I’ve watched you on the beam,

all long legs and determination.

Over and over the cartwheel

launched with good vision,

feet seeking blindly the graceful

finish, perfection.


I have to tell you now,

there is no perfection

on this gravity-massive earth.

But there is always-getting-better.


I’ll tell you this as well, though

you are not the girl for metaphor—

You need these same skills

for every challenge: balance,

trust, strength in the core.


Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

There is a chasm between two souls

deeper than the deepest ocean rift

and more full of watered mystery


To have given birth is not enough

To have carried and nursed is not enough

To love with this whole fractured being is not enough


We have a deeper communion, perhaps

with Other than with each other

That knowledge is not enough


I’ve often dreamt of your drowning

torn from my arms and lost in black water

It is the deep calling to the depths in us


Shall we take the plunge? Shall we sink ourselves

to the very floor of the abyss—abandon all

claim to one another and therein find our kinship?


*9 May 2015…A year since I wrote this, I’m realizing it’s a Mother’s Day poem of sorts…

Inspired by We Drink Because We’re Poets Prompt #9: Write a poem inspired by a Latin proverb. I was interested to find that there are at least two interpretations of this one, “deep calls to deep” (taken straight from the Latin Vulgate translation of Psalm 42) and “hell calls to hell” (meaning, loosely, that one bad thing leads to another). I’ll have to prefer the first sense.

Always a Popular Place for Lunatics

Rain splashing on metal and leather,

and running down. This camping in heather

a mistake; he had no notion whether

the storm would abate. He felt for the feather

and clutched it as he lay, remembering.


In that space was a curious curving

for near the moment, his mind went swerving

to some happier time. A method, perhaps, of preserving

sanity (all too late); he had made a vow of serving

the arts that had brought him to this hill.


Swept from black tables and made to dance—

so his master now owned him. Without a backward glance

he had entered magic’s dark waters; mere chance

that his brain in one lucid moment might advance

this truth: The ravens had been the first warning.


Inspired by We Drink Because We’re Poets Poetry Prompt #7: Complex instructions here. The short version is, line 10 from a book, rhymed into a stanza; repeat as desired. My first lines (and title) come from JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL, by Susanna Clarke.

Stair Nightmare

I’ve had this dream more than once

and wonder what awful trauma

is buried behind: in a dark room

rises a stair tilted steep, no reason

for its existence but to make me climb

Curious, I begin (oh, curious excuse!)

and in doubt I continue, slightly

dizzy in my mind (stumbling through black)

until I overstep the top, and fall


Inspired by Quickly’s Prompts: Write a poem using at least six of the following words: black, curious, caprice, awful, reason, continues, slightly, buried, doubt, stair, mind, declare. (Yes, I cheated again; there is supposed to be no more than one of these words per line.) I was sufficiently disturbed/inspired by these stair photos at A Parallel World.