Angel’s Metamorphosis, a #tbt poem by S Francis

the sky, today,
penetrable and deep,
I reach my hand
into its perfect blue
in search of a star
when found, its light
warms my open palm
azure drips off my arm
until a puddle floods
our spot of the earth
where we begin to play
with our new toy
above us an Angel plays.
dancing, metamorphosis.

Now she is a Carmen Miranda teddy bear

Now she is a flying saucer.

Now she is you.

sleeping naked
in my arms
my hand traces
constellations on your
satin skin
stretched, tingling
on the breast I linger
touching the nipple
reaching to the universe
part of the Woman,
loved wholly
dancing with angels
whose gentle purr say
life will renew

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Masticated Berries, No, a poem by S Francis

Macerated berries
In a bag of their own juices
Still edible and sweet
Add a little wine
Make some sangria
For brunch.

Rashers and bangers and eggs,
Grilled toms and soda bread
Black and white puddings
Cosmopolite pollinates
With sangria
For brunch.

Sometimes poets
Need dictionaries.
We would share
Macerated berries
Not masticated, though
The word sounds good.

In reality, its time
I masticated life
To savor its rich flavor.
A macerated life
Does not lend itself
To a shared brunch.

So I’ll separate berries
And life, but eat them up
Both, just the same.
Let their juices
Drip through my fingers
To intoxicate the day.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

What Circles Above? a poem by S Francis

What circles above
Like a hunter seeking prey?
The tower I abide
Old, damp and dark
Like a bog in my heart
I must break the suction
And climb

To reach out to the hunter
Hunting me.

Falcon, storm or song?
Fate knows less than I
So eyes closed and
Into its arms and seek
Flight. Force the rot away
That eats at my heart

To sing out to the hunter
Beginning me.

Written after reading ‘I live my life in widening circles’ by Rilke from Book of Hours as translated by Edward Snow and published by North Point Press in New York, 2009

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

We Must Learn to Die, a poem by S Francis

We must learn to die: this is all of life.
The piling of dirt awaits us in the end
Or, should we choose, ashes tossed at sea.
We must learn to die: else what all is life?

So the philosopher teaches us, intelligent beings
Aware of the rain that beats on the bulkhead
Exterior to our rooms, reminding us of the cold
That awaits, should we depart this comfort.

Inside, the world is warm enough, the tea
Steeped, the books grateful to be read, paper
Thrilled by the sensual flow of ink on its
Too long since touched skin, lines quivering

In ecstasy. Somehow these words we’ve chosen
Reach inside the womb of blackness to invite
Life back out to shimmer with the passionate
Cry of a lover who embraces a little death.

Written following reading a letter from Rilke to Mimi Romanelli on December 8, 1907 a translated by Ulrich Baer and published in The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation and published by the Modern Library in New York in 2018.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

The Fire Wanted (The Crossing, part one), a poem by S Francis

Son, climb that mountain again, hear what you missed.
At the summit, close your eyes and feel the wind
Swirl around your soul, a tornado screaming words
Like a lover’s voice picking up what you discarded.
The fire you wanted now lights up the sun in winter.

Climb that mountain

You can’t stay here,

Climb that mountain



Deserts will retreat from the flowers that you grow.
See what you missed, that smile from a child’s dream.
At the summit, close your eyes and hear his laughter,
Like a lovers voice that has found the gaps to fill.
The fire you wanted now holds up the sun in winter.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

First in a series of poems loosely inspired and derived from the lyrics of Stuart Adamson of Big Country and their debut album The Crossing from 1983. The Fire Inside is drawn from the lyrics of “In a Big Country.” For the upcoming weeks, I will be exploring through thematically linked poems derived from each song on this seminal album of my youth. For those of you familiar with the band and its iconic singer, there is an ironic tragedy in the lyrics to this song about getting up off the floor, screaming. Stuart took his own life in 2001.

Faith, Undefined, a poem by S Francis

How can you not be lonely, God?
Unfathomable knowledge that together,
If it were an ocean, we could not cross
In our strongest ship before the steel
Would fatigue and buckle at the ribs
Sinking us into what we do not know.

We cobble together words and believe
They are enough to speak your name
Enough to define your wisdom, bind us
To any dimension of our existences
Within which we would only tremble
At the depths of what we do not know.

So instead, I take up residence in a room
Beside your own, knowing a slight sneeze
Would tear down these walls dividing us.
I sit in silence, ever hopeful for a breath
To be heard beyond the beams that hold up
The roof over all that we do not know.

Written after reading ‘You, Neighbor God, if sometimes in the long night’ by Rilke from Book of Hours as translated by Edward Snow and published by North Point Press in New York, 2009

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Norfolk Emergency Shelter Team #1, a poem by S Francis

To just sit and listen
A collector of sounds
A cell phone ding
A chorus of snores
An idle conversation
Insomniacs’ tales
An occasional cough
An epic fart Dads love
Two more poor choices
Some bad luck
I am on a mat
On the gymnasium floor
Belly full of food
Prepared by strangers
And to these noises
I would sleep
Not keep watch
As now, alert for
Abnormal behavior,
Checking bathrooms.
I sit and collect
More sounds
Assembling wisdom.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Skipping Stones, a short story by S Francis (a revision)

A man with grey hair bent over picking up smooth, flat stones on the beach watched as a girl of age nine, at best, approached him. Earlier in the evening, the moon had joined him looking like half of a navel orange. He greeted it with an imaginary cup in his hand and wished upon the first star that he could reach up and dip that cup in the waxing bowl and fill it with the tangy juice he thought it held.

As the girl drew closer, he broke his stoop and saw the small basket of wild strawberries in her hand. When she stopped and looked up at him, her confident eyes affirming a clear intent, the bay stilled as if to listen to the words she was preparing to say to the man The surf kept a gentle rhythm to encourage her:

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Through the Gentle Breeze, a poem by S Francis

In the comfort of a Welsh wool sweater
I brave the winter. Though it has turned
Its corner, the buds on trees still wait.
The seeds in dirt, too, long for warmth
Before they push out of their shells seeking
Sun. Yes, the branches of trees are barren
Still. Yet now, I look at them and see paths
I can follow to climb their trunks and reach
The tops where I know his music will sing
Through the gentle breeze of spring. Continue reading