Deep below the frozen Arctic tundra
earth’s mantle smolders even as the white
mighty bear stalks seals over sea ice.
Cypress knees lurk like trolls in the shadows
of drowned southern marshes far from cold
Nordic forests where they are said to dwell.
In a rain pool the splashing of a blue jay
shatters the prism of morning, then he drinks,
stretching his throat skyward for the last drop.
Some possess the gift of viewing the factual world
through a warped, tinted glass, peer through it,
reluctant or even helpless to stop there. Then
Shining things: Ozymandias’ broken sneer in the
sand, Ophelia fallen from the willow, snowy woods
in dark winter, the pursuit of a pearl-white whale.
Yet sometimes we err, seeing swans’ graceful necks
as heart-halves, sighing that they mate for life, when
they are brutish, irascible, and often hiss and bite.
Untempered by a core of truth, or guttering
with passion like a failing candle, assembled words
can scatter like autumn seed heads on the pond.
Instead of rooting deep, to be discovered beside
mossy rocks, or gripping the cliff like a titan above
the churning surf, wherever seekers may travel.
Karen McAferty Morris has always loved poetry for its ability to lift both the heart and mind to discoveries, connections and, ultimately, comfort. Pairing photography and haiku is a favorite form. She is a member of West Florida Literary Federation and Pen Women, where she holds the position of Poet Laureate and editor of its book Nobis. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Off the Coast, Cahaba River Literary Journal, The Reach of Song, Emerald Coast Review, Haiku Journal, Write a Dear Reader Contest, Panoply, and Encore. Her chapbook Elemental was published in April 2018.