Sentimental Poetry with Anthony Watkins
The Ghost at the Old Lychgate, St Mary, Berkhamstead
Sometimes, when the rice has not been properly swept from the ruddy path
And the footprints from each wedding guest scar the surface with erratic scuffs,
When the cherry blossom petals, stirred into little eddies, stack like confetti on the grass,
You might catch the leaf like rustle of a congregation long gone from the church,
Glimpse the shadow of a rain cloud when there is empty sky, shaped like a young girl in a pleated frock,
Always a bridesmaid . . .
In the heat of the May morning you can sometimes hear the sighing
Behind the sound of birdsong from the cedar, mixed with the rustling of a thrush
Scrubbing below the border hedge. The words can be just made out
By the more discerning listener, the one who hears the scraping
Of the beetle on the hoggin, or the whisper of a butterfly or moth in nervous flight,
No, always a butterfly . . .
“Never a bride.” The words are uttered in light breathy murmurs
That send ripples through the unmown grass beside the graves,
Bending blades in a melancholy breeze. The shade of oak trees
Leave their cool spots by the porch wall, where the last of the snails shelter from the morning heat.
Sometimes the sounds of marriage can be heard across the glebe land, drifting in the shimmering air,
And the more perceptive watcher, the one who sees the movement of the lichen on the tombstones
May see an apparition stand beside the church gate, drowned out by sunlight, or so the locals say,
Always a bridegroom . . .
Martin Porter lives in Whangarei, New Zealand. A Pushcart nominee and Best of the Net nominee, he is published in New Zealand, USA, the UK, and online. He currently sits on the New Zealand National Flash Fiction Competition committee.
Their empty branches ghost the sky
with memories of spring;
the winter trees do not ask why
the birds and leaves took wing.
Upon the hill, in harsh relief,
they stand out from the snow;
companioned only by their grief,
to wait is all they know.
Beneath, their roots rest deep and still,
while seasons slowly turn
from winter’s dark, narcotic chill
to chlorophyll’s sharp burn
that everywhere will come again
though doubting trees still grieve.
Soon starling, sparrow, robin, wren,
will teach them to believe.
Lisa Barnett’s poems have appeared in Angle, 14 by 14, Measure, Poetry, and elsewhere. She is a three-time Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award finalist and is the author of two chapbooks.
I scoffed at the scholar’s
findings on Bacon:
that Marlowe wrote Hamlet
and history’s mistaken.
I foresaw Darwin’s theory
on the Origin of Man
supplanted by my own
The bat striking the ball
does not actually touch:
this molecular miracle
did not interest me much.
That Schopenhauer is gone
when my back is turned
is knowledge of which
I was never concerned.
Time travel, black holes,
and the earth’s fatal course
had not yet plagued me
for I doubted the source.
I found Dewey post-modern
and Aristotle antique,
Freud was a nightmare
and Plato was Greek.
I fed the flames
under Shakespeare and Donne
Every law of the cosmos
was mere folly and sham;
from Newton’s to Murphy’s
I gave not a damn.
Life’s Book of Knowledge
did not open for me
until I learned its first lesson:
I alone held the key.
Gayle Compton’s poems and short stories have appeared most recently in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Main Street Rag, Tipton Poetry Journal, Poetry Quarterly and The Blue Mountain Review. He lives in Pike County, Kentucky, home of coal mining and internecine feuding.
Of his smile
Or the comfort
Of his touch
It wasn’t the joy
He shared with her
Or the jokes
He told her
It wasn’t the seat
He always saved for her
Or the sweater
He gave her
When she was cold
It wasn’t the way
He looked at her
Or even the moments
That they shared
But the way
He didn’t want her
That made her wish
Breanna Geiger is a student, born and raised in Texas. She has always been interested in literature and teaching and has only just started writing poetry. This is her first publication.
You grew up without him,
one of three boys
raised by a single mom.
She loved you with all her heart.
It was never enough to fill that void,
gratify the hunger
you yearned for fantasy to fill.
You created a magician.
A dad who could hocus pocus
your insecurities away.
A father whose magic hat
had power to build self-esteem
as if sleight of hand,
could heal the heartache
of a broken home.
You’ve postponed living,
say the best will come
when he returns.
You dream of the day
he will stand before you and say,
“I’m sorry son, I’ve returned to fill the hole
the empty place that aches.
You are someone worthy of my love.”
It has been 30 years.
That day has not yet happened
nor will it ever.
Who loved you more
the one who left
or the one who stayed?
The Elderly Man & His Nurse
She glides in;
unseen angel wings
His grimace curls into a smile,
when he sees her.
released one of its own to him
for these few hours.
She whispers to him
He doesn’t understand,
but still, he laughs.
Two foreign languages
bridging the gap
She calls him ‘papi.’
He takes it as respect;
she uses it for endearment.
She wipes his nose with a Kleenex,
he responds by kissing her hands —
an unequal exchange of
The hours completed,
she waves as she leaves.
His smile is erased again,
when she returns.
Ode To My Father
There is a firm knock on the door
to your soul. You’ve left the door
unlocked for too long; Death politely
seeks entry. His lulling tune calls
out to the weary making sweet his
promise of rest. Know well dear father,
Death’s promise will take you from
us. You consider your care too arduous
for those you love. You weakly nod “yes”
to Death's call. With trembling lips, you
whisper love should not require so
much. I turn away and hide my tears.
Loving you was never a burden.
Arlene Antoinette enjoys writing poetry, flash fiction, and song lyrics. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Brooklyn College. Work by Arlene may be found at Your Daily Poem, Little Rose Magazine, and Foxglove Journal.