Emily Coming In From The Moors

We are also living the stories we planted --
                  knowingly or unknowingly -- in ourselves
                                                                      Ben Okri                                                                                              
She enters the house with her skirts
frayed and field-stained. Her left hand
bitten by a dog. Oblivious to  pain, she grabs
a washbowl, hot iron from the hearth, rags
that were once her  brother's linen shirt.

Soon the wound is cauterized and dressed. In
the glass, she glances at her  face. Tangling hair
resembles the shade of dried blood -- or is the  broom grass
ruffling the broad lands in thick disarray? The thought

lingers along with the day's trauma
but none of its makes news in her diary. Her fingers
pull aside a pale ribbon 
as if yielding to the mundane --  and she writes;

Branwell is coming home on a train from London.
There will be storm clouds over the moors and cold
gusts when he returns. We must ready the house
with plenty of light and food. Lay out fresh linens
and sheets of music on the piano. I think
I will play him a concerto by Liszt.

Then she shuts the leather shutters of her journal
and ends a daily routine. Rubbing her injured hand
she remembers where  she disembarked
(days before)  and leans again into the twilight
of  that half-imagined scene. A girl clings
to the granite  ledge of a window
watching the young people inside.
Her legs  are scratched by the bramble;
and her ankle bone shines

like a white moon  drawing
the howl of wind and pit bull
straining to seize
the beautiful intruder.

    Wendy Howe is an English teacher and free lance writer who lives in Southern California with her partner, James. Her poetry reflects her  interest in human nature, diverse landscapes and  ancient cultures. Her writing often explores  portrait studies of women in conflict from a historical or mythical perspective.  Over the years, she has been published in an assortment of journals both on-line and in print. Recently, her work has been featured in several themed anthologies exploring myth, nature and dementia.

Peace of Mind

A bird emerges
from her house of leaves
craving wind
and the altitude
of the moon.

The sprinklers turn on
with her ascent
spinning water
into a ghostly haze.

And  soon, I pass through
more soul than body

for something that falls
the light and darkness,

holy in its own way
as dusk and prayer.

Copyright © 2016
Wendy Howe
All rights reserved
Wendy Howe ~ Page 2
Wordflair Community of Poets and Writers
Wendy Howe ~ Page 3

Vanishing Point

As a child, I  first learned the concept
watching my mother’s face
fade from the school bus window, shrinking
like a pale moonflower
from the sky and sun.

I heard its definition voiced
in those Grimm fairytales
where someone left, never
to be seen  or heard from again.

Yet, as a daughter,  I never
expected to map the phrase
on a long distance call . Tuesday night
we talked and you traveled
along the surreal, saying  a strange door
had appeared near your bed.

And when you opened it,
there was a girl offering
blue eggs and  feathers
on a sterling tray. She motioned  you
to follow and leave the room.

I asked if you were dreaming.
You whispered,  perhaps,  not  persuaded
by that logic  And then,  you relayed
you were tired and needed to rest.
The receiver hung-up, shadowed
by a ceiling fan in slow motion. 

Yesterday, I called the nurses’ station
and asked to speak with you. They checked
and said Marion was sleeping 
but had awoken earlier. 7 a.m.

as a woman named Joy --
worried about linen draperies
and the cost of  remodeling her house.

To A Young Woman Poet In Russia (1917)

I refuse to—live. To swim on
the current of human spines.
                          Marina Tsvetaeva

Though you say you do not believe
you sleep in a church to stay warm,
lie on the pew like a dead woman
while stained glass martyrs
keep watch.

A choir of candles
hum their psalm of fire,
but you are unaware, dreaming of dark scenes
and dampness:

The black mountain
blocks out light
and the sea
with its linen strata of sails.

A cherry tree
sags with no fruit. The pail
at its feet collecting
spiders and dew.

And of course, those gates.

One leads into the pasture
where a lover's hands
(smelling of gunpowder)
clutch your shoulders. His voice
begging to come home.
Another, locks the entrance
to an orphanage. Inside
a child peels rust from iron bars
like crust from a slice of bread
while she hungers.

And the last,
guards The Madonna's fountain.
Her stone body
veiled in moss.

Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rosetti