Ocean Waltz

She danced to Beethoven’s archduke piano trio
wild and reckless
her calloused feet kissing the white sand
the crescendo of piano the crescent wave.
She didn’t care if any saw her;
no one was looking anyways
and she curated her own reality.
Sometimes she danced on tiptoe
when the occasion called for it
but more often than not it was full-fledged
arm flinging absurdities
calling to her the soul of the water
as the piano to her own.



EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD: bringing our favorite previously-published poems back to the front page.

Submitted by Sarah Connor

Passing through this doorway
is an act of remembering
and of forgetting. On this
threshold I stand poised
between the two.

 Back then, there were magic
doorways that led
to wonderlands. I dream
of passing through,
from this dull monochrome
to glorious technicolour.

Right now, time becomes space,
space becomes time:
the living room is full of my childhood;
somewhere in the kitchen
there’s a sleeping baby.

In an upstairs room,
my younger self is standing,
looking out across
another city. Waiting
for life to start.

My grandmother presses
a crumpled note
into my palm, and whispers
urgent wisdom.

Back then, there were dark
doorways that led
to underlands. I dream
of passing through,
from this mad technicolour
to the bleak purity
of black and white.


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Photo Credit: Edward Hopper – Rooms by the Sea


Submitted by George Freek
(After Tu Fu)

Sparrows whirl overhead,
like drunken acrobats.
Above them the sky is gray
with the sadness
of a million yesterdays.
I walk through dead leaves,
falling from stunted trees.
A crow hovers above an oak.
He stares at me,
wishing I were dead.
His scream is shrill.
Barren branches tremble
in the grip of a relentless will.
The sparrows finally settle
on the bare branches,
like lovers who have
loved their fill,
and are now still.


Vita Brevis accepts poetry submissions year-round!


EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD: bringing our favorite previously-published poems back to the front page.

Submitted by Barry Fentiman Hall

On a street that brooks no water

Once the home of some old author

Who remembered the forgotten

So they said

I wonder what he’d make of it

This washed up tosh of worn and sick

Still gathering for crumbs

Instead of bread

Would he tell their luckless stories

About the food banks and the debt?

And the search for orange labels

To get fed

Or would he come the voyeur

And do a docusoap for Channel 4

About shirkers never getting

Out of bed?

I like to think he wouldn’t

But all we really know

Is his words and salty tastes

Cos Charlie’s dead


Vita Brevis takes submissions year-round–send us your best work!
Photo Credit: “Creekside at Night” – Jeremy Sams

Dead Leaves

Submitted by Shaun Clamp

They scuttled on the dusty bricks
rolling past the iron trees
in desiccated cartwheels
to lawns, bounding
after each other, squabbling like birds –
flitting off, whirled up
under a car chassis.

But the wind brought forth a storm,
falling heavily
into the morning

where they lay
with tar bruises trodden through
and sodden on the dusty bricks drying,
they lay in masses, unmoving
except the few that quivered
in fear of the street sweeper’s brush
and his swaying skoppie scythe.


Vita Brevis accepts poetry submissions year-round!
Painting: John Ruskin – Withered Oak Leaves


EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD: bringing our favorite previously-published poems back to the front page.

Submitted by Himalia

A breathing mountain
Developed after years of geologic merging,
There is life in the Himalayas.

But this is not a lesson on plate tectonics.
Here is a place to learn freedom.
Every piece of matter is moving all at once.

Even the book on time and space,
Resting on your floor,
Is vibrating.


Are you a literary poet or writer? Send your best work to Vita Brevis.
Photo credit: Vermeer – The Astronomer

Your Mother

Submitted by Jamie Dedes

a tattered memoir in sepia tones
hanging on the wall of your office
a tiny plump sparrow of a woman
by a lone stone cottage
toothless, poor old thing
a warm shawl pulled to cover her head
an apron, worn shoes
from a time long past
from another world
my Turkish grandmother
what was her name?
you never said, i never asked


Vita Brevis accepts poetry submissions year-round!
Painting: An Old Woman peeling Pears – by a follower of David Teniers the Younge