I treasure what they have left behind,
These bards who leave past bodies dirt-covered,
Clinging, emptied, music-less, enshrined
On a string as I necklace them like clover.
I have collected an anthology of shells
As I hear them reciting the poetry
That they learned while in the underworld
Then of their climb up the walls, the oak tree.
In lonely moments, they speak only to me.
To others, they are untuned, warped violins.
I am soothed by their joyous cacophony,
Their chant as they suck life from leaf stems.
What have they left for us in their rebirth flight?
Poems from three worlds, hope beyond day and night.
Prayer to a Deer in Summer
A large buck nooning in azaleas,
His felted rack too early for points,
Brown stalks erupting from the bushes.
Leafless, but in their way, they are lush
And wave as if wind disappointed
By the heat and by the rain’s failures
To bring relief had appointed him
As the custodian of coolness,
keeper of hope in humidity,
The one who with one swift head-twist
Could lift this midsummer fist of flame
And turn the sun from fiend to friend.
I call you from your sleep, take pity
On us, bring this swelter to an end.
Paul Jones’ poetry has been published in Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, Unbroken, and in anthologies including Best American Erotic Poems (1800 – Present). Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards. His chapbook is What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common. A manuscript of his poems crashed on the moon’s surface April 11, 2019.