All posts by Jonathon

On Finding the Great Witley Church by Karen Kelsay

great witley church

We saw your massive golden dome from down
below, a baroque body oddly out
of place. I snapped your picture by the brown
limbs hanging near the roadside fence, devout
 
old guards, one hundred years had left behind.
We leaned across your speckled balustrades
beside the river, where worn paths entwined
and crisscrossed near the watery cascades.
 
Then, hiking grassy slopes around the charred
magnificent old court, adjacent to
your holy place, we found a heavy door.
Surprised at how we easily slipped through,
 
we scramble in like heathens, unaware.
Inside were angels winged with elegance.
Subdued by stained glass, carvings, heaven’s air,
we marveled at your ancient relevance.
 
The pious moment passed, and then I thought
of all the souls who sat within your pews;
the offerings and sadness that they brought.
Your wood grain’s worn, as if it might transfuse

into a blemished song, or ancient phrase,
that mutely sings of suffering and praise.

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Photo by the poet, used with permission. For a recent bio of Kelsay, go here. For a comprehensive list of her poems published at WIZ, go here.

Hard Head Diver by Karen Kelsay

dad diving

He keeps his diving helmet in a shed.
The memories that it buoys up, aren’t dead—
that heavy hat of bolts protects his pride.
He seldom ever has to look inside
the wooden crate beneath the old work bench,
where all his man-things: chisel, hammer, wrench,
as if in dry dock, wait to be reused.
His wife told him to toss it, he refused.
You’re eighty-five, you’ll never need that thing!
But somehow, he can never seem to bring
himself to entertain the thought. The brass
is surely worth a fortune, and the glass…
The chance is slim, but yet he still regards
an abalone dive as in the cards.

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Photo is of the poet’s father, and is used here by permission. For more by Kelsay at WIZ, please see the bio here, and a comprehensive index here.

Surprise Possession by Karen Kelsay

mixy lizard

She spends her afternoons beside the tree,
where Mr. Lizard’s made his home. Last week
she caught him in her mouth, and forcefully,
my husband pried him out. She doesn’t seek
this reptile, or a patterned, scaly prize—
just itches for a thrilling chase. For days
she’s turned into a sphinx. Unblinking eyes,
and breath held in her breast. Her mind’s ablaze
with thoughts of how he was in her possession.
He watches from the wall where he’s protected.
They play their waiting game. No intercession
at dusk is needed. She comes inside dejected,
and marches to the house to scheme and plot.
Tomorrow she will have another shot.

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karen Bio Picture
Karen Kelsay, native of Southern California, is the founder and editor of Kelsay Books. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and journals. Nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, she is also an award winning poet. Her latest full length book, Amytis Leaves Her Garden, was published in 2012, and received the AML award. Karen lives in Hemet, California, with her British husband.

Photo of the poet’s cat, used with permission.

Love in Winter by Laura Craner

FL_Cape_Henry_Trail_with_a_Blanket_of_Snow_(5304103522)

Your expectations are brisk,
Like December’s chill as it sneaks under the door.
Your needs are persistent,
Like a child’s breath on wintry windows, which
Creeps and spreads like nighttime secrets:
Whispered wishes freezing
Molecules, and moments, into memories.

Your words, like snowflakes in tree branches;

Your thoughts, like snowdrifts, cloud my eyes:

Encroaching, enfolding, encasing, enclosing.

Like the first blanket of winter, you
Transform my heart’s topography.
Glistening on worn out things while
Masking and obscuring autumnal death,
You make cold feel like warmth.
Death and sleep are sometimes not so different.

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laura craner headshotLaura Hilton Craner is a single mother of four who occasionally moonlights as a writer and poet. Her essays, reviews, blog posts, and stories have appeared in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, and A Motley Vision, where she occasionally moonlights as a contributor.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons by an unnamed Virginia State park interpreter.

Father-Daughter Dance by Patricia Karamesines

baroque staircase Amsterdam

(For Clinton F. Larson)

How long did I look in that face, admit
that voice? He left his door unlocked to me,
kept ice cream money in a drawer. He fit
his office to my urchin company.

Those years I spent his foundling, each day waking,
I toyed on his baroque and spiraled stair.
“Look, here is Milton. See this sentence snaking?
These coils bend on forever. Do you dare?”
Continue reading Father-Daughter Dance by Patricia Karamesines

Most Days, the Morning Sun’s a Blazing Smudge by Mark Penny

Mark image

Most days, the morning sun’s a blazing smudge
Athwart the city’s searing opal dome,
An egg dropped on an egg, the crack of dawn
Sprawling against a shield that will not budge.
But sometimes, when I stay up all the night
To will my love of nature on the world,
No screen of silken, dusty gray or white
Conceals the chick of heaven where it’s curled.
Those days, the line of jungled, jumbled crags
That spine this island juts along the east
Like a cold lizard basking and the rags
Of last night’s laundry tremble at the beast.
Then the frail yellow phoenix lifts its head
To light the sky and burn awake the dead.

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Mark headshotA middle-aged man in Taiwan
Declared it was time to get on
With his stories and verse
Before loading the Hearse.
It’s of him the above is the spawn.

Mark is, if not ubiquitous, variously present, as follows: Mars Denar, ici, Lowly Seraphim, Dawning of a Brighter Day, Sunstone, and Dialogue.

Photo by the poet.

Putting Up Peaches by Merrijane Rice

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_De_roze_perzikboom_-_Google_Art_Project

Beside the garden wall where grapevines run,
a peach tree stands, diseased and bent with age.
Her blackened branches reach up to the sun
in daily supplication for her wage.

Each year, I think, must surely be her last,
but faithfulness is undeterred by whims.
So, not content to rest on harvests past,
she bears young fruit on geriatric limbs.

With every spring, new buds and blooms emerge
and swell with promise fed by summer rains.
Though twisted and decrepit, still the surge
of liquid light flows through her ancient veins.

I’ll gather and preserve her living gold
to line my pantry shelves against the cold.

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MRice-HeadshotMerrijane is a resident of Kaysville, Utah, where the mountains loom large, the sky is beautiful even when it’s gray, and the geese are always just passing through. She loves nature in a literary sense, often drawing from it to write poetry. But do not even think about trying to take her camping unless there is a structure nearby with functional plumbing.

Image: Vincent van Gogh, De roze perzikboom (The pink peach tree), 1888.