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 Terraced Mountain(Little Red Tree 2015), The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds chapbook (Finishing Line 2011) and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps. 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 Valparaiso Poetry Review. Currently I work in Washington, DC. and am an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com.
I've seen no doves or tongues of flame. I've seen
no hurricanes within an enclosed space,
or roses wreathed in snow. And yet, one night,
I knew a moment I cannot explain
by reason or emotion. Candlelight
lit a small church, a consecrated place
of wood and glass. We few had gathered there
to hear an evening's music. Everywhere
around me papers rustled as the strings
of a quartet grew still. And then her voice,
without music behind her, clear and plain,
filled the whole room. It caused us to rejoice
and weep at once, as if each time she sings,
in opening herself, through grace and skill,
she opens us, as if she could instill,
in everyone who hears, love's harmony.
Is she a mirror of the spirit or
an opaque luminescent windowpane
hinting at passages? Does she restore,
within her voice's beauty, ecstasy
we thought we'd lost: transcendent, blessed, serene?
©2016 W.F. Lantry