poetry quarterly

10th anniversary

Donna Denizé



Could I give you an anchor, I would. Weight,
something to hold you in a place that digs
to bottom of past, floor of memory,

but all is sinking, as I grasp for the
ring, stock, shank of your life—something to slip
a knot through, to tie you to ancestors.

For in this place that is neither here nor
there, you are forsaken by days, days that
were your own, and years honored in pictures

and emblems of love are wind passing through
an old woman’s thin grey hair ‘til all is
life we cannot hold from time, undertow.

Still, love is not estrangement, and I will
seek you, seek you there in the eye of it,
the face of earth, stars, for one moment more.


Say: it is like this when the beloved
..........arrives with gifts and tender songs
songs saying, I will abide through winds of change
..........through summer heat, I will stay near
like shade of Cyprus, or illumined stars.

..........And say: with my beloved, it is like this:
high ceilings, simple columns—an inner
..........courtyard with graceful arches, where breezes
brush sweetly over evening leaves—Or say
..........like silhouettes of schooners on the coast,
like shifting winds with vessels plying across
..........oceans bound for ports east and west,
rigs needing only ocean, wind, and sail
..........sails, pointing high, higher in changing winds.
And along the coast—this: bright schooners carrying
..........every thing where nothing
is lost, "lost without trace"
..........or “abandoned at sea.”
Say: golden age, vessels, precious cargo, one
..........ship, needing only us as crew. Or say
with my beloved, it is like this:
..........as nightingales to roses, caroling
round trees, filling shrubs, filling all flowering
things with song till all that’s left, all we hear
..........is gardens’ delight—one heart
beating in Love’s city which never falls,
..........for worlds, all light with the beloved
are seas, seas softly meeting
..........or ships on one boundless deep
bearing coral, pearls to the house of love.




Mark Fulwider
The Tree
oil on canvas, 62x83 inches, 1992



He did not recover from one wound before
another report followed hard, fast,

came to him as words rushing in a whirlwind
of trouble, whirlpool of grief. Stunned and dazed

he fell to his knees, he fell to his knees
wanting praying awaiting reply.

He would have even preferred being
summoned, summoned to a reckoning

for misery with motive would not sadden,
or bring him such remorse. And so it was

or came to be that what he wanted most,
in answer to his own was Voice, heard above

winds, above clouds of mystery from those
whose words bore storms to his heart, floods

in a heart uttering words like dust. Yes,
Job wanted something, not visible company,

but something to reach, reach to and be heard
or held. So say: we are broken, broken like

Job, wanting a flood of grace filling the
Palm of hand, cup, or gallon-measure, filling

water, clay, desire and every thing
from dust created: East Bank, West Bank

Israel .......Jerusalem .......Palestine
Columbine—tumbling towers—Iraq

Baghdad falling .......snipers .......spies .......Patriot
Act, Haiti rebel cause Haiti—presence,

visitation, to seize revolutions,
destiny’s wheel and spheres of life caught

in the whirlpool—whether spent force or complete
cohesion— like passions contending.

Oh to be heard, held by mercy, held from
forces bent on reducing it—us—to

utter impotence, heart-fire, and this:
a world worn by gathering storms. So Job

wanted something, the Mighty Arm, its work,
works from Job to his cradle: rumblings, light’s

splendors, unfailing blessing and every
thing from worlds of dust proclaiming Presence.

The majesty, simplicity of it
cracks the heart, it cracks the heart open.




In the seed a universe is with us,
whole, where watchers find the tree, blossom, leaf.
..........In the seed—sun, soil, dew—divinity
of hyacinth or rose, remembrance complete.

And we shall be as leaves upon the tree
whose roots are to earth deeply married, whose
..........branches, in all kinds of weather,
free-reach toward sky,

and when the falling time comes,
we shall not weep for things unbound;
..........Winds more tender
than breezes of love’s boasting

have freed us. Mastered by Love, we
become another season’s flaming color,
..........move-on toward long-lasting fields
covered in myrtle and favored by the gods.



Donna Denizé is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Lover's Voice (1997) and a full-length book of poems, Broken Like Job (2005). Her poems have appeared in anthologies such as Full Moon on K Street, Hungry As We Are, WPFW Poetry Anthology, and Weavings 2000.   She holds degrees from Stonehill College and Howard University, where she was a student of poet Robert Hayden, while he served as Consultant to the Library of Congress. She served two years on The Folger Poetry Board, and has also contributed to scholarly books and journals, including Shakespeare Set Free, published by the Folger Shakespeare Library, English Journal, and Teacher’s Digest, an educational magazine from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2003, she was awarded by Williams College the George Olmsted Jr., Prize for excellence in secondary teaching, and in 2004, she was appointed to the board of trustees of The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) in Staunton, VA. She is Chairman of the English Department at St. Albans School for Boys, where she teaches Shakespeare, American literature, and freshman English. During the summer, she teaches in “The Cathedral Scholars Program,” an academic enrichment program which serves students from 15 different DC public schools.


Published in Volume 12, Number 2, Spring 2011.