Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Snow like Eiderdown

When death comes
you find yourself trying to catch up to it,
to face facts,

like pulling on a winter coat
when the cold has already
bitten you clean through
and all that’s left is
dark acceptance.

You’ve had the denial,
the anger,
the bargaining,
the depression.

Now, you’re hunkering down
with no more Why God on your tongue.
You’ve realized what a colossal waste of time
that has proven to be,
as some questions
simply remain unanswered—
to your suffering.

But you pray, anyway.
Breathe in – sharp pain.
Breathe out – cry.
Breathe in – dull pain.
Breathe out –

a season of counted breaths
you decided to take in spite of the ache.
One broken foot in front of the other,
wincing as you wait.

For what?  You don’t know, but—






somehow bringing
a small peace, a light comfort
in the way of things.

You watch children
catch flakes on their tongues,
listen to giggles
and excited chatter
as they toss snowballs,

and soon realize
isn’t silent anymore.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

For the Poetry Jam prompt:  What Brings You Comfort?  Snow is comforting to mewatching it fallthe way it settles, covers everything, and of course watching kids play in it. 

I’ve been in Las Vegas for my son’s baseball tournament so it’s great to be back and see what I’ve missed.  Looking forward to making rounds and catching up with what you all have written!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Moonflower & Moth

In a wildflower garden
there lived a cocooned creature
who hatched, grew tall,
and produced feet, 6 in all.

And wings,
oh such wings.
But who can fly
when you've only been taught to crawl?

The butterflies were beautiful,
floating from marigolds to phlox,
but she was no butterfly—
she’d heard them talk.

So she waited,
said creature,
for the last quarter moon,
and then whispered to it, “what must I do?”

The moon answered
with glitter and white
when on the moonflower
it shone its light—

she knew then she was made
just right;
some things are meant
to temper the night.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

At dVerse Poetics we are writing poems for kids.  I went with message and the natural world.  Moonflowers pop open at night and are pollinated by moths. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

long hot summer night

hush now,
wild thing
have you ever been to electric lady land?

gypsy eyes, bold as love
machine gun fire burning desire—

hear my train a-comin’, lover man
let me move you

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Jimi Hendrix @ The Rock, photo © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

I recently visited a restaurant that had this likeness of Jimi Hendrix painted on the wall near our table (and titles to many of his songs on the seating).  Jimi is a Seattle icon, though I won’t say role model, hahowever, he was a brilliantly talented guitarist.  I crafted this poem (and title) from titles of songs he wrote, recorded or performed.

Bold As Love
Burning Desire
Gypsy Eyes
Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
Hear My Train A-Comin’
Hush Now
Let Me Move You
Long Hot Summer Night
Lover Man
Machine Gun
Wild Thing

Monday, October 14, 2013


photo © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Just outside this circle of light
the mood of sky is darkening
as sprinkles of rain are turning to floods.

I feel I won’t drown this time,
awash in ash, as deep autumn burns out,
thrusting the baton to barrenness.

Stained on the caverns of my heart
are four amaranthine trees.
Their branches and leaves are arms and handprints,
shoring up each chamber.
Their colors are lanterns,
bright and glowing.

This heart has been made rich and fertile;
this ship has beacons, reasons,
to remain buoyed and sustained.
By them I am helped to weave my way,
even when the dark bleeds thick
upon my mind, poisonous and looting.

I have found in their eyes
warm respite from the seeping cold of lifeless hollows
and cradle the hope that is anchored
in the breath and vitality
that each of their smiles light
to bring me home.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

For my four sons and all they have had to understand in my struggle with depression.  Ever yours ~ Mom.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Street for Kings

I wrote a poem
about two people
I often see
strolling together
holding hands—

is that you now on streets unending?
Every morning made
fit for a king
whispering poetry
to the ear of the one you love?

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner
Today at dVerse we are remembering poet Dave King.  I wrote my poem based on a comment he left me.

“Could easily have been Doreen and me, if we had been in Seattle. It's a beautiful picture you paint and you delineate it well. Thanks for helping to make my morning.” – Dave King on my poem 75.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Color of Blood

photo © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

the red pony

the hunt
for red october

the red pyramid

red rabbit

where the red fern grows

the red badge
of courage

the signature of jesus

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

For dVerse Form for All:  The Hidden Poetry in Books.  I went a totally different way with this than I thought I would.  It’s more of a list type of poem, but it’s where my muse lead.

Books are from our family library:  The Red Pony by John Steinbeck, The Hunt for Red October and Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy, The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, Redwall by Brian Jacques, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane and The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning.

(In memory of Tom Clancy, Apr.12, 1947 - Oct. 1, 2013.  R.I.P.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mother's Portrait

In the room of no music
and unlit fires

she hangs between us.

Her fingers continue to pound
the keys in my head

of all her expectations on me,
her hopes in you.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

I’m a bit late, but this is for Margaret’s Artistic Interpretations at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads where she has invited us to concentrate on setting and mood as we write to images she took of place miniatures at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September Wish

photo © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

i know we’ll all
have our winters to face,
and for some, dark skies
may be just down the road—

but today, my hope is for light,
for rest on the journey,
and a place to sip sweet cider
with hints of cinnamon and clove

and autumn’s smile
to come and sit with us,
like a covering of colorful snow,
staying as long as it likes                    

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wrestling with Goodbye

At all the wrong turns
and times, and for the wrong reasons,
we vowed love
through false teeth.

You were looking for a mother
I could never be, an anesthetic
for your terminal sicknesses.
And I was hiding who I was meant to be,
afraid of myself.

I am sorry for the mask
and how long it wore me.
Still, I am not sure if you are as fatally sorry
for this headstone you’ve saddled me with.

No matter—
a dew dropped, more dark than red, rose
waits on the doorstep.
Take it,
I can live with your ghost no longer.

Plus, I’m learning what it’s like to be me    
without you
and how,
to like her.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

*A poem of mine was selected for the dVerse 2nd Anniversary Contest at Boston Poetry Magazine.  I’m thrilled to have had my piece be chosen.  Click here to check it out and read the poems of others who placed in the contest.  Thank you to all the judges and congrats to all the winners!  Great writing, all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


photo © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

i knew it
butterflies do

in all shapes and sizes

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner