Featured Topic: Dreams

Ephemera: Beauty Lies

"It is the failing of a certain literature to believe that life is tragic because it is wretched. Life can be magnificent and overwhelming — that is its whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would be almost easy to live." "Beauty is unbearable, drives us...

Tooth by Rotten Tooth

Legs stirring before the alarm's tormenting beep, I wake from strange dreams in the autumn of my youth, and choke on broken promises I meant to keep-- a sludge that settles to the bottom with the truth where bottled thoughts belch the foam of cold fermented sleep and...

Dream After Making 300 Valentines for Lifelong Aids Alliance: by Amy Doran

We sat, pasting crows from construction paper waiting for them to come to life. They did come to life, shuddering with breath, flapping cautiously, realizing. Jesus could be a camera watching over us when we're sick with letters sick with names, lying on a hospital...

The Icebox

In my dream, I held too many things in my hands and my fingers grappled and fumbled with the load afraid I'd drop one as I stumbled down the road for I'd balanced several things atop an icebox and my dream-drunk brain was slow, weighted down with sand until I knelt to...

Sunday Morning Lethargy

It's Sunday morning; I don't make the bed. Somehow worn from an oversupply of sleep, I feel empty and overfed all at once. Should I eat or should I try a second cup of coffee, or the tea? I am too weary to decide and I tire of this mush of humid luxury. The night held...

Spider Dream: a Limerick

I saw a spider fall into my bed right onto the pillow beside my head. Now I'm hunting him, like preachers hunt sin, and dare not sleep till he or I is dead. Other attempts at humor here on Moss Kingdom: You Violated Right-of-way: a rondel about how I hope you die in a...

All This Juice and All This Joy

Alive and heavy with health,      syrup swells the root, and sun-dappled fields are filled      with walking flowers: the blossoms of the body      and the promise of fruit. We know, and delight, and dream      away the hours; let us have sweet Summer's cream    ...

At Torrey Pines

A cruel salt wind molests the twisted pine who grovels on his gnarled knees for rain; his futile prayers won't mend his broken spine nor will he stand, as in his dreams, again. The cliffs themselves all crumble in the sea and the tumble-down rocks resent the mocking...

A Child’s Sleep

I wonder if the tearful child, not yet perceiving what it means to fall asleep, might believe she dies each night. Afraid to go alone, she chokes on her goodbyes, "Please don't forget me! O please leave the door ajar!" But the swallowing Unknown will not share her...

Featured Product: Seasons

Notes from the Quarantine

Day 1 You tell yourself that you are going to learn French. Instead you make coffee with milk and tell yourself it's okay because they've yet to close the grocery stores; no need to break into the shelf-stable supplies. You tell yourself lies—that you'll use the time...

All This Juice and All This Joy

Alive and heavy with health,      syrup swells the root, and sun-dappled fields are filled      with walking flowers: the blossoms of the body      and the promise of fruit. We know, and delight, and dream      away the hours; let us have sweet Summer's cream    ...

The Leaves Remember

Why are my poems so obsessed with doom? Is there no light their dark will not consume, no work they will not turn into a chore, nor child they cannot drown in metaphor? Sometimes beauty is neither fraud nor thief; sometimes a leaf is just a common leaf— a welcome...

After Walking in the Rain

I need to find a place to dry my shoes   and a fresh towel after a hot shower,     then clean sheets tucked tight beneath the corners       of the bed. I've been too long in the wind,...

All Sad Thoughts Are Banished: reflections on Roethke’s death at the Bloedel Reserve

The woman at the counter said she could   not tell me where the poet Roethke drowned.     The Bloedel Reserve wanted to put on       a happier face, a garden in the wood...

The Cherry Trees by Edward Thomas

The cherry trees bend over and are shedding On the old road where all that passed are dead, Their petals, strewing the grass as for a wedding This early May morn when there is none to wed. Other poems on Moss Kingdom about Spring: Spring by Edna St. Vincent...

August’s End

The thorn branches are a knot of tangled capillaries. They quarter armies of spiders standing silent and sentinel over the blackest of the blackberries-- the last and heaviest summer sweet before the coming rot. These are the scouts and outriders of the advancing...

Mother of the Storm

What is it about the sea, that heaving mass of endless grey, that stills and saddens me and bends my thoughts like clay? Upon the undulating mass the waves warp and glisten like a field of broken glass and call to all who'd listen, "I am the mother of the storm and...

The Prodigal Sun: a poem about how we love the Sun despite his philandering

Wandering with careless muddied steps, I squish the gluttonous ground all drunk with rain in this city where the puddles never dry and the leaf-crammed gutters never drain 'cept for a fleeting fist of golden weeks when the sun visits all brilliant and vain. And we,...

