she…the listener for gods

campfire andrew wyeth 02

she…the listener for gods
often came where they were not
or just had been

sometimes from her Sequoia redwood grove
she heard their thunder voices echo mountained
heard cursing thunderbolts crease high Sierra air
anger sharp as ax strokes blading firewood

in dark drowsy of her morning sleeping bag
she felt vibration beneath her on the earth
the thudding of their charge as they chased
crashing through the forest or were chased…
heard their deep rasped breathing…later
found fresh prints of their padded feet

they rushed sighing through pine branches
brushing there invisible with their whispering,
and they left hieroglyphs with cryptic meaning
for her to scry in ash and embers of her campfire’s
blazing crackling tongues of blue gold lift
up to the clank and whistle of far distant stars

as she…the listener for gods…she bat like
heard presence of their ultrasound that
often came from where they were not…
or where they just had been


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Andrew Wyeth

For Their Deserving Notions


she told me…
she…being my Mother…one day at Church…
never to place a book upon a Holy Bible
and her caveat stays me…to this day,
though not like The Ten Commandments
that I should not break…for the No Book
on Top caution was Her bent, not mine

he told me…
he…being a law student Prince from Africa
that his Father…the Kisi tribal King…told him
his oath on a bible in a British court was illegal
for it’s someone else’s foreign sacred thought
yet…a Human Blood Oath…now That to him
was Holy…not indifferent like a beer oath, or
one sworn with chicken blood, depending
as they did, upon individual intent

on occasion when I shelve my Books
aged faintly aromatic vanilla almond hay,
the ones I cherish near me place to place…
their sweet fragrance on occasion keys my
Saturday remembrance of Mother…me…on
Communion Service duty in a damp Church
basement breaking shortbread wafers onto
silver plated trays…and pouring  grape juice
into tiny plastic cups

I drank the Blood…I ate the Body

my Mother banished me


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Welsh Dragon

And I Shall Lie Me Down


And I shall lie me down  
beneath a cedar pine  
where its blue shadows 
fade noon’s intensity.  

And I shall lie me down  
beside a rushing stream  
where cascading waters   
soothe errant tumbling thought.  

And I shall lie me down  
deep in spicy aromatics    
where rich golden resin    
suffuses breathless air.   

And I shall gather up  
into transcendent sunshine  
where all pain and sorrow  
disperse to eternity.   

Bonnie Marshall

patina of a vanishing

mona lisa then and now

he promised not to harm her…he…Pascal Cotte
her…La Gioconda… Mona Lisa…La Joconde

then he swept her with his pixels…millions in a filter scan
across her image on the famous Lombard poplar panel

he brought to light da Vinci’s thinnest brush stroke
of sfumato’s tinted oil…laid on painstakingly

Cotte bared her lush cheek blush, her hint of lashes,
eyebrows…and a tear trace of moisture in her gaze

there now visible…lace touched her white shoulder
a black green backdrop he defined to ermine and gray blue

her hair…curling spirals delicate all chestnut brown
her hand… gently holds a shawl upon her lap

her lips…bloomed rose, smile slightly now unveiled
with its corner shadow tension…exquisite

her nose…more dominant on a brightened face
no longer jaundiced yellow by its varnish years

so…Cotte has not harmed her… except to some
who believe in time’s patina of a vanishing

Bonnie Marshall

One Country…One Destiny


There is a gray quilted lining
for his black wool greatcoat
where an emblematic eagle
spreads defensive wings
as from its beak furl two banners:
“One Country”…”One Destiny.”

Yes…it is that greatcoat
the one he wore that night…
that awful night.

As he occasionally laughed
at the comedy below
he became distracted
by a sudden chill.

He retrieved that greatcoat
to chase the cold away,
wrapping his tall spare frame
in the eagle and the banners.

Then oblivion of mind
while his strong heart kept beating
beneath the useless warmth
where an eagle spread its wings
above one country…one destiny.

Bonnie Marshall