped down,
their splinters spelling doom.

They told of harvest
by way of firelight, their grins
reflected from the blood
that pooled at slaughter;
and trembled when
the ox bones,
chiming in the wind,
sang of famine and war.

But here, in the kingdom of modernity,
stopped in my car at a blood-red light,
it seems foolish to feel
connected with those pagan hands,
reaching in chants across the centuries
-their spirits and mine,
a confluence in my skin-
pointing at all these omens
found in each passerby:
sports car,
flower truck-
backdoor ajar,
petals spilling out.

D.A. Lucas is a poet and expat living in Changchun, China, where he teaches composition and rhetoric at Rutgers University Newark Institute’s business school at NENU. His most recent works have appeared in Barking Sycamores, The Blue Nib, and Three Line Poetry.

Emptiness – a poem by Anne B. Murray


there is an emptiness which knows
the attraction of the clean sheet to the penitent
not the threat of the blank page to the poet
which sees the potential of the fallow field
not the blight of the vacant lot
which trusts in the dream, not the fantasy

a good kind of emptiness which doesn’t
lust or ache with desire or regret
but waits in readiness content to do nothing
except prepare itself by fasting
which hollows itself out to enable
the echo of hope to be heard

this sweet emptiness
hears the contemplative silence of the pilgrim
not the dull drumming of boredom or greed
it is an innocent in the desert
with nothing to lean on
but its own fragility


Anne B. Murray worked for many years in Glasgow, Scotland, facilitating adult creative writing groups  Now retired, she writes and performs poetry and organises public readings. She has had many poems published in several journals and anthologies in the UK and has self-published four poetry pamphlets. Her latest pamphlet The Colour Shop is due out in 2019.



An Offering – a poem by Coreen Hampson

An Offering

Here in the land of wild azaleas and darlingtonia,
fragrance moves down my body until
I feel like new love.
Roots spread through me downward
into the Siskiyou soil.
Yes, a special place.

The snowy peaks not so far away
stand strong against a late spring sky.
They are shouting to me!

“We have seen you before, Old Woman!
You huffed and puffed up our slopes and
across our monkey-flower meadows.
Swam joyously in our jewel lakes!
We are happy to see you still walking the earth.”

I fill not with regret at my frailty,
nor longing for what is lost.

Not this time. This time
I fill with gratitude for what has been,
and still is, somewhere.

Nostalgia frequently lies like a fog
over true memories buried deep in gray matter.

Thank you, my giant friends,
for offering me a true memory out of the fog!

Coreen Hampson lives in Grants Pass, OR.  She is a gardener and poet. Her first book of poetry, Growing Smaller, has recently been accepted by Flowstone Press.


Penetrating Secrets – a poem by Cynthia Pitman

Penetrating Secrets
With all your science can you tell how it is — & whence it is, that light comes into the soul?– — Henry David Thoreau

The science is settled.
We know it all now.
No more need to wonder
why the sweltering heat of the wind
blows across the burning blacktop,
melting the thick tar pitch into a sticky cohesion.
Science has that covered.
No more need to wonder
why the tornadoes gyre terror
across the vast heartland
attacking and flattening the homes, the trees, the animals
and the people.
Science has that covered.
No more need to wonder
why the ocean’s cryptic creatures dwell deep in darkness,
adorned with rich jewel tones
that will never be seen.
Science has that covered.
No more need to wonder
why the flowers bleed blood-red or drip butter-yellow,
their heavy scent saturating the air
with aromatic jubilation.
Science has that covered.

No more need to wonder
why the stars gaze down upon us
while they are trapped in the frozen pose of gravity,
lighting our darkness, but never enough.
Science has that covered.
The science is settled.
No more need to wonder.
So many secrets,
and all of them –


Cynthia Pitman has had poetry published in Literary Yard and Right Hand Pointing. The title of the RHP issue, The White Room, was from her poem, and the artwork was designed around it. She has poetry forthcoming in Postcard Poems and Prose, and a short story forthcoming in Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art.


Welcoming Our Grand daughter Home – a poem by Michael H. Brownstein

Welcoming our Grand daughter Home

the hollow bowl of sunset
across a sweat stained sky
casts a glint of pinkish yellow;
the clouds, hungry for light,
congregate in the near west
wait for the last color,
the surprise of the first stars–

and so
we rearrange furniture
sounds and sighs
the onward rush of a furnace coming to life
her hands
at two months
moving to the rhythm of Tommy Roe
and the Shondells and Sweet Pea


Michael H. Brownstein’s work has appeared in The Café ReviewSouth Florida Poetry Journal, American Letters & CommentarySkidrow PenthouseMeridian Anthology of Contemporary PoetryThe Pacific ReviewPoetry Super Highway and others. He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Awakening on the 5:05 – a poem by Scott Waters

Awakening on the 5:05

and then you got shingles and
we realized that stress is a snake
coiled in the stomach roaming the
halls of the body at will and at large

and to tame it we had to sit beside
a lavender stream in the woods in
silence tucking stars into our pockets

and then a homeless man sat down
on the fringes of this poem in his
public cloud of rags and stench
deserving the same stream
in the same woods
the same stars falling through

the holes

in his shoes


Scott Waters is a poet and songwriter living in Oakland, California, with his wife and son.  He graduated with an M.A. from the San Francisco State creative writing program, and has published previously in The Santa Clara Review, The Pangolin Review, Oblivion, and NatureWriting.