What Thomas Saw

J.B. Toner

for J.R.R. Tolkien

Dark seas by night, a howling, weeping sky,
A morning’s mists upon the far dim strand;
Then faces, smiling faces, welcome hands,
Great saints and heroes of the world gone by,
Old friends, lost loves, all people dear and fair,
Then Mary—Mary, mother of us all—
Then nail-marked hands and lips once stained with gall,
Now smiling, smiling, up the crystal stair,
The Dove, the Dove, alight with joy and flame—
Then Him, Whose tears will wash away all wrong,
Whose word cries out to each of us by name,
Whose laughter makes us pure and wise and strong
To enter halls where sorrow never came,
And life itself—and life itself—is song.

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The Dove Looked In

Matthew Alderman

Vita Nuova, xxvi

I saw faded beauty once
Pass me by in a gallery of stippled Seurats:
Maybe she was an English teacher,
A soccer mom in homely new white sneakers,
A nurse in jade-green scrubs.
You would have never called her pretty,
Nor stopped, admiringly at a distance,
Draping a chaste lechery in classical garb with the wan
Affectations of swooning lovers,
And bothered to notice her. [Read more...]

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Twist My Words

Michael Lee Johnson

I see the spring dance all over your face in green
you were arrogant before you viewed my willow tree
outside my balcony.
Now you wave at me
with green fingers
and lime smiles.
You twist my words,
Harvard collegiate style,
right where you want them to be-
lime green, willow tree, and
dark skinned branches.

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet and freelance writer from Itasca, IL. He is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom. He has also published two chapbooks of poetry. His poems have been published in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Fuji, Nigeria, India, and the United Kingdom.

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Reaching to the Choir

R.S. Mitchell

For all the symphonic splendor,
how quickly we up and render
a coterie into a crowd
(bumptious, brazen, and very loud)
before the maestro leaves the stage,
despite the blaring program page,
which pleads in large, bold, roman font
PLEASE DO NOT. For it is our wont
to bustle on our breathless routes,
a trodden troop of resolutes,
hacking, feverish, ill at ease,
resolved to hear no melodies
upon this dark atonal night,
no tunes that can’t be heard on sight. [Read more...]

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A Timeless Embrace

John A. Di Camillo

Unfettered spontaneity of the escalating breeze
Whistling wisps of tingling excitement
Flying clouds of rapid torsion tying tighter
Azure world now clear, once gray, now white, now black
Shimmering splatters of weightless power
Pulling, pushing, twirling, hurling, lifting, soaring—CRACK!
A slice of chaotic light.
An instant.
A distant rumble groaning briefly.
Soaked and startled earth now cools with fading winds.
Blackened sky now gray, once white, now clear azure.
Caprice of the stratosphere. [Read more...]

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Teresa

Sarah DeCorla-Souza

You called yourself a pencil in the hand
of God. You were slick like an arrow, sharp,
poignant with truth. Like Mary to our Martha,
you chose the better part, washing the sick and half-
dead, even when your prayers seemed to crumble
like ash, and your God turned blank and silent. [Read more...]

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Faith

Jeremiah Webster

I dig the hole, claw soil, cut roots
with the knife until there is room
for the ring box we placed you in.
You are buried, the size of a pearl,
by the river where ten years ago
we decided marriage and children
were worth it. What is her name?
I ask above the current. Faith, your
Mother says, It was always a girl.