Lola Wavers – a poem by Richard Ryal

Lola Wavers

Honey slows the speed of light it bears
to opalescence,
its silence worth more than prayers.

The air has turned to syrup, it bears
her into quiet luminescence,
its honey slows the speed of light. It shears

from her the husk of sin, which scares
her—into shame, not gratitude. But acquiescence 
to silence is worth more than prayers

or penance. The calm light prepares
her for its grace, its healing phosphorescence,
honey slowing the speed of light, it flares

then holds her still. The light declares
itself a prayer, an ascendance
into silence worth more than prayers.

But she’s not ready yet. She still cares
for, clings to, her faults, though their allure lessens
as honey slows the speed of light it bears
to silence worth more than prayers.

This poem is from an unpublished collection titled The Ecstasy of St. Lola. They consider a young nun named Sister Lola who experiences a profound religious experience. 

A poet, professor, and editor, Richard Ryal has worked in marketing and higher education. He stops for every poem he hasn’t read before, and no one can talk him out of doing that. His recent publications include Notre Dame ReviewSheila-Na-GigThe South Florida Poetry Journal, and Survision.

Building a Cathedral – a poem by Diane Elayne Dees

Building a Cathedral

When warming up your voice, it’s almost like you’re building a cathedral inside your skull.            -Bjork

Sunshine pours through flashed glass,
windows gleam rainbow hues;
they pry open the sky 
for a holographic entry
to the hidden place
where we are part of All That Is,
and All That Is is part of us.
Up one octave, then the next, 
higher and higher, then the final climb
to the sacred spire, where sounds
at once primeval and ethereal 
ring through the atmosphere,
vibrating the polished beams.
Then silence—as the brightest of lights
shines upon calcinated limestone,
illuminating the Carver’s signature.

Diane Elayne Dees is the author of the chapbooks, Coronary Truth,The Last Time I Saw You, andThe Wild Parrots of Marigny. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.

Of Saints – a poem by Kevin Hart

        Of Saints 

“There are three sorts of saint,” the angel said,
“The first don’t seem to do that much at all,
“Some simply walk barefoot on summer grass

“Yet people seeing them lament their lives.
“You’ll find them, once or twice, half in a smile,
“And then God leaps the void to hold them tight.

“The second sort of saint,” he seemed to say
(I felt his thought burn darkly in my mind),
“Feel God must tick each single thing they do,

“No deed goes by without Him seeing it,
“Each thought is wrung and rinsed for Him alone;
“Difficult men, and women too, they are,

“And yet without them stones would snap in half. 
 (That angel looked at me the way cliffs do.)
“The third,” he said (and paused), “will live as though

“The love of God must open all of time,
 “Not even twenty thousand lives would do
“To show the wonder of a drop of rain,

“Each word, each silence too, is sung, not said,
“And each deflects death’s No into a Yes.”
The angel looked out calmly from my fear,

A night was falling hard, like an eclipse,
A question bit its way into my heart:
“Which one are you? Not that you have a choice,

“But day must see you be the one you are.”
He gazed from deep within my darkest self
And disappeared into the grainy air.

Kevin Hart‘s most recent collections of poetry are Wild Track: New and Selected Poems (Notre Dame UP, 2015) and Barefoot (Notre Dame UP, 2018). His Gifford Lectures, Lands of Likeness: For a Poetics of Contemplation, will appear with Chicago UP in 2023. He is currently completing two new collections of poetry, Lone Pilgrim and So Dark Over the River. He lives in central Virginia. 

Marigolds – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

Ruffles of bright orange and cinnamon,
you, marigolds, spun from a pinch of
seeds, grow in abundance in between
eggplants’ glossy purple, protecting
them with stenciled green leaves
like an armor worn close
to skin—the scent of rain,
the sight of monarchs,
the sound of bees.
No wonder I am mesmerized
by your tongues’ small fires
glowing with desire.
You are ancient medicine
in the time of women
whose faces mirrored the sun.

M.J. Iuppa’s fifth full length poetry collection The Weight of Air from Kelsay Books was released in September 2022; and, a chapbook of 24 100-word stories, Rock. Paper. Scissors., from Foothills Publishing in 2022.  For the past 33 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.

Doing – a poem by Melanie Green

make-lasagna self
     the listen
to deep-solitude
While crows scrabble
and joy,
some conjure now to shape
the stillness-field
     into language.
The doing
to sit as an open
in slow-time
the only
to receive
     the sun-stained
of a voice.

