I sensed her by the fallow deer that fed
upon the oak leaves near the sea, and then
around the flooded estuary bed
where egrets hid between large willows. When
a heron waded through the narrow pond
and mingled with the geese, I almost saw
her cherry lips flash like a regal wand,
or damselfly, who quietly withdraws
when humans catch a glimpse. I know she’s here
to gather peacock-butterflies and shells,
until thin moonbeams slowly draw her near
and ghostly forms ring silent vesper bells.
Karen Kelsay is a frequent contributor to Wilderness Interface Zone. To read her bio and see more of her work, go here, here, here, here, here, and assorted other places on WIZ.
“Finding the Powderham Sprite” was first published in Trinacria.
I read through my old diary tonight.
Inside a sweater drawer is where I found
it €”tattered travel log. It had a slight
tear on the spine, but still was neatly bound.
I read my thoughts on some far distant night,
stone turrets wrapped in ivy, summer-crowned
green willow trees with soft Parisian light
across the way. My memory swirled around
each consecrated word, until your name
appeared, a shining brilliance so profound
it burnt the yellowed page with quiet flame.
Karen Kelsay, native of Orange County, has been widely published over the past five years in poetry journals and anthologies. She is the founder of Kelsay Books, a thriving new press comprised of four imprint companies. You can read various articles about Karen, her press, and her poetry at: The Poet’s Corner, The Nervous Breakdown, Katie Hoerth’s Blog, Thick With Conviction, and A Motley Vision.
“Quiet Flame” was first published in String Poet.
Today I read your verses, and I wept.
Your loss, transcending centuries, has torched
a hole in my self-pity, scattered ash
across four hundred years, and scorched
my martyrdom into the oak-slat floor.
The sad account of how your house burned down,
your passing of the ruins every day.
Each broken brick of future, smudged and brown.
And now I know the leaving of my home
cannot compare. The maple gum and oak
will always weave through bougainvillea blooms,
a mourning dove will flutter in her cloak
of spring magnolia leaves. The window seat
and lattice will remain. My children played
their games with our old dog along this hedge.
And still, I read the words your hand has laid
across the page, that all is vanity.
I hear the crackle of your faith renew.
And realize you never asked for more
than hope in Him who hath enough to do.
To read more of Karen’s bio and more of her poetry on WIZ, go here, here, here, and here.
If you would like to read “Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1866,” by Anne Bradstreet, go here.
It’s here I pause with each December, where
the snow-trimmed walls of timeworn brick align
beneath the windowsill and winter’s bare
limbs bend beneath a delicate and fine
glossing of frost. It’s here I garner all
my thoughts of months gone past, beside the sheers
and yellow paisley chair. A woolen shawl,
a pearl and knit of smiles and raveled tears,
is wrapped around my shoulders. Nothing speaks
but morning’s melting icicles and wind
that steals the breath of graying skies. The creek
is frozen into timelessness and thinned
with dying grasses every shade of brown.
I take my stock of daisies dried and pressed–
my verses, scratched impetuously down–
time balanced here on its mid-point of rest.
Karen Kelsay has been published in a variety of journals including: The HyperTexts, The Flea, The Raintown Review, The New Formalist and 14 by 14 Magazine. She is the editor of Victorian Violet Press, an online poetry magazine. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee.