“Blue Without You”

I loved, as a child, lying on my back on the ground. Sometimes I lay on a blanket, sometimes directly on the grass. Eyes closed, muscles relaxed and supported by the warm earth–it made me feel grounded. Opening my eyes and looking up at the sky evoked an entirely different feeling. Peace to your ♥ !

Blue Without You

I lie beneath
a tangible sky, lungs full
of visceral blue.

If only you
were here with me, drowning
in this deep

blue sea, too.

© Stephanie Malley

NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 21 – Write a poem in honor of Earth Day.

“Four Poems Before Breakfast”

I haven’t written any poetry since April’s NaPoWriMo challenge, but there have been times in the past when I’ve been inundated with inspiration. Not quite as abundantly as in the poem below, thank goodness. Peace to your !

Four Poems Before Breakfast

I wrote one poem a quarter past midnight,
The next by the dawn’s early light,
I think there were two
While using the loo—
It’s a great place to sit down and write.

Four poems before breakfast, I’m certain;
I revised them while forking eggs in.
After that, a whole slew
Came out of the blue,
Though a few ended up in the bin.

At ten I had tea with some limericks,
And I roughed out an ode just for kicks.
Lunch time
Was really a crunch time,
Why, I wrote down at least five or six.

Now that it’s dinner, my appetite’s sated.
Really, I’m quite nauseated.
A single haiku
Would make me spew—
No more poems till I’ve recuperated.

© Stephanie Malley

“Departures and Arrivals”

As my two older daughters prepare to leave home (and state), my thoughts turn empty-nestward. Peace to your !

Departures and Arrivals

Taking the long view (I know
that you know that I love it),
that’s the ticket.
The kids will be grown and flown,
the husband mellowed—or not,
it won’t matter
because you’ll be mellowed, too,
or not—it won’t matter
because the view, the view!
will be worth all the years
you couldn’t see out of the nest.
You’ll be that bird
you wrote about in eighth grade,
soaring over fields and streams.
You’ll be that free again,
or not—it won’t matter—because
you’ll be taking the long view
then, too, the future like a promise,
like a ticket waiting to be punched.

© Stephanie Malley

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 11 – Write a poem answering the questions, “What does your future provide? What is your future state of mind?”

“Washerwoman of the Sea”

My favorite part of a beach vacation is walking the tideline in the early morning and late evening. Bobbing the waves? No, thank you. I have unfond memories of being tumbled in the surf and not knowing which way was up. I like being able to breathe. Peace to your !

Washerwoman of the Sea

One last morning strolling on the sudsy shore
While waves scrub my footprints from the sandy floor;
Soon the sand won’t know I ever walked this way before,
And the washerwoman of the sea won’t wash me anymore.

One last afternoon bathing in the salty spray,
Dunking in and out to rinse the sand away.
I must take my leave; the sand alone will stay
For the washerwoman of the sea to wash another day.

One last evening standing in the shining sea,
Imprinting the waves upon my memory.
In dreams of sandy shores, wherever I may be,
The washerwoman of the sea will be washing over me.

© Stephanie Malley

Published in the July 2017 issue of Glass: Facets of Poetry


Another “tree no more” is the pin oak in the backyard of the house I grew up in. I could see it from my bedroom window, and during summer vacations I would spread out a blanket underneath its sheltering limbs–an area I think of as “tree space”. Sometimes I read there, sometimes I lazed or gazed, sometimes I made lists of things to do should I become bored during the break. A few years ago, after the pin oak had been ailing for a while, my parents had it cut down. Peace to your ♥!


The afternoon stretches out
empty as a page in my notebook
long as my body on the sun-warmed ground
still as the air in this circle of tree space.

I am Snow White, encapsulated,
ready to wake to a princely possibility.
I am Kubla Khan, lord of all,
surrounded by my vast domains.
I am earth daughter, firmly rooted,
drinking deep of measureless time.

The afternoon fills with
line after line of invisible ink.

© Stephanie Malley


Our neighbors’ big front yard tree had to be taken down after half of it sheared off (no one hurt, fortunately, and relatively minimal damage to their house). It’s sad to lose such a beauty of a tree–and made me think of this poem I wrote many years ago. Peace to your !


You once had limbs
Now only roots;
Once had leaves,
Now phantom shoots.

You who were once
A mighty tree,
You must feel
Like an amputee.

I cannot bring
You back again,
So I remember you
With my pen.

© Stephanie Malley

“Dadvice” / “Momniscience”

This Sunday is Father’s Day; last month we celebrated Mother’s Day. In honor of all mothers and fathers, here are two poems I wrote in 2013. Peace to your , especially if you’re a mom or dad!


All fathers have wisdom to share.
It’s the purview of dads everywhere.
He loves to dispense it;
His teen hates and resents it.
Why this is so, I really don’t know.
(My father would, though.)

Now when you become an adult,
Dad’s no longer a dolt;
He’s the one you consult
At the drop of a hat.
What’s up with that?
Did he suddenly grow more astute?
Perhaps you at last give a hoot?
(The point is, it doesn’t compute.)

Really, it’s quite mystifying,
This business of advice supplying.
It’s no use trying to explain it at all.
Or is it?
(Let me give Dad a call.)


How does a mother know,
looking at your uncluttered floor,
that you threw dirty clothes and more
behind the closet door?
X-ray eyes?

How does she know
about the cookies you consume
when she’s running the vacuum
in another room?
Extendable ears?

How does she know
you didn’t change into a pair
of nice clean underwear
before you came downstairs?
A nose like a bloodhound?

Why is Mom so good
at knowing what you’ve done
before you’ve half-begun?
Ideas, anyone?

It isn’t ESP.
It’s not coincidence.
It’s simply a mother’s
uncanny sixth sense.


We’ve been having thunderstorms with strong winds. The perfect prompt for posting this poem. Peace to your !


what you feel

   when the wind

      whips your umbrella

         inside out

     and drops the rain

 outside in

© Stephanie Malley

“Poor Dumb Bruce”

One of my metapoems, written five years ago. Peace to your !

Poor Dumb Bruce

Hear my tale of a man named Bruce
Who drank a gallon of creative juice.
(Wanted to write but wasn’t able—
Should’ve read the warnin’ on the paper label.)

Round about ten that juice started workin’;
Poor dumb Bruce found his finger bones jerkin’.
His brain began to swell with all that inspiration;
Turns out, too, it was good for constipation.
(Sorry, ladies, to speak so rough;
Creative juice is powerful stuff.)

By eleven o’clock Bruce still was feelin’ poorly
‘Cuz he hadn’t wrote a word, an’ it was botherin’ him sorely,
But just when he thought it weren’t no use,
The floodgates opened, and the rhymes let loose.
(Shame there weren’t time for celebratin’,
Not with a gallon inside done percolatin’.)

Bruce, he wrote like a man possessed;
That liquid muse wouldn’t give him no rest.
He wrote so fast, his pencil started smokin’
(Sounds like a whopper, but I ain’t jokin’).
He wrote so long, his critter up and died
(Cross my heart—I ain’t never lied).

Came a day when the juice ran dry.
You should’ve seen Bruce, my, oh my!
He leaped from his chair like he was nipped in the behind
And would’ve kept his balance if he hadn’t lost his mind.
Now he never drinks a thing; he only goes fishin’;
A man without a critter, a man without ambition.
(And don’t be forgettin’ ‘bout that heap o’ paper wasted,
All ‘cuz he gulped when he should’ve only tasted.)

© Stephanie Malley