Three Poems by Heidi Holliday St. Jean ’88

Heidi St. Jean received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing/Poetry from Fairfield University, where she was selected as the recipient of its 2013 Academic Achievement Award for the M.F.A. program. She was poetry editor of Theodate, an online poetry journal. She also previously worked as managing editor for the literary journal Drunken Boat, and was one of two poetry editors for Mason’s Road. Her poetry and essays have published or are forthcoming in Spry; Rock & Sling; Afterimage: Inklight; The Lyon Review; The Barefoot Review; Long River Run; Mason’s Road and Theodate. Her ekphrastic poem, “The Lawrence Tree,” was selected as Third Prize winner in the 2013 Al Savard Memorial Poetry Contest, sponsored by the Connecticut Poetry Society. (The judge was Russell Strauss, past president of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.) Her poem, “Surrealistic Dream of the Synesthete,” won Honorable Mention in the Maine Media Workshop and College contest, displaying in Maine Media Gallery’s “Dreams” exhibit during Spring 2014. She works professionally as a writer and editor.

Last Drive Home
They lined the streets when we last drove you home.
Bone-straight, these black bird mourners gathered,
silent sentinels, witness to our sadness –
standing all the way from here to Maine,
the bond remained unbroken.

Crow after crow after crow
held their posts on the side of the highway,
blessed us from the side of the back road,
directed us along the side of the driveway.
Each one held up the casket corners
of our grief, each wing pall bearing a small bit
of the weight of your leaving.
Continue reading

Advertisements

Stew, a poem by Sandra Kohler ’61

Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music (Word Press), was published in 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals over the past 35 years. Born in New York City in 1940, Sandra attended public schools there, before matriculating at Mount Holyoke. She then went on to earn her masters and Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. Sandra’s taught literature and writing in venues ranging from elementary school to university. She lives in Massachusetts.

The first of March, snow falling like rain,
straight, heavy, insistent. My dreams were
densely plotted, thick with incident I can’t

remember. My life is thick with something
other than incident: a stew of memory, fear,
longing, unfinished business, unrealized

intention. Will it snow all morning? My head’s
awhirl with the five women I met yesterday,
their husbands, daughters, sons, people we

each carry with us, willing or not: a world of
connections we’re born into, choose, birth.
Here, in mine, someone stirs: who’s up and

why? March snow is still falling. Should I
shovel before it stops, will a broom shift it,
should I serve asparagus before stew, is there
enough stew? I’m who made the stew I’m in.

 

The Music of What Happens


Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music (Word Press) was published in 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals over the past 35 years. Born in New York City in 1940, Kohler attended public schools there, Mount Holyoke College (A.B., 1961) and Bryn Mawr College, 1966 and Ph.D., 1971). She’s taught literature and writing in venues ranging from elementary school to university. She lives in Massachusetts.

The long spell of freezing’s turned
the blanket of snow to smothering ice.
Earth’s bandaged, damaged. Cows huddle
on the mucky hillock, hunched, black
and dun, winter-stained, geese overhead,
their bellies soot-blackened like the ruins
of dry snowbanks all along the berms.

What will become of me in this season
if I go naked? One swallow doesn’t make
a summer, one robin a spring. The line
of hills on the horizon is so clear I see
the delicate fringe of trees along its crest,
see through their branches. Three birds
land in the mulberry top, small black
flourishes on a black and white sketch.

Properly understood the weather’s music.
In the night I wake thinking of our lives
unspooling, running out, being used up.
My son, my daughter-in-law, are silent
somewhere in the distance of their lives.
My sister’s a stranger, my friends are my
sisters, I am trying to make friends with
my husband’s sisters. This too is music.

I am lifted, saddened, elated, pulled
earthward. The worlds we invent to
realize ourselves are prisons formed by
our limits. The sun’s refracted, a fan of
pale gold flooding the gray east, silvering
the snow on the deck. If it touches me
will I turn younger or older? A shift in
the music’s key is sudden as weather.

Copyright Sandra Kohler 2012