Poetry by Maryann Bartram

Haiku by Maryann

Kitten flies there
Legs too short to step
Golden fur everywhere

Walking while listening to Oceana by Osvaldo Golijov

through the stripes
of sun and shade
patterning the path
shock of lysergide leaves
inserting into this
diamond fractal-
colors fuming fire
continually surface
while birds on wires above
are still, still,
and god knows, resting, waiting,

there’s a blur of edges
of every seeming line
that wills to impose
from memory, from eye-brain
from every possible in/out
on the walk that
seizes me in the fall days
of autumnal equinox
time of full moon,
an auspicious, delicious ecstasy

I’m stepping
with my mp3
an encased brain
conjuring Dickinson
and Neruda
seeing-feeling through wire-ears
moving with other-legs
by the bounty of inventors, sopranos
musicians and poets
the would-be incarnate
of sense impression
spiraling into would-be cells

I’m digging in fingered gardens
in roots of years
sharing with the fragile blooms
and through the windows
I see her walking
so serious and out of reach
will she heed the curbs
and uneven bumps
will she hear the cars
in their rushing speed
will she be shocked
to see me watching
and seek to block me

now as sun-bits bullet gold
instantly my I is swept
into a sub-atomic space
rising and conjoining
with dizzy-fright
the circulations of
seen, then not
then seen

and through this mesh
of past and present
the ancient longings
in the tones and words
all that’s here
in the diminutive ear
and in the miraculous
structure of eye
is totally subsumed
-Maryann Bartram 2015


the sea expelled its forest
spewed it on the shore
by stem, bladder, stipe and blade
its spiraled ropes tangled
with infinite intricacy

this massive maze of amber
spiked with golden shine
was once a vibrant organism
releasing potential
for male, for female

forming a floating canopy
sheltering and nourishing
the life of the sea
and challenging divers

and now—
will it be detritus
for land and air—
it’s crunchy to the feet
and the gas-filled bladders
feel hard under the shoes
on which the dried blades
seem to stick

the spiny holdfasts
once anchors in the ocean depths
lay on edge, unprotected
exposing the once supportive roots
of these giant sea algae

has it come to this?
toys for happy dogs
intriguing paths for walkers
nutrients in a long chain
or visions for artists

yet all in all
the wrack that
clings to miles
of shore creates
a convoluted wonder,
a tale of transmigration
and its travails
the exquisiteness of life
is the big reveal
and the strange
and fearful beauty of
-Maryann Bartram 2015

Red Sun

the sun is red
to show its full display
humbly allowing any gaze
of any length-
now it’s pink
now fuchsia
gorgeously seen
through heaven’s dust
it’s a statement for the morning
bright enough to light
but soft enough
to see at anyone’s content
another planet
just like you

another body
in the skies-
and that is why
the runners with their dogs on leashes
and the mothers walking tots
barely raise an eye
as if this were old business
nothing spectacular
in the sky

but as the minutes go by
the sun takes offense
drops its veils
and defies anyone
to stare into its eyes

like Job and Lot
had to run away
heads to the ground
eyes cast down
modern humans must not look up
for longer than a blink
else their eyes go fiery blind
for defying earth’s life

once there was a chance
when sun was reddish-pink
but that was seconds past
a time that won’t come back
– Maryann Bartram 2015


What happens when
there’s a little passage
of that thing they call time-
there’s a bit of bone-powdering
you know, you’ve felt sand in the air
even on seem-still days
by the sea, like that
or a sandy film on your face
discovered by your fingertips

You’ve held handfuls
of crystalline specks
letting sands drift from your hands
in colorful streams
then felt the sticky smear of
particulate on your skin

This form here
this me
sees its destiny-
its skin, like seaweed in the sun
its bones, a little powdery
you know, you’ve felt it too
and have seen evidence
on your face
and faces that you’ve known
it’s like some sandy thing
-Maryann Bartram 2015



Listening to the stones. All rich and blinding as the sun. But dirt-overed. Here flowered up and etched. Where are the entities? Those heart carvings, the from/to’s? These simply are artificial spaces, traces in the earth, green, here. Solemn and quiet. Those lives were full of noise. How odd. This is our destination or else sea-ash, forest-ash, deep in this ground lie the secrets.

Pervading through molten quakes, indeterminate waves, any nature blast or human construct, beyond  worlds or down into this earth, far beneath roots. Tales here.

The son, always hated by the mother, then spelled in a letter. Where was his limit? The girl dragged away from her dreams, and loved ones agreed. God forgive us.

The funny man who like most, turned crank—a sure sign of coming repose.

She who turned her life around, then quickly turned back. Inevitable?

He of innate godhood spat away, hung dangling feet-bare, like plain white in the sun. Then cut, dropping to the ground, sack-like.

The dancer here on his own stones. Flaming—spiraling.

A bourgeoning germ spreading, unknown, the phantom strikes killing the young.

The lover’s grief unbearable. He lights candles and is scorned. The memory is like a living ghost that surrounds in vaporous essence with every word said and every word done.

The mother cloaking her young, feeding the nest. The offspring now deadly lost, imitate her motions. Yet it’s a cruel joke. The father was her second self. Empty now.

The choreographer in his zone. Digits recreating a million snakes coiling, slithering, shedding their transparencies, swinging heavenward. Is that gone? No. Never. It is here in the music of our lungs. In sight. In a pointed toe, an extended finger, a shut eye. No words are enough. You are standing before us with all your faculties as clear as blue of day and black of night. As bright as the morning. Not goodbye, not goodbye.

Why is there never a forewarning. Or is there always a forewarning. We turn our head. We walk away. We close our eye. Forgive us our not knowing.

There is resolution—like our final breath. This is said.

The one struck in a nano-minute. Come back our dear one. Let us frame you. You did not know. You were spared. But not us. We had to leave you there. So unaware. No kisses felt. No touch. Rest you.

And you. Why did you chose to lie there, such an easy surrender. Why did you let god do it. You lost the idea of yourself, now it’s up to us. And that’ s why we ‘re here. We beg you to hear.

And those we never knew. Maybe right next door, at the same stop light, in the department store, at the next desk, behind the wall, wait for us.

The flowers don’t really do it, do they? The psalms, the candles, but please accept the only beauty that we can give—in the soft rose, the faint glow of a candle lit with unstable hand, the stuck hum in our throats.

Here the green’s as refreshing as water, as pure as air, as lovely as the music of trees and the falling of gold leaves. Green’s met by a blue tent softly held by clouds. We are you with our breath, we are you with our eyes.


-Maryann Bartram 2014

4 comments… add one
  • Maryann – Your poem flows with imagery. “The dirt-overed stones…here flowered up and etched…the psalms, the candles…the music of the trees and the falling of gold leaves.” We enjoyed reading it aloud before we ventured out on our individual exploration of the cemetery.

  • Vilinda

    Maryann- your poem was lovely. It was perfect for the setting, perfect for the day. Cynthia printed copies and we stood in a circle and took turns reading portions aloud before we set off on our solo wanderings with your words still resonating. Words, images, moods, you have a way with them.

  • Maryann – Thank you for sharing your lovely poem. it is so full of insight and resonating so much emotion. I felt the presence of your poem as I was walking around taking pictures of the cemetery…”Here the green’s as refreshing as water, as pure as air, as lovely as the music of trees and the falling of gold leaves. Green’s met by a blue tent softly held by clouds. We are you with our breath, we are you with our eyes.”

  • Maryann,
    Thank you for sharing your poem with us. Your presence was felt through the thoughtful, heartfelt words you wrote.

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