Category Archives: Poetry

Lull

by Tyler Chadwick

The crow lays roadside,
fully dead, its swollen body
trimmed with grass. Its head,

cropped with beads of dew,
cocks awkwardly to one side,
the top eye muting the sky

in a flat, milky gaze, beak
cracked in perpetual “caw,”
though no sound escapes

save the rasp of leaves
tripped by the wind
through this wooded suburban lull.

___________________________________________________________

Originally published in Black Rock & Sage 9 (2009).

Tyler is a frequent contributor to Wilderness Interface Zone.  His bio plus links to his personal blog and to some of his posts at A Motley Vision can be found here (scroll to end).

Among the Boughs

by Karen Kelsay

Tonight, a slow release of summer rain
sweeps through my pear tree. Gentle is the sound,
a metronomic lullaby that rolls
across each limb and patters on the ground.

Outside my room, traversing streamlets run
along the open pane–I try to count them all.
And leaves are soaked a darker green, while buds
appear to peek between the lattice wall.

The scent of blossoms filters through my screen.
I lie awake, yet, caught up in romance
among the boughs, where whispers hum to me,
and all my evening thoughts have learned to dance.


Karen Kelsay is a native Californian who grew up near the Pacific.  As a child, she spent most of her weekends on a boat. She has three children, two cats and extended family in England, where she loves to visit. Her poems have been widely published over the past few years in journals, including The Boston Literary Review, The New Formalist, The Christian Science Monitor and Willow’s Wept Review. Her first book, Collected Poems, was finished in 2008, and a chapbook, A Fist of Roots, was published by Pudding House Press in January 2009.  A second chapbook of children’s poetry, titled Song of the Bluebell Fairy, will be published later this year.  To visit her website, go here.  To read samples of her verse for children, go here.

Guest Post: Bart, by Cara O’Sullivan

Brown-eyed boy tosses his black head,
Pokes his nose through the corral bars
Sniffing, searching for the apple slice
He knows, he knows I hide behind me.
I laugh, he bobs his head, steps close,
Knickers softly, lowers his head near my face.
He loves me for the apple he smells,
Its dappled red and yellow skin
Hints at dusty summer noons,
Evokes grass cool and wet at dawn.
I relent and offer the fruit in my open palm.
He gobbles it in loud, happy crunches—
Now he loves me even more.
I lean against the corral.
He snorts, puts his head against mine.
A bay yearling bugles a greeting,
Runs across the field to nuzzle an appaloosa.
Brown-eyed boy twitches his ears, knickers to the others.
In the slanted light of sunset, the hairs on his black neck
Gleam iridescent with blue, purple and green.
Warm blood, muscle and bone hold us both here,
But he is sinewed to the earth in ways I am not.
Are his thoughts images wrapped with sharp smells and taste?
What feelings thunder in his chest
When he pounds across a field?
I don’t know how his animal mind works,
But here in the dusty stable yard, in the warm sun
On the September cusp of Indian summer,
His breath, sweet with hay and apple, fans across my neck,
His huge face rests on my shoulder—
We stand wordless and content.

_________________________________________________________

For Cara’s bio, go here (scroll to end).

Guest Post: Girl and Mare by Cara O’Sullivan

Swallows fly low and fast
Singing of nests in the arena’s rafters.
Heat radiates through wood and sand
Melodius with the voices of young girls,
Odorous with warm sweat of horses,
Pungent with fresh manure, 
Sweet from hay growing in the field.
The mare and the girl work hard
Learning to dance together,
To understand a tug of the rein,
The lean of a body, the weight of a foot.
Dust rises where they turn, jump, and lope
This creature comprised of two–
My daughter, barely eighty pounds,
And the chestnut mare over a thousand.
My daughter’s face is flushed with heat and concentration;
The mare is sleek with sweat, but she hates to stop.
She is one with the girl who loves to run.
They both yearn to move through space
Soaring over hurdles. Maybe this is what makes
Them love each other so. When the lesson ends
The mare stands, eyes half closed as the girl
Brushes over tired muscles, soothes out tangled mane and tail.
The horse nudges her face against the girl.
Unbidden, she plods quietly behind the girl,
Content to follow her back to the corral.
Neither seems to want to leave the other.
Out in the paddock, maple trees shiver
In a cool wind easing down the canyon.
The mare comes close to stand by the girl,
Nudges her again. My daughter wraps her arms
Around the mare’s neck, buries her face
In that solid living warmth. The trees lean
Into  the radiance of that quiet embrace.
I call to my girl, have the sense to let the two
Linger in that fast embrace.
I understand that love, that loathing to part.
My girl finally comes to me. In the sun,
The chestnut mare watches, her brown eyes
Warm as heated summer earth.

