Sunday, February 28, 2016

Morning Dew

by Virgil Huston

Iridescent hues glisten
in morning dew warmth
Walking softly feet wet
Green surrounded by
opaque grey the path

The Wound

By Denny E. Marshall

Day after day, the earth will bleed
With blood of water and of land
Humans born with the gene of greed
Day after day, the earth will bleed
Mostly for our own selfish needs
Not just companies understand
Day after day, the earth will bleed
With blood of water and of land


by Stefanie Bennett

... In over my head,
All seasons

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hawk Against The Sky

by Ed Hack

The circling, minute adjustments of
its telltale wings, its ancient circuitry,
black diamond of its brain. Who speaks of love
but all the while neglects the hawk is free
to babble on unmoored from fact, that black
shape circling now. So much summed up in names--
a plunderer, a rapist too, and rapt
in holy light. The hawk's beyond all shame,
like God who breaks us into faith. Against
the gray or sun-dazed light raw hunger guides
its circling flight, impeccable and cleansed,
angelic wings' dark silence as it glides.
Whatever else sky is, it's home to hawks--
implacable and circling, their force.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Farmer Collects Plants for Louis XVI

by Andrea Wyatt

visiting settlements along the tidal reaches of the Chesapeake

André Michaux sketches patches of tiny pale flowers in moss
with bumpy sweet potatoes at the edges

yellow bees in the chestnut tree leaves

“we cannot sett down a foot, but tread on
Strawberries and fallen mulberrie vines,”

he writes in a small pocket diary stained with saltwater and bear grease

meets men & women who trade beaver skins

roast fat red kernelled ears of corn, dry spicy dark tobacco leaves

gather sea lavender & eat oysters till they keel over

as the canvasbacks and mallards obscure the sun

fly through the wet November sky

they have no idea it is past time to leave

as Louis pushes himself away from his royal table
filled with empty oyster shells & corn.


by Carl Mayfield

nightshade at dawn:
    poison apples
        lightly frosted


by David Chorlton

Along a voiceless trail
are the shadows of birds
who once flew over it,

and embedded in the dirt
the tracks a fox left
one full moon’s night

when its tail curled up
behind it with a spark
at the tip of each hair.

Language doesn’t help us
find a way back
to them, only grants

the means to ask where
they have gone, and whether
any other trail leads there.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Slovenian Lament

by Terrence Sykes
fog cloaks
gray slate roofs
flint & shadows
streets void
stone mute trees
black canvas blank
steady rain
falls upon the autumn
flowers silent at dusk
darkness drapes
muted melancholy
trellising the soul
burja winds announce
death or resurrection
certainty of uncertainty
dissonance & dissension
chapel & steeple
distant tolling
vertigo & vengeance
mistaken towering babel
forgotten in the ruins


by Theresa A. Cancro

winter thaw --
a sycamore sloughs off
old bark


by Stefanie Bennett

The Sake moon makes
Busy lake-shore
On the rocks...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cloak of Fog

by Tim Staley

The sun picks the scab of night
but clouds foam over the light.

The clouds fling their fingers
against the mountain, glide up
and over or sidle for miles
against the canyon wall.

A mountain lion tiptoes
down the canyon to the spring,
both of us are spooked
by the boom of nuclear bombers
running maneuvers all morning
under the cloak of fog.


by Carl Mayfield

field fence in winter--
the only green

The Dance of the Meek Lake

by Mendes Biondo

the meek lake
budges with breeze
stalks of sedge

the factories
on the opposite bank
stand still

too hard to
dance with
the meek lake

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Acer rubrum for Valentine’s Day

by Karla Linn Merrifield
Swamp maples begin leafing
in February in Central Florida.
Spring is stingy with their crimson
sequins or sparing of sightseers’ eyes.
I catch too few, so squint
into water below doubling the color
upon reflection.
A tree’s sap seems to be flowering
blood across the pond’s still surface.
A single maple in a singular swamp
is just now— now—coming into bud.
I am somehow younger, rubied
in the light, blushing in the shadows:
a girl again, rouged with youth.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Another Rainy Day

by Ed Hack

The storm's set free the tree's dark rushing voice,
raw whispering of branches crazed by wind,
of leaves still caught in night. This isn't noise
but language that the silence holds, the kin
of light asleep in stone. The roiling gray
is odd right now, a knot gone slack, as rain
sweeps down and slicks the leaves that drip and sway,
explode, fall limp as wind unwinds its skein.
The knot's undone as air turns gray-glare clear.
The day has taken hold, the rain relents,
though leaves still fly in gouts of wind that shear
then pool, uprear, collapse in wild ferment.
And then a change, vague shadows show, the sun
a broken bulb--it's not quite light but crumbs.

Dog Canyon

by Tim Staley

Darkness unrolls over the west
like black nylons, one over the other.
Fire leaps from the stalks
of the desert spoon.

The breeze massages juniper
and pinyon sticks
into a jag of sparks.

Folding fire into itself for hours
teasing out more flames.
Light spasms of space junk
pierce the atmosphere
and steal attention from the blaze.

The Park

by Tammy T. Stone

concrete spillage
allowing for no
mighty flowers
to peek through and
rise straight to sun
dumpster flower pots
plastic brocade
plants tended to with
minute care
in this barren space
maybe early
in the morning
maybe by elderly
pressing ever forward
in strong constitution
maybe with tweezers,
even, so as not
to miss a thing
the plants in
this here and
this now a mystery
save their

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Brian Pham

Forward and ahead,
where the birds flew for the spring,
they create new life.

Backwards and behind,
where they fly for the winter,
they try to survive.

Up high and above,
like the sun, their day
starts and ends with time.

Down low and below,
this marks the end of the day,
to repeat again.

Four Seasons 
Franchesca Benjamin

Colors of all sorts
are loved by all hummingbirds
nature's cycle comes
The clash of the two
first comes the sweltering sun
then the ocean's wave
A gust of dark leaves
will eventually fall–
a child's playground
White blanket laid out
where all ages lay upon
for angels to form

Changing Times 
Nathan Tran

Creatures awaken
to a soft and mellow
some for the first time

Dry or rainy days
fighting for little water
or running from it

Red and orange leaves
scatter across the land
a lonely wind blows

A blanket of white
covering the past mistakes
creatures hibernate

Four Haiku
Isabella Vasquez

The jasmine blossoms
like stars in the growing night
alone and waiting.

The jasmine falling
and leaves glisten in the sun
like naked bodies.

The decaying leaves
turn from green to gold and red
like bursts of flowers.

Leaves give way to ice
and shudders in the white snow,
only sticks remain.

Ahjanay Ervin

Tulips awaken,
a hummingbirds melody-
The promise of spring.

Mothers burst with joy
during the summer and play with
their laughing children.

As autumn appears,
colored leaves drift through the wind
till nothing remains.

An ice sickle falls
landing on the white pillows
of snow beneath it.

Two Poems
Megan Lee


Gently descending
Trees covered in white blankets
Frozen fingertips


No signs
As sunlight consumes the cold-
A summer morning

Two Haiku
Steven Singeorzan

Ground slips under me
Running for dear life help me -
Mother wakes me up

In the scorching heat
Many stairs no one here but me
Whistling the tune

Amanda Abad

A mouse scurries by
while a hawk swiftly swoops down,
for an early snack

Two Poems
Grace An

Spring Breeze

Fuzzy winds along
the blooming flowers, tickle
my nose very much.

Morning Runs

These morning winds hurt,
it cuts me with its sharp flow.
Mom, can I go home?

Two Poems
Maggie Kung


Late in the spring night
Dog barks hysterically
Baby bird perish

The Scorpion

Scorpion is trapped,
it tries to find a way out-
stings itself and dies

Two Poems
Kayla Katsuda

Monday Mornings

Bare trees, a new day
in an empty parking lot
a blue sky brightens

Before the Storm

The rain is coming,
the great gray clouds fill the sky

Angelica Ellerma

The flashes lit trees
chaos took over the town,
lives and homes was lost.

Time of the Season
Ryan Estrella

Leaves slowly unfurl
Pale versions of fall colors
Quickly change to green

No one is sleeping
The nights keep getting shorter
Will they disappear?

The school bell prevails
The swimming pool’s just a dream
Sleep is dearly missed

Cool breezes kiss skin
LA shivers in the wind
Family time begins

Editor's note:  the above selections were produced by a workshop for young writers in Cerritos, California.  The Tavern is flattered and grateful to have been chosen by the authors for their submissions.  The editor especially wishes to recognize 'The jasmine falling' by Isabella Vasquez , 'In the scorching heat' by Steven Singeorzan and "Dry or rainy days' by Nathan Tran for overall excellence.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

One Rabbit

by Ingrid Bruck

Rabbit hops away,
a dandelion held in his mouth
the silver orb of seeds bobs
on the end of the stem it is eating.


by Joyce Lorenson

minimal light
the trail narrows
to a fading footpath


by Catfish McDaris

A red tailed falcon
grabs rabbit in sharp talons
the trail leads nowhere.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Start a Wander

by Tricia Knoll

Older than little, here on a threshold
to the woods that reconfigures
what was and is new. A worn duff
path to a next grand possibility,
a tinge of silver tomorrow in my sunset.
Do not speak of jawbones
called out long ago, just looseness
unwinding, how even a furled feather
hovers for footsteps
to start a wander,
a wander into deep green,
resolving the me
that still worships green.

Weather For Hawks

by Ed Hack

White winter light and blue that long ago
forgot what mercy is. A morning for
a hawk. The clouds are silvered gray and glow
a razored glare, raw light you can't ignore,
that blinds the eye that cannot help but look.
The perfect light for hawks. And when it dims
the silver has a wicked gleam, a hook
that skewers nerves, edged pain up to the brim.
The wind is polishing the upper leaves.
Bright points wink on, wink off. We are what is
irrelevant. We are what we believe.
The hawk is real, the rest self-serving myth.
We wake, we work, we love, we war, we talk,
we plan. While high above, the circling hawk.

The Black Mother

by Mendes Biondo

do not forget the taste
of the earth that nourished
your lush roots

although sick and sterile
the black mother
was the first source
where you taste the water

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Swimming Deer

by Al Ortolani

A young buck swims the center of Shoal Creek in flood stage. Rains have pummeled the hills for two days. Now, sunlight like yellow flowers patchworks the timber, crosses the lapping waves, climbs the bluff. The buck bobs in and out of dappled shade, felted antlers green in early sun. Spring run-off carries him through the park and under the distant highway bridge. Hawks catch the April wind, rise quickly into the fresh blue. All that ever was, or will be, is now.

dogwood spray
in gray timber, daffodils
clutched in landfill

(for John Nightingale)

by Terrence Sykes

In my garden of regret
seeds of forgotten sorrow
cast with damp ashes
silence already muted spirits

No need to gather
harvest that again
since weeds & crops
now yellowed & strawed

Glazed with frost
contentment & burdens
death & resurrection

Our Blue Marble

by Kerry Seymour

Our blue marble floats,
        from a distance.      
Here, mined and fracked,
        aquifers sucked dry,      
        she quakes  
        and sinkholes gape;  
Continents bake,
        yet the coasts drown  
        in warming waters.  
In millennia to come,
        our drying orb
        of desperate remainders  
        smolders, beyond thirst.
This was our only blue marble.