Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Under Repair


Greetings of the season to all! 
During the next few weeks, my aging (2013) computer is
going to be gutted, reformatted, tweaked and brought up to date so it can run the latest version of Windows. My son is in charge of all this, and I'm very grateful he has the skills I lack to do it.

When and if all is operational, I will be back. Til then, thanks to all of you who so generously share your poetry online, and who take the time to visit here and share your thoughts on my own.
As always this time of year, I wish for everyone the happiest of whatever holidays they celebrate, while I myself will be doing my best to



Saturday, November 26, 2022

This Year's Garden


This Year's Garden
We wanted, we planned for
tomatoes and cucumbers, okra, too
and three kinds of peppers,
basil for the bees, fennel and dill
for the flower-winged flyers,
so small and now so few.

We planted, and first the south wind came
in the child's light of April, a wild
graceless thing tearing and roaring,
ripping leaf from stem. So we built windbreaks
from old boards and rocks;
life obliged us and held on.

Then came the ruin of heat, four weeks early,
bringing a cloudless sun-blurr of blue
too cruel to call sky, as basil was sprouting
thick from last year's dropped seed.
So we rose every morning at daybreak
to water, a drink portioned by hour

bed by bed, scrawled on the calendar
so none were forgotten
for what is forgotten here dies.

From this we got a dozen tomatoes,
seven or eight cucumbers full
of hard, tough seeds, a thousand pepper blooms
that became a hundred peppers, and okra
past counting, stretching up and swaying
in its African dance while a forest

of basil trembled every daylight hour
with the nuzzling of bees. In August
we planted cabbage for fall cropping
while okra was still king, feeding us every night 
until the first frost came four weeks early,
having learned from the heat.
So we ordered hoops and row covers, and built
the cabbage a white room above the dirt.
Now I go out in the biting cold and pull the extra quilt
from their bed so the weak light can stroke them.
I look at the okra, brown poles on the compost,
remember the bees' tourmaline forest of herbs
that sprang up like star-wishes never told;
all these treasures whisper me their names,
alive for me under sun and moon,
loaning me breath for one more season.
November 2022


posted for earthweal's

(a more literal take on Monday's Tending a Difficult Garden)

Basil Around the Bird Bath, August 2022
Inside The White Room, November 2022 both ©joyannjones

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Long Love


The Long Love

Love is a function
of distance. So I wrote
when your touch was too near;
but what long love we
have close-held in us,
to live for the work
for the planting, the sprouting;
for the quick fruit, which
only ripens to disappear
forsaking the night garden's peace
for what its voyaging shell protects,
wind-used and earth-taken,
passed and used again as
many times as trees have leaves,
as grass has planets of dew
silvering in summer light
reflecting wild deer eyes
untamed to our desire.
Everything shifts
in this new age.
Spring is removed,
remote as a cluster of stars
blurred on the far frozen wheeze
of solar wind. Language 
is stirred in a kettle of nightshade.
Intent is a comic ghost
in the styrofoam west wing
chattering to dust sheets
it believes are its mates,
as the void gambles and
pulls and dances and beckons,
reckons us a foreign dark
that is not our own night garden,
falling hard as dead wishes
if our loving days
should ever be done.

 November 2022

posted for earthweal's
Images: Saving the Okra Seed, September 2022
and Okra Blooming, July 2022, both ©joyannjones

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Music Of Birds And Lions

The Music of Birds and Lions

If I had to say something about it
I would just mention
the way your eyes
moved through me
like fever through a lion,
like the brown-soled boots
of a Victorian explorer
walking lightly
with ownership, a dominion
powered by steam

careful always to
keep an echo-
map of the outback
in beige buckram binding
firmly gripped in your mind,
referencing pages dogeared
recording the reasons
not to fall behind on
a dangerous journey;

or that your hands
were always sliding in
a slipstream of tasks, were
water, embracing stones smooth
in their blue satin beds,
leaving behind a geologic
Alexandrian library
of lithic messages, codes
in languages of a few extinct
species of birds, envoys and diplomats;

that your long fingers on the stops
were your flight feathers,
playing a recital at nightfall
of calling macaws that come to color
the shadow-fronds of sunset palms
with their bright rest;
but there's no need to
talk about what you stored
under my skin, or tattoos in birdsong
that can't be forgotten,

so I only strum the music of it
where the lions rise
in the mauve gauze of
the jungle dark.

