Ancient Lullabies



Dew-wet grass glistens under pink morning sun,

and a bee, that liberated prophetess of old,

now silently hovers in the air above, conceiving

of all the truths that are yet to be told.



The full-grown, ripened tranquility lingers

where honeysuckle spills over and blankets

one section of rusty wire fence, half-fallen

to the ground; the grass softly sighs.



The time of longer days has bared its noon,

pure, naked whiteness languorously awaiting a silver

moon that sits high on a coral horizon: Don’t

try to sketch an outline, but let it paint itself.



Empty lots; July’s saccharine kudzu chokes all

that’s in its path as afternoon thunderstorms

spur the vines on to wilder and yet more

uncontrollable growth; autumn will halt the onslaught.



Choruses of ancient lullabies wait in shadows

here, where childhood secrets and open sky

declaim in verse, unsung yet clear, the stories

learned by Devorah when summer’s grass blades bent low.





Before The Wind


soliloquy        uprising power of words

they slam, one into the other

tossing echoes      virginal sound deflowered

heather-ish        whole but sparse

bluing         purpling         graying

spilling over everything          carrying character

and then burning      spinning flames         yarns

folk tales too         they tell secrets             floating in empty space 





Beginning Midway Through


A cardinal hovers in the garden’s lacy air.

The desk, laden with paper, typewriter and books,

shivers under the machine’s mild drone.

A young father’s image flashes in the dormer; he clutches

his briefcase and his baby as

the postman rides by in his jeep. Wake up!


You’re lying on the beach when you open your

eyes, the antique sunset giving a patina to your blisters,

the pus encrusted like pearls on your cherry-wood

skin. I, too, have slept the afternoon

into obscurity, arising confused at first.

Where were you, if not with me?


I hold out my hand, in a silent Come here

plea. We’re still in love—but this happened

long ago. Over and over in my mind, I review

what I can recall in a desperate effort to reconnect

to that easiness we seemed to find so readily before;

maybe I’m crazy, though—maybe this is all in my head.


Looking out the window, there’s a blur

of red. The cherry-wood desk nestles

in one corner of our home. And, on

the projector screen, you pose with Michael James

in 1958. Even when you’re here, you’re not always with me anymore,

but, at night, I still fall asleep dreaming that our life together is as it was.





Eye Of The Storm


When whispering palms sway in a sustained, even tempo,

and eucalyptus branches crack in a rush of air,

when Red Howlers moan and wail with monkey madness,

and neighborhood dogs bark and bay in eerie ferocity,

when all of the world outside is tinged with gray—

even blood-scarlet sorrel bushes and green vines, grass, trees—

and radiates a pearl-pink afterglow,

then I know a storm approaches—

with torrential tropical gusts and slapping sheets of water,

descending and swirling from a once-cloudless blue sky.








jungle in my backyard—and I

am soldier,


a reverse-

victim of the battle I know

at home.





Margaret Adams Birth has previously been published in such journals as Riverrun, Ship of Fools, The New Voices (Trinidad and Tobago), Aldebaran, Atlantic Pacific Press, The Poetry Peddler, Purple Patch (England), White Wall Review (Canada), Green’s Magazine (Canada), Shawnee Silhouette, Mobius, Black River Review, Potpourri, and The Wild Goose Poetry Review; her past work has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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