Thursday, May 21, 2015


(or, Things That Were)

The aurochs and the Irish Elk,
bluebuck and the red gazelle,
western black rhinoceros,
the grey atlantic whale
dodo and the thylacine,
the broad-faced potoroo,
the Puerto Rican flower bat--
ghosts in Melinoe's zoo,

Jamaican petrel, painted vulture
night heron of Ascension;
of butterflies the Xerces Blue,
and unsilvered fritillary,
the paradise birdwing 
and clouded apollo,
gone, long gone
as things got hollow--

Appalachian yellow asphodel,
the Cuban Ruta tree,
Mason River myrtle, the
pelea that bore a cross,
begonia of the wooly stalk,
Galapagos amaranth,
Saint Helena's heliotrope--
gone past harvest hope,

Your eyes, your hand,
the coiled asp that dozed
on Cleopatra's broken breast,
the crumbled temple-grave
useless as a camel hat, the bones
tipped over the rim of the world
again and again tossed in eons' ash-can,
extinguished and cured--

the warm rush, the sun-smile,
half-remembered harmonic
of a cry that isn't there, violet-blue
chambered shell in cartilage cage
beating out in grey plumes the
tender parts that once we grew
amber ripe to rusty age,
ossified to fossils now --

~May 2015

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Fireblossom Friday
The ingenious and inventive mind of  Shay Simmons (Shay's Word Garden) sends us off into the endless possibilities of lists. Mine is pretty self-explanatory.

Process notes All the animals, birds, butterflies and plants named here are drawn from (wikipedia's) lists of extinct species.

Melinoe was a Greek goddess of the underworld and also had characteristics of a moon goddess.  '[her] connections to Hecate and Hermes suggest that she exercised her power in the realm of the soul's passage....she brings night terrors to mortals by manifesting in strange forms, "now plain to the eye, now shadowy, now shining in the darkness," and can drive mortals insane'~wikipedia

Image: Megaloceros, from Lascaux cave, public domain via wikimedia commons
Horned woman, artist unknown, via the internet. No copyright infringement intended.

Saturday, May 16, 2015



Your left face
honors your right face
but neither one tells the truth;
neither one
is really here to talk,
while I watch a sky
curdled by spirit swimmers
move closer, watch
their filmy fingers
stroke its crushing weight
into sundered cyclones, kneading
the mud-faced earth.

What strangler
has pulled back the plait
of your hair so
tight across your tangled
white throat? What butcher has
chopped the rich marble
from your cheeks and left
your face so naked and still?
Past and present, you say--
they rain wild in this drench
so an equivocal future
can slide

all the easier

Trussed in cords of your loss,
deaf in drums of your voice,
I knew myself beaten;

but untied--
--O, yes, freed--
I hear too much.

I am my own silence 
death's latest convert,
looking on numb.

~May 2015

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Weekend Mini-Challenge: John Donne

Karin Gustafson (ManicdDaily) offers this weekend's challenge, to write to the ringing of chimes, connect the dots of interconnection, or in some other way address Donne's telling lines about how no man is an island. This is what I got, a slap from the past, as it were. Despite the title, the mudslide mentioned is not a physical one.

We have storms heading in again this evening and my computer will be off, so I may be unable to respond or visit till, the weather gods willing, tomorrow.

Image: Sketch of Clouds with Colour Annotations, 1890, by Vincent Van Gogh. 
Public domain via

Tuesday, May 12, 2015



My mother was a fool
to take that flower
picked and bound to die,
with but one seed to fly
from you, a seer's toy,
symbol of a dead hour
lesson of a broken school.

To be mortality's martyr
I became your towered barter,
womb pointed down
a field unfound,
a beeless meadow, I
heard above in the roll and pound
a god who was so much smarter.

On the bridge of night's black river
I wrapped hands and feet in skins
to turn the lightning of his whim,
to hold the spill from the silver krater:
mixed wine of the poet's grief,
bright rain of the god's relief,
seed of your mirrored killer.

By then it was far too late,
as we slept on the god-calmed sea,
my sword-sharp boy curled into me
till mercy washed us dry, too late
to unpick the dying flower
of your trivial collateral fate.

~May 2015

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The Tuesday Platform

Process Note: A krater  is a large vase which was used to mix wine and water in Ancient Greece.

"In Greek mythology, Danaë was a daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and his wife Queen Eurydice. She was the mother of the hero Perseus by Zeus....Disappointed by his lack of male heirs, Acrisius asked an oracle if this would change. The oracle told him that he would be killed by his daughter's son. She was childless and, meaning to keep her so, he shut her up in a bronze tower or cave. But Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain, that streamed in through the ceiling and down into her womb. Soon after, their child Perseus was born.Unwilling to provoke the wrath of the gods or the Furies by killing his offspring, Acrisius cast Danaë and Perseus into the sea in a wooden chest. The sea was calmed by Poseidon and at the request of Zeus the pair survived." ~wikipedia

Images: Danaë, 1908, by Gustav Klimt
Public domain via
Seeds, copyright 2013, joyannjones

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Envoy

The Envoy

Out of the nothing
of night a blur
of bright came
winking, shining, sly;
some lost lamp
burning the homing call

or only a mimic'd
mechanized reflection, dead
as Pan's gone goat-eye,
a dream twisting in the glass
holding the hanging seeds.

Does it matter what it really is,
when I know exactly
what I saw and why?

Though I do nothing,
soon the sun will rise,
day find my eyes,
rainclad wind unwind
the weave and wave of every tree.

Though I do everything,
soon the calling light will shine
on a place I cannot find,
where I will neither dream nor see.

~May 2015

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Weekend Challenge: The Poetry of Jane Hirshfield
Grace (everyday amazing) gives us the poetry of American contemporary poet Jane Hirshfield to write to or from. I found her style elusive; though I did try for a simple voice,  this is merely taken from a title of hers, called  The Envoy 

Image: Street Light, 1909. by Giacomo Balla

Unless otherwise indicated, all content © Joy Ann Jones 2010, 2011, 2012. All rights reserved.