Bad Moon by Claire Askew

The moon must be sick of being in poems –
always gripped by fingers of late honeysuckle,
always filtered in the lake through the jetty’s slats,
always silvering the flicked tails of the koi.
Always a dinner plate or mirror,
always a fingernail clipping, a grin.

The moon must be sick of being in poems.
Always the bright pin in the picture’s corner,
always looking in at the windows of middle class homes.
Always shoved above a bridge in Paris or Venice,
always an eyeball or symbol,
always a radiant woman, a bowl.

It’s also in the splintered windscreen of the crime scene
with its blots of blood. It’s hung over the pig farm,
streaking white across the silo’s cheek
and slanting through the lorry walls in blades.
It’s in every dented can at the landfill pit,
turning the tip to a shoal of dirty fish.

Never the buried skull,
never the gummed plug in the junkie’s sink.
Never the white cat under the truck’s wheel,
never the beached and stinking jellyfish.
Never the gallstone or the pulled tooth, of course.
Nobody wants to read poems about this.

Heart of Mine by Sappho

Heart of mine, if all the altars
Of the ages stood before me,
Not one pure enough nor sacred
Could I find to lay this white, white
  Rose of love upon.

I who am not great enough to
Love thee with this mortal body
So impassionate with ardour,
But oh, not too small to worship
  While the sun shall shine,—

I would build a fragrant temple
To thee, in the dark green forest,
Of red cedar and fine sandal,
And there love thee with sweet service
  All my whole life long.

I would freshen it with flowers,
And the piney hill-wind through it
Should be sweetened with soft fervours
Of small prayers in gentle language
  Thou wouldst smile to hear.

And a tinkling Eastern wind-bell,
With its fluttering inscription,
From the rafters with bronze music
Should retard the quiet fleeting
  Of uncounted hours.

And my hero, while so human,
Should be even as the gods are,
In that shrine of utter gladness,
With the tranquil stars above it
  And the sea below.

A Glass Darkly by Joan Webster

Windswept magnolia clouds converge,
fuse, like souls coupling.
Would that minds could so meet and merge
face to face.

A cloud of insects swarms,
enshrouds, hinders sight
gets in my way

thick as thoughts
teeming:
small pasts, actions, rules, conventions, lessons learnt,
years of our former selves
condensed and shrunk
each to a dark
speck

they stick to limbs,
ingrain the skin of self,
penetrate the soul,
starkly,

dim perception blot the beyond
of truth.

Brush them aside
with good intentions
round they circle,

staining understanding,
corkscrewing into knowledge,
through desire,
impaling love
under a glass,
……… darkly.

https://joanwebsterauthor.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/a-glass-darkly.pdf

The Flowers Lesson by Louisa May Alcott

THERE grew a fragrant rose-tree where the brook flows,
With two little tender buds, and one full rose;
When the sun went down to his bed in the west,
The little buds leaned on the rose-mother’s breast,
While the bright eyed stars their long watch kept,
And the flowers of the valley in their green cradles slept;
Then silently in odors they communed with each other,
The two little buds on the bosom of their mother.
“O sister,” said the little one, as she gazed at the sky,
“I wish that the Dew Elves, as they wander lightly by,
Would bring me a star; for they never grow dim,
And the Father does not need them to burn round him.
The shining drops of dew the Elves bring each day
And place in my bosom, so soon pass away;
But a star would glitter brightly through the long summer hours,
And I should be fairer than all my sister flowers.
That were better far than the dew-drops that fall
On the high and the low, and come alike to all.
I would be fair and stately, with a bright star to shine
And give a queenly air to this crimson robe of mine.”
And proudly she cried, “These fire-flies shall be
My jewels, since the stars can never come to me.”
Just then a tiny dew-drop that hung o’er the dell
On the breast of the bud like a soft star fell;
But impatiently she flung it away from her leaf,
And it fell on her mother like a tear of grief,
While she folded to her breast, with wilful pride,
A glittering fire-fly that hung by her side.
“Heed,” said the mother rose, “daughter mine,
Why shouldst thou seek for beauty not thine?
The Father hath made thee what thou now art;
And what he most loveth is a sweet, pure heart.
Then why dost thou take with such discontent
The loving gift which he to thee hath sent?
For the cool fresh dew will render thee far
More lovely and sweet than the brightest star;
They were made for Heaven, and can never come to shine
Like the fire-fly thou hast in that foolish breast of thine.
O my foolish little bud, do listen to thy mother;
Care only for true beauty, and seek for no other.
There will be grief and trouble in that wilful little heart;
Unfold thy leaves, my daughter, and let the fly depart.”
But the proud little bud would have her own will,
And folded the fire-fly more closely still;
Till the struggling insect tore open the vest
Of purple and green, that covered her breast.
When the sun came up, she saw with grief
The blooming of her sister bud leaf by leaf.
While she, once as fair and bright as the rest,
Hung her weary head down on her wounded breast.
Bright grew the sunshine, and the soft summer air
Was filled with the music of flowers singing there;
But faint grew the little bud with thirst and pain,
And longed for the cool dew; but now ‘t was in vain.
Then bitterly she wept for her folly and pride,
As drooping she stood by her fair sister’s side.
Then the rose mother leaned the weary little head
On her bosom to rest, and tenderly she said:
“Thou hast learned, my little bud, that, whatever may betide,
Thou canst win thyself no joy by passion or by pride.
The loving Father sends the sunshine and the shower,
That thou mayst become a perfect little flower;—
The sweet dews to feed thee, the soft wind to cheer,
And the earth as a pleasant home, while thou art dwelling here.
Then shouldst thou not be grateful for all this kindly care,
And strive to keep thyself most innocent and fair?
Then seek, my little blossom, to win humility;
Be fair without, be pure within, and thou wilt happy be.
So when the quiet Autumn of thy fragrant life shall come,
Thou mayst pass away, to bloom in the Flower Spirits’ home.”
Then from the mother’s breast, where it still lay hid,
Into the fading bud the dew-drop gently slid;
Stronger grew the little form, and happy tears fell,
As the dew did its silent work, and the bud grew well,
While the gentle rose leaned, with motherly pride,
O’er the fair little ones that bloomed at her side.

