Featured Topic: Dreams

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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, crash, and run through...

Featured Writer: poets better and more famous than me

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...

Rock of Ages by Augustus Montague Toplady

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure; Save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite...

Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on,...

It was a hard thing to undo this knot by Gerard Manley Hopkins

It was a hard thing to undo this knot. The rainbow shines but only in the thought Of him that looks. Yet not in that alone, For who makes rainbows by invention? And many standing round a waterfall See one bow each, yet not the same to all, But each a hand's breadth...

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...

The Author to Her Book by Anne Bradstreet

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain, Who after birth didst by my side remain, Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view, Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge, Where errors were not lessened...

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...

We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties. Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let...

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...

The Secret Rose by William Butler Yeats

FAR-OFF, most secret, and inviolate Rose, Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre, Or in the wine-vat, dwell beyond the stir And tumult of defeated dreams; and deep Among pale eyelids, heavy with the sleep Men have named...

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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