Bio Note: Having grown up in south Jersey, I came to Ohio for college and never left the Midwest. After a painful divorce six years ago, I have built a new life for myself in north-central Indiana, where I walk my sweet Golden Lab on rural roads; enjoy beautiful relationships with my adult children and daughter-in-law; and direct the Writing Center at Taylor University. A Best of the Net and six-time Pushcart Prize nominee, I am the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which includes, “In Which the Magpie Resurrects the Voice of Henry David Thoreau.”
Welcome even in January, peach ice cream slathers my tongue, when crimson shocks the cone and the top of the scoop with eerie iridescence, and every lick and lap I take leaves behind more blood, thanks to my lip surprisingly split by days of dry air. Peach paired with iron, vanilla with thorn. Was this odd mix what Ezekiel tasted, too, when God unrolled the scroll of lamentation, which he told him to eat? When he found those words so sweet? As though the underbelly of woe actually bears an amber glow. As though the smallest of joys can pierce dark prophecy or hardened hearts, injecting hope like a honey bee ceaselessly working and in the face of any threat (imagine it: the face is yours!), giving up its life for the hive.
Originally published in Valparaiso Poetry Review.
In Which the Magpie Resurrects the Voice of Henry David Thoreau
~after The Magpie, by Claude Monet, 1868-69 I am the magpie, sitting atop the wattle fence. I embody the snow that fell overnight & blue shadows cast by morning sun— the fence’s & the great trees’ & yes, mine all resting there on Normandy’s ground. I know the woman you can’t see in the butter-colored house who boils carrots & parsnips over the fire & the invisible man who plows the field beyond me in the spring. I stretch forth my black breast, impressed that I can perch here, or fly, depending on my need. Once, a long time ago, I sailed through a rainbow, & its light tinged my wings green, so all summer long, I sang of solitude. Still, loss sometimes weighs upon my shoulders (though I have no quarrel with God), as when a brother dies & I gather with others to walk around the body & wail. Those essentials I encounter often, like now, for instance, as the violet mist dissipates, I spy another man close by, the one with a brush in his hand. I imagine he will practice on his pale canvas anything but resignation.
First published in The Ekphrastic Review
New Year’s Eve
—after Songs of the Celtic Winter by Ashley Davis A lovely alto in stereo warbles her wintry mix of Celtic words and Breton Airs, singing of the nollaig moon at Christmastime, welcoming fuacht— the cold of weather or place— when Canada geese alight like flurries in the field behind my house. My young Retriever fixates on them first (we share the view through the double-hung windows), her brown eyes deepening with their every move as they scrounge for crumbs of corn in this hour before dusk. Auld Lang Syne seems to resonate with the gaggle, their black heads bobbing when another flock swoops in, and another, blasting their horns, then lifting again, sailing their legendary skein across the gray sky. The voice of the old year thins. My dog lives in this moment. She doesn’t need carols or songs to forget old wrongs like the merry men do in the English ballad now filling the house. I never know which day is lost or which day redeemed. I only know when the birds return, syncopating the snow’s refrain, one noiseless, white goose materializes in their midst.
Originally published in Whale Road Review
©2021 Julie L. Moore
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell her or him. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL