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...

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    ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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

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 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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Iron Sky

With a howl, October's winds shear the fiery hosts of their yellows and reds to leave the branches bare. Then the orphaned leaves are stained, like little brown ghosts, on the sidewalk before they're raised into the air again. A resurrecting tempest—they fall up and...

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...

Featured Writer: poets better and more famous than me

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: “Two vast and trunk-less legs of stone Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those...

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...

Sonnet 129 by William Shakespeare

Is lust in action; and till action, lust The expense of spirit in a waste of shame Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust; Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight; Past reason hunted; and no sooner had, Past reason...

How Sweet and Awful is this Place by Isaac Watts, 1707

How sweet and awful* is the place With Christ within the doors, While everlasting love displays The choicest of her stores!   Here every bowel of our God With soft compassion rolls; Here peace and pardon bought with blood Is food for dying souls.   While all our...

Leda and the Swan by William Butler Yeats

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill, He holds her helpless breast upon his breast. How can those terrified vague fingers push The feathered glory from her loosening...

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...

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...

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;...

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;...

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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