June 23, 2016

Sunflowers by Donal Mahoney

No one has to teach a field
of sunflowers how to worship.
Before dawn in high summer

their necks are bent 
in silent prayer like monks.
But as the sun comes up 

sunflowers rise as well. 
At noon they adore the sun 
the way monks in pews  

adore the Host at elevation.
Listen and you may hear  
sunflowers sing Alleluia!

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/.

June 22, 2016

Efflorescence by Ryan Warren

calla lilies, long and elegant and new
broad white hearts open to the sky
suddenly filling the leaf-rotted
winter-bedraggled forest floor

and the smell of jasmine
catching me by surprise, another year
in the dark morning air
a deeper breath is remembered, taken

away by the small girl ahead of me
running to catch her mother
all loose limbs and flapping feet
smile flashing from nervous to shy

to all the radiance the world
has ever struggled to contain, like the
calla lilies, long and elegant and new
broad white hearts open to the sky

Ryan Warren lives by the sea in Northern California and spends his time hiking, playing with the dog and thinking about exercising. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including California QuarterlyAmaryllis and Your Daily Poetry. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/RyanWarrenPoetry.

June 21, 2016

She Makes Me Feel All Thomas Hardy About Life by Paul Tristram

I am not going around there anymore.
Just glimpsing the top of the little country lane
that leads down to her rustic cottage
fills me with dread and sorrows my soul.
I remember it was always raining there
when I would come away,
poor heart in my helpless hands in knots.
A fraction of the man I was before,
it mounts up you know 
and quite quickly too.
You should never dim the light 
that shines inside you,
even for a moment,
it’s a blasphemy 
against the magic of human nature.
She has a way of tapping into the parts
hidden and buried, 
and peeling the scab off
that which is just healing
with a surgical skill
that is both frightening and malicious.
Before you know where you are
you are back to square one.
To re-climb that hill 
which you’ve already slogged up
night and day, 
fretting and worrying about, forever.

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography 
published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids 
instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet.
Buy his book ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press)  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096

June 20, 2016

Poppy Road Closing July 1, 2016

Dear Poets & Readers,

Poppy Road Review will be closing on July 1st. I'm sorry for the bad news, but I feel it's time to close the doors for a while. For those who also edit literary journals, you know how much time and effort goes into reading submissions and posting poems (formatting issues come to mind), and I just don't have the energy these days to continue on with it.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to Poppy Road and for your support and friendship through the years. I'll continue to post poems that are waiting in the review folder, but after that, I won't be accepting any further submissions.

I wish you all the very best in your poetic endeavors and hope to read your work online in other venues.

Best Wishes,

As the Shadows Deepen by Richard Schnap

There are seven billion souls
You can learn to call your own
But there’s only really one
That you can know

And there are seven billion songs
You can hear upon the wind
But there’s only really one
That you can name

It has seven billion words
And the language that they’re in
Is the only one that
Ever stays the same

And the only time
That you won’t ask why
Is when I say I love you
As we ride into the night

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

June 16, 2016

A Dress in the Dawn Light by Steve Klepetar

A dress spread out
carefully on the floor,

laid on its back as though
a woman had stepped out

in her slip and smoothed
the silky fabric

on the carpet, making sure
the bodice was strait,

the hem sharp and unwrinkled.
Lying there it could be

a ghost or an invisible girl,
staring at the ceiling with her

lost eyes as if some answer
were written in the pebbled

roughness, a code to explain
the vivid stripes of red and blue

running down the skirt, streams
pouring into the cauldron of the sea.

Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Several of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press.

June 15, 2016

4 a.m. by Robert Ford

Finally, we fell away and into fractious sleep,
to the sound of rain, gentle as the ebbing
of each dark layer in a long, splintered night.

The heart’s gutters choke with stripped leaves,
damming the torrent of tired, uneasy words.
Another day awaits with nothing free, nothing

resolved, but your familiar breath across my ear
is like the first footsteps taken inside a new temple,
breaking the seal on an overwhelming peace.

Robert Ford lives on the east coast of Scotland, and writes poetry, short stories and non-fiction. His poetry has appeared previously in print and online publications in the UK and US, including Clear Poetry, Dream Catcher, Firewords, Melancholy Hyperbole and Wildflower Muse. More of his work can be found at https://wezzlehead.wordpress.com/