miller's pond

Volume 6, Issue 2, Web Edition

Poets in the pond:

Ruth Mark
Tamar Silverman
Richard Fein
Charles Cornner

Patricia Wellingham-Jones
Ward Kelley
Benjamin Andreu
Robert Bradshaw

Ruth Mark

Death is so final.

Never again to see her
hands flapping a rhythm
on the bedspread.
Never again to hear
ingrained stories of
America in the 30s.
Never to touch the
faux-silk of her
Spanish ladies,
or dress up in her
fox fur, necks swinging
with pearls.
Never to hear the
hum of the black Singer
as she worked her magic,
or the click of the crochet needle
against her wedding band.
Never to walk with trepidation
through the hot house of the
home, smells of stewed cabbage,
talc and weak bladders
in the air.
Never to hear
the gospel songs singing from
strong male voices from her tape player,
or drink milky tea
you could stand a spoon in.
Death is so final -
only memory remains.

- Ruth Mark

Ruth Mark is a freelance writer, poet and editor. As of August 2003,
some of her work appears at and
She's also a Poet of the Week at

Two by Tamar Silverman

Off Color

Momma's in a black mood--
says the old man's nothin'
but scum cause he don't
come 'round.

Says she knows
he's deep into that black bar
fly down at O`Leary's
and she ain't talkin'

black Irish neither--

says anyone can tell
there's a nigger in her
woodpile--sure as hell
she's a quadroon.

Says she'll get 'im
get 'im back hard--
she'll key his black car

in a particular way
so that boy'll know
for certain
she still loves 'im.


We've walked the cobalt shore, followed morning
beside sea-glass debris; have piled pebble and shell
as black-hooded gulls filled with tilapial kill.
A desolate din, all the same-- a dream

where sun skewed meniscus moons, and dragon-
skins donned straw hats, those known whores
of torpor, allowing their children laughing runs
of senseless shriekings, my stomach

tightening to knotty infinity, screaming Shut up
shut up shut the hell up I'm trying to listen
to the sorrow of another dismal day derived
beside this dense and saline sea

where I was seen to be polished stone-smooth,
hinting dream foamed envy-green, told my eyes
were cistern & cinnamon & cumulus cloud,
was caught thinking you held me,

tangled in your terebinth and kelp, waiting
for St. Peter's fish and spelt, wanting to drown,
and only being able to breathe birthrights
of blood and bread beneath calamus palm:

I am the water of the fountain Carphanaum,
a vial of tears: our world unholy, unhealed.

Tamar Silverman's poetry has been published by Crescent Moon Review,
and National Review and has received an honorable mention by
Web De Sol. She resides in Oregon and can be reached at

Two by Richard Fein

Cicada at Her Little Feet

She asked about cicadas.
She remembered from last year,
when in September the noise was loud,
but in October after bedtime, before she fell asleep,
she’d listen out the window only to rustling leaves
and heard not one shrill cicada note.
She asked about the cicada on the sidewalk
almost groveling at her feet
in yet another October.
She asked if it was going to sleep or die.
Die, I said, utterly honest.
She asked if it was lonely
with no one to sing to, or no songs to be heard.
“Probably not” I said.
Then she asked if each cicada had its own song,
like the seals she learned about in school,
where each mother knew her own pup’s call,
or were the cicadas’ songs all the same
so no one song mattered,
and only the big noise was important.
I said, “Probably the big noise,
now and every summer.”
“All the same song,” she said,
“like the school chorus where all the singers wear uniforms.”
I saw a meanness grow in her eyes.
She stamped her foot,
and I heard the shell crack.

The Champion Retires

Pity Goliath, scarecrow of the Philistines,
wide shield that hid a thousand quaking men.
Baal's champion, he made thunder
on command.
Skin tough as a shark's, dagger teeth, nine feet tall,
he was condemned never to look up at any man
even his king.
Trotted out like a standard before every battle,
he saved the hides of all the warriors
who could wet their pants in secret.
How many times did he answer the call,
"Hey Goliath, front and center?"
Caught in the work-a-day rut of killing,
how many times did he yell
his carefully rehearsed threats?
Never could his knees buckle, never
could anyone see his sword vacillate in his trembling hand.

And that shepherd boy, approaching,
to just inches short of his long shadow, that shepherd boy,
surely Goliath must have seen the stones picked up,
surely he must have seen the sling swung
in deadly circles, surely
he must have heard the rock swooshing like Baal's bad breath,
surely he had a lifetime of shunting spears and arrows
with a flick of his mighty shield,
a shield that became too heavy to lift.

- Richard Fein

Richard Fein has had two personal web sites where he's posted
samples of his photography and poetry. They can be found at: and

Charles Cornner

Ring the Canyons In My Face

Give me the crackles in the bark
of the alligator juniper, and the tight
knots in the pine. Curl up
like smoke into my lungs

and jump the sparks between
my brain, my nerve, my eyes.
Flex the muscle round my windpipe,
expire through its quavering bands.