Night came again, and the fire-flies flew;
But the bud let them pass, and drank of the dew;
While the soft stars shone, from the still summer heaven,
On the happy little flower that had learned the lesson given.

Early Spring by Fay Inchfawn

Quick through the gates of Fairyland
The South Wind forced his way.
‘Twas his to make the Earth forget
Her grief of yesterday.
“‘Tis mine,” cried he, “to bring her joy!”
And on his lightsome feet
In haste he slung the snowdrop bells,
Pushed past the Fairy sentinels,
And out with laughter sweet.

Clear flames of Crocus glimmered on
The shining way he went.
He whispered to the trees strange tales
Of wondrous sweet intent,
When, suddenly, his witching voice
With timbre rich and rare,
Rang through the woodlands till it cleft
Earth’s silent solitudes, and left
A Dream of Roses there!

Spring by Christina Rossetti

Frost-locked all the winter,
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death.

Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
Drips the soaking rain,
By fits looks down the waking sun:
Young grass springs on the plain;
Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;
Birds sing and pair again.

There is no time like Spring,
When life’s alive in everything,
Before new nestlings sing,
Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
Along the trackless track—
God guides their wing,
He spreads their table that they nothing lack,—
Before the daisy grows a common flower,
Before the sun has power
To scorch the world up in his noontide hour.

There is no time like Spring,
Like Spring that passes by;
There is no life like Spring-life born to die,—
Piercing the sod,
Clothing the uncouth clod,
Hatched in the nest,
Fledged on the windy bough,
Strong on the wing:
There is no time like Spring that passes by,
Now newly born, and now
Hastening to die.

Sympathy by Ellis Bell

There should be no despair for you
While nightly stars are burning;
While evening pours its silent dew,
And sunshine gilds the morning.
There should be no despair—though tears
May flow down like a river:
Are not the best beloved of years
Around your heart for ever?

They weep, you weep, it must be so;
Winds sigh as you are sighing,
And winter sheds its grief in snow
Where Autumn’s leaves are lying:
Yet, these revive, and from their fate
Your fate cannot be parted:
Then, journey on, if not elate,
Still, NEVER broken-hearted!

Ellis Bell, aka Emily Bronte 🙂

A Simple Man At War by Amy Stewart

Deafening hollows of cries echoed through his ears,
the hushed presence of a silent grief portrayed the Valleys.
Dividing the Dawn into Darkness to give a prolonged effect,
which the outcome of this defeat
lead all men to whither through death and agony,
outlasting they’re simple breathes
into now the whimpers of Mercy.

The colour through a mans eye everlasting and bright;
yet now an Anthem of a great divide.

Souring into the Nothing of Tomorrow,
forever fading into an everlasting dream.
Waving to the breathe of life,
falling into a loosing conclusion
that he will always fight for his last breathe.
The plague never loosening its grip,
taking more victims, holding out in spite everything.
The dreaded guns of War released on us,
destroying an unknown soldier,
through this dance of the Devil
was a battle carried out by very few men.

Here the Faith had a final warning,
until the ends of the Earth,
the fight had kept
In every desperate situation,
everyone does there bit to get by and being
inventive to an uncertain future.
Through the everlasting Revenant and still calling to you,
ashes and chaos will never break the circle of Survival.

Love Song by Carol Muske-Dukes

Love comes hungry to anyone’s hand.
I found the newborn sparrow next to
the tumbled nest on the grass. Bravely

opening its beak. Cats circled, squirrels.
I tried to set the nest right but the wild
birds had fled. The knot of pin feathers

sat in my hand and spoke. Just because
I’ve raised it by touch, doesn’t mean it
follows. All day it pecks at the tin image of

a faceless bird. It refuses to fly,
though I’ve opened the door. What
sends us to each other? He and I

had a blue landscape, a village street,
some poems, bread on a plate. Love
was a camera in a doorway, love was

a script, a tin bird. Love was faceless,
even when we’d memorized each other’s
lines. Love was hungry, love was faceless,

the sparrow sings, famished, in my hand.

God Says Yes To Me by Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes