“Little Morning Prose Poem” by Mick Albright

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The chill air is coming in through the window this morning fresh from its frolick down the mountain; it’s damp and crisp and carrying the scent of pine on its back, fall grass, and blue spruce. The muted chirping of small birds tells me they are farther away than they seem. I can hear the sound of tires on the Interstate, miles away; it’s a warm thrumming. There’s another sound out there; a tight barking: I’d say prairie dog, but it’s bigger. A raven, too, is playing on the windstream, whorls of wisdom for the Wanderer. I feel…not “other-than”; but, rather, “part-of”, “one-with”; laying here with Nature’s “good morning” rustling the hairs on my chest, knowing the best part of it all is the recognition of belonging.

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“I Want to Say”…a Poem by Natalie Goldberg

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Galaxy Petunias. Photographer unknown. (Pinterest)

Before I’m lost to time and the midwest
I want to say I was here
I loved the half light all winter
I want you to know before I leave
that I liked the towns living along the back of the Mississippi
I loved the large heron filling the sky
the slender white egret at the edge of the shore
I came to love my life here
fell in love with the color grey
the unending turn of seasons

Let me say
I loved Hill City
the bench in front of the tavern
the small hill to the lake
I loved the morning frost on the bell at New Albin
and the money I made as a poet
I was thankful for the white night
the sky of so many wet summers
Before I leave this world of my friends
I want to tell you I loved the rain on large store windows
had more croissants here in Minneapolis
than the French do in Lyons
I read the poets of the midwest
their hard crusts of bread dark goat cheese
and was nourished not hungry where they lived
I ate at the edges of state lines and boundaries
Know I loved the cold tap of bare branches against the windows
know there there will not be your peonies in spring
wherever I go
the electric petunias
and your orange zinnias

– Natalie Goldberg

(from Good Poems, American Places, Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor, as heard on The Writer’s Almanac; Penguin, 2012)

(Originally published in Top of My Lungs, Poems and Paintings by Natalie Goldberg, Overlook Press, 2002)

Rain-washed, a Poem by Mick Albright, 2017

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Rain-washed

Today, wool-grey
Rain leans into its
Falling; every struck
Surface sings, a
Needle-song of plinks
and plings. And
Hollow things pull
Apart—red and naked
Like a heart.

Accept this rain-washed
Art. Every stroke
Untethers hope and
Flings it, flying,
Toward the Sun.

There is nothing that
Remains undone.

Heaviness falls, the
Rain cries,
Like Sin, wheeling.

Summer, now, a
Withered petal-
Dream of crisper air.
Heft and harrow disappear.
Little mirror-drops,
Languish like stars on the
Roof of my car. And
Light’s promise is
Crawling, like a
Thief at night,
Quietly away.

Mick A. Quinn
Lone Tree, Colorado
August 24, 2017

(C)2017 by Mick A. Quinn. All Rights Reserved.

Why You Shouldn’t Delay Reading The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson…

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There are various editions of Dickinson’s Complete Poems. This is my favorite edition, numbered by Thomas H. Johnson.

‘I’m embarrassed by how long I resisted Emily Dickinson’s “Complete Poems,” and I’m struck by how much my copy means to me now. As a daft young punk I too often sought out reckless emotion and vulgar effects, the same way one sometimes wants, when callow and feckless, to date a person with obvious physical attributes. Dickinson’s famous line — “I’m nobody! Who are you?” — is not what you want to hear when you are younger than 30, or, in my delayed maturity, closer to 40. It should have helped, but did not, when one of my favorite high school English teachers, Donald Glancy, explained that you could sing nearly all of Dickinson’s verse to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

I keep a commonplace book, a place where I write down passages that matter to me from the books I read. It’s packed with Dickinson, from her poems and her letters. These lines come to me, in my daily life, both in their intended contexts and quite far out of them. She explains why we read: “I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” She underscores my sense of what it is like to watch cable news: “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain.”

She suggests what I am thinking when I order a Negroni:

“Bring me the sunset in a cup.” She catches why gay marriage took so long: “The Truth must dazzle gradually/Or every man be blind.” Her sarcasm rings down the ages: “They say that ‘home is where the heart is.’ I think it is where the house is, and the adjacent buildings.”

Few writers circled religion with more wary alertness: “They say that God is everywhere,” she said, “and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse.” She wrote: “The only commandment I ever obeyed — ‘Consider the Lilies.’ ” And:

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church;
I keep it, staying at Home,
With a Bobolink for a Chorister,
And an Orchard, for a Dome.

I could not stop for Emily Dickinson, but she kindly stopped for me. Her raw, spare, intense poetry was written as if carved into a desktop. Now that I am older and somewhat wiser, what I prize about Dickinson is that she lives up to her own observation:
“Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.”

(from an article by Dwight Garneraug published in The New Yorker, August 2015)
(Art: Pinterest)

Dawn, A Love Poem by Mick Albright, 2017

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Dawn

It’s more than the flower–
although every pale petal is important
if this incantation is to breathe;
stand; lift up its leg; and
dance. It’s even more
than all the honeyed light
spilling in folds from
the spoon of the Sun—
(stamen; anther;
filament; ovule)
all moist and chanting to
the goddess of devotion;
a few drips for the
roots, too,
for hope.

These are delicate words.

New, like the blue of your eye,
just before it closes in sleep;
when the last look we share
fades till morning, and
I’m still awake pondering
aquamarine, turquoise,
robin’s-egg.

It’s more about the way
the flower leans,
east, at dawn’s edge;
no need for time spent
considering options;
only bend, receive,
partake.

It’s more about the way
sunshine triggers
transformation
from warm white light,
into something sweet,
and beckoning love
alight.

Existence itself murmurs:

“This is not about a beginning;
or an ending. This
is desire, resting,
at last,
on the soft, daily bounty.

“This is the morning, noon, and night
of it all—
two things, merging;
trembling; moments full,

now, as you take to heart
this newness—this
pink-petalled blurring between
love as tether
and love
as wing.”

– Mick Albright

(C) 2017. All Rights Reserved.

the firestarter, a Poem by Mick Albright

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the firestarter

deem not tomorrow
sentient or flesh
quick flash
then none
torment not a
somber hope a
promised light
forever burning—
measure fire
wisdom’s tool
resurrection’s
golden wire
ancient touchstone
searing night
strike!
strike!
flint to flame
one small tool
breath be quick
bellow tame
dawn-light curl
dry and crackle
strike!
strike!
each spark—one day
handful’s hours
all you own—
one day—not hope
one strike
torn yoke
cleft night
prophets’ yearning
every breath
from you
its burning

– Mick Albright, (c)2017

(gif: Google Images)

“The Road to Winter” … a Poem by Mick Albright

The Road to Winter

The angled light cuts deeper
Here the 45th degree pulls taught
The string-like girth belies the tension’s
Spring wore warmer shades and fell
Into these woods we steal like
Darkling needles evergreen
Brush soft behind me velvet drape
Wrapped shadows feed on moss and
Fungal rings hold cinnamon and clove and
Nutmeg fawn your dapples hide a sanctuary
Born the minute light is sapped away a
Taunting yellow flame the funnel
Wind me tighter ‘fore I’m
Tangled limbs go gray and dry and
Snap and crack the ember spent its heart a
Pumpkin orange hues each hollow
Sound like timber rending ground–hilt to
Tip the bowl of nighttime colors
Hide the axe and leave me splayed crest-
Fallen once again in love with endings
Taught to spring the trap let light between
Old leaves burnt-brown broom
Paint my crown a dying green.

– (c) 2016 by Mick Albright