A day cannot be a unit of life

Less a year, age.
My laundry list of things to do
stumbles ahead into tomorrows
as do my days and nights.
I navigate life like driftwood,
long blurs at sea – maybe
twice or thrice probing the shore
but always unexpectedly.
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FOOTNOTE: I’m so ready for sunny days, travel, new ideas and for the pandemic to be irreversibly over.

Wingword Poetry Prize 2020 Shortlist

So delighted and proud to (finally) have my poem make it to the shortlist for the Wingword Poetry Prize 2020. The entry titled ‘You’re allowed to leave’ is available in the link below. Hope you enjoy reading it.

: ))

You’re Allowed to Leave | Rhea Johnson — Wingword Poetry Prize

Abergavenny Small Press – April 2021

I haven’t been writing as much as I would like to, for various reasons. But, I intend to change that. Although I have a few ideas lined up, nothing’s really crossed the first draft stage. Until then, go check out one of my older poems, ‘Walking’ now published in Abergavenny Small Press Magazine Issue 3.

Rhea Johnson | ASP (asppublishing.co.uk)

Do check out the other poems in the issue as well, you will not regret it 🙂

Morning Run

I
They say that the human body
is sixty percent water. And I believe them.
I’ve always known it.
I have felt the water balancing in my stomach
like a bubble level, when I weep
it rises to my throat.
I’ve heard it too, rippling
inside of my restless vessel
be it not as alive as I feel it now, here
running the last lap over the bridge
its strong legs deep in the blue,
feet thump thumping the asphalt
heart throb thudding against its walls;
the clangor of reinforced steel-
and the sea rising and falling within me.
Water recognizing its own.

II
It must have a field of its own-
pulling back waves in its fold,
devouring rivers,
even a tear pulls its weight.
For now we’re moored here.
Eventually perhaps we will all collapse into water?
And if that is true, then there must be peace
for all lost things somewhere
in the center of the storm, then
there must be hope for us all.

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FOOTNOTE: Rode up to the creek yesterday and completed a poem. How was your weekend?

Lakeside after it rains

Nothing’s changed really
merely dipped in dark ink,
the lake still mirrors
silver as hauls of fish
floating. But night doesn’t fall;
it rises from the still opal –
a mermaid come to roost
on the shell-hard bank,
opening like a cautious fist
she rows the moon.

Curled leaves (mermaid hair) feed the rivulets
of her bare arms to where her fingers dig
into the dimpled cisterns of her bed.
Everything waits. The shadows of reed
and trunk, even the ballooning breathing silence
is gooseflesh and wound spring.
We lie wakeful
on the tense sinew of the night
poised on edge – like a seed
on the cusp of wild possibility.

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FOOTNOTE: I must’ve been living under a rock to not have heard about Mary Oliver. Her poems are genius! I’ve been bingeing on all of her works I could get my hands on. ‘The Swan’ is currently my absolute favorite.

Indian Poetry Review – Dec 2020

So pleased to announce that my poem, “Ruins”, is published in the Indian Poetry Review -Issue 1, December 2020. The book titled, ‘Dreams and Realities’ is available for purchase in the following link:

Issues | Indian Poetry Review

Indian Poetry Review is a biannual poetry-only print magazine which aims to publish the best works that speak emotionally. The issue contains a wonderful variety of poems and is worth spending some time reading through.

Leave

It’s impossible to shake off the pigeons
from their dogged grasp onto everything,
the loft, the terrace, the roof-
the loft back again.
That blue-grey huddle,
that wooden whir always wheeling.
Nothing can make it give,
to leave and not look back.
Haven’t I chased enough ones to know
that a stone would only send them so far
as to half-moon right back?
Have I not wondered so much more
if they wouldn’t, just for once
in a long while,
surf the wind that blows
or perch on a branch or ledge,
not for anything else but simply because
they liked the way it caught the sun?
Is that what I should have done too?


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FOOTNOTE: I am never more inspired to write than when there’s a project deadline looming. Maybe I’ll write another poem… or maybe I’ll knit a stocking, who knows! Nonetheless, I wish everyone a happy New Year.


Walking

Branches crunch
and twig and mulch
under my feet
that squelch
from the juicy
warmth of midday
sunlight sizzling
every sound
of gold and browned
leaf.

Autumn air
I chance upon
catnapping here
in this shoulder
bend of the hill,
full and ripe
with tripe of
bird and bee
in the lee of
year.

Stubborn leaves
lightly stirring
gleam startled white
like tiny mirrors
of a disco ball.
Shadows glide
into light and out
like dark lace
hurled.
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FOOTNOTE: It’s warm dreamy weather here and I can’t think of anything better than going on long walks and soaking up the sun like a dishcloth.

EDIT: Good Morning! ‘Walking’ is now displaying on the “Front Page Picks” in AllPoetry and so is my poem ‘April’. I already know it’s going to be a good day : )

Bonfire night of 1605

Lore has it that Guy Fawkes of York
sat guard on the devil’s pitchfork,
at the House of Lords, the Abbey;
for gunpowder that ‘neath it lay.

At a place well-nigh and haunted,
the witches on their brooms chanted,
“Hax pax max deus adimax,
King James’ Majesty, may your heart lax!”

And jack o’lanterns rejoiced in laughter
but evil didn’t prevail long after
when warned by a letter, the royal forces
charged to Westiminster on their horses.

No not horses! They were unicorns bright.
Though Fawkes on his pitchfork shot into the night,
he was toppled over and left to rot.
So goes the tale of the Gunpowder plot.


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FOOTNOTE: Happy Guy Fawkes Day to all !

Here’s a Halloween take on the Gunpowder plot to assassinate King James of England in the 1605. I wrote this one a long time back when I truly believed Abbey and lay rhymed. : P Those of you interested in the history of it would want to check out this famous English poem which was my inspiration:

http://potw.org/archive/potw405.html