Thursday, April 27, 2017

In Question

In Question

I am the woman
in the question
in the dream
that only dreams can answer

the promise
in the stem
before the bud
that only a rose remembers

the fragrance
of the jasmine
in the night
when darkness claims the flower.

I am the sun
that clouds encipher,
the star whose face
is cancelled;

only losing
rain and coming night
reveal my light.

I am the woman
in the question
in the dream.

~April 2017

Images by Odilon Redon, Public domain, manipulated:
The Breath which Leads All Beings is also in The Spheres (Le souffle qui conduit les êtres est aussi dans les sphères) 1882
Cup of Cognition~Child with Cup ( La Coupe du Devenir (L'Enfant a la Coupe)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Winter Stars

Winter Stars

April is the month of trials
and executions.
The white clematis
sails her ivory suns but

it's still a winter sea;
grass greens, chittery birds
coddle imperative eggs
high in the chartreuse oak-buds,

yet the sky
has winter stars.
April twirls a fever in his
adolescent dance
too soon among the trying
high depressions;

I'm still dressed
in winter constellations
turning to disappear
around the corner of the world.

I'm big with clouds
and pushing snow,
an arctic wind winding down,
a whitened hawk with neither mouse
nor berry, a starveling pecking
raisins from a century's hard summers.   

April lullabies believing buds with
brassy heat before a sneaking frost,
before he blows the old leaf off,
used up and shattering on an iron storm, 

to fly, to fall, to rot out on the traitor earth 
another's passing July life.

~April 2017

Image: Clematis henryii, ©joyannjones 2015

Sunday, April 9, 2017



When night is black
and miles deep
packed around the sleeping sheep,
when stars hang, turning
on the gallows breeze,
past the witchwood, past the reavers
come the shadows, come the hexers.

When steel blade breaks,
when there is no hammer,
the weak must make do
with the flames of summer
to burn the curse in with red and yellow,
with living swords
with poison murmur.

There where the ivy
chokes the oak
old ones fall in the unraveling work
the young complete, for
cradle-cloth ends in a winding sheet.
Hands that bake bread
will dress the meat

and black night will come
neither swift nor slow
to lay kings low.

~April 2017

Images: The Sheepfold by Moonlight, 1856, Jean-Francois Millet, public domain
Photograph, via the internet, author and title unknown. Fair use.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Carnival Night

Carnival Night

You come for me
always on carnival night
after the bark of the midway stills.
We're not meant for the light.
Our act is all torches
juggled in shadows fooling
to the foolish, invisible by day.

Day is for hunting
working the marks
big guns and high flyers
after the tigers, the drilling of oil
the milling of coin, the candy-coated crowds
 mice in the grain to be
 poisoned again.

We bring the doves 
we bring the flutter
and sigh of their unexpected
wings, dazzling soft rockets
that burst from our hands,
born for last grace escapes
from an unseen cage.

We are announced
when evening turns dark,
when all that's left of the sun
is a dead tiger in the sand,
and a high-wire hawk
tricking the sky
in a blind noon. 

~April 2017

posted for Kerry's Picture Painting

Optional Musical Accompaniment 

"In history, we've painted pictures grim
the devil knows we may feel that way again
the big wind blows, so the tall grass bends
but as for you, don't push too hard my friend.."

Images: Carnival Evening, 1885, and The Tiger Hunt, 1895, by Henri Rousseau
Public Domain via

Wednesday, April 5, 2017



When you came,
airdancer mine,
I didn't know you.
In fact

I never knew you
til you'd gone on,
bending as I was
over endless unplanted earth

lifecrumbs scattered everywhere
scittering across waiting ground,
bricks of every color
walling me round.

I only caught 
a swirl of exploding atoms
watched you and your birds receding
tapdancing on wind.

That was when
I claimed you as

 you promised nothing,
you gave like a bramble
sweet in the thorn

so I could eat
that random life 
you carried,
ripened in killing frost.

~April 2017

Image: Landscape with Birds, 1940, ©Lucian Freud  Fair use via

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ember's Midwife

Ember's Midwife

Who is this bitch
but ember's midwife?
Mother of smoke over ash
though she may dress in pearl fog,
moonlight, bribe rain on smooth stones
to oversee the buttoning
of her crucibled corset,
it only covers the clockwork, 
belts in the fire that heats

her Stygian reduction
of breathing ringed growth
to a handful of charry lumps.
Who but this bitch puts
black stumps in green grass skirts,
firedanced from large
to small, wet to dead,
from something like this
to nothing like that.

With her maenad eyes
and her syrup of poppies trickling
down my throat 
as I burn in labor for
each puling day, she works
and twists, an impatient midwife
who plunges in quick bloody fingers,
pulling, turning the breechborn,
yanking the leg of the void.

~April 2017

Images: Flaming Giraffe, © Salvador Dali
Chici y Perro, © Juan Carlos Castagnino
Fair Use

Monday, April 3, 2017



Moondog came,
barking wither-white;
turned things dead
with his rabid spit;
a year sickened gone.

Come in now
before we all break.
Hold me hard
while the howling brings
black hearts and blooms down.

~April 2017


Note: I have not only used Magaly's challenge, but a form she has invented, called Thinner Tanka. Classic tanka(in English) consists of 5 syllable-counted lines of 5-7-5-7-7. Her variation thins this down to 3-5-3-5-5, for a very crisp framework which I probably did not do justice to. I have chained my two wobbly attempts into one poem here.

Image: Frostburn, © joyannjones, March 2017
Moon Dog, 1975, © Rufino Tamayo, Fair use via