Category Archives: The Poetry Pantry

A Tiny Whirlwind

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Each tiny poem begins with a phrase taken from the opening sentences of the Gospel According to Saint John (King James Version).
 
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
In the beginning,
they say, the planets’ spinning
made angels dizzy.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Sent to bear witness,
three beings from a spacecraft
endeavor to speak.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
the will of the flesh—
a tangle of deception
net forever spread
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
full of grace and truth
both lunatic and loser
hanging out with Christ
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
A man sent from God
will tread wherever he must
to spread the good news.
 

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #231
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 191

A Whirl with Benjamin

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Each tiny poem begins with a phrase taken from “Work” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
 
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
In any language
it is hard to sustain love
for more than an hour.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
quiet desert nights
unable to free themselves
the stars in their chains
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
our hungry questions
crowding an empty table
in a stone-cold cave
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
without the river
wrapping her bones as a cape
the chill in her soul
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
the labor of hands
lifting a golden chalice
in the sacred haze
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
a piece of music
one strain after another
from the wheezing pipes
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
Do you say river
with or without an accent?
Do not feign surprise!
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
Difficult and dry
are the grasses where we traipse
most Sunday mornings.
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
Dream of the river,
deranged and changing its course
on the slightest whim.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
music in silence
savoring filet de boeuf
with a well-aged wine
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
It is not the work
of nuns and priests to inflame,
but to cool passions.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
The flowers I sent—
exchange them, if you want to,
for a crown of thorns.

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #230
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 190

Another Whirl 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
gathering worms for their chicks
in the hidden nests
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
the rain is over
for seven years and a day—
empty husks rattle
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
upon the mountains
a rich harvest of pollen
from the cedar trees
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
voice of the turtle
bent and broken with sorrow
as it plods along
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
the little foxes
able to fend for themselves
but choosing not to
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
the winter is past—
a breeze rising from the south
coaxes seeds to sprout
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
shadows flee away
leaving darkness in their wake
on the barren plain
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
among the lilies
scattered patches of hoarfrost—
summer comes too soon
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
among the lilies
the skin of an animal
taken by surprise
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
the secret places—
how alluring their splendor
to famished spirits
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
the banqueting house
where secular debates rage
over cups of wine
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
lily among thorns—
to all who gaze upon it,
enchanting its ways

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #229
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 189

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

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