Four Poems: Featuring the Work of Hayden Saunier, Joyce Meyers, Adele Kenny, and Joseph A. Chelius
By Hayden Saunier
Ice-shuttered, the creek
changes course under cover,
scratches out a new path
grain by granite grain.
I stop at the crossing,
try to enter that privacy.
This doesn’t last long.
I’m restless, human.
I twist every moment
And today is far colder
than my wish to be like a stream:
to make my way
around what’s hard,
polish pebble to sand,
sharp into smooth,
be both body and bed,
particle and wave,
no matter the weather,
but even as I say it
I know I’m the stone,
not the water.
I’m always the stone.
A Note About the Author: Hayden Saunier is the author of Tips for Domestic Travel, Say Luck (2013 Gell Poetry Prize), and Field Trip to the Underworld, (Keystone Chapbook Award). She has been published in such journals as Bellevue Literary Review, Drunken Boat, Philadelphia Stories, Smartish Pace, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Tar River Review, and has poems upcoming in Poet Lore and Cider Press Review. Her work has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, the Rattle Poetry Prize, the Robert Fraser Award as well as a Bucks County, Pennsylvania Poet Laureateship.
The Darkest Day
By Joyce Meyers
As the light shrinks, people
shop for trinkets, bits
of brightness to ward off
the night. No one thinks
of black holes, dark matter
hovering, but everyone
notices how early the moon
hangs low, telling
nothing of what it knows.
Strings of electric colors
hang, candles burn,
a frantic yearning
for assurance that light
will return. Solstice,
the sun standing still,
the moment before
it seems to shift, bring
gradually lengthening days
toward spring, the birth
of everything bursting
from the womb of earth.
Has there ever
been doubt? Never
in the memory of man
has the sun failed
to come carrying
its basket of brilliance.
Easy to forget how history
is merely a blink
in the eye of time,
that the sun, like us,
was born to die.
A Note About the Author: Joyce Meyers’ poems have appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Comstock Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, and Slant. She has two chapbooks, Wild Mushrooms (Plan B Press, 2007) and Shapes of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her full-length volume of poems, The way back, is forthcoming from Aldrich Press.
This Almost Night
By Adele Kenny
(After Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon
by Caspar David Friedrich)
It’s the way trees darken before the sky … this almost night … another side of time and new. We think in pauses and, in those pauses, everything (it seems) is suspended or standing still. The moon, rising, reorders the sky, drifts and slips through clouds—sliver of moon, its nimbus pale, like a word almost spoken.
A night bird shapes its wings to the wind and lifts its shadow away from the world, a world gone white with the ghosts of our passing. And this: the thought almost remembered (what we might have kept)—a sky dimmed to November gray, and us moonstruck—what we thought we knew, the emptiness we didn’t see coming, this sack of rocks slung over memory’s shoulder.
A Note About the Author: Adele Kenny, author of 24 books, is founding director of the Carriage House Poetry series and poetry editor of Tiferet. Among other awards, she has received fellowships from the NJ State Arts Council, Kean University’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and is a Paterson Prize finalist.
By Joseph A. Chelius
As I lay sick in bed my eyes in a restless orbit
kept turning to the United States presidents
as somber as jurors peering down from the wall—
from Washington to Lyndon Johnson
listening for the doctor to trudge
up the stairs and into the sick room
with his gleaming instruments—
cold stethoscope, probing thermometer—
in a worn black kit.
Such authority he exuded full of brusque jokes
and priestly power, scribbling on a tablet,
my mother like a dutiful parishioner
left to abide by those archaic remedies
of enemas and alcohol sponge baths—
spoon bitter medicine around the clock.
And next morning in that emptied house
to appear in her pale robe
and once more place a hand on my forehead,
remove the wadded tissues, bring ginger ale.
She’d stack the hifi downstairs
with vinyl crackling like fat on a stove—
songs from The King & I and The Scottish Soldier,
Christmas music out of season,
The Little Drummer Boy as if leading a purge,
cutting through the mist
of the humidifier, Vicks VapoRub,
softening the countenance of Millard Fillmore,
bearded Benjamin Harrison—presidents
in their imperious order,
aloof, preoccupied with national concerns
while my mother tended a boy in bed.
A Note About the Author: Joseph A. Chelius is a former Bucks County poet laureate. His full-length collection, The Art of Acquiescence, was published by WordTech Communications in 2014; new work has appeared in Poet Lore and Schuylkill Valley Journal and is forthcoming in American Journal of Poetry.