I spent many years walking the deserts and climbing the mountains of Southern California. Now I spend time in the Eastern Forests from Maryland to Vermont and practice woodworking near the Anacostia River. I hold a PhD in Writing from the University of Houston. My poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line 2011) and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps. Recent honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), and Potomac Review Prize. My work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Asian Cha and Aesthetica. Currently I work in Washington, DC. and am an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com.
These climbing roses, floribunda, red
and cream, through shades of multiwhorled blush
should not be blooming now: a month ago
a herd of deer had grazed along the fence
consuming every leaf. Since then, the slow
process of renewed growth built to a rush
of blossoming, so now, the branching stems
bear up a myriad of living gems
whose color changes often: if I gaze
near evening at one, I can't recall
how it began the day. Its opulence
must change, scarlet to white, quickly through all
the intervening shades, so if I praise
the ruby glow of buds, before I'm done
each petal will be transformed by the sun
into some other jewel tone. And yet
perhaps that change should be our vision: when
we focus on their vibrant transience
we may see something more than what had been
or what will be, we may even forget
Autumnal clouds advancing overhead.
"September Roses" first appeared in Red Rose Review.
On the feast of The Impression of the Stigmata of St Francis, Confessor
Our marbled cherry trees have lost their leaves.
It’s not yet solstice. Birds are gathering
in hidden trees along the riverside.
I listen to them from the forest’s edge
and mark the dew on willows, heavy pods
of wisteria, weighing down each separate vine,
disordered grass stems tangling Mary’s feet.
We’ve each spent lifetimes learning all these signs:
our Fall is coming, even though the days
seem long enough to finish everything.
I take on so little. I take on far too much:
the red clay pond, half dug and filled with rain
beckons. It’s pleasant work, but other tasks
with other frames conspire. Is there time?
And yesterday, at dusk, we crossed a field.
I offered her my shirt against the cold
and noticed how the hawks have disappeared
replaced by owls and foxes, how the deer
made bold by wind, invade, how sedum change
from white to rose. Some moving into red
presage feathered designs of ice-framed ponds.
"Impression" first appeared in New Verse News.
©2015 W.F. Lantry