~December 2014
(minor revisions, 2022)

posted for earthweal's

(Nothing bubbling up from the cauldron this week, so posting another oldie, one originally written for Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads)

Images: The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897, Henri Rousseau
The Moment of Truth, 1892, Paul Gauguin
Public domain

Friday, November 18, 2022

Fantômes de Versailles


Fantômes de Versailles
(a 55) 
 Ghosts go hungry
at Versailles. 'Let them
eat cake,' the custodian mumbles.
Marie-Antoinette tries to bake
but flour falls through her fingers
dust to milky dust.

Marie starts the minuet.
Diamonds drop off the
Shepherdess like old flesh.
'Les riches, she murmurs,
are not quitters.'

In the Labyrinthe,
fables dehydrate.
The custodian
watches World Cup.

November 2022

a little historical nonsense
 posted for
Notes: Marie-Antoinette and her waiting women often dressed as Shepherdesses and played at being country peasants in the elaborate gardens of Versailles. 
Regarding the Labryrinthe, or Bosquet de la Reine at Versailles: 
"In 1665, André Le Nôtre planned a hedge maze of unadorned paths in an area south of the Latona Fountain near the Orangerie.. In 1669, Charles Perrault – author of the Mother Goose Tales – advised Louis XIV to remodel the Labyrinthe in such a way as to serve the Dauphin's education..Le Nôtre redesigned the Labyrinthe to feature thirty-nine fountains that depicted stories from Aesop's Fables..accompanied by a plaque on which the fable was verse..; from these plaques, Louis XIV's son learned to read..[C]ompleted in 1677, the Labyrinthe contained thirty-nine fountains with 333 painted metal animal sculptures. The water for the elaborate waterworks was conveyed from the Seine..[and used by].. fourteen water-wheels driving 253 pumps.. Citing repair and maintenance costs, Louis XVI ordered the Labyrinthe demolished in 1778. In its place, an arboretum of exotic trees was planted as an English-styled garden. Rechristened Bosquet de la Reine, it would be in this part of the garden that an episode of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, which compromised Marie-Antoinette, transpired in 1785..."~wikipedia
France is defending champion for the 2022 World Cup. 
Images:  L'Entrée du bosquet du Labyrinthe, © Jean Cotelle le Jeune (1642-1708) Public Domain
Marie-Antoinette Queen of France 1775 ©Jean Baptiste Gautier Dagoty

Saturday, November 12, 2022



When I left all I asked was peace 
of the starry void, that
every shrewish hope be finally silent 
yet after me you sent one white bird
only marsh cloud singing,
too soft, too frail to fly far.

I dreamed of you last night--
did you call me?
No, it was just my broken eyes
wanting to see the old calligraphy
strong and alive on the blank page but
that will never be again.

You were dream's pale clerk
troubled, frowning at the paper
on which many things were written
none of them my name.
I stood by your shoulder;
you turned, walking through me.

Waking, I couldn't say which,
you or I, was the ghost.
The gift of sleep
is taken back and I sit staring
at the wrinkled day, at walls falling
in this helpless place of the dead

where I've washed up,
already chewed by the chimera
stung by the manticore,
wondering what white wings will come
out of the siren darkness, 
what ghost bird is left.

June 2012
 posted for earthweal's
Image: Chimera, by Gustave Moreau, 1884, watercolor
Public domain, via 



 When I was first a woman,
a proto-woman, perhaps,
I fell into the sin
of promising.
A jumbled barter it was
of all I had, masks
and early roses and melodies
too simple to be songs
all, all underfoot in the
maudlin marsh of fool's dreaming
with braggarts croaking their
whisky throats like toads.

So, into the desert
hot and clean, clear and cold,
but there again I fell,
into the assassin's bed.

Every night I knew
his nerveless cunning,
slitting the throat of love
as I lay numb

listening to devils
laughing from the killing-stone,
waiting for your call to come
tenacious and startling-sweet 
on limpid air
as jasmine in the abattoir;
but in the blood-pool
only sticky silence.

