Vacillation – a poem by Riley Mulhern

Vacillation

All our lives
if we are attuned to it
vacillate between absurdities:
How can life be something?
How can life be nothing?
The signs all
are crossed and knotted
leading to both
and to neither.
Who can unravel them? 
And yet the heart beats
and knows with its knocking:
this life is something.

Riley Mulhern is an engineer and a research scientist. He writes poetry because it makes him more alive.

God even – a poem by Diane Lee Moomey

God even
 
   hangs out
in Cyberspace, you know.
Cyberheaven. It’s a good place, 
nothing can get broken. God
can grow a giant leg if He wants,
and stretch it—there’s room for that
and more. God can use
 
the browser to amuse. If we listen
hard enough, we could learn 
what makes God
laugh. Oh yes, I think She does.
 
Laugh, I mean. So this browser
is right on the edge of Cyberheaven,
the screen all tight and crowded,
no room to move but behind,
just reaching out behind—aah.
 
God can just put
a finger here, push there—
just one finger, and the rest of God
hangs loose. Oh yes, I really
think so.

Diane Lee Moomey is a painter and poet living in Half Moon Bay, California, where she is co-host of Coastside Poetry, a monthly reading series; her work has appeared in PoetryMagazine.com, Mezzo Cammin, Caesura, California Quarterly, The Road Less Taken and others. Please visit her at www.dianeleemoomeyart.com

Clover – a poem by Psyche North Torok

Clover
 
I want to bring so much
to the place that I call sacred,
rocks from the river and tumbled stone,
woodruff and pine needles,
grain and fruit for my offerings.
I want to bring sweet red clover                                         
to please you,
just as you said it would
but I can find none in the city now.
Maybe in the spring when the close wind
palliates as best it can                                                         .
this cruelty of metal, tar and 
concrete, I'll go out in the moonlight
and find it, rebellious beside the freeway,                                    
defiant in the cracks of sidewalk,
or quartered like an outlaw in the                                      
metropark. Perhaps then 
I can give us our own refuge
in the solitary country,
where with any luck at all
the city will forsake us.                                                                                
There I will make you an altar that
no one can violate, an altar of sweet red clover,
an altar of stone.

A graduate of Ohio State University, Psyche North Torok is a lover of words, language, and nature. She often visits the Olentangy River and has been known to leave offerings at its banks. Her poems have appeared in Common Ground ReviewPlainsongs, Avalon Literary Review,and various anthologies including Forgotten Women and Dead of Winter. 

Chains – a poem by Jane Angué

Chains
 
set footsteps like arches 
over each moment
                       to lighten the load
 
plumed grasses trodden dry
mute their pain          real silence                         
outspoken         in sun and shade
outside us they are         and feel
a tortoiseshell’s mangled wings 
poppies picked       thrown aside
they                              our balm
 
your pain                              is real
for another breaking heart or home
our passing by hears        is unseen
with no cloak of invisibility
a touchless touch with no imprint
lark               larch                lover
feathers     leaves    brushing skin
singing solitudes to one another
 
our pain is real      the kindly ones 
who shadow our trail
are we                   
traces in our wake
remains         stains        spilt milk
in place of tears
   
consentient
bare feet on bare stone
a healing palm on passion’s welts
 
name intact                 and silence
constant corporality 
mind’s wall               tread lightly 
between meadow grass and thorn
shaping footfall 
slip among the stems
lifting the press of domination
one through other
submission to liberating chains.

Jane Angué teaches English Language and Literature in France. She contributes in French and English to print and online journals such asLe Capital des MotsAmethyst, Ink, Sweat and TearsAcumen, Erbacce, Poésie/première, Traversées, Mille-feuille. A pamphlet, des fleurs pour Bach, was published in 2019 (Editions Encres Vives).

When Green Met Blue – a poem by Marjorie Moorhead

When Green Met Blue
 
 
Sweet Pine needles and sap-shingled cones 
carpeted the grassy yard. Green boughs high above 
full, deep in a sky of robin’s-egg hue. A view 
perceived lolling flat, face turned up, 
at the base of towering trunks.
 
A particular meeting, of that green with that blue,
thrives in this heart, where memory dwells.
I can feel it now, sitting in April sun, 
as birds chirp so clearly, oblivious. 
Pure bliss and simple gift; One-ness.

 

Marjorie Moorhead writes from northern New England. Happy to have found the language and community of poetry, her work addresses environment, survival, relationship. The author of two chapbooks, and a forthcoming collection, included in nine anthologies, and many literary sites, much of Marjorie’s work can be seen here: 
https://marjoriewritespoetry.wordpress.com/places-you-can-see-my-work/

When Blue Breaks – a poem by Marjorie Moorhead

When Blue Breaks
 
through the clouds
in pools of relief
 
from solid monotone grey-white
of January skies,
 
my heart sighs, rejoicing 
in reprieve.
 
Oppressive grey covered all
like a silencer, muffling.
 
Blue breaking through
brings a melody
 
of gratitude.
A feeling that yes,
 
what’s essential and true
presents itself
 
clear; crystal; 
beyond hazy daze 
 
of cover-up.
Blue breaks through,
 
sharp as a thorn jutting from a vine;
blue as a fallen icicle piercing
 
the snow. Its shadow, where it lands,
arrowing the way to go;
 
freeing up possibility;
cracking open a lane 
 
for discovery 
of what to do. 

