Ethan Eshleman: Open My Hands

I cling to my life,
though I desire open hands.
Take my will from my hands,
peel my fingers gently open
if you must, and lay it on the rock
to be broken. The rock
where One before me knelt
and broke himself upon it,
leaving blood, a silent witness
of the cosmic fight and the
death of One man’s rights.

One was led silently to his
slaughter, to the death of his
Deity. And must I be dragged
kicking and screaming to watch
a comfort crucified?

IMG_9156-2.jpgEthan Eshleman is excited that he gets to marry the girl he loves, he thrives on action, is partially introverted and he attempts to express feelings, longings, and experiences by writing poetry.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Ayana Otto: They say when it rains

They say when it rains the sky cries—
is there further grief?
one that passes— stifles— tears?
Clods in the corn fields
baked into rocks;
rocks broken— powdery dust.
And still, the wind blows dry.
Bans on fire, languishing earth . . .
Death beneath the sadness of the sky.

Tears finally came—
great torrents of rain—
washing the worrisome dust.

And as the sky cried,
my brother and I
danced with a joy that was just—
well, just too full
and too gleeful
to be coherent.

We ran.
raised our hands.
praised God.
and laughed.
That day the sky’s sadness
gave way to gladness—
gladness that came out in tears.

PWTC App PicBAyana would love to invent a 27-hour day, but is far too busy maxing out her allotted 24-hours—often with a book of some sort.

Claudia Lehman: Sunday Morning

What golden lights are in these vessels hid?
What stories, riches, whispers of Your ways?
What open wounds, what trampled battlefields,
what fragrant altar fires in secret blaze?

How often have I looked but have not seen?
How often have I sought to serve You, while
I pass adopted royalty without
even the simple homage of a smile?

Forgive, forgive the careless sacrilege
of subtle scorn, of laughter out of time,
of shallow sight, which, bent back on itself,
compares their lots, in pride or shame, to mine.

I’ll not call common what my Lord has cleansed
when You have touched and purified my sight.
For these shall live when all the stars are dead,
arrayed in white and honor, crowned with light.

claudiaClaudia Lehman lives in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with lots of books, tea, and her favorite man ever. She loves exploring the world of words and teaching children, and she feels most at home in the woods.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Conrad Martin: Nine at Sunrise

What is this morning?
this quiet ecstasy of life stretching out across the world
so enormously calm?
What is this sun?
this glowing silence streaming
from the edge of heaven?
What is this air that feels so soft awake—
and smells so curious sharp—
so alive—like living peace—
like peace so close—
so around me I could drink it?
And that tree!
What is that breathless wealth of gold-edged green
so still against the depth of heaven—
so motionlessly straight and huge and stretching out and up?
What is the silence of that tree?
This quiet gladness—
this sober joy—
what is this morning?

She didn’t say it quite like that
(nine is much too true an age for such)
but I saw it in her widening eyes
lit with a glory of wonder,
and I felt it in the shiver of her little shoulder
and how she sat so straight beside me on the porch swing
where we were having our morning coffee and the sun was rising.

Her question was too big.
My answer was too much.
She understood it though, I think,
because I saw the wonder in her wide eyes
grow wider, and then something more came,
and I think it came to both of us.
and we were quiet then.

CM 5/’15

portrait on brickConrad Martin loves words for their ability to create deeper awareness and experience of life through connection between minds and hearts.

Phoebe Anthus: We Walked the Path

We walked the path together with our eyes.
The lichen dappled down north side of wood,
whose flashing needles knit love’s song and stood
with wispy thoughts and almost peaceful sighs.
Wind coaxed the lacy green to merge with skies.
I think myself, in truest likelihood
a star had laid its head right where we stood
and sought with cunning us to mesmerize.

Its silent voice spoke through the sheen of grass:
“Fate is not yours to choose or to foresee—”
And so I give myself to thoughtful error,
with full-grown knowledge that this too shall pass.
Abide, Enchantment, long we wait for thee,
come wrap our wondering hearts with gracious terror.

phoebePhoebe Anthus finds her joy in quiet places, in the eyes of a child or simply in noticing little things. Her passion is to help create beauty out of the brokenness all around us.




