Opus: Mori


she jarred death

she jarred death
in formalin of  verse…
and in her Amherst bedroom
wrote slant recordings
of its vagaries

penciled her disdain
on margins… paper scraps
of Western Union telegrams
used envelopes, blank ledgers
butcher wrap

preserved their disposition
to hand sewn fascicles
she buried in chest drawers…
her studied insolence
awaiting resurrect

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Victoria Brookland



pine-tree-bonzai (2)


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 my errant 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 light
where pain and sorrow
eternity disperse

Bonnie Marshall

Photo Credit: Unknown



hokusai wave

freeze frame

fishing vessels
tuna crammed
for market
at a brink
of shore dash
or sea sailing
great waves
with menace
and there it is
the freeze frame
life and death
print block moment
crash in abeyance
to the viewer’s whim
or wishing
or cursing
of its fractal

Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Katsushika Hokusai



dickinson handwriting

Emily Dickinson…
New England spinster…recluse
rarely strayed from Amherst…
where she heard profundities in rain…
where she sequestered ribboned stacks
… fierce…unpublished poems…
where she stalked her own death
nipping at its heels…baying in its distance
where her mind…a surgeon’s scalpel…
excised experience to place it
on sheets of linen paper
where she wrote letters…poetry itself…
asking if inspiration were
“like Melody—or Witchcraft”
asking…for her work…
“Should you think it breathed?”
She knew her worth.
How could she not.

Bonnie Marshall

March, 2012

How Unsentimental

How Unsentimental

Emily Dickinson, dedicated recluse,
embraced New England spinster life
with acceptance and firm purpose.
Sequestered ribboned stacks
of fierce unpublished poems
were her trusted confidants.

She needn’t stray from Amherst,
for her world was in her garden
where she heard profundities
in birdsong and in rain.

With analysis and instinct
she stalked and shadowed
the idea of her own death,
nipping at its heels,
or baying in the distance.

The precision of her words,
used like a surgeon’s scalpel,
excised her life’s experience
to place it…exposed…raw
on sheets of linen paper.

Bonnie Marshall

Originally published 03/09/12