call to arms

November 21, 2014

pillow fight

the young expect it…
some slow hunch that
a tension easing break
will come with evening
before their commitment to
the letting go of sleep

then a rooftop trumpeter
plays his call to arms
to fast gather them
intent…with pillows
to join the chaos
now forming in the yards

hilarity grows slowly as
they shuffle restless feet
darting eyes and muscles taut
waiting…waiting for the blast
to charge…charge…charge them
into raucous cushioned battle

to aim high… feint low,
launch the forced blow,
lash grab swing to falling,
let fly epithets and groans
and moans and laughter
and victory shouting as
foam and feathers fill
arenas of their passion

Bonnie Marshall

When Starlings Fall

November 12, 2014


Fallen Starlings

Belfast, 1920

A sash of winter starlings
rising shoreward
from The Narrows
disintegrates in freeze
of intrusive Arctic air.
Hits zero to their bones.
Their flutter tumbles
jostle willow scrub.
Soft rustlings all around,
and thin twigs snap.

Where low breakers
wash crispy sand flats,
a Portaferry girl and boy
gather rubbery sea wrack,
to pack in wicker baskets
to strengthen soil at home.

The children startle,
logic flown,
to glimpse death
so precipitous
as birds falling from the sky.
They stack dead starlings
black green purple shine
in rows upon the wrack.
Feed for the pigs.
Da might smile.

Boy snaps the necks
of birds that struggle
with some trace of warm.
Thumb and forefinger.
Strong hand, that.
He walks the sand for more.
Girl…she lives the troubles
knows to set the moment
of her brother’s joy in killing.
Tiny sparks to nurture flames.

Bonnie Marshall
August, 2013

Artwork by Walton Ford

come feast

November 11, 2014

drink cool water seeped
through stone from cliffside springs
onto your tongue…to taste eras there,
sip jeweled country pheasant brothed and
strained to hint of flight within its birding essence …
bite through the flesh of warm-ed figs…to taste the
green…first sprung through earthy loam upon a rocky hill,
gnaw wild deer ribs fire pit turned…spine cracked
to portions of anatomy… hot muscle oiled and
loosed to gamy strands of nourishment…we throw
the bones to darkness in the corners of the room

Bonnie Marshall

prayer flags

November 7, 2014

prayer flags larry louie

prayer flags fringe air…
they agitate in wind
and flutter edge their
repetition…incremental to
wellbeing across time and space

prayer flags pierce blue
sky distance with forest pine
poles, bark skinned to white…
they ground their tissue proxies
in stability of earth

prayer flags scatter blessings…
wisdom gifts of caution…
guides for a sentience of being
where ease displaces worry and
sweeps care from consciousness

Bonnie Marshall

Photography by Larry Louie

as foghorns locate place

November 5, 2014


fog horns arthur g dove

her loves…now
are become docked shapes
of boats she once sailed upon
to bright new destinies…now
map faded… worn by creasing
in her recollection…she slips
to berths where rope line
thought does tie and knot its
fastening to ports with landings
where she breathes memory of pipe
aroma sweet with leaf tobacco and
supple tan of ample leather chairs and
deep startle thrilling laughter and
lightning quickness change of mood and
reverberating  touch

now… they tug her moorings
with remembrance…and
much as foghorns locate place
for sailing…they define her sheltering

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Arthur G. Dove



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