by Philip Kent Church
UNDER SUNPetrarchan Sonnet
The Sun proceeds the mountain’s sky in kind;
As long traveled a trail is trekked to gain.
A life prevailed upon, journeyed to feign,
Like some ancient clockwork refused to wind.
The whole of truth, with which we hold in mind,
It’s what we base ourselves upon, be lain.
We must remember all that may pertain,
Or find we are among the deaf and blind.
As like Autumn’s dead leaves discard the trees,
And mountain peaks resound without reply.
We live our lives thru all with aim to please,
But there remains, of hope, hopeful retry.
To gain the chance to change, as like the breeze;
Be warmed by Sun, upon which we rely.
Philip Kent Church
"To me, this is a classic example of AppalTrad. Well done." Sabne Raznik, N/S Editor
Beside our shack,
a pitcher pump
waited for us
to fill buckets
We heated water
on the stove
and pan baths
worried about us
catching the bus.
at the well,
Jesus who asked
the woman of Samaria
to give him
that rusty handle
for hard water,
so we could get by.
“The Well” was first published in Clinch Mountain Review (2018).
-Kevin J. McDaniel Poet, Pulaski Virginia
by Sabne Raznik
"The poem is transcendent, beautiful and is haunted like a lost memory" - T. Byron Kelly, N/S Editor
A storm roars through cracks in the mountains -
Like water from a broken dam.
We seek to retreat and find that we cannot.
You try to find comfort in his face
That is all cut-out eyes and porcelain smiles.
He slips away. Experience is a changeling.
When he is gone, you remember
It half-clearly: cloud shadows rippling
On leafed-out mountains like hands,
Hands, we are surrounded by hands.
We were born here, but
Do we belong?
I will let my pen dance like a Turkish belly dancer
Until you feel the texture of my language,
The whisper of lust.
O, cruel language, my head waits for you.
Close the curtains, turn out the light, and
Teach me to believe in this love.
Fill up the vacant, listless hollows
Of my childhood. Make me complete.
O, good language, you are my safe-place.
Rush over me like horses.
Ples back and forth across your brow.
Descends like curtains in this room -
Out the cold, rain-saturated night.
Goodnight - keep talking about anything
Your voice is solace, soothing in a chaotic
Spins too fast and will destruct. Your voice is
Ything I need to keep alive this belief.
Like music, fills the emptiness of night.
Wet leaves are hanging heavily
All around you
In a misty rain
And a distorted carnival,
A blue, manic Mardi Gras.
Confusion is a muddy circus field,
A clown-mime continually following,
You are searching, for what?
A wood nymph in naked joy
And sunshine in his hair?
You don't know.
Leaves keep falling, stacking
Up in sticky, brown-wilted
Mounds. With shuffling feet,
You scatter and tread them down,
Shuddering in the uncertain light
Of a clouded-over blue moon.
You are as formidable as a Tibetan mountain,
As sexual as Morocco,
But you are as closed as China,
Whilst I, like a shut-in,
Thirst for more of your world.
It's snowing inside this room:
Like someone turned it upside-down,
Shook it, then set it bolt upright.
It's brushing along the top of the black
Baby grand that you play on party nights,
And your eyebrows and eyelashes as you speak.
I think it sounds like wind chimes when you
Laugh like that. If I were the
Ballerina in the music box of your throat,
Would you wind me up and watch me spin?
La Vita E Bella:
The world is like watercolours, green and gold,
Running down and together,
Like tears on the earth's face,
Grasping, sliding down a window glass,
Barely noticed, undocumented, unfelt.
You are stretched out like a dulcimer's
Plaintive whine, watching the
Fish tank light reflecting images on a far wall.
You say you see
Belly dancers wearing blue musical beads and
In my dreams afterward, I am walking
On water slowly, in a circle of
Mottled light playing through the leaves of
Dark green summer trees. In the distance,
Bells ringing in harmonic melody, whilst I
Speak Irish in an undertone as if my private poetry
And marvel at the brightness of the morning.
Where is home?
Language that is chameleon:
This passion which is mortal,
She grew up amid amateur paintings
And yellow walls -
A leather-clad, muted blue star.
The mirrors on his clothing make it
Hard for her to see him,
But he's there...
Maybe he's there...
Like bananas and lemons on the dark
Kitchen counter -
A still life with hidden meanings:
Sometimes, when you speak
I think I can hear the sound the sea makes
Against the cliffs of Moher,
Splitting into myriads of colours,
Letting in the light.
And I don't tell you, when this happens.
You'll only roll your eyes and miss the point
So I tell it to the crickets - who sing it back to you
While you sleep.
Tell their children it is the rain
Not the dream.
It was not the rain
That impregnated me.
O, child of my womb, unborn,
It was hope for something more than
Richard Hugo said:
"Words love the ridiculous areas of our minds."
These are my only functioning
It is useless to pummel them.
I'm sweating the touch of
Down the length of mine,
No spit. Consequence. Untold,
But the word has gone away.
Limitless as Joie d'Art is this feeling.
She can only grasp it as though fragments
Of ancient parchments:
Peacocks on stained glass entries and the
Of blue and green colours wafted by the light through these and
Dazzled and disoriented by
The spear of sun on the thin, burnt-biscuit skin of New Jersey,
She is humming a melody she only ever
Hears in dream -
And forgets she is supposed to feel
With you. Oh well...
Tin whistles fill up the ineffable places
Between what we say and what we mean:
Valhalla: unredeemed from plunder.
The treeless hills echo back our failures;
Hearts keep calling out...
Slipping under what seems to be,
He is swimming in a light-refracting sea:
His hips ring like bells.
You wake in a room with
Romanesque statues in a circle which are
Draped with watercoloured fabrics
To hide their nakedness. Left behind, you are
To recapture that light.
It's all about shattering mirrors
To let in yellow daylight.
It's all about learning who you are.
Do you know me?
Your watercoloured smiles and gypsy-clad
Habits are a worn out delight.
Still, I'll keep coming back. Always,
I'll come back.
by Patricia Thrushart
Light spills through a window
filtered by a broken blind
onto a littered street;
a flood of warmth amidst blight.
I imagine someone is sheltering there—
away from the graffiti
on the warped plywood
boarding up the next house,
the pawn shop wrapped in bars,
needles on the ground.
This poem draws you into a moment with images and feelings that stay with you long after you've finished reading. - Jessica Weible, N/S Editor
In a reclusive cabin
where a wood stove hiccups
orange embers clothed
in gray ash coats,
the bottoms of my feet
feel bitter, raw air
circulating over every inch
of hard floor awash in
ghostly blue moonlight.
Through a window, I see
a lone yellow buckeye bend
in a boisterous wind
that makes me believe
it can bring down
the entire mountainside,
but I know spring
will come again on wings
of a gentler breeze that uplifts
saplings rooted sideways
in moonmilk underground.
A finalist for the 2018 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize, “At the Foot of a Mountain” was first published in The Heartland Review.
-Kevin J. McDaniel
Poet, Pulaski Virginia
This poem has such vivid colors, it reads like a painting - sighing in the evening. - Sabne Raznik, N/S Editor
Though the vacant field was peopled with the pallor of naked trees/ and those piercing yellow shards warmed me toward newer poetry of Summer’s charm/ the effect of the day was as amber darkening clay, the colour of pitch blood. An interment of our decision to ask, the past is an empty sky worn southward and cool ravens eyes seem to watch me today insistently – Though the singing air could coax me (when I am willing) beyond an uncertain death / Of breath and gazes, our flagrant light lifts those darker shadows, sending them reeling against orange flame of edged horizons, where nothing must subsist.
-T. Byron Kelly
From The River of Swans
"The poem is a snapshot of our lives, on the verge of eternity and the fear that we all contend with. Jim Morrison said "Now is blessed, the rest remembered" and Byron's poem is a testament of waking into a world that is in between conscious reality and the eternal, a life on the threshold of Heaven but fraught with the dangers of the temporal." T. Byron K., N/S Editor
Sometimes when I look in the rearview
mirror on a curve and hold
a little too long looking behind,
an eyelash of eternity, I don't
know if I'm quite on the road
or if I'm going ahead or reverse.
In the rearview long enough for a feeling
of giddiness that makes me squeeze
the steering wheel and say, as if I
just escaped a terrible threat,
"I'm here. Right now. Eyes
straight ahead on the road. "
"Exploring the idea of the dissolution of the ego is a tricky undertaking, even in poetry, but this piece dives into the subject with clear simplicity. I love Amy's use of the flower metaphor here - all the individual, unique petals unified in a common fate." - Sarah Rossey, N/S designer
we are one and many
it was never an either/or
acceptance of the one
and the other)
allows the many
to live in harmony.
to the idea
that i am what i am
and you are what you are
and we are all brought together
like the center
of a glorious flower
Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia
Editor's Choice 3/26/19
"This poem comes alive when you read it aloud. The language is rich with paradox, imagery, metaphor, and sensory language. Though each line inspires a different daydream, as a whole the piece creates a vivid impression of a place that somehow feels both foreign and familiar." - Jessica Weible, North/South Editor
I was born in
the hometown of wind,
where it is windy constantly.
Throughout dark nights/ and bright days;
where meteor streaks across even
with a strong blowing,
breaks into glistening lakes
on the colorful ground around.
Migratory birds are confused easily:
Winter and summer are very short
While warmth is long,
Seasons cycle unusually;
Homesick seawater goes upstream frequently,
assisted by the wind
to embrace the snow mountain
and fall in a serene sleep ahead.
There grains grow so quickly,
golden sunlight in the field
satisfies/ all tongues and granaries.
The rest of the time people read poems,
boil the wine* and laugh joyfully,
ride the wind to roam distantly.
There women’s hair dances around
like blossoming fireworks/ or flowers;
There blooms are longer than elsewhere,
no disconsolate lovers.
Tears waft far away soon
after they stream
and are a rainfall to moisten desires.
Wind shuttles everywhere,
seeds, longings, dreams
and perfume of lives,
as dandelions root anywhere,
grow in an instant
into what they once expected.
Eternal souls wander with the wind
among the timeless future, reality and past
like shadows following the moonlight––
neither part in life,
nor separation by death,
for/ it is the hometown of wind.
*Boiling the wine is a custom in ancient China and even in some places of current China, which intends to warm the wine. After boiling the wine, some fruits such as greengages and preserved plums are added into the hot wine. People wait to drink the wine until the tart flavour of the fruits disappears.
Min Katherine Liu