____________________________________________________________

Cara Bullinger O’Sullivan is a BYU English department graduate who has worked as a magazine editor, technical writer, and IT systems auditor. She lives in Utah with her husband, two children and 2 dogs. In her spare time she enjoys pursuing various creative writing projects with unknown destinations.

Thanks to WIZ’s People Month Participants

My happy thanks to everyone who participated in WIZ’s People Month.  My list of folks for whom I’ve felt deeply grateful includes:

Th.
Nephi Anderson (via Th.’s gravelly voice)
Mark Bennion
Tyler Chadwick
greenfrog
green mormon architect
Elizabeth R.

And, of course, many thanks to WIZ’s loyal readers and commenters.

I appreciate each writer’s help keeping People Month on WIZ interesting and fun.  We’ll do it again next year (maybe earlier), so start drawing up your People Month writing plans now.

Guest post by Tyler Chadwick: Fruit

by Tyler Chadwick
 

1. First

“She’s like an apple
in a water balloon,”
the doctor says. They watch

their fruit unfold across
the screen in light movements.
Submerged beneath her sea

enclosed by silent walls,
slow fluid breaths inspire
her ripening, baptize

the room in innocence.
Within this matrix
of tranquility,

they sense her beckoning
through sound’s translucent waves,
calling from her still place

into time’s raging sea
for a Return. Then Light
ripples from around her world

as from the Garden tree
whence God called Adam
and questioned why his seed
had grown so ripe with blood.

2. Last

Within their yellow tree
atop a falling hill,
shades of spring shadow

the waiting fruit. Chilled rains
stagnate in micro-seas
about their stems, throw drops

of ripened dew across
his face as he climbs
upward, pulls the apples,

and drops them
to her waiting hands.
Pale bruises hide beneath

the golden skin, some from
their gathering, some from
tussles with branches

and hungry birds, and some
from the inside-out
of parasitic guile.

Holding his breath,
he cradles the last fruit
as naked branches steal
the blood from his cold hand.
 

3. Return

The pair, fallen with years,
returns to their garden,
straining for shades of green

within withered gold.
Arm in arm, they step
beneath their tree

and rest against the trunk.
His eyes pursue the land
into a blurry field

and hers cover his face
in reminiscent strokes.
As the sun departs his gaze,

dark winds carry
the breath of swollen fruit,
pooled around their feet. He sighs;

she leans against his arm
and waits with him as night
folds across his frame.

Her tears swell with their fruit,
distilling through Earth’s skin
into the flowing blood
of their generations’ veins.

____________________________________________________________

For Tyler’s bio and blogs, go here (scroll to the end). 

Originally published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 39:3 (2006).

Hudson’s Geese: Reprise

(For Leslie Norris)

By Tyler Chadwick

Day’s last reflections
catch on wind-swept ripples
as two geese throw shadows
across watered silence.
Embraced by echoes,
each circles the other.
Tracing this current,
I watch Hudson’s pair
venturing back
across the continent:
Her wings bear no scars
of hapless encounter
with fox or wolf or man;
his body carries
no hunter’s spray,
the lead that felled him
to the dogs. They bask
in this dusking plane,
watching the horizon
gather them, leaving
phantom indentations
in the eyes of those who
understood their love.

 

Tyler Chadwick is an academic refugee from Utah living in Idaho with his wife, their three daughters, and their Miniature Schnauzer, Bosley. He leapt into the Mormon blogging scene at A Motley Vision (his home away from home) when Theric Jepson’s post about Onan’s sin coaxed him to finally plant his rhetorical seed in the field of Mormon letters. His poetry has appeared in Metaphor, Dialogue, Irreantum, Salome Magazine, Black Rock & Sage, and on WIZ (here and here) and AMV (here and here) and many of his poems and his Mormon Poetry Project can be found on his personal blog. He enjoys chasing clouds and draws his natural philosophy from Whitman: “You air that serves me with breath to speak! / You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape! / You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers! / You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides! / I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.”

“Hudson’s Geese: Reprise” was originally published in Irreantum: A Review of Mormon Literature and Film 8:1 (2006).  For Irreantum’s home page, go here.

If you would like to read Leslie Norris’ poem “Hudson’s Geese,” go here.