Featured Topic: Dreams

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Featured Product: Seasons

Praying in the Sanctuary of Snow

These twirling billions born in storms of grey descend forever from such unseen heights that Summer's sons are hypnotized to pray for Winter not to waste her wealth of white.  Other poems on Moss Kingdom about winter: The View From Winter, December 21: an Advent poem...

The View From Winter

By some unjust miracle I awoke again today. How? When the wasted days and hours accumulate like a grey cloak of soot-heavy snow and sweet-sick malaise sticks and smothers me. Regret, my old friend, tucks me to sleep under these covers, while, minute-by-minute, the...

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...

Not One of Us Tried to Remember by Duncan King

Not one of us tried to remember what happened in that cave in the middle of tropical December The men burned to not less than ember villagers we'd tried to save not one of us tried to remember The two Portland boys in chain and fetter so long starved they could only...

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...

As Through a Glass, Darkly

She appears in the glass like a watermark      and her image in the window tells the score. Her eyes, reflected, look blinkered, tired,      sore as she scrapes the dishes clean. Inside: herself. Outside: the dark,      and this old face between. It seemed just weeks...

In the Park on the First Clear Day of Spring

There's something of Spring that makes us self-deceive, that makes-believe the world has never sinned. A dozen squinting Adams search for Eve through a sunlight that's not yet warmed the wind. Weary of winter, the clearing is brim full of hairless legs...

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...

Winter Words: a poem about the uselessness of poems

What can be offered to the afternoon but words and words; there's nothing new to say and so I'm silent as the winter's moon with her half smile over the brilliant day. The clouds have all been chased off by the sun, her sole companion in an empty sky, and I despoil...

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

Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring – When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing; The glassy peartree...

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...

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...

Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney

Late August, given heavy rain and sun for a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it leaving...

After great pain, a formal feeling comes – by Emily Dickinson

After great pain, a formal feeling comes – The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs – The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’ And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’? The Feet, mechanical, go round – A Wooden way Of Ground, or Air, or Ought – Regardless grown, A...

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...

The Fickle Devotion of a Saint

Holy Sonnet 19 by John Donne Oh, to vex me, contraries meet in one: Inconstancy unnaturally hath begot A constant habit; that when I would not I change in vows, and in devotion. As humorous is my contrition As my profane love, and as soon forgot: As riddlingly...

Excerpts from ‘The Rubaiyat or Omar Khayyam’ translated by Edward FitzGerald

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit     Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it. [...] With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead, And there of the...

“I will wait for you.”

This is an amazing performance that articulates a healthy view of singleness in the Christian life. I feel that it is a powerful and much needed corrective to a protestant/evangelical culture that overvalues married life.

Sunken Gold by Eugene Lee-Hamilton

In dim green depths rot ingot-laden ships; And gold doubloons, that from the drowned hand fell, Lie nestled in the ocean-flower’s bell With love’s old gifts, once kissed by long-drowned lips; And round some wrought gold cup the sea-grass whips, And hides lost pearls,...

Featured Form: Rondel

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...

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...

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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