Melanie Green‘s most recent poetry collection, A Long, Wide Stretch of Calm was published by The Poetry Box of Beaverton, Oregon. The titles of her earlier collections are: Continuing Bridge and Determining Sky. She is a resident of Portland, Oregon. 

Do You Hear the More Distant Flute? – a poem by Nancy K. Jentsch

Do You Hear the More Distant Flute? 
Title from “He’s there among the scented trees” by Rabindranath Tagore 
From the porch I sip the sky’s vastness 
moon cupping the earth’s light 
stars and planets budding, 
my shawl the raucous crickets 
calling autumn, the whirring 
purr of a displaced owl 
fringed with the dwindling scent 
of new-mown hay 
But in the cracks between insects’ 
chirps, there is the hint of a distant 
flute. Do you hear how it lilts 
through your day’s ballad, 
your dreams pillowed till dawn 
by its final verse? 

Nancy K. Jentsch’s poetry has appeared recently in The Pine Cone ReviewScissortail Quarterly, and Verse-Virtual. Her chapbook, Authorized Visitors, was published in 2017 (Cherry Grove Collections) and Between the Rows, her first poetry collection, con be purchased from Shanti Arts. More information is available on her website: 

Old Fish Crow – a poem by Barbara Tyler

Old Fish Crow

Walking into church we hear 
the raspy caw of a Fish Crow, 
his guttural uh oh alerts us 
to something we do not know. 

During the service I count 
four trains, the tracks only 
two hundred yards away, 
as the Fish Crow flies. 

In our traditional service 
I no longer hear children, 
no babies to interject during 
hymns, sermon, or prayers. 

In Sunday school the same 
bald man who links Bible stories 
to lost liberties, interjects twice today, 
never realizing he preaches to a choir 
of tired, old, white men. 

I note Isaac translates he laughs, 
while Ishmael means God hears, 
and my husband tells me later 
he didn’t realize concubines 
were an acceptable practice 
in Biblical times.

Please old Fish Crow, 
please tell me something 
I want to know.

Barbara Tyler is a visual artist currently trying her hand at poetry. She uses words for the same reason as visual media—to express emotional reactions to aging, relationships, and faith as well as history, culture, and nature. Her art and writing can be sampled at

A City Church – a poem by Helen Jones

   A City Church

Here you may bathe in silence,
The thud of traffic on the road wiped out
By eternity.
Here stones breathe out
The softened breath of centuries.
Here men have worked,
Patiently coaxing worlds from wood and stone
To make creation new.

Here, each strike of chisel, chip of wood,
Has fed a quest for the divine.
Here the vaults oar towards a distant heaven,
Carvings unseen are carefully teased out,
Made perfect, not for sight of men,
But for the eye of God.

Rough craftsmen, hardened by a bitter world
Brought life from stone,
Pictures of those in power, long despised,
Making their noses long, their chins too big.
Carpenters made the dark wood bloom
To fill an aching void.
Here monkeys and grotesques,
Pigs running, pipes blaring, 
Angels, lute-playing, wives beating,
Elephants trumpeting, lions roaring,
Ploughmen who turn the sodden land
And women gleaning after harvest.

Here velvet rose flowers and the lily blooms,
Vines twist abundant, gentle Mary smiles,
Green men are peeping from the tangled woods
To watch good souls go climbing up to heaven.
Here pig and rose, the pipes and lilies,
Today and yesterday, what is to come, 
All sing as one, creator’s bounty
Under an arc of grace.

Helen Jones gained a degree in English, many years ago from University College London and later an M.Ed. from the University of Liverpool. She is now happily retired and spends a lot of her time writing and making a new garden. 

Springtime Meditation – a poem by Joseph Kleponis

Springtime Meditation

On this spring afternoon,
There’s a wind from the northeast.
That in its dampness
Almost carries the scent of the sea.
And the just-budding apple trees
Stretch crooked limbs upward,
Asking for the heaven’s warmth –
Or are those outstretched limbs
Admonitory; pointing to the sky
To remind us that the heavens
Which reach the earth
And fill us with life,
As in the nascent buds
On those nearly barren branches,
Might just as easily
Rain down ice
Or unmerciful sun?

Joseph Kleponis lives north of Boston, Massachusetts. His poetry has been appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Eucalypt, First Literary Review -East, Penmen Review of Southern New Hampshire University, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Wilderness House Literary Review. Truth’s Truth, his first book, was released in 2021 by Kelsay Books.