By Irene Mitchell


Fallen grapes eaten beneath the vines’ enclosure.
All those annoying twists and tangles.

Wiser not to dwell on complexity
but feast on regenerative imagination.
A drop of water on the lilypad
alerts me to possibilities in the field.

What enthralling methods I shall devise 
to keep the spider from the shoe
and the bee from supping with me
when viands are on the table.


Thanks for a load off my mind!  So easy to be receptive,
especially when magnolia is in its first phase of bloom
on a purposeful day, emitting perfumes for everyone’s
benefit and pleasure.

On the hillside, elemental forms are heard murmuring.  
A lizard in natural surroundings is a kindred species,
its prissy coat and slick gait.                                            

I have been given a rare taste of contentment infused
with energy because a sweet May breeze – more like
a trade wind – has engendered the prettiest bird calls,
the pretty birds in chorus calling.

Tranquil noon has passed. Evening presents with a rash
of yellow irises primping here and there through the mead’s
tall grasses.

A finger pressing on the neck’s trigger point relaxes
the melancholy aches which usually accompany
my interpretation of the hours. 
Now all is fine as fine can be.


Open, world, in all your disguises —

though there is no easy way from the earth to the stars. Hark
back to the dream and dream in praise of optimism. Wait! 
It’s coming now, like a comet which has been longing
to show off its brimming head. Petition the sky for a favorable glimpse,
and wipe any tears of joy with a natural detergent. 
All the centuries passing by, and she abides in this one.
A gift not to be taken lightly, especially when eyesight
is still so keen and the looming azure and adelaide-yellow
asperitas clouds are right before her.               


How does vivid pain suddenly disappear so that the wonder
becomes that the invasion ever took place at all.  Yet
the memory of it lingers as potent as the original pain which,
having disappeared, allows a relief as boundless
as asperitas clouds dipping down like mounds of ice cream
overturned from their cones, cool and distant but part
of the expanse.

With pain gone, such lightness of body slightly mitigates the mind
still embroiled in dark meanderings, hard
to simplify.

That is the meaning of asperitas: uneven, rough, difficult, fierce.

Earth’s Porcelain Clearing

for John Morra

No throes, only gladness for now, for now
there is a porcelain clearing on fragile Earth
which widens to a wild complexity
having many angles but none sharp,
a sheen but no finish.

Everyone to table.  It is laid for lunch —
wine, bread, nuts, cheese in its wrap,
a knife, a jug in shadow upon a slab.

I am painting how art lays bare
old and new, sublime in color and compaction.

I am underscoring how the porcelain center’s
fixative guards against smudging, grounds the whole
like a lunch eaten, envied, enjoyed,
made much of.

To the depiction of bread and cheese, I will add
an egg,
for I am the constructor of this plate
and will make it beautiful.

About the Author:

irene mitchell

Irene Mitchell is the author of Equal Parts Sun and Shade: An Almanac of Precarious Days (Aldrich Press, 2017), Minding the Spectrum’s Business (FutureCycle Press, 2015), A Study of Extremes in Six Suites (Cherry Grove Collections, 2012), and Sea Wind on the White Pillow (Axes Mundi Press, 2009).  Formerly Poetry Editor of Hudson River Art Journal, Mitchell has served as poetry contest juror, and facilitator of poetry workshops. She is known for her collaborations with visual artists and composers.