Late March

Saturday morning in late March.

I was alone and took a long walk,

though I also carried a book

of the Alone, which companioned me.


The day was clear, unnaturally clear,

like a freshly wiped pane of glass,

a window over the water,

and blue, preternaturally blue,

like the sky in a Magritte painting,

and cold, vividly cold, so that

you could clap your hands and remember

winter, which had left a few moments ago –

if you strained you could almost see it

disappearing over the hills in a black parka.

Spring was coming but hadn’t arrived yet. 


I walked down to the pier to watch

the launching of a passenger ship.

Ice had broken up on the river

and the water rippled smoothly in blue light.

The moon was a faint smudge

in the clouds, a brushstroke, an afterthought

in the vacant mind of the sky. 


Down at the water, the queenly ship

started moving away from the pier.

Banners fluttered.

The passengers clustered at the rails on deck.

I stood with the people on shore and waved

goodbye to the travelers.

Some were jubilant;

others were broken-hearted.

I have always been both.


Suddenly, a great cry went up.

The ship set sail for the horizon

and rumbled into the future

but the cry persisted

and cut the air

like an iron bell ringing

in an empty church.

I looked around the pier

but everyone else was gone

and I was left alone

to peer into the ghostly distance.

I had no idea where that ship was going

but I felt lucky to see it off

and bereft when it disappeared.


~ From “Late March” by Edward Hirsch


"Bootssteg auf der Herreninsel im Chiemsee" by Wilhelm Trübner, 1874

“Bootssteg auf der Herreninsel im Chiemsee” by Wilhelm Trübner, 1874


Glimmer Train is currently accepting fiction stories of up to 12,000 words about families of all configurations for its Family Matters contest until midnight (PST) on March 31. As always, submissions must be original and previously unpublished. Glimmer Train does not publish poetry, fiction for children, or novel excerpts unless they read like complete stories. Multiple submissions of up to three per contest are accepted.

The first place winner will receive $1,500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and twenty copies of that issue. The second and third place winners will receive $500 and $300, respectively. Results will be posted on June 1, 2014. For more information or to submit your work, visit the website at http://www.glimmertrain.com/familymatters.html.



Dawn Chorus

Every morning since the time changed

I have woken to the dawn chorus

And even before it sounded, I dreamed of it

Loud, unbelievably loud, shameless, raucous


And once I rose and twitched the curtains apart

Expecting the birds to be pressing in fright

Against the pane like passengers

But the garden was empty and it was night


Not a slither of light at the horizon

Still the birds were bawling through the mists

Terrible, invisible

A million small evangelists


How they sing: as if each had pecked up a smoldering coal

Their throats singed and swollen with song

In dissonance as befits the dark world

Where only travelers and the sleepless belong


                                                           ~ Sasha Dugdale


Marcel Rieder (1862-1942)

Marcel Rieder (1862-1942)


It is too early for white boughs, too late

For snows.  From out the hedge the wind lets fall

A few last flakes, ragged and delicate.

Down the stripped roads the maples start their small,

Soft, ’wildering fires.  Stained are the meadow stalks

A rich and deepening red.  The willow tree

Is woolly.  In deserted garden-walks

The lean bush crouching hints old royalty,

Feels some June stir in the sharp air and knows

Soon ’twill leap up and show the world a rose. 


                ~ From “Mid-March” by Lizette Woodworth Reese


"Blumenstauden im Wannseegarten" by Max Liebermann, 1919

“Blumenstauden im Wannseegarten” by Max Liebermann, 1919

Tin House is currently reading for its themed Fall 2014 issue and is looking for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and interviews that address the issue of tribalism.  For this issue, the magazine is interested in but not limited to the creation of ad hoc families and communities; tribal formation based on class, race, and geography or through the vehicles of art, music, and sport; life after exclusion from a tribe; tribalism and conflict in the Middle East, Africa, India, Russia, and other regions; and virtual tribes.  The online submission deadline is April 15.

Prose submissions should not exceed 10,000 words, and poetry submissions should not exceed five poems.  Multiple submissions are not accepted and will be returned unread.  Simultaneous submissions are permitted; however, only previously unpublished work will be considered for publication.  Since its creation in 1999, Tin House has been committed to showcasing the work of an undiscovered author or poet in every issue.

For more information and to submit online, visit the website at http://www.tinhouse.com/magazine/submission-guidelines.html.




Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.


~ Nathaniel Hawthorne


"Beauty and the Butterfly" by Vittorio Matteo Corcos, 1933

“Beauty and the Butterfly” by Vittorio Matteo Corcos, 1933


The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus in the air.

     The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the water in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white.  It cleaves the water into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light.

     Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance, dance, and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir of my finger sets them whirring, reeling.  I move a foot, and the planes of light in the water jar.  I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white water, the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me.  The day is almost too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright day.  I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots.  The sky is blue and high.  A crow flaps by the window, and there is a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.


~ Amy Lowell, from The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell, 1955


"Le Bain" by Alfred Stevens (1823-1906)

“Le Bain” by Alfred Stevens (1823-1906)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers