Two Poems by Stephen Mead

The Magpies Cry

Distinct black/white shapes of dignified elegance
in their stance on the bare branch tips
welcome some visitor coming,
in death or tidings good as their bellies
full and plump pipe indigo flint
from throats out and up.
That knife iridescence is amazing against
just a hint of the hazy evening star
dim as a far flashlight
behind gauze blue sky.
Darkness makes the presence prominent,
shadows coalescing so the silhouette’s edge
are penumbras of harkening lit in themselves.
What light through yonder
to ponder with longing and even that nostalgic
prescience for doom until medications juggled chemicals,
that serotonin reuptake tango, all brain juices
balanced. Ah, but the jaded find that laughable
so know indifference is the best defense as in
this too shall pass when the purveyors of pettiness
stir their pots, deaf to how echoes cannot be unsaid
to those left gutted by them again and again.
The wise magpies care for naught of that either,
having laid grass blades, leaves, twigs upon
and beside the fallen of their flock.
They are prepared, attuned as nature
for some sastrugi phenomenon, that art
of elements when wind and whiteness meet,
create waves of drifts to marvel at the marbling of
between the cold snow blinding veils
whipping and blanketing without any knowledge
of which supersedes which.
This is wisdom possibly during wars and epidemics
but our fallen stay inside us simply like persistence
might just be an instinct to grasp, go on and on
as if by accident, whether there is will or not.

Remembering Rain

Other shores, different seas
must travel these slanting expanses,
this sheet upon sheet of showering roars…

Perhaps I could sleep there
as an unperturbed shell
converting howls into whistles, my corridors
a song rearranged by will Weather accepts…

For several seasons, endurance has been
row, row
with occasional floating sweeping into
the drifts…

Sift, sift,
this pool, this puddle.
Let ripples trickle. Let the conductor be
the fluid fluency of silver mercury,
the oars, bright & multi-tongued…

Dip. Paddle. Slip scoops up—–
The waves breaking their refractions
in fountain cascades, in further concentricity…

Yes, born from such storm, the rocking
is still a berth. So I cast off, cast aloft,
hands as sails, face as rudder
to the memory of shelter


Stephen Mead, a resident of New York, is an outsider multi-media artist and writer.  Since the 1990s, he’s been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online.  He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the health insurance. In 2014, he began a web page to gather various links to his published poetry in one place.

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