Now that time has taken
all the gods and fools
that made me woman,
I see with a child's eye

grateful to be lone 
with meadow-wren and violets,
 promises of fairies, friend of
crows and stars.

November 2022

 posted for
Images: Woman with Mask, artist unknown, via internet Fair Use
Faery and Kingfisher © Jean-Baptiste Monge   Fair Use

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Lion And Ravens With Unsettled Sun



 "..It is a wheel, the rays /around the sun. The wheel survives the myths/The fire eye in the clouds survives the gods.."

~Wallace Stevens


~  *  ~

Lion and Ravens With Unsettled Sun

Two ravens circling in a spotless sky
on a warning wind with fire on its breath
soft but dangerous as a lion's hiss,
in dead grass gathered to burn a phantom's past
that now in turn burns us.

A feast of the senses is just
another place to die among strangers
hearing the hiss of lions trapped
in a body devouring itself
in camera, the dark heart.

Best to fall to the sudden sharp sword
of the god's divine panic, danced to dust
under his dusky foot, his pipes hissing like a lion,
a screech and flutter of ravens at the window.
Light is sliced to crescents dazzling at the edge;

nothing but the sun survives the myths.
The lion has no wheel behind his hiss.
Ravens flow in the tempest and its drum,
dark lettering spelling out the ride to come.

November 2022

posted for
Note: The Word List this week is taken from the works of Jim Morrison. He has always reminded me of a lion in figure and impact, though perhaps a bit more prone to roar than hiss. I've been reading Stevens again lately and somehow he got tangled up here, with more of a sun king's than lizard king's flare.
[lyrics begin at 1:12 mins]
Images: Lion, 1492, by Albrecht Durer   Public Domain
Samhain Night 2014, ©joyannjones

Monday, October 31, 2022

Lady Of Dead Leaves


Lady Of Dead Leaves
Beneath a dead leaf my love lies hidden
with a rose pearl and a starling's feather
where the dark forest unties Her ribbons
where night rides as black as robber's leather
with a bagful of moon's most starving hours
in a forest where leaves are falling forever,
whose balefires paint meteoric showers,
whose pale sprites teach old lovers to dance
and sew up their wounds with threads of flowers.
For grape never saw the wine She decants,
a vintage that ripens with dissolution
aged in a song, sealed with ash and chance.
Under the starlight's silver infusion
asleep as a bee in the fading thunder,
 which is volition and which illusion
when all that's left of life is to wonder
or lift the leaf that love is under.

October 2022


posted for earthweal
where I am pleased to host this week's challenge,
Images: Fairy Dance, © Arthur Rackham    Public Domain
Spring Beauty © Andrew Wyeth         Fair Use

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Howl


The Howl
Deep into the night-abiding trees let free the howl
of my heart(that false doppelgänger, that unreliable narrator.)
Course it there, where darkness shakes down her hair,
fleet where the small hands of rain stroke my cheek
lightly,lightly, not so bitter as kisses, not so salt as tears,
til it comes to a stopping.
There's a fire panting to light up the hedgerows,
to make wilder things writhe from shadows bending,
those fetches the old gods make to beguile us dappling the void
the new ones provide, movement alone frantic with silence
save for crackle and spit and the skin drum's thud
that still beats in my wrist.
Each day dawns with feet cut off, limping,limping,
in the year-turning dark. Willow-wisps glow
in the grove of dancing,coming to draw the light
from the road, off to the flicker where worlds rub skins, 
to flames and fetches, to what's kindling now
where heartwood was riven, heat banked in
each unlit log is given to the season of time burning,
of leaves crumbling and forest dreaming the hand I'm holding, 
dreaming and singing in the sough where rain-wind 
ears the night. Can a child born to houses ever discern it
where all that runs in smoke and mist is changed
and confounded, rounded off without logic
to fire that howls in my skull
what it won't let me know;
it's my own fetch that's come
to dance in the hedgerow.
October 2022



posted for earthweal's
(and inspired by Brendan's Kindling in the Forest of Light and Shadow
Images: Dancing Dryads, 1879, © Albert Pinkham Ryder  Public Domain
Wolves,(detail)  © Andrew Wyeth   Fair Use