Strange Birds

Poets are strange birds,
no wings but what they weave
for themselves out of scraps
of their own and others’ lives
or cobble together from twigs,
leaves and mud paste.

Some hobble. Others falter
in the face of an unrelenting wind.
A blessed few take off in flights
almost too beautiful
for words.

Published in Eye Contact, Spring 2017

Peace to your !

“Remembrance of Things Past” and 2 more

Murisopsis’s poetry scavenger hunt prompt #12: Write a Jay’s Way or a poem using a bird metaphor. I’m keenly aware that discontent with one’s washing machine is small in the scheme of things, although I really miss my old front-loader (today’s larger models won’t fit in the space we have), and the lint I reference is a lot, and it just makes me want to go waaaahhhh.

a trough of despond
small sorrows
I can’t see beyond

I’m missing how things were–before covid, before my parents died, before a lot of other changes that have taken place in my/our world. Peace to our s!

Remembrance of Things Past

to miss a washing machine:
top loader, front loader, both get the clothes clean,
but the lint on the screen is more now,
and I don’t care how
there are loads
of abodes
where women handwash
and air-dry day in, day out. By gosh,
I’m tired of adjusting! There’s been too much change,
mixed feelings to rearrange.
I’m homesick.

Green Bowl
Yellow Bowl
Red Bowl

I don’t
Dad bought
the set

at my
per Mom’s

for bowls
with lips
to catch
the drips.

Though I’m
now grown
and long
since flown

they still
a sense
of pride

(well done!)
I was
the one

the little bird
who told him

“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?”

“Stuck is a State of Mind”

And my mind is in a state of mush. Peace to your ♥ !

Stuck is a State of Mind

Stuck is a state of mind. Sure, this house is stuck to its foundation
more securely than gum to the roof of one’s mouth, but think of it
as the base of a diving board for launching thoughts into the blue.
Cowabunga! Cannonballs and bellyflops! The sky pool is as ever
before and never before, its same-old, same-old clouds newly
numinous, figments of imagination (a boat? an ice cream cone?).
The sun goldens the air. Why is the cornflower bloom above us
connoted with sadness? The world is topsy-turvy: you can quote
me on that. But going back—I wasn’t stuck in grade three when
summer was free. I lapped up the shade, made the breeze do
my bidding, like a slave fanning a sultan. Nothing planned, and
still the pin oak leaves went whispering away, our lazy secret.
My mind ranged over the fence: “the grass is always greener”
but I was content to survey my realm from a blanket “throne”
upon the ground. The mind is agile, far more agile than fragile;
with proper exercise, we shall see what we shall see. My children
shriek “Eek! A spider in the kitchen!” I have already spied her
elsewhere, she with her small black arachnid ways. I have my
glooming gray days climbing mental walls. High enough, I hope,
to drop into a vineyard in Tuscany and loll among the grapes.
(“Wine is bottled poetry” said Stevenson, who went swinging
“[u]p in the air and over the wall”.) Perhaps there is the getaway
Toni Morrison assures me I will recognize upon arrival: “the vision
of a place you’ve had in your mind all along” where it’s “almost
as if you’ve been away and in this place you meet yourself again.”
Hello, dearheart. Notice, dear fellow earthlings, how I perch
on my Amish rocker, handcrafted with curlicues of actual limbs.
Not rooted to this spot. Not glued to my seat. Perched. Winging it.

©  Stephanie Malley

NaPoWriMo20 Day 25 -  Use a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost for your poem. Thank you to Maureen Thorson at for the prompt. 


Welcome to April and National Poetry Writing Month! I’m once again using prompts from the website. A big thank you to Maureen Thorson for this wonderful resource.

Maureen posts an early-bird prompt each year. This year’s prompt is, fittingly, to write a poem about your favorite bird. Rather than write a new poem, I’m posting one I wrote years ago. I had wanted to post “Debutante” anyway for the start of April–it’s a bit of serendipity that the poem fits with the prompt.


Robin heralds spread the news
As April makes her spring debut,
A budding month, an ingénue.

She blossoms with each passing day,
Strews petals from her beaus’ bouquets
And waltzes past them into May.

© Stephanie Malley

I plan to post my newly-written NaPoWriMo poems daily, though it’s entirely possible you may end up with two in one day. In any case, I hope you enjoy them. Peace to your ♥!

“Swan Song”

A swan song is a person’s final performance before retirement. Since this is an acrostic poem, there’s a hidden message spelled out by the initial letters of each line. Peace to your ♥ !

 Swan Song

Forever. To go on and on and on
And on (my finite life a Father’s loan).
Redeemed from gravity—the earth’s, my own.
Euphoric! So what, that we’re here and gone,
When hope like this exists to dream upon?
Each night I’ve found my heavy wings now grown
Light-feathered, strong, and through the darkness flown,
Long-necked and honking madly, toward dawn.

© 2019 Stephanie Malley