Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Angel

I grab at air and ice, swallow water
swirling cold, numb, hopeless
sink a third time
promise God to change

I wake on shore in revival tears
safe but alone, white face, lips blue,
look for who caught me
find only crushed shells

How is it you can save my life
and disappear or was it
your third time too
No strength, too wounded

In dreams I dive under the ice,
breathe life, bring you home,
we rise, rock and dance
melt snow

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

War Hymn

In freedom’s psalm the poets weep 
for lives that did not rhyme,
stopped short in prefixated sleep
a postscript spanning time. -JH

With prayer the day is towed to light
as songbirds rest on broken staff,
trill shrilly through the foggy gloom
where mortars shriek to clear the air.
The tremor in the watchman’s rasp
advances time. The hours sweep
o’er wounded in sharp pain and flat
upon their backs with pallid face.
While in the holes the soldiers sleep,
in freedom’s psalm the poets weep. 

No faith is sung in church this day
The organ plays a silent dirge
collapsed in ruins on the stage
while tyrant’s goals go undeterred.
Discordant lines of frowning men
march by as bells refuse to chime.
Boots beat an unmelodic song,
from scores unsettled far too long.
Voices crescendo over time
and cry for lives that did not rhyme. 

It echoes where the sons of hope
in victory cross the gruesome miles,
embellishes the verdant spring;
Ears now hear staccato cries.
The prisoners in black and white
crawl sickly grey from torture’s keep,
climb slow on free will’s crippled feet,
find home in requiem of loss.
Some shattered hearts no longer beat,
stopped short in prefixated sleep.

The bold in bars with bars upon
their chest sit down to drink away
all memory of ignoble days.
While back at home, the ladies wait
with rhythmic hum of ordered lives.
The drumbeat pulse of lives entwined
casts cords across the silvered sea,
pulls those back home who were preserved
a signature of freedom’s prime,
their love a postscript spanning time. 

© Joyce Harback
November 11, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Standard Time

The dreary skies oppressive close upon horizon’s hall;
I turn within to find my joy before the curtain call.
The hearth of home is centre stage and all who gather here
can lift the drape of dark dismay and lighten every care.


I wake to find the pleasant days have fled
and autumn’s luscious colours overthrown.
I rise to see the sun has dropped his head,

the warming sun flash-frozen like a stone.
The earthbound clouds conspire to shut him out;
the lesser light will now take up his crown.

I work to loose compassion midst the doubt
where dreary rains long drowned the fledgling crop,
Impatiently, strong winds swirl roundabout;

I rest my weary head, exhausted drop
and weep for all that’s lost mid winter snow.
I still—the soul’s dark night bids me to stop—

embrace the voice of my Beloved now.
As lilies through the cold of moonlight glow,
I sleep amidst the sweetness of His flower.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Sense of Place

grass stains   bees underfoot   salt on slugs
glug sun tea   sweating by gallons
hand-me-down bikes   broken chains   patched tubes
scraped knees   mecurichrome medals

dust settles on books while children
jump and dance on sticky asphalt
eager for the whoosh of heat meeting ice,
whiff of stale freezer
when the ding dong jeep stops to exchange
my sticky quarter for a Fudgesicle

sit down to roast beef falling apart
fresh baked rolls melting butter
rich brown gravy rivers down
quiet potatoes mashed and piled
boisterous dinner masculine conversation

mama bustles about serving in silence
slaps hands which reach too often
too soon for unclaimed leftovers
brushes up crumbs the dog can’t reach

later the washed jars we emptied of green beans and peaches
become glass cathedrals for faeries
we chase their lightning glow
the fire around which we jostle for place
warm our hands on slaps of laughter
the clammy air pulls down the sides of the day

watch the ants as they carry
a hundred times their weight
like I do the memory of family
now scattered and hands holding
the weight of a hundred other worlds
changing it for the better
one crumb at a time

Monday, September 7, 2009

Meditation 1: Consumed

The flame on the sacrifical candle
slips slowly into the middle
of the wax flower, leaving the unmelted
outer petals as a suspended splash
rising from a liquified pool.
Music streams like a tide across our ears.
We inhale exhilaration, lift our hands
to plunge into a shower of words,
scrub away ancient tearstained remnants
of last week. Languid cheeks remember
why mouth muscles stretch back
toward ears as we exhale
into sleep and the floral candle
drowns its own light.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sea I Saw

The first poem in months has bubbled its way to the surface and I've managed to capture its tentacles in a hastily constructed trap of pen and paper. The black ink has stained the page in defense, now I must wrestle the pubescent beast into line.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The house stifles, hot and humid
after days in the wood
reveling in beauty
creation personified

a sweltering suffocating pause
if all were stripped away
still I would swoon with the heat

tired eyes slow body
waking nights
no words can contain
nor relieve

I need the air
the cool the breeze
the loon crazy on the lake
like me in this house

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Teasing flirt raises skirts of snow
sashays onto the dance floor sweeping
gravel and scattering robins

Foals and fawn soak in sun, watch
mountains do the same
perspiring coolness into rivers

Rising crocus surrenders
to magnetic rays, abandons
tug o’ war with earth

We rise and stretch, inhale
russet earth, moist with arousal
multiply and replenish creator offerings

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Walk in the Park

The track of the deer
call of the loon
whirr of geese
water lapping at snow
warm winter sun
silence and laughter
still slow summon of spring

Friday, March 6, 2009


There it is again
I click the URL field and forget
Why. Where am I going?

I get to the room, look around
I see nothing to enlighten me
as to how I got there
what drew me

Is this my fate  Suspended
forever on the margins
of memory
Is it starting?

Time to say my goodbyes
now while I remember
whom it is
I love

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where I'm From

I am from Ozarks, from Quaker Oats and hard work.
I am from the rough-and-tumble;

ill-fitting hand-me-down boots
unbuckled and dripping on the lino.

I am from the cicada's nighttime buzzing;
flowering mimosa and stifling humidity.

I am from singing grace and debating opinion,
from Frank and Eva and too many lives cut short.

I'm from the Show Me State, from singing and laughter,
warm cinnamon rolls and juicy watermelon.

From 8 brides for 7 brothers, the gifted grandpa,
and the dad who made an RV from a hearse.

I am from boxes of Kodak slides,
record albums piled in dusty corners,

the unpublished poem book, the praying mamma
and sticky caramel memories not yet unwrapped.