Monday, August 31, 2015

A Poem by Rick Hartwell


Scorpion of the Sea
(or of the North and Back Bay),
society of Sculpin
(camouflaged algae green, brown),
family Cottidae
(broad head, gristle gum, gaping maw),
saltwater bullhead
(prehistoric mien and manner, grotesquery),
labeled a trash fish
(horrific to the uninitiated and intimidated),
toxic dorsal spine
(a conjurer's spell to fright young fishermen).

At ten or eleven or twelve,
setting out for perch or smelt,
quicksilver flashes, lip snagged,
something worthy of a frying pan,
collectively a dinner, if not singly,
or the slow reeling of dark weight
until a halibut's quick pancake flip
presents pallid mouth and belly flesh.

Hooks baited with fillets of raw bacon,
oily aphrodisiac cast in polluted water,
we, angling from an eight-foot pram,
young Hemingways next to the docks,
catching bullheads in the north channel,
unhooking them with our bloody fingers,
as they'd attempt to breathe an atmosphere,
unfamiliar medium unsuited to their needs.

Once released, they'd disappear below,
residents of the shallows, no longer aliens,
yet soon caught again by insatiable appetite,
relieved occasionally by a wayward stingray,
another denizen of nightmares freed yet again,
as we played out this ritual day after day,
keenly expectant, as only the young can be:
our luck would change and we'd be fed instead.

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher living in Southern California.  He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity.  Given his druthers, if he's not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.  He can be reached at

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Poem by Barbara Bald

Traveling with a Hare

I smile when I see them, there
on the edge of the woods—
fan-shaped prints spreading out
across a snowy expanse,
sun glinting on them,
like crystallized sugar cookies,
gray shadows, deep within each track,
peeking out at the light.

Large fur-padded hind-feet, positioned
ahead of small front paws,
leave marks that confuse the eye,
and warm spring rays, melting edges
of the imprints, expand them
to a size that equals those of Sasquatch.

I like to imagine a giant hare, hopping
in thickets behind my house.
My legs tucked snuggly
within his gigantic haunches,
he leaps with me on his back.
Whether fleeing from predators
or racing in zigzag patterns of play,
we dare to leave the trail, the ground,
all security far behind.
Risking everything, we surrender to passion,
bound like Icarus into giddy, free flight.

Barbara Bald is a retired teacher, educational consultant and free-lance writer. Her poems have been published in a variety of anthologies: The Other Side of Sorrow, The 2008 and 2010 Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire and For Loving Precious Beast. They have appeared in The Northern New England Review, Avocet, Off the Coast and in multiple issues of The Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s publication: The Poets’ Touchstone. Her work has been recognized in both national and local contests including the Rochester Poet Laureate Contest, Lisbon’s Fall Festival of Art Contest, Conway Library’s Annual Contest, Goodwin Library’s Annual Contest, and The Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s National and Member Contests. Her recent full-length book is called Drive-Through Window and her new chapbook is entitled Running on Empty. Barb lives in Alton, NH with her cat Catcher, two Siamese Fighting fish and a tank of Hissing Cockroaches.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Two Poems by Dilip Mohapatra


Under the banyan tree in the street corner
few worn out scooter tires and semi-wet sands
which once supported the earthen pots
filled with drinking water not long ago
now feel desolate and deserted.

The red flames on the Gulmohar trees
flanking the streets doused by the first showers
have lost their sheen to the verdant green.
Blue polythene covered sheds have mushroomed
along the rows of shops skirting the footpaths.

The summer has slipped away
and perhaps is hiding behind the clouds
and a farmer in his ramshackle hut
puts an aluminum pot below the dripping hole
on his thatched roof and scrapes
the dry mud off his overused plough.

Paper Boats

Monsoon descends
and the clouds split open
the gutters running parallel
on both sides of
the narrow village gully
swell up in a spate and
bridge the gap
between them
to shake hands.

An endless ribbon of
muddy brown water
slithers on the road
like a huge serpent
after its prey
a faint and translucent sun
swims on its back lazily
a wanton wind whistling
through the coconut fronds.

Tiny dots of paper boats
appear from nowhere
riding the crests and troughs
of the gushing stream
dancing in tandem
to the rhythms of the ripples
wobbling aimlessly
with no compass nor chart
and no harbour to enter.

They set sail on their uncertain course
with no ropes nor even an anchor
and with no cargo in the holds
of their folds
but their transparent rigging
laden with laughter and cheer
and boundless glee
like the trinkets twinkling
on a Christmas tree.

The notebooks become
thinner and thinner
while some topple and capsize
and some continue to stay afloat
their keels becoming
wetter and heavier as they sail by.
An infinite joy abounds
in the air and
spirits soar high.

Dilip Mohapatra, a decorated Navy Veteran, started writing poems in the seventies.  His poems have appeared in many literary journals of repute in India and abroad.  Some of his poems have been featured in the World Poetry Yearbook, 2013 along with the works of 211 contemporary poets from 93 countries and few are lined up for its 2014 Edition due in June 2015.  He has two poetry collections titled "A Pinch of Sun & other poems" and "Different Shades" to his credit, published by Authorspress India.  He holds two masters degrees, in Physics and in Management Studies.  He lives with his wife in Pune.