The Poetry Porch presents

the sonnet scroll viii

Copyright © 2008 by Joyce Wilson


    by Matthew Woolven

    I am no longer a soldier. Nor a hero for the public.
    Each is too often confused. Each is as lonesome.

    And I gave up martyrdom after the blues in the
    Garden put their summer petals down.
    Hubris withers colorful memories, valleys at a time.

    I am a poet now. Where do I begin?
    Honestly. So where should I begin?

    Copyright © 2008 by Matthew Woolven.

    by Matthew Woolven

    It wasn’t until years later
    that I realized the rain does
    the one thing we are unable to
    and soon began to wonder how
    doors begin their slamming
    and closets begin their
    screaming and no one checks
    the weather or peeks outside
    where a single drop of water
    can turn two congruous
    images belly-up and reveal
    how drenching the other
    side of not enduring the first
    four seasons can be.

    Copyright © 2008 by Matthew Woolven.

    by Richard Aston

    They say it also falls upon the just,
    so why worry that now it’s chilling me?
    With that tradition bolstering my trust,
    along with some protection from the trees,
    I should, though shivering, get sleep tonight,
    and perhaps even find some small comfort
    in sounds assuaging my childish fright
    of silence. Like a sentry on a fort,
    suspecting silence, I strain to hear
    the accidental noise of enemies
    behind the trees who may be lurking near.

    I’m grateful for the sound of rain on leaves.
    And after sleeping all night in the rain,
    I’m thankful that the sun will come again.

    Copyright © 2008 by Richard Aston.

    by Adam H. Tessier

                           When you ask me to promise that I’ll love you
                            forever as a birthday gift, I bake a cake.

    A chance to use a recipe derived
    from Irma Rombauer’s wedding cake: flour,
    creamed butter, sugar, egg whites, baking powder,
    whole milk, and good vanilla
    . It survived
    in careful transcripts that her daughter tried,
    found true, and sent to press in ‘74,
    The Joy of Cooking White Cake II, to score
    a hit with generations of new brides.

    Two layers take a half an hour to bake
    at 350°
    . (The oven gives them room,
    hot quiet space to rise, to be a cake.)

    Let cool, then frost. (Wax paper on the plate
    makes this step easier.) Then decorate,
    with flowers, candles, or a bride and groom.

    Copyright © 2008 by Adam H. Tessier.

    by Adam H. Tessier

    A lesson on the value of belief,
    you tell me how you hold your angel-saint
    inside a box, describing the relief
    one feels, or ought to feel, suddenly faced
    with mock-up Michael, brandishing his sword
    and scales. He’s shuttered there, hot hours when
    the dragon’s near. Just spin the latch-a horde
    of cherub cronies flurry from within.

    A child’s eager hand upon the crank
    wild for the revelation of the clown,
    your gesture opens doors, and tries my faith:
    this envy is a sin, it weighs me down
    but how I want a box of holiness
    like yours, to hide or rattle, or caress.

    Copyright © 2008 by Adam H. Tessier.

    by William Ruleman

    In just the past few days, the weather has altered:
    A few cool mornings—magic for one’s moods.
    A sign of how our scientists have faltered
    In their predictions of Mother’s attitudes?
    So much for tragedy? The polar bear
    Must feel all right, we feel, if we all do.
    And if some pesky fumes remain in the air,
    Well, aren’t they simply part of life’s rich stew?
    I jest. I do? The coasts, besieged by rain,
    Continue, soggy, to crumble. Worrisome winds,
    Now “gathered like sleeping flowers,” poise to give pain.
    And yet, though not required to be our friends,
    In serving us suffering, might they help us see
    A path to purity? Humility?

    Copyright © 2008 by William Ruleman.

    by William Ruleman

    A night in mid-September. East Tennessee—
    A cooler night than we’ve had since early June.
    My window’s open. Dogs bark with a clarity
    I haven’t heard for months. An icy white moon
    Will bathe my face tonight as I drift toward sleep;
    A chill will settle itself upon my room;
    The crickets’ chime will calm to only a cheep;
    A fog will hover, adorned in its thrilling gloom,
    The hush in the air betraying a nature in wait
    For death descending gently upon the leaves,
    Preparing their tips with flame, as if for a date
    With ravishing fire that triumphs, then only grieves
    When it’s spent, its embers floating down to the earth,
    Conveying the end of summer’s emerald mirth.

    Copyright © 2008 by William Ruleman.

    by Stefan Zweig
    translated by William Ruleman

    The days have long since climbed down the golden ladder
    Of summer. Late brilliance warms the land.
    The shadows wax early and fall in broader
    Spans from every tree in the evening’s hand.

    Many a ripe fruit, as if wind-brought,
    Still gleams in the leaves. Bare, the meadow’s breast;
    And clouds above that chase themselves west
    Make the sky seem restless, burdened with thought.

    Above the woods (leaf-stripped, with forlorn look),
    The swallows’ flight quivers, already in distress;
    And all this warns: Prepare for autumn presently.

    Incline tomorrow toward the landscape’s book:
    The look already, perhaps, from the letters so motley,
    Of life’s loveliest word: transitoriness.

    Copyright © 2008 by William Ruleman.