Current Issue

Contributors to the Spring 2022 Edition

Anna Arredondo

Michael Baldwin

Judith Barisonzi

Burt Beckmann

John Bowlby

Paul Buchheit

Michael Corrigan

William Courtney

J. Creekmore

Dave Crocco

Gary Davis

Ann B. Day

Cleo Griffith

Jim Gronvold

Henry Harlan

Derek Healy

David Kiphen

Alice Lund

Paul Malamud

Bob Moore

Thomas Donovan Murphy

John Perrault

Andrea Potos

Tom Riley

Linda Rittenhouse

Frank Salvidio

Tom Schmidt

Anne Spring

Susan St. Martin

B.E. Stock

Joanne Stokkink

Alison Stone

B. R. Strahan

Faith Thompson

Joseph Whitten

Christopher Wiles

Lionel Willis

Joyce WIlson

Robert Zisk

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

The winner of the quarterly award for the winter 2022 issue was chosen by Janet Kaylo of Savannah, GA. Janet has an MA (with Distinction) in Jungian and Post Jungian Studies, and a long-standing background in professional dance and movement, both as an artist and an educator.  She has written articles in peer-reviewed journals in London on imagination, embodiment, attunement, and the body in phenomenology. Leslie Mellichamp was her uncle.

Her comments follow:

The winning poem:”The Ebb and Flow of Hope,” by John Barnes overflows in feelings through movement, evoking existential passings in tides and undertows. I love the kinetic, sensuous, embodied metaphors that connect the life in the deep with the ‘pitted shards’ in the shallows.

Runner up: “For Sale”, by John Wagner. While the rhythm and rhyme are playfully written, it nearly made me cry when reading it out loud! Sad and poignant, a tender sighting of what in the world really matters to a child and the story-telling way in which it is spoken perfectly.

On the subject of prizes, we need to add to the yearly awards, announced in the Winter issue. The Fluvanna Prize, judged by Michael Baldwin, slipped through the proofing cracks! The winner was “Into My Parlor “ by Derek Healy. Michael chose it for our one light yearly prize, noting that “it was breezy and witty, and worked in an eclectic mix of names quite deftly.

We’re sad to report that Marie Arnett’s issue was returned, “attempted, not known,” which doesn’t bode well for her future appearances in our pages. She was struggling, living alone, went into a nursing home and now has disappeared. Truthfully, the machines that sort normally addressed mail at 8,000 pieces a minute, do misread addresses, and perhaps, perhaps, that is the problem. We’ll try again. The mailed quarterly issues, however, are apparently not machinable, fortunately. Even so, several with valid addresses came back as “undeliverable as addressed.” Sigh. If you are missing an issue, please email us at themuse@thelyricmagazine.com and we’ll certainly send another!

The world depends on poets to make sure the heart as well as the mind find words to bring understanding to the vagaries, pits of chaos and desperation that are wreaking havoc on our blue ball of reality. The right word or phrase can drop like a plumb line through layers of consciousness to bring coherence to unsettled internal discord. If we can drop from agitated beta brain waves to focused alpha brain waves, solutions are clearer.

But the blue ball is dependably turning and the natural world is faithful in its cycle of yearly rebirth. There are no internet trolls in the creeks. The leaves of grass have no conspiracy theories. The ferns unfold in their own communities. The mice sing their courting songs to their mates beyond our hearing. Perhaps it’s good to step away from our human perspectives and watch a bird, gaze at the sky, and settle into some good poetry. I know exactly where you can find it……)

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SELECTED POEMS FROM SPRING 2022

SPIRITS

I like to think that spirits move among us,
lightly brushing here and there,
as gentle as the fingertips of dawn
on nights the full moon floods the sky with light.
Sometimes they breathe my father’s name
and in my heart I see him, just a boy
no more than twelve or thirteen, playing catch
with his old man in their Decatur yard,
both in their ways complete and innocent.
The game embraces them in its soft rhythm,
the easy rocking motion, back and forth,
the languid ball so easy in its arc;
another catch, recover, rock back, throw,
like endless ocean waves upon the strand,
and in my heart the moment has no end
nor could it, golden light one endless day.
I feel my spirit move among them
and them, in their perfection, touching me,
as gentle as the fingertips of dawn
on nights the full moon floods the sky with light.

Gary Davis

A ROSE FOR EMILY

Death must flash a winsome smile
when he stops to call on me,
as he must preserve his grace
with circumspect propriety,

must hang his hat upon the peg
above his Sunday coat,
and in my parlor sip his tea
just as he’d been taught.

When evening dons her damask cloak,
our tete-a-tete then done,
he’ll take my hand to soothe
my fears away, yes, one by one.

And then I’ll ride on home with him
in his Sabbath-somber coach
along the road where waiting choirs
will sing at our approach.

I’ll tarry with him patiently,
couched within his rooms
as time drifts past (so silently!)
until at last the last May blooms.

Michael Baldwin

EMILY TAKES HER POEMS WITH HER

The night train pulls in to the station.
Passengers flow out on the platform
shielding their eyes, floating their baggage.

Security steps in. Inspection
this way please. Inspectors are unarmed
and converse in a foreign language.

One officer wears wings. Attention
is directed toward a book alarm
at the invisible gate. A postage

size volume of verse—declaration
of value missing—does not conform
to regs. But this guard, turning the page,

is an angel, with the discretion
to wave her through—which he does! A warm
welcome indeed. A nod to her Age.

John Perrault

OF MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES

Her come-what-please-you manner tugs
at ears and eyes and hearts that pass
that reckless she
of ebony
of ivory and glass.
You chose my world of coffee mugs
of thyme and sage,
of pen and page.
I never had her strength or her reply.
I am the moth to her bright butterfly.

I’m whimsical and taciturn.
My life does not belong to me.
There’s much to do.
I’m clinging to
a borrowed bravery.
I have a great deal still to learn.
I have my debts,
my mislaid bets.
My love is threadbare even when it’s true.
It fails sometimes, as every love will do.

And yet you chose to hitch your boat
along my little seaside quay.
We read our books,
exchange warm looks,
and stumble through the day.
You’ve learned my mind and moods by rote.
We walk the shore
and ask no more.
We pass the evenings very quietly.
I never learned to crave variety.

Faith Thompson

HALLELUJAH: A TALE OF THE PANDEMIC

In the parking lot, in the winter wind,
He stood with his wife and his violin.
Out of work, but not of hope,
He played the songs as a way to cope

With poverty and unpaid bills,
And all the rest of the season’s ills.

I was just out of the stop and go,
And wired with the stress of the to and fro
Donning my mask as I drew near the door

Of the supermarket and the Saturday war
Of bodies and carts and extended lines,
And all that kept me from my afternoon wine.

I was about to enter when I heard the sound,
A lilting crescendo as I turned around,
Which even without Mr. Cohen’s words,
Was the sweetest music I’d ever heard.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I mouthed silently,
As the haunting tones swept over me,
And the stress dropped away in that moment of time,
As I stood transfixed by that music, sublime.

When it was gone, the peacefulness stayed,
Like a mantle of bliss in which love is arrayed.

I made my way to him, tossed a bill in his tray,
And his wife thanked me warmly as I started away.
My mood elevated, my soul fully fed
I gave him a twenty, but I came out ahead.

J. Creekmore