Category Archives: The Poetry Pantry

Debut

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November sunset, Sonoran Desert, Southern Arizona
 


In time for the moon
to make its dazzling debut,
the sun slips away.

 
Text and photo © 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More SkyWatch Friday
 
More Poetry Pantry #228
 
More Haiku My Heart at Recuerda Mi Corazon
 
More Carpe Diem: “Inspired by Tomas Tranströmer”

Whirling with Solomon

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Each tiny poem begins with a line from Chapter 2 of “Song of Solomon,” taken from the King James Bible.
 
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
the singing of birds—
her soul yields to the trilling
of their morning tongues
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
the rain is over
earth’s parched palate is waiting
for another spring
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
upon the mountains
pumas mix with the ravens—
a mingling of tongues
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
voice of the turtle
more subtle than any breeze
soughing through the hills
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
the little foxes
fresh from the hunt at daybreak
feasting in their den
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
The winter is past—
hints of ice and snow still lurk
among the shadows.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
shadows flee away
as the toasty hours approach
with high noon’s blazing
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
among the lilies
she tends morning by morning
one barbarous thorn
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
among the lilies
morning and afternoon sex
with her beloved
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
the secret places—
in them the lingering scents
of hurried affairs
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
the banqueting house
redolent of gin and wine
even before noon
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
lily among thorns—
the soul in dereliction
still fragrant with grace

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #227
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 187

Suicide Note

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She scribbles her suicide note with fervor,
envisioning birds and thorns, and her
arrival at a crossroads in the night.
She tells of a thread, stitching
rose and crocus and
chrysanthemum together in a
crazy-quilt of seasons out of joint.
She sings of a great horned owl
with the shine of moonlight
in its left eye, but not its right.
She curses the mud
from whose ravenous sucking
not even the strongest foot
can pull free. Then,
in mid-sentence

 

© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #226
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 186

Whirling with Galway

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Each of the following haiku begins with a line purloined from “The Correspondence-School Instructor Says Goodbye to His Poetry Students” by the American poet Galway Kinnell, who died on 28 October.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
clinical sonnets—
jaded women read aloud
from glowing Kindles
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
sending back to you
the smug, self-satisfied look
you gave me last night
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
trying to guess which
way the Holy One went when
he fled Birkenau
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
In the mildest words
lurks a cold, grey rain aimed at
sundering lovers.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
snapshots of yourself
standing on the battlements
of the Alamo
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
to the sagging breast
even high-noon sun seems cold
on the nudist beach
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
neat-scripted letters
in a pornographic tongue—
time to slash and burn

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #225
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 185

Whirling On

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~~ 1 ~~
 
the shape of the bowl
carved from chrysanthemum roots—
how unsubstantial
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
first day of the year
bright and blue over Dublin
a seagull screeches
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
behind the green door
something stirring at nightfall—
thirteen bloody fangs
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
the flame that devours
bole and branch, leaf and limb—
how strange the story
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
rack near the toilet—
literary magazine
still crisp and unread
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
all her wishes for
his speedy recovery—
a turn for the worse
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
inklings of mercy
seeping from the holy book
onto her gnarled hands
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
ten million poppies
carpeting the soldiers’ graves—
distant Flanders fields
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
frivolous pursuits
sucking the life from her soul
dollar by dollar
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
the screeching wind
and swiftly rising ocean—
apocalyptic
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
summer’s epilogue
written in the raven’s cry
and the falling leaf
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
barely audible
her voice inviting earwigs
to the garden feast

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #224
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 184

A Transcendental Whirl

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Each vignette begins with a phrase culled from “Threnody” by the 19th-century Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
nest of bending reeds
near the shore a secret place—
great blue herons hide
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
grass and scented weeds
cradling the children’s laughter
autumn afternoons
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
blade of autumn grain
stranger to distressing drought
welcoming the scythe
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
the wintry garden
holding carrots prisoner
till spring thaws should come
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
every pulsing sound
every thing that does not shine
pointing out the way
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
The stream runs on, but
one diamond is left behind—
rearguard for the light.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
in books of solace
seeking her long-lost childhood
rhyme by tinkling rhyme
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
see my empty house
the shutters’ crazy angles
all the doors ajar
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
star by star his world
resolving into shadow
as each star blinks out
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
to make this wisdom
demands a seer acquainted
with the ways of stones
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
They cannot bind him,
though their bands be made of steel,
forged by elven hands.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
spirit strikes the hour
martyr chained by faith and doubt
crackles in the flames