A Closer Kind of Warm: a break-up-with-summer song

The tyrant sun with unforgiving light bends the boys and girls like the August wheat. He makes them strip their clothes and beg for night like mountains made immodest in the heat. Rustling in a windless night, they seethe and sweat in anguish—should they cut their...

Featured Writer: poets better and more famous than me

Elegy 20 To His Mistress Going to Bed by John Donne

COME, madam, come, all rest my powers defy; Until I labour, I in labour lie. The foe ofttimes, having the foe in sight, Is tired with standing, though he never fight. Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glittering, But a far fairer world encompassing. Unpin that...

Excerpts from Ecclesiastes 1-2

What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north;...

Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again? Beauty is not enough. You can no longer quiet me with the redness Of little leaves opening stickily. I know what I know. The sun is hot on my neck as I observe The spikes of the crocus. The smell of the earth is good. It is...

Paradise Lost by John Milton (Excerpt from book 4)

Satan's speech upon finding earth and viewing the sun for the first time: O thou that with surpassing Glory crowned, Look'st from thy sole Dominion like the GodOf this new World; at whose sight all the StarsHide their diminished heads; to thee I call, But with no...

God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.         It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;         It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now...

The Jewish Cemetery at Newport by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  How strange it seems! These Hebrews in their graves,       Close by the street of this fair seaport town, Silent beside the never-silent waves,       At rest in all this moving up and down! The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep       Wave their...

The Pulley by George Herbert

    When God at first made man, Having a glass of blessings standing by, “Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can. Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,     Contract into a span.”     So strength...

From the Dark Tower by Countee Cullen

We shall not always plant while others reap The golden increment of bursting fruit, Not always countenance, abject and mute, That lesser men should hold their brothers cheap; Not everlastingly while others sleep Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute, Not...

Footnote to All Prayer by C.S. Lewis

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou, And dream of Pheidian* fancies and embrace in heart Symbols (I Know) which cannot be the thing Thou art. Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme Worshiping...

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild, Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild, Should waste them all. The crows above the forest call; Tomorrow they may form and go. O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow. Make the day...

Featured Form: Rondel

Where is the Boy? a Rondel for Stephaun

"Look at the picture.      Where is the boy?" "Use your finger, like this, and point right here." Some sounds come out of the scowling man, "We're wasting time. Better to let him enjoy himself, stare at the sun, fondle a toy." "When we talk, it's like he can't even...

Yes, I Was Once Afraid of Bees

Back when I was afraid of bees with a fear most grave and sober; I would flinch when they'd flyover, would shrink and beg my mother, "Please let me stay inside away from these!" Whining from May to October. Yes, I was once afraid of bees but now I see with eyes more...

You Violated Right-of-way: a rondel about how I hope you die in a fire.

You violated right-of-way when you cut in front of all of us-- a hundred drivers and a city bus-- to be the first car parked on the freeway. There were a few words I wanted to say but it's Lent and my wife growls when I cuss; you violated right-of-way when you cut in...

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A Center that Will Hold

A Center that Will Hold

Even as we all are hurtling apart, following diverging vectors, there is comfort in the circling. Even our anchoring sun, who hectors the planets, orbits in a greater sky. We all circle and are circled by. We seek the very center that we fly from— the power that both...

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The Bloodred Stone

The Bloodred Stone

I once plucked a beach rock from his watery bed; beautiful, once brushed of sand, he did not complain, but now that he's home, he just lies there--dull and plain. Somewhere along the dirt path home he must have died. A lifeless grey replaced the impossible red, so I...

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Dandelions

Dandelions

They say to write what you know, but what if there is nothing left to show? Nothing to paint but green on green, and all there is to see—already seen. No fresh petals curl up from the dirt, and meaning hangs like an ill-fitting shirt: stretched and shrunken, thin and...

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Wizard Nap

Wizard Nap

This dull and wintry day is still a weeping grey. But with the turning of a dial perhaps I'll force a smile by conjuring the warmth of June against this gloomy afternoon. Like a bored cat, I linger. I boil water with my finger. Yet, despite this warlock power, I mope...

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Worrying the Stone

Worrying the Stone

The wandering sermon has run too long and yawning congregants rise to their feet while a quavering singer strains his song, aching over the chorus he repeats repeats like a lonesome widow worrying the stone of long desires that she cannot quite complete despite love's...

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He Moves the Mountains

He Moves the Mountains

Never have I seen blue hills above the green ripped from their bedrock and thrown into the deep. And will I ever? But have I passed through the needle's eye? Camel that I am, reborn among the sheep tramping out again to die. Image Credit to Abby Laux For more poems...

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