Friday, August 5, 2011


I couldn't wait for Tuesday--so this is a Friday poem. I'm so happy that folks can still read my work--let's cross our fingers that Blogger will let people know when there's been a new post!!


I close my eyes and wait. The words enter my body, golden as chessman 
carved of flame that take their places on my black-and-white board.
I play against myself, but the figures seem to be engaged in a contest far older
than the Game of Kings. They obey other rules, as from an eerie dream.
The bishops, rooks and knights don’t keep their shapes. They turn into
falcons, Furies, gypsies, maids, Poseidon’s dolphins, panthers, kites.
I have to work to keep them tethered. I’m never given to know tactics, tricks
or strategies, only recognizing the finish when the fiery pieces cover the page
in a pleasing pattern, the figures of speech laying claim to their spaces. If
there are no moves left, I lay down my pen. That is how the Queen wins.


  1. What a glorious, triumphant poem to christen your new space with, Melissa! No wonder you couldn't wait for Tuesday. And ah, such a '. . . pleasing pattern, the figures of speech laying claim to their spaces.' This poem shimmers, quivers and takes us soaring. Welcome back, Queen Bee - I mean, Vesper Sparrow. xo

  2. Dearest Claire, of course it would be you who would fly here first, shining like a comet all the way to me here. MEMg, Sissydeah, Sparrow and Queen Bee--I'll carry each sobriquet around my throat like a necklace of gold coins. xo

  3. Here, found and rejoicing. I love it when The Queen wins, exactly as she should. The the mysterious, almost alchemical process which turns time and the metaphoric turning of wheels into words, into images. What a lovely profile pic, the Rodin. Joy all around. xo

  4. Melissa- I have to admit I was panicked thinking I'd lost access to your blog! So relieved to find you writing, moving rooks and knights across a shiny new board here. (But I'll miss Vesper Sparrow's Nest!)

    I love this poem--I can imagine the dance on the board, the attention to words while being careful not to touch them before they are certain of the position they desire to take, demanding to lead. And it seems there are no missteps. With their eerie-dream rules they know precisely where to move and settle.

    A masterful beginning. :)

  5. Jayne, dear, I thought you were a distant speck on a long stretch of beach walking through the lace as the tide comes in. Send me a note and I'll explain about VSN.

    So very glad you like this poem. It was one of those rare pieces of writing that seem to have already been written--all I had to do was look for the invisible ink.

    Thank you.

  6. Jayne, Blogger is giving me the yips again. It won't let me register an email addresss that is correct. It's

  7. Just stopped by for a Saturday cup of coffee, because I could. Happy new TP site. xo

  8. I knew you were coming, I hear the screen door squeak. The kettle's been boiling for ages, waiting for you. xo

  9. you wild thing, you! terrific, triumphant poem ( i am a fool for chess metaphors...and frankly, there should be a fool among the chess pieces. i hope you as queen will consider my effigy as the prototype.)

    so happy to find you...

    much love & a bottle of the finest Maine well water smashed over the prow of your rowboat in the marsh!


  10. I raise a glass of your pure Maine well water to you, Susan, and welcome you aboard the good ship Girl In the Marsh. xo

  11. Queen Melissa! Brilliant poem - fiery, strong, ineluctable. Perfect for your shiny new space.