I have written poetry and short fiction all my life and published a lot of it. My day job is editor of a trade publication Illinois Racing News. I live on a small horse farm in northern Illinois with my husband and various animals. My latest book, "Ribcage," (from Glass Lyre Press) recently won the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. I also am an associate editor of FutureCycle Press and Kentucky Review.
ON THE SECOND DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Let us have quiet. The Trappist notion
Of how to approach God: speechless.
With a cup of tea in your hands
In the woods, the birds chatter,
Twigs crackle beneath your feet.
Waves rattle crystal castanets. Proust lined his room
With cork to seal out the noises of living.
Books that speak into the ears
Of those who won’t be troubled
To turn pages.
Deep in the cave’s bosom
Water drips in slow dimensions
Of music congealed in limestone.
The world, the world unquiet.
ON THE THIRD DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Consider the trees. How they gift
The world with the oxygen of being.
How the pages of the great books
Owe a blessing to the pulp
Of the axed, martyrs of logging,
Saints of the great migrations.
Think of the chestnut forests that covered
The Appalachians, gone to blight
Like the smithies with their red-hot forges.
The elms that shaded the little towns,
The aspens dying on the mountain-sides.
Commerce invites the emerald borer
To destroy the ash: the world tree, Ygdrasil.
The almond trees that drink the coastal valleys dry.
Save the trees: the slogan
On the mailer made of their remnants.
ON THE FOURTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Go into the wilderness to contemplate
Like John the Baptist. To dialogue
Like Jesus with Satan, Prince of Darkness.
The wilderness where a boy starved
Identifying the wrong herbs, unprepared
For how the rivers rise in melt-time.
Where bears emerge from dens
And you learn that feeding the hungry
Ensures nothing. In the wilderness you are
Separated from your fellows.
The side trail you investigated, the bird
Or flower you stopped to photograph
And now your bones at the creekbed.
Where the pure in heart go to die.
ON THE SIXTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Delight is spontaneous. It can’t be tricked
The way a clause invigorates a sentence.
Let us tango with delight—the artful steps,
Turn of the head. Assumptions that a pause
Can fill the heart with sequins.
On the morning of delight
You rise still fogged with dream
And the simple act of putting on your shoes
Is a benison.
ON THE NINTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
The first book tells the tale
Of your birth.
Your weight. Height. The beautiful day
Of your becoming. The hour
Of your ascendant. A clipping of your hair.
The first words you spoke.
Here is the book of talking animals.
The book of goodnights.
Of the wild things.
The book you understood.
See Jane run. The little dog
Alive on the page.
All the books of learning
The book you read upon the plane,
A distraction in the rough flight
From youth to age.
The book of farewells signed
By all the people come to witness.
©2016 Joan Colby