Photography by Kenneth Godoy
Painting by Phoebe Anthus

Claudia Lehman: To Mary, Queen of Scots

I wonder would it comfort you to know,
fair thwarted queen, that I looked through my panes
(when clouds were blowing through the old trees’ hair
and everywhere the scent and sound of rain,
finding my heart warm for a little leaf
that clung so bravely to a dizzy bough,
pushed skyward by an ignorant old vine,
it swung and shivered, wind-whipped, yet somehow
it clung–) and your name came.
Could you have known
how fierce the skies when first you dreamed to climb?
The prism of your love could not redeem
your loves from what they were. Time after time
you wrangled, wept, devised your codes and prayers,
while lives fell red as petals for your cause
about your feet, and England’s haloed crown
caught far off by perhaps unlawful laws
glittered remotely on your cousin’s head.

I cannot say hero or fool, but–friend.
I know the honeyed agony of dreams
disguised as truth until the very end.

claudiaClaudia Lehman lives in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with lots of books, tea, and her favorite man ever. She loves exploring the world of words and teaching children, and she feels most at home in the woods.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Kenneth Godoy: The Gentle Art of Breaking Sheep

To fall is to understand,
because falling entails death
or worse, severe pain,
dependent, of course, on how far you
have plunged from the grace
of clinging.

Imagine then, climbing a white painted steeple
towards the morning sun.
There, beneath the shadows of the church,
lie the grey sheep, content,
only troubled by tiny silent storms
that break upon their souls as they graze the dew.

And when you have climbed too far and your hand
does not grasp as it should have
or your foot fumbles beneath you,

And thus you fall in a sudden manner,
your hair and limbs screaming
in the fray,
back down to the ground
that bears death
in her bosom of stone.


a mere half breath before
the supple earth
should crush your spine
and spirit,

in some providential and oddly
cruel interjection,
you light upon a ewe instead;
and storms shall break upon
her soul no more.


Christ is like that sheep.
And you grunt and roll off his crushed and broken body,
surprised that death was not present to understand your falling with you.

So you grunt and dust your hips
and wonder, and understand
the gentle art of breaking sheep.

IMG_20170622_211918Of his writing, Kenneth Godoy says, “Poetry is bound to my soul.”

Videography by Kenneth Godoy

Claudia Martin: A Birthday Poem

There are hands to do what his have always done—
To till rows in the river bottom soil,
To tie a hook onto a grandchild’s line,
To lower shrimp into the pot to boil,
To point a berry picker to his row.
Life does go on.

Those hands aren’t his—sometimes I can’t forgive them
For fumbling at the tasks he did with grace.
My own hands are too slow, too thin, too young
To fill a role that is my father’s place.
His ever present absence taunts us—
We will not find him.

The rows in this year’s garden must be brave.
We planted one more spring with seeds he chose.
How deep? How far apart? We ask each other,
The river soil he loved between our toes.
We learn as he did—wishing we could ask
A father’s grave.

A word from the poet: When he was in his twenties, my dad lost his father to congestive heart failure. A few weeks ago, I lost him to a heart attack. Hence, I “learn as he learned.” I wrote this poem on April 6th, which would have been his sixty-second birthday.

img_9413.jpgClaudia Martin is more often surprised than correct about what the next season of life will bring—and in retrospect, almost always grateful for that.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Gloria Kurtz: In Swaths of Stars

My rest abed is smothering tonight.
I crack the sheets, (I feel the drawing call)
And I escape the stifle; hie me out
Into the night, where stillness falls
In swaths of stars beneath the settled skies.
The constant rings of universe and light
Have swayed awake this sleepy spellbound world,
A quiet ecstasy of dark delight.
It is no wonder, then, the crickets have
Picked up their elbowed legs and danced upon
Their silver wings; cicadas have strung up
Their reeds and tuned this insect music night,
And I take leave of comfort in a bed
To set my restless heart again to right.

IMG_0621 (2)Gloria Kurtz finds joy expressed best in teaching first and second grade, and delights in writing the poetry of life found cupped in the beauty of her Upstate NY home.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

Julie Atkinson: We Forget

We forget.
Why we are here.
Who we are.
We forget
how to be amazed.

To see the lace of leaves
against the sky.
The beam of light
falling on a purple mushroom,
which, to the beetle in its shade,
is a giant of a thing.

To smell the green things growing.
To listen to the dancing streams,
and the symphony of
wind and wings
and night creatures.

We forget
because we are too busy
thinking we are living.

DSC_1751 - CopyJulie Atkinson is a wanderer, who likes quiet green things and silent forests carpeted with moss.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy