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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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    ...

Featured Product: Seasons

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,...

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...

At the Wading Pool

The wading pool is shrinking with the wasted sun and the yellows of summer drain slowly away exposing red bricks beneath the glittering spray. With cast-off toys and leaves littered about their feet, the bone-soaked nine-year-olds will squeal and crash and run through...

A Seduction: in Four Seasons

Look my young fool, born with the Spring's first green, our morning is all spent and now the afternoon bleeds red in the west. Will you really be so mean as to ignore the pot you set upon the coals? I want you, and the water will be boiling soon. Come, Fool, with me...

To the Grasshopper and the Cricket by Leigh Hunt

Green little vaulter in the sunny grass, Catching your heart up at the feel of June, Sole voice that's heard amidst the lazy noon, When even the bees lag at the summoning brass; And you, warm little housekeeper, who class With those who think the candles come too...

Winter Staves by Rusten Harris

Is it winter? The trees are waiting to be clothed Arms and branches lifted up to the heavens Staves - ragged upright wooden bones Sup life with a little soil - frozen Limbs clenched through the wind Some lose weight and watch their friends Keep warm through the winter...

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...

Cider by Rusten Walter Harris

Three rungs from the top of a rickety four legged ladder My entire body straining to grasp those clustered King apples Mostly green, with flecks of red on their skin facing the sun Reaching further than I ought I put a little weight on an old branch Knowing very well...

Walking One Spring Morning

Walking one spring morning I weighed the cherry blossoms all brimming with new, full with such impossible hues that every petal, every blade, was like a schoolgirl at her promenade adorned for but an hour or two in reds or purples, pinks and blues before it's shorn...

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...

Featured Writer: poets better and more famous than me

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night – Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.Good...

The Waking by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go. We think by feeling. What is there to know? I hear my being dance from ear to ear. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Of those so close beside...

Batter My Heart, Three-person’d God by John Donne

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new. I, like an usurp'd town to another due, Labor to admit you, but oh, to...

Thoughts in a Zoo by Countee Cullen

They in their cruel traps, and we in ours, Survey each other’s rage, and pass the hours Commiserating each the other’s woe, To mitigate his own pain’s fiery glow. Man could but little proffer in exchange Save that his cages have a larger range. That lion with his...

Exerpt from “The Lanyard” by Billy Collins: a poem for Mother’s Day

I was told that all the firsts would be hard. Today is my first Mother's Day without my mom. Billy Collins, in his poem "The Lanyard," has captured my own feelings better than I could myself. In it he tells how, as a child, he'd thought that giving his mother a...

Villanelle of the Temptress by James Joyce

Are you not weary of ardent ways, Lure of the fallen seraphim? Tell no more of enchanted days. Your eyes have set man’s heart ablaze And you have had your will of him. Are you not weary of ardent ways? Above the flame the smoke of praise Goes up from ocean rim to rim....

A Poem for Father’s day by John Piper

No tree however deep the roots, However high and green the shoots, However strong the trunk has stood, Or firm the fibers of the wood, No tree was ever meant to be A never-ending shade for me Or you. Save one: where Jesus died With bleeding branches spread as wide And...

Love is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink And rise and sink and rise and sink again; Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;...

Les Bijoux by Charles Baudelaire (translated by Jacques LeClercq)

Naked was my dark love, and, knowing my heart, Adorned in but her most sonorous gems, Their high pomp decked her with the conquering art Of Moorish slave girls crowned with diadems. Dancing for me with lively, mocking sound, This world of stone and metal, brittle and...

He Remembers Forgotten Beauty by W.B. Yeats

When my arms wrap you round I press My heart upon the loveliness That has long faded from the world; The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled In shadowy pools, when armies fled; The love-tales wrought with silken thread By dreaming ladies upon cloth That has made...

Featured Form: Rondel

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...

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...

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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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