Amytis Leaves Her Garden


WIZ is pleased to announce the publication of a new collection of poems from longtime friend and supporter Karen Kelsay Davies. We know Karen as a lover of landscapes, seascapes, and peoplescapes, and an instinctive practitioner of the kind of green and greening language Patricia has recently introduced us to. She is an accomplished formalist, a winner of prizes and a winner of friends. She is also the editor of Victorian Violet Press, and the founding editor of White Violet Press, Aldrich Publishing, and Alabaster Leaves Publishing: all ventures that specialize in the poetry of forms. (For Karen’s views on publishing, check out this recent interview.)

In the foreword, Sally Cook calls Karen a “virtuoso of subtle descriptive twists” who “chooses each word at its peak of ripeness.” This is apropos, for Amytis Leaves Her Garden is, perhaps ironically, a garden cultivated, trimmed and weeded, varied in its produce, pertinent to season, tended wisely and with affection: a garden not abandoned after all. With her permission, three bulbs to plant against the coming winter:



It’s such a shame to see the flowers finished,
their blossoms strewn in disarray. All beauty
once tenderly maintained is now diminished,
and caring for it has become a duty.

Forget-Me-Nots I’ve pressed and dried in pages
watch daisies turn to dust after decay.
For each and every thing evolves in stages,
comes springing up in its due time. Today

I’ll search for bulbs once more, reject each stone
between dead stems, wild briar. I’ll cradle clay
that knows my touch, my voice, my every bone
and waits for me to name the time I’ll stay.


Vignette of a Winter Evening

It’s wintertime. The beachfront wears a wrap
of citrus-colored cloud at dusk, and mist
from the Pacific clings to Sago palms.
You are seduced into this lunar tryst,

as moons and endings occupy your mind
of late. Obsession with slow tides, swift gulls,
and balmy surf-scent pulls you to the water,
where rocks across the jetty rise like skulls,

to float above a blackened tide. Your dress
has turned the filmy color of sweet lime.
The moon drops closer, like a ripened fruit.
The emptiness is clear. It’s wintertime.

An elegant and arching sky bends near,
hanging like a paperweight, makes pale
promises to fill your darkened void €”
yet all the larger landscape wears a veil.



With lowing of the oxen you awake.
And like a crow that’s ferried by the moon
across a changeless night into opaque
portholes of sky, your mind is strewn
inside the molding weeds and brambles
of the past. Your farmhouse leans aslant
with age, an edifice that sadly ambles
out an addle-minded creaky chant,
that taints the sparrow-song. Your moated grange,
where even Angelo was overcome
by fields of melancholy, dies. How strange
that dogtooth violets never bloom, and plum
trees wither markedly, their fruit askew
and dim €”depression always follows you.

Amytis Leaves Her Garden (2012) is available from White Violet Press, and is distributed through Amazon and other booksellers.

Karen’s poetry has been nominated numerous times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She received the Fluvanna Prize (2012) from The Lyric (the oldest magazine in North America in continuous publication devoted to traditional poetry), and has been featured in The New Formalist and spotlighted in The Hypertexts. She was recently interviewed at The Poet’s Corner with Russell Bittner, and at A Motley Vision, and was included in Fire in the Pasture. She has published two other full length books in the last year: Dove on a Church Bench (Punkin House Press 2011), and Lavender Song (Fortunate Childe Publications 2011).

Image via Wikimedia Commons.


4 thoughts on “Amytis Leaves Her Garden”

  1. I think “Mariana” the delicatest of these three, and the least like Karen’s usual fare (which isn’t meant to suggest we’ve nailed you down, Karen, or pigeon-holed you, or ascribed a style or type to yo): its absence of initial caps, its nearly universal enjambment make it as tenuous and as fragile as what the life it describes.


  2. And I now see at least two errors in typography and grammar that I credit to this cold I’ve been battling for weeks. Sigh.


  3. Thank you for including the poems and the post here. I appreciate it. I wrote another spin-off of a Tennyson poem “Lady of Shallot” to go along with “Mariana.” I wanted to do a whole range of them but the inspiration left me after a I did a few of them.


  4. Wow, these really affected me. Especially, “Vignette of a Winter Evening” pulled me right in. I love the line, “The emptiness is clear.”

    Very effectual, Karen. Thanks for sharing these.


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