Wind Shaking Leaves – a poem by Michael T. Young

Wind Shaking Leaves
 
 
The wood we burn is not the wood we own.
None of it was ever ours. Not the cabin,
not the key to unlock a life of wonder.
Smoke from our fire threads branches
in a needlework that fades at the first breath.
 
It thins into a sky inhaling the warming air,
and the finch song of a spring catching its hem
in the early buds. Everything is loosed
toward a light that sizzles, even as night
closes the distances to stars and dreams.
 
While we snuggle into sleep, and each other,
a siren warns of something lost or taken.
But the ash keeps rising and the one voice
I follow through the dark is yours.

Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection is The Infinite Doctrine of Water. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including BreakwaterFRiGGThe Inflectionist Review, and Talking River Review.

The Lichen and the Rock – poetry and art by Jackie Henshall



The Lichen and the Rock

I took a thousand pictures of
lichen growing on rocks
wondering how they managed to
know to put that mint green next to 
the gold
so enthralled I was by their art 
I asked if I might join their tribe
being used to collaboration 
they agreed to give it a try
(taking a peek no doubt at some
of the rocks in my mind)

It feels like joining a movement
being taught how to lichenise
this dissolving of certainties
seems never to come to an end
it is a surprise to find new
colours appearing in my mind
improvising 
searching for the spaces between
alive and not alive carrying
strange bacteria as start ups

Lately I take gifts of coloured
glass to place amongst them to see
if they might do something they have
never done before to bring it
alive or sometimes I leave one 
just to surprise as thanks for the
blessed living soil




Jackie Henshall is an established artist working mainly in glass out from an old woollen mill in West Wales www.jackiehenshall.co.uk . She is in the process of writing a book of poems with drawings which she plans to publish early next year, with the working title Shapes I live Inside. She takes her inspiration from natural forms as well as geometric and archetypal forms exploring her own spiritual life and creativity in relation to them. 

Benediction – a poem by Paula Colangelo

Benediction 				 


You may not share the belief 
	of a half-starved scribe, but 

when the panic of insomnia won’t be 
	quelled, enter the raw night; look up.
		 
Although you can’t see inside the moon, 
	it pulls pliant water within you.

Its unavailable light summons.
	Be the angry drunk and rail against 

the stuttering wind, but still bet the pot 
	on such a thing as grace.

Paula Colangelo’s poems are published in SWWIM Every Day, Lily Poetry Review, Connotation Press: An Online Artifactand forthcoming in Sugar House Review and Canary Literary Magazine. Her book reviews appear in Pleiades and Rain Taxi. She has taught poetry in healing focused rehabilitation programs.

Sundown Psalm – a poem by Beth Kanell

Sundown Psalm
 
It starts in the evening. We bring the words,
find the shimmer of gold across the sky, the rose,
the whisper of a Presence just beyond the trees.
 
Remember before. Before the fruits ripened. Before
work took center stage, and evenings dwindled into
endings, mumbled farewells, wishes and wondering.
 
Let this evening be a promise: sweet dough
in a wide bowl, slow to rise, preparation for morning,
for baking, for cooling, for setting a table
 
a long slow reach of hours. Two candles, a prayer.
It starts, as always, opens, in the evening.
 

Beth Kanell lives in northeastern Vermont, with a mountain at her back and a river at her feet. Poet, novelist, historian, and memoirist, she shares her research and writing process at BethKanell.blogspot.com. Find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BethKanellBooks), Twitter (https://twitter.com/BethKanell), and Medium.com.

Pottery and Religion – a poem by Melaney Poli

Pottery and Religion
after Les Murray

Religions are pots. They disconcert
our whole abstracted business, our
insistence on intellect, brains, idols of IQ

into the only whole thinking: pottery.
Nothing’s said till it’s spelled out in motion
with the body, and nothing’s true that’s not done.

A pot, compared with an arrayed religion,
may be like the sky on any perfect morning
just before the light changes. But that is a small religion.

Full religion is a pot formed upon the whole wheel of creation:
like any pot, it must be dialogue and complete
with starry turns where we ask Now why did the potter…?

You can’t pray a lie, said Huckleberry Finn;
you can’t throw one either. It is the same logos:
heaven in ordinary, we call it pottery,

the ordinary heaven, we call it religion,
and God shatters the pottery of any religion—
shatters, not destroys. Shatters into sherds

for each bearer to remake together, being in the world as 
the center is in the pot, a law against circumference.
There’ll always be religion around while there is pottery

or a lack of it. Both are of the earth, and a dance of partners,
as the skilled action of those bodies that are one enough
and courteous with the clay, to let it say the pot.

Melaney Poli is an artist, writer, and Episcopalian nun. She is the author of the accidental book of poems You Teach Me Light: Slightly Dangerous Poems and an accidental novel, Playing a Part.

what the ghost thinks of me – a poem by Lorelei Bacht

what the ghost thinks of me

 
this rose shell is recalcitrant: 
although i have led her 
 
to water every night, proposed 
skeleton keys and bloodletting, 
 
she prefers to take flight, to stay
intact, suffer. i have run out of hands 
 
to launch her to ocean. with moon
tides, i invite her return. she turns 
 
her face away from me and runs,
scrambles for distractions in these dry
 
sediments, structures of solitude: 
will he save her, will she save her, 
 
will they? her predictive patterns are
musical – i enjoy a listen – but lengthy
 
and repetitive. when i unpeel 
my face from this one storyline, and
 
before i witness the next embodiment, 
i will say this: that it was difficult.
 
interesting, but difficult.