Marjorie Moorhead writes from northern New England. Happy to have found the language and community of poetry, her work addresses environment, survival, relationship. The author of two chapbooks, and a forthcoming collection, included in nine anthologies, and many literary sites, much of Marjorie’s work can be seen here: 
https://marjoriewritespoetry.wordpress.com/places-you-can-see-my-work/

Whales of Summer – a poem by Emily-Sue Sloane

Whales of Summer
 
Miles out past Cape Cod’s last curl of coastline, 
the whales of summer belly up 
to an underwater banquet,
marked on maritime maps 
as Stellwagen Bank.
 
The giants surface with exhaled blows
and open-jawed feasts 
of plankton and krill scooped up 
amid tons of water sifted and spat 
past brushy baleen filters.
 
Flocks of canny seabirds 
track the pungent smell,
circle and land in the gaping hangars
to pluck a pilfered meal,
squawking their good fortune.
 
The whales flirt with tourists, wave fins, 
flash flukes revealing singular designs
that naturalists recognize and greet by name.
Humpbacks propel their huge hulks into the air
before inhaling and diving into the deep. 
 
The whales leave footprints 
on the surface, flat circles that widen 
and slowly surrender to the chop. 
In gobsmacked silence, all eyes stare 
into the distance, casting hope upon the waters.

Emily-Sue Sloane (emilysuesloane.com) lives in Huntington Station, NY.  Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Amethyst Review; Corona, a Walt Whitman Birthplace anthology; Front Porch Review; Shot Glass Journal; The Long Island Quarterly; and Boston Literary Magazine. Writing helps her appreciate life, especially in a pandemic.

Evening Prayers – a poem by Antoni Ooto

Evening Prayers
 
They, the last of the grey ghost ponies
sleep above the valley, the warm blue of morning,
all their wonder bleeding away.
 
Rich is the moment of belonging. Sleep away…
till the dreams race you home
to the fields where
a yellow flower stands watching the sun.
 
Twisting ever so slightly,
nearly immeasurable,
but reaching none the less.
 
Evening prayers worn out
and the blue night falling, 
ask,
is this all that comes,
 
as if there may be more.
 

Antoni Ooto is an internationally published poet and flash fiction writer.
Well-known for his abstract expressionist art, Antoni now adds his voice to poetry. 
Reading and studying the works of many poets has opened another means of self-expression.

His recent poems have been published in Amethyst Review, The BeZine, Green Ink Poetry, The Poet Magazine, Brown Bag Online, The Wild Word, and many journals and anthologies.
He lives and works in upstate New York with his wife poet/storyteller, Judy DeCroce.

Evening – a Rilke translation by Susan McLean

Evening
by Rainer Maria Rilke

The evening slowly changes its attire,
held for it by a border of old trees.
You watch the realms depart from you and veer
away: one falls and one ascends the skies. 

They leave you, who don’t quite belong to either,
not quite as dark as the silent house, not quite
as surely calling forth what lasts forever
as that which turns to star and climbs each night.

They leave you inexpressibly unwinding
your life—enormous, ripening, tinged with fear—
now limited in scope, now comprehending,
by turns becoming stone in you and star.



Abend

Der Abend wechselt langsam die Gewänder,
die ihm ein Rand von alten Bäumen hält;
du schaust: und von dir scheiden sich die Länder,
ein himmelfahrendes, und eins, das fällt;

und lassen dich, zu keinen ganz gehörend,
nicht ganz so dunkel wie das Haus, das schweigt,
nicht ganz so sicher Ewiges beschwörend
wie das, was Stern wird jede Nacht und steigt;

und lassen dich (unsäglich zu entwirrn)
dein Leben bang und riesenhaft und reifend,
so daß es, bald begrenzt und bald begreifend,
abwechselnd Stein in dir wird und Gestirn.

Susan McLean, professor emerita of English at Southwest Minnesota State University, has published two books of poetry, The Best Disguise and The Whetstone Misses the Knife, and one book of translations of the Latin poet Martial.  Her translations of Rilke have appeared in SubtropicsTransferencePresence, and elsewhere.

Peter Hackett – a poem by Corinna Keefe

 Peter Hackett

His mind was a bright garden where God walked
And watched everything:
The white tablecloths wilting in wet Galilee heat,
The crumbling mortar that the Romans brought,
And the bees buzzing.
 
When it rained – it rarely rained -
The drops came bouncing off the hardened earth,
Springing up again like shoots, sparkling green,
Reflecting all the colours of the world about them.
 
Food and drink shone with so much sun
You could sink inside them, rest your eyes:
It’s risky to look too long at God.
He shaded his eyes and squinted behind glasses,
 
Fine paintbrush hairs like lashes to shield him from the glare.

Note: Peter Hackett SJ was a priest and gifted painter - as well as an editor, librarian, headteacher of several schools, Master of Campion Hall, Oxford, and even (during wartime service in the Royal Navy) deputy harbourmaster of Venice.

Corinna Keefe is a freelance writer currently based in the UK. She has previously published poetry with Broken Sleep Books and Enthusiastic Press.