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #223
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 183

Whirling with Alberto

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Each vignette begins with a phrase culled from “The Night Would Grow Like a Telescope Pulled Out” by Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Álvaro Ríos
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
hear only the sounds
coming from torture chambers—
souls in deep distress
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
brown lips and thin tongues
still strong enough to lust for
things they dare not say
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
the words and the smoke—
this mysterious lotion
soothing troubled souls
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a licorice stick
soaked in liquor of longing
to tempt the lonely
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Phrases become birds—
chickens, wrens, owls and eagles—
when she writes poems.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
great-grandmother’s house—
trains from Philadelphia
hurtling through her dreams
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
around the elbows
the sagging flesh reminding
her of eighty years
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
this night of summer
swaying in the front porch swing
moonbeams tease her hair
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
into plates of food
a hypnotizing potion
poured by trembling hands
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
going somewhere else
stripping off his uniform—
disgraced general
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
Here from somewhere else
I’ve come not by brains or brawn,
but by the Spirit.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
wooden heads laughing—
tonight’s carnival gimmick
luring traffic in
 
~~ 13 ~~
 
Of all the engines,
the heart’s glad-sad-bad machine
is the mightiest.

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #222
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 182
 
More Haiku My Heart at Recuerda Mi Corazon

Whirling with Rumi

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Each vignette begins with a phrase culled from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
The orchard in spring—
apple blossoms fly away
when the old men call.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Come to the orchard—
it is time to name the fruit
clinging to the trees.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
From the other world
comes one whose speech grows orchards
hung with tempting fruit.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
where the two worlds touch—
faint signs of degradation
smudging leaf and light
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a grain of barley
doing double duty as
an earthy poem
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
the speechless full moon
filling ten thousand goblets
with unuttered words
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
the one who brings light
this frosty autumn morning
broken in his chains
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
puddle that freezes
making no sense to the drunk
sloshing his vodka
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
For what needs no food
there are no sheets of music
to help guide the dance.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
little hanging lamps
connected to the plum trees
with frayed bungee cords
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
ancient manuscripts
with vital information
cast into the flames
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
a sugarcane flute
wrapped in strips of red and gold
for the nuptial feast

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #221
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 181

Whirling with ‘The Roosevelts’

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Each vignette begins with a phrase culled from Episode 5 of “The Roosevelts,” a PBS production by Ken Burns.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
in the evening light
their faces suffused with joy
from the vin rosé
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
along the main street
one with no identity
stumbling block by block
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
ramshackle houses—
brittle sticks and broken glass
swaying in the wind
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
spread out on the floor
cold ashes from the fireplace—
wise ones heed the signs
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Along the back roads
she hopes to pick a posy
for the one she loves.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
no longer willing
to set aside discernment—
the terrified monk
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
in its suffering
the nation offering youth
to the flames of war
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
a soft leather glove
filled with a hand without fear—
scarecrow in the corn
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
chalk on a boxcar
denoting lot of tractors
bound for South Sudan
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
preachers and teachers
selfless servants of the race
still they go astray
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
To finish the job
they polarize the nation
into warring camps.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
Immortal Dante,
how you love to guide us still
through the inferno.

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #220
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 180

Whirling with Amy

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Each vignette begins with a phrase culled from “The Kingfisher,” by Amy Clampitt.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
poetry is gone—
the miner and the farmer
clench their teeth with toil
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
a downtown churchyard
where old women holding court
leer at three old men
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
A dazzled pub crawl—
what shall we give the barkeeps
for their jollity?
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
pastoral nightfall
under the crossed oak branches
a tryst by moonlight
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
ruined nunnery
celibates used to live here
now skittering mice
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
on Fifty-fifth Street
threading the intersection
with thundering heart
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
a Sunday morning
somewhere across the ocean
where no church bells toll
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
some grizzled spruce bog
where creatures keep to themselves
and no one sees them
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
seeing how his hands
go searching through the haystack
for missing needles
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
stunning tapestry
woven with thread of gold and
the blood of martyrs
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
Through the long evening
one expression recurring—
“You don’t understand.”
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
among its headstones
one in the cemetery
bringing you to mind

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #219
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 179

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