Featured Topic: Dreams

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    ...

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...

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...

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.  

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...

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 and clifftop eyes above the grey-blue Sound. The pool where they discovered him was gone; the dying place torn...

Come Thou Dayspring

Where is warmth and where can the light be found? These days, the workers put in longer hours than the sun who goes too soon to sleep. All the leaves, once bright, now have dulled and browned with the sunken gourds and withered flowers to feed the molds and mushrooms...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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, too long among the tree limbs all thinned of leaves and life. While winter's bare mourners rake...

Winter Makes Wonder

Winter makes wonder which summer will wake me last before I under? Grey will rain outlast this stink, sink, sourful mood when wince-wind will past. And I blood, burn, brood— what was said and wished unsaid— fat, fresh, fill from food. Pull the push loose thread; pluck...

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...

Featured Writer: poets better and more famous than me

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...

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 wish I could remember that first day” by Christina Rossetti

I wish I could remember that first day,      First hour, first moment of your meeting me,      If bright or dim the season, it might be Summer or Winter for aught I can say; So unrecorded did it slip away,...

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...

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...

To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;...

Love and Sleep by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Lying asleep between the strokes of night   I saw my love lean over my sad bed,   Pale as the duskiest lily’s leaf or head, Smooth-skinned and dark, with bare throat made to bite, Too wan for blushing and too warm for white,   But...

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...

Yet Do I Marvel by Countee Cullen

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind, And did He stoop to quibble could tell why The little buried mole continues blind, Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die, Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare If merely brute...

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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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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A Child’s Sleep

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...

read more
The Icebox

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...

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