Vibrate and ring the canyons
in my face, quake the leaves
of the aspen beyond the windowpane
now rooted in my very breath.

- Charles Cornner

Charles Cornner is Associate Editor of the Desert Moon Review.
He has previously been published in miller's pond, Sparrow's Kyrie,
Spring 2003 web edition, Crescent Moon Journal, Pierian Springs,

and can we have our ball back? He and his wife, Hope, live in Cave Creek,
Arizona, where he works full time as a church musician.

Patricia Wellingham-Jones

In Silence

We will our tongues to silence.
First we notice the jagged shards
of osprey-squawk from pine tops,
the scold of an ever-present jay.
Our silence grows, more sounds appear:
a kingfisher’s rattle dives in blue feathers,
on the mountain lake honkers blare,
a loon pulls down a rain cloud
with his moan. Silence maintained—
though we nudge each other with elbows
and point—we hear pine needles rub, catch the scent
of resin freshly released. A fish falls back to the lake
in a shower of silver. The stillness between us
deepens to the slap of waves on the shore.
Under the rumble of an approaching
storm, insects shrill, our windbreakers rustle.
Biting tongues to keep from reacting
when the first raindrops splat on our heads,
we race to the car, roll the windows down.
Know we would miss Nature’s symphony
with chorus mixed, tympany wild
had we out-shouted the music.

Published in Hard Ground, 2003

- Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Patricia Wellingham-Jones is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee,
author of Don’t Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer,
Apple Blossoms at Eye Level,
and the Lummox Press Little Red Books
series A Gathering Glance. She has been published widely in print
and online journals and anthologies.

Ward Kelley
Annoyance At Speed

for Lonnie Franklin

You are always surprised, then annoyed,
at the ease and speed of death.

You had hoped to be more solid,
here in this life, and when you wave
a hand in front of your eyes, it appears
seaworthy, yet you observe this flesh
tells lies to others who appeared just
as permanent but ended up
fragile in the face
of swift death.

You came across an Arab saying
this morning, ‘even the prophets
die,’ which seemed swift,
then annoying, then true.

- Ward Kelley

Ward Kelley has seen more than 1500 of his poems appear in journals
world wide. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee whose publication
credits include such journals as: Plainsongs, Another Chicago Magazine,
Rattle, Midstream, Zuzu’s Petals, Ginger Hill, miller's pond, Sunstone, Pif,
Whetstone, Melic Review, Thunder Sandwich, Potpourri
and Skylark. He was the
recipient of the Nassau Review Poetry Award for 2001. Kelley is the author of
two paperbacks: histories of souls, a poetry collection, and Divine Murder, a
novel; he also has an epic poem, comedy incarnate” on CD

Benjamin Andreu


where palled a smile,
yours, once the whole of darkness
and darkling wit,
tacking into passion,
though it fled, tomorrow,
and the day after
next, though it
sweltered and lilted,
and finally you gasped
a question of me,
"Did you ... ?"

where gaped our stars,
and divined some cinnamon-
straw moon
that splayed sallow boughs
outside our window,
that unbundled your shoulders
beneath a waft of

how with each twinge
you unfurled every
palimpsest of
that i cobbled and crumpled
once in a single glide,
until, dowsing the crags
of jangled breath and
billowing silence
for mine, your gaze "

Did you ... ?"

- Benjamin Andreu

Benjamin Andreu is a computer programmer by trade, currently living
in Florida, USA. He writes poetry and experimental science fiction in
his spare time. Andreu's literary influences include Louis Zukovsky,
Samuel R. Delany, Sir Laurens Van Der Post, and the great Catalan poet
Joan Maragall.

Robert Bradshaw


From a huge rock
we feed our shiners to Colubis,
who swivels through a garden
of lilies and hyacinths.

He must long to dive
under the foam of clouds
and catch the sky's fish,
crescent flashing sideways
in his dark mouth.
The hunger of this green water snake
makes him more graceful
than a porpoise.

We ignore the ducks.
They wait on the rock's
other side
for blessings of bread crumbs.
Flocks of fish flicker
where Colubis' long body coils
through the pond
like a scroll of dark incense.
We slide another shiner
down our slippery rock--
rippling terrible haloes.

We have grown tired
of our moon-white ducks,
whom we've fed since one
was swallowed up,
escaping crippled
from the ruddy mouth.
But now they follow us
demanding their food.
They flap up into our boat.
Their closeness
freezes our strokes:
oh how we used to swim in the lake,
our bodies sliding green
and dark under the waters

like leviathans.

- Robert Bradshaw

(a form of this poem was previously published in The Florida Review)

Bob has had poems published in The Central California Poetry Journal,
the Sacramento print publication Poetry Now, and The Florida Review.
Another poem has been accepted by Prairie Poetry. A couple other
publications are considering some work as well. He is scheduled to be
a featured poet in the December 2003 issue of the web publication Writers Monthly.

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