Lorelei Bacht is a poetic experiment, a beautifully broken body, and a mother to two young children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beir Bua, Dodging the Rain, The Madrigal, Briefly Zine, The Selkie, Green Ink Poetry, streecake, Marble Poetry, and elsewhere. She is also on Instagram: @lorelei.bacht.writer and on Twitter @bachtlorelei

Simeon Stylites – a poem by JBMulligan

Simeon Stylites


He stood above and below and at his station,
calling to heaven and earth, and hearing both:
voices that fell on him in a warming rain,
voices that rose to beg from him a breath
of benediction, wisdom, even wrath – 
for always he could sense the coils of sin
climbing the pillar like vines, and cursed them with
the rage and horror of the tempted man.
He poured his warmth to those who had the thirst,
and bore the pleasing pains of stout denial,
so far from God and men, and near – and forced
to keep both distances, his body pierced
by crucifying light and the siren's call
to sing and dance around this too-short pole.

JBMulligan has published more than 1100 poems and stories in various magazines over the past 45 years, and has had two chapbooks: The Stations of the Cross and This Way to the Egress, as well as 2 e-books: The City of Now and Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation). He has appeared in more than a dozen anthologies, and was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize anthology.

Kuan Yin in the Garden – a poem by Kathleen Goldblatt

Kuan Yin in The Garden



A storm moved through yesterday,
leaves in the yard already browning.

I bend in the garden to clear broken twigs, 
whisper a greeting to Kuan Yin

who sits among the sea grasses,
stony hands in mudra. 

The dead work here in the garden with me–
 pleasant folk, you understand–all farmers, aged,
 
except for one child not yet old enough to walk. 
I kneel, pull weeds–mother slips by, offers me her shovel

as they chatter, hoes in hand,
Kuan Yin still wordless.


Kathleen Goldblatt is a poet and training member of the CG Jung Institute of New England and the IRSJA. Her work appears in four editions of the Wickford Poetry and Art Book; her chapbook, Our Ghosts Wait Patiently, is due in fall 2022. Kathleen lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

Instructions for {Prayer} – a poem by Nancy Huggett

Instructions for {Prayer} 
(from Jeremiah 6:16)


Thus sayeth the Lord:

{DROP} the pencil, the dishcloth, the hammer, the mouse,
the grocery list, the pen, the duster, the spoon, the rusted nail.
Open clenched hands and release. 

{RAISE} high—veined, smooth, cracked, 
bitten-to-the-quick nails—in praise 
and let them fall together
slowly. A lotus bud just 
about to flower, in front 
of your broken tired heart. 

{ASK} for the ancient ways, 
the old ways, the dusty well-trodden ways hidden 
under concrete freeways, byways, overpasses.
Old ways travelled by land ancestors, spirit 
ancestors, blood ancestors. By hummingbird, mother, 
great-great grandfather, rumoured aunt, 
slow-boat-to-Chili traveller, hooded monks scribing on linen, 
buddhas awakening under the Bohdi tree
ancestors. Space then, for all the stars, black 
holes, comets, galaxies to lead 
you 
down
to 

{REST} from all the longing that ties and binds you.
Let go of striving. 

{DROP} 
to the ground,
lay supine on a bed
of fallen leaves.
Feel the ancient breath:
in and out and in and out.
Ruah, 
from when the world was created, 
big bang, first last forever breath.
The way of rest. 

Nancy Huggett is a settler descendant who lives, writes, and caregives in Ottawa, Canada on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people. Thanks to Firefly Creative, Merritt Writers, and not the rodeo poets, she has work out/forthcoming in Reformed Journal, Literary Mama, Prairie Fire, Pangyrus, and Waterwheel Review.

A Rooftop in Spain – a poem by Clive Donovan

A Rooftop in Spain

Stretched on the cluttered terraza,
relishing the shade, with jasmine in my nostrils,2
while dodging spiny bushes in cracked urns
and pondering my English exasperations
at slapped-on paint, cankered concrete,
beautiful but ever-detaching céramica,
where wood and plaster rot in rain and searing sun.

Yet the anarchy of rooftops attracts my gaze;
the unplanned reckless riot below,
with the neighbours and their washing lines so very close.
A woman rages at her daughter
for some dangerous mistake
– slamming that big, iron door, probably
and, obstinate, the toddler retaliates with screams.

And after a lull, the mother sings:
a complicated song with percusión de mano,
her voice uncoloured with regret – each moment's
nugget of joy in passionate throat – and a second voice;
as they exult in song defiant, the child caught
and taught to know and willing pay – Acepto! –
– Duende! – the cost and end of everything.

Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including Acumen, Agenda, Amethyst Review, Prole, Sentinel and Stand. He lives in Totnes, Devon, UK. He is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee for this year’s best individual poems and his first collection, The Taste of Glass, is recently published by Cinnamon Press.