May 17, 2017

Submitted by Ann Neilson

I feel thine absence, I mourn thy loss,
My dearest friend whom I n’er have met.
Dewy is the parting cobweb, flossed,
une mélancolie veil upon thy dampened cheek,
Long since reposing, entangled by earth’s decay,
n’er longer exposed to thy darkened dismay.

The tolling bells doth not ring for thee,
nor treads the mourner to thy grave;
Thy home, once glowing with warmth and ease,
Hath collapsed unto its own mossy enclave.
But come-may this heart hold thy eternal place of rest
and enfold thee, thus, forever to mine breast.


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Photo credit: Gustav Dore – Circle of Angels


Hellenistic Reverie

Submitted by short-prose-fiction

Caressed together by the waters of Corinth
Into the darkest forests chasing statuary nymphs
The decadence of Hellenistic love
Blissfully raining tears from above.

“The condo of the virgin” sitting empty
The goddess long dissolved into the néant
You softly reading Hebrew texts in Greek
The painful comedy of life on sale this week.

[“The condo of the virgin” refers to the Parthenon, temple dedicated to Athena who was a virgin goddess.]

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Photo credit: Embarkation of Ulysses- Claude Lorrain 

Visiting With Chaos

Submitted by Ali Grimshaw 

Spills splattered the walls.

Counters filled with clutter,

multiple piles creating a new geography in the room.

There is a relief to cleaning it all away.

Everything in order. Repair and replace.

The seduction of a new cycle, sparkling clean.

Free from marks of history.

What if we could sit with Chaos

for just a little minute?

Feel the wind in our ears.

Hearing her secrets of cleverness.

To soak in the learning of this undone space.

Before an opportunity is erased.

A past disinfected before she can author her story

from which the plot differs from

perpetual duplicating.


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Photo credit: Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth – William Turner

Wabi Sabi

Submitted by Jamie Dedes

if only i knew
what the artist knows

about the great perfection
in imperfection

i would sip grace slowly
at the ragged edges of the creek

kiss the pitted
face of the moon

befriend the sea
though it can be a danger

embrace the thunder of a waterfall
as if its strains were a symphony

prostrate myself atop the rank dregs on the forest floor,
worshiping them as compost for fertile seeds
and the breeding ground for a million small lives

if i knew what the artist knows,
then i wouldn’t be afraid to die,
to leave everyone

i would be sure that some part of me
would remain present
and that one day you would join me
as the wind howling on its journey
or the bright moment of a flowering desert

if i knew what the artist knows,
i would surely respond soul and body
to the echo of the Ineffable in rough earthy things

i would not fear decay or work left undone
i would travel like the river through its rugged, irregular channels
comfortable with this life; imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete


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Photo credit: Photo on a Mountaintop – (the  incredible) Shen Zhou

The Deepest Thread – A Thanksgiving Poem

Submitted by the Vita Brevis Team!

Steaming pots and plates are passed
Down the table, as if down the generations:
From a grandmother to her son,
From a father to his daughter.

Through their veins courses similar blood,
In their eyes shines a similar glean,
Of the deepest thread ever sewn:
The thread of family.


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Photo credit: A Christmas Dole – Joseph Clarke

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Next to a Footpath at Fuente De

Submitted by Matthew Rhodes

Lives like raindrops falling into mud,
making rivulets of blood.

Unwasted, yet ungently blown; dashed and mixed and tossed and dropped,
then burned and baked to clay;
stretched tight in frozen screams.

Time, as in a century, will pass
and stir the mud; raise ears of corn
unnumbered like the raindrop lives
that cannot be remade.


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Photo credit: An Italianate Landscape with Travelers on a Path, Jan Both

Strange Tongue

Submitted by Anonymous

When there is a land stretched before me
With mountains, steppes, rivers, and valleys
Of beauty such that I cannot speak
Beyond my tongue, beyond belief

How can I help but wonder and think
What else is there of all I see
That language simply cannot glean
That we can simply not conceive?

And if a man, from across the sea,
Moored his ship and stood beside me,
What words of his, what letters too,
Would he emit to misconstrue?


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Photo credit: Seaport with the Embarkation of St Ursula – Claude Lorrain