Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Halcyon Days Issue 1—2016 4
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Sharon Frame Gay Song of the Alps Donna Davis Birds | The Green Metal Mailbox Ingrid Bruck Seasons Senryu | Power of One Ion Corcos Terracotta Pot | Quiet Linda Barrett Butterfly Woman | Adolescent Spring Adam Levon Brown Oregon Night Sky Elizabeth Kranz Surprising Spring Michael Salcman Art & Science | Fragment for a Swan Sheikha A. Migrate Melanie Wilcox Yellow Butterfly Paul R. Davis In Depth of Winter | Take Away Virginia Boudreau Haiku—2 Paul Hellweg Haiku Taylor Losier White Noise
Halcyon Days Magazine ISSN: 2291-0255 Frequency: Quar ter ly Publisher | Designer: Monique Ber r y
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John Rowntree She’ll Never Sleep With Socks On Carol Oberg Simply Takes Your Breath Away Sofia Kioroglou In Myrtle Fields Dora Lafleur Oceanic Soul Eva Chapman Musings J. Forrest Wellman God’s Graffiti Ruth Deming Clay Donal Mahoney Manna Falls Gregg Dotoli Leafspring Joan McNerney Angel | Celestial Songs Carolyn T. Johnson Hands | Mornings, Finding Joy Douglas G. Campbell Hayden Pond | The Collector Anne Levesque Splendour Steven Tutino Breathe
Contact Info http://halcyondaysmagazine.blogspot.com Twitter: @1websurfer email@example.com
Special Notices Halcyon Days has one time rights. See website for subscription details. No photocopies allowed. Cover, inside page © aboikis © Konstiantyn | DollarPhotoClub
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A Word From the Founder I am so pleased that Halcyon is back with an extended name and continues with the peaceful, tranquil, and happy content. The premier issue has more new contributors than any of my earlier magazines! Thank you for sharing your talent. I hope to see your work in more issues. My search for images to complement the submissions led me to ask “Have I ever felt halcyon moments in my life—feelings of peace flooding my being?” The answer is yes. A few months ago, a newspaper article gave a name to something I experience: ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). When I hear sounds like tapping or whispering, pleasant relaxing tingles go through my body. It’s definitely a halcyon feeling for me! Do you experience the same thing? If you do, I’d love to hear about it in an email (see the bottom of page 2).
Finally, thank you for spending time with me. I have enjoyed putting this magazine together for your reading pleasure. Wishing halcyon days for you and your loved ones.
Monique Berry Founding Editor
Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Song of the Alps by Sharon Frame Gay
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hills send down to me, fresh as moon glow and familiar as my own scent.
First thing every morning, I sit on a three legged stool under the goats, long before the sun comes up. The smell of the hay in the barn , sweet as September, fills the air, feels like home. I love the sound the milk makes, those first few squeezes, when the drops echo into the bucket, making music. Every morning the song is different, even though this old farm remains the same.
Each morning after milking the goats, I bring the old bucket into the house. That first blast of warmth from the stove, after working in the shed, is like a good friend saying hello. I already put out some dough to rise on the sideboard, near the heat, the yeasty aroma prickling the back of my nose and stirring my taste buds. I'll sprinkle the dough with cardoman and sweet sugar, letting it bake while I run back to the shed and clean out the stalls, laying fresh straw and bringing mountain water to my goats.
t's harder to milk a goat, than a cow. Goats have a mind of their own, and their teats are smaller. It takes a certain touch to do it right.
I know there's a big world out there, but I've spent my entire life tucked up into these Italian Alps, right on the border of Switzerland, and there's nowhere else I would rather be. My father named me Elsa, despite my mother's protests, my blond head belying the fact that I had been birthed by a dark haired Italian woman. Father was from Bavaria, leaving his forested home before the great war, and snuggled up with my mother into the arms of these mountains, long before I was born. The war didn't touch them up here, so remote that even the Germans decided when they flew overhead, to just keep on going. Winters come early, and stay longer. It isn't until June that you can count on no more snow, and there's just a few small months when the land turns green, the mountainside thunders with waterfalls, and swollen rivers rise from snow melt. There's nothing more beautiful than the hills and valleys then, green as quartz, aflame with bright flowers that dot the countryside like a quilt. That's when the goat kids are dropped from their mothers, sometimes upwards of 10 or 12 of them, tiny things, startled at first, opening their eyes to this towering world, trying to stand on splayed legs. Within hours, they follow their dams over rocks and pastureland with shaky hooves, rutting for that sweet milk that brings life to them, and to me. I curdle some of the milk into cheese, drinking the rest, giving some to the barn cats, and a bit to my old herding dog, Aldo. Some of my cheese I take down the mountain into the small village, about a two hour ride, on the back of an old Percheron, Dante. There's a small tea shop that buys it from me, serving the cheese on thin slices of pumpernickel, with cucumbers and watercress, for the travelers who pass through, from time to time. On market days, I throw a bridle over Dante and hop on bareback, the cheese in front of me in a burlap sack, feeling the warmth of the horse between my thighs and the heat of the sun on my back, and thinking I truly live in heaven. That same sun, and accompanying wind, has etched wrinkles on my face a bit before my time, but I don't care. I like to think that God carved these smile lines on my cheeks and bleached out my hair each summer so that I blend in with the grass come October, when everything turns golden. When I journey into town, I am always curious to see who is passing through, and where they come from. They all look hurried and hungry, walking fast into the tiny shops and restaurants as though the devil is chasing them. I wonder if they ever just sit on the grass, and raise their faces up to see the mountain that shadows the entire village, majestic and solid. It's hovering right over them, but they appear not to notice at all.
By noon, Aldo and I have let the nannies and buck out into the fields. We walk behind them, prodding them into a small valley where the grass is especially sweet, and the shadows short. Aldo and I sit and share a bit of sweet bread, tasting all the better for the cool wind that leaves the scent of spring on each bite. The sky is so deep there is no end to it, the mountain reflecting the heavens, blue and solid. Sometimes I squint my eyes and look at the very top, then make a frame with my arms, so it looks like I'm hugging it, and it's hugging me right back. A nanny comes up and butts my knee, hoping I will give her a bit of my bread, but I say no and swat the air and tell her "get on with you, old Nanny." Aldo growls, nudging her with his big black nose. If I feed one, I will have to feed the whole herd, so its best they stay away. She begrudgingly turns around, flicking her tail, her kid right on her heels. The sound of their hooves ringing against the rock sends shivers of contentment down my back. Aldo rounds them up soon enough to take back to the shed and corral. The goats protest, a cacophony of bleats hang on the breeze, as they kick out at the dog and beg to stay a bit longer. Getting them home takes twice as long as bringing them here this morning. The rest of the afternoon I settle into my other chores. There are fences to be mended, railings to be nailed, a quilt I'm working on in bright colors for when winter sends me nothing but white. There's a bit of canning to be done, and some yard work. Despite the short season, I always grow flowers and vegetables in the tiny garden outside my kitchen door. A few herbs, too. I marvel at the strength of the seeds to come up out of this soil and prosper, even though their lives will be a short one. They bloom in a riot of color, making the most of the few days they have, then giving themselves up to me, and an old crystal vase that sits smack in the middle of the worn kitchen table. Their lives are brief, but beautiful, as they live and die here in the Alps. I am going to die on this mountain, too, and I am happy about that. There's a small bit of land, tucked right under a rocky outcropping, where my mother and father are buried. There's a space for me, and maybe old Aldo. I'm not afraid. It will feel like coming home to be lowered into that mountainside. Until then, I bless the sameness, the calmness and serenity, the solitude that comes with this land. There's nothing more I want, because truth be told, I have it all. I look up to the great Alps and touch God with my eyes. "Thank you." That's all that needs to said. SHARON FRAME GAY lives outside Seattle
I'm 50 years old, and never left this mountain. It would be like leaving my own mother and father, or my goats. In my mind, this mountain has feelings. It keeps me safe as it cradles me and the farm in its rocky embrace. I touch the grass, see it glisten, run it through my fingers like a lover would, and breath in the air the
Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Washington. She writes short stories, poetry and song lyrics. Her work can be found on Biostories, Gravel Magazine, Fiction on the Web, and several anthologies. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.
Birds By Donna M. Davis If we listen carefully, we could understand their voices crying miniature operas, swollen crescendos, ripe bursting berries. We could drink liquid tones, walk beneath dream trees, hear leaf nocturnes gathering form. We could answer them, our flawed voices learning magic sounds. Then our children could memorize bird melodies, small hands upraised to catch the pristine cadence of their songs.
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The Green Metal Mail Box By Donna M. Davis The green metal mail box on my parents’ front porch was like a tiny house with a door of its own. We’d climb up the stairs and unfasten its latch. Inside were the post cards and last valentines. Its green paint never faded. It was safe from rough weather. It retained all hope and sense of expectation. It held all the notes that arrived with the flowers. I return to the mail box and open its door. The annals of a lifetime tumble into my arms.
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DONNA M. DAVIS is a central New York poet and former English teacher. For many years, she has owned and operated a business specializing in book design and resume writing. Her poetry has been published in Red River Review, Ilya’s Honey, Halcyon Magazine, Oddball Magazine, The Milo Review, The Centrifugal Eye, Comstock Review, Poetpourri, the Altadena Review, and others. Additional poems are forthcoming in Gingerbread House and Poecology magazines. She recently published a chapbook entitled Several Ways to Look at the Stars. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 6
Power of One by Ingrid Bruck The power of one blade of grass, a slow melt to spring on a dull winter field. Tree auras shine russet, lemon and lime, burning bushes of Moses underscored in cardinal bursts, another streak of azure and red, a bluebird in the pines, and a flash of yellow on black budded branches, an oriel, newly arrived. Raw browns retreat, reveal bare soil surprises, a nub of pink stars, a solstice resurrection, one hyacinth emerges from last year’s Easter pot.
Seasons Senryu By Ingrid Bruck wind bends the young corn silver fields wave to the stars water flows uphill perfect black berries red hollyhocks and cherries children of the sun fire storm rages yellow red orange leaves fall prepare to depart just under the skin raw earth and hard rock winter exposure
The power of one daffodil bulb two seasons old: twin suns sway on green stems, ruffled gold pots set on six pointed stars line the driveway.
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One dandelion, an open green star, clasps and devours earth, grasps hard pellets to heart, sun explodes its tap roots, both anchor and nuisance, leaves stretch out, a harvest to steam in a pot or food for hungry deer, and flowers, more deer food and starbursts for wine.
© Anna Omelchenko | DollarPhotoClub
INGRID BRUCK is a poet/storyteller/retired library director. Her work has appeared in Howl of Sorrow: A Collection of Poems Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, Topography and Panoplyzine. She is a member of The International Women’s Writing Guild and a charter member of The Avocado Sisterhood. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Terracotta Pot By Ion Corcos Red geraniums break through the earth, stretch to the light, beyond the shade of branches and the tree that kneels before the sun.
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Quiet By Ion Corcos As the sun lays its first shadow, goats huddle on a barely treed slope, silent respite against rock; a small shrub, their only shade.
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ION CORCOS has been published in Axolotl, Bitterzoet, Every Writer and Ishaan Literary Review. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Ion is currently travelling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa. He is also working on his first poetry collection, Like Clouds, and a chapbook inspired by Greece. Ion’s website is www.ioncorcos.wordpress.com. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 8
Butterfly Woman By Linda Barrett Out of Cancer’s Cocoon, you struggle From caterpillar to chrysalis Fight what’s eating at your body Emerge once again fully healed, ready to Fly again
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Adolescent Spring By Linda Barrett As Winter’s heavy cold fat melts away, Spring approaches tentative from under still hard earth shy and awkward with its few brave blossoms crocuses reach up like clenched hands tightly holding treasures so they won’t fall out. Naked trees erupt in red buds Skinny boughs shake In trembling teenager fashion Red buds slowly unravel Do they come out in white acne pustules Or blossoming sexual organs? Green grass sprouts reminiscent of beards and body hair covering once barren skin The sun shines later and later nurturing the earth into adulthood with its gradual and understanding love. © foto-augenblick | pixabay.com
LINDA BARRETT has been writing all her life. She's been published in a few on-line and print publications. She won the Montgomery County Community College short story contest three years running. Her home is in Abington, Pennsylvania, a suburb outside of Philadelphia, Pa. where she has lived for fifty three years. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Oregon Night Sky By Adam Levon Brown Lazy nights under the moon of cerulean He sits and watch the jewels of light dance in the sky of destiny He contemplates the evening tide and how it relates to everything in his life Awaiting the chance of seeing a shooting burst of silver stream across the blanket of jet black He tucks the rest of his evening snack into his bag, closes his eyes, and envisions being one of those stars He wonders how many have thought the same thing.
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ADAM LEVON BROWN is a poet residing in Eugene, Oregon. He enjoys the outdoors and playing with cats. Adam has been published in numerous places including Yellow Chair Review and Tuck Magazine. You can contact him on his blog at AdamLevonBrown.com. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 10
Surprising Spring by Elizabeth Kranz
pring sometimes seems to be damp, dismal and muddy after the sparkling brightness of winter. Look out on a river near the wilderness and the unique diversity of life will surprize you. It continually changes as all sizes of ice chunks from the large lake drift lazily down the river. Sluggishly the whiteness in the river’s bay shrinks. More life appears. Martin and mink scurry along the icy shore. Otters play, summersaulting as they wander downstream. Search for the returning ducks as they hunt for food near the still frozen edges. The Mallard’s green head glistens in the warming sunshine. A pair of American Black ducks have now gained Canadian immigration status as they lazily hunt, bottoms up, in the shallower mud. Common Golden Eyes come in a party of six, all appearing and disappearing under the surface in apparent unison. A few Buffle Heads stand out so bright white on the dark water. Eight little Ring Necks in their tuxedos seem too hyper for their formal attire. The extraordinary quilt-like patchwork coloured Wood ducks grant an appearance, as the couple wander
in and around the bits of accessible shallows. The larger majestic Common Merganser and his mate arrive. For a moment the male may be mistaken for a Loon. And then the longed for laugh of the enchanting Loon echoes across the waters. Hunt for these stunning creatures with binoculars and be amazed by their beauty. Finally the handsome Hooded Mergansers come into view. With unique shape and colours, they bob up and down with ease and grace. Look up. The trees begin to blossom in the remarkable variety of pastel colours of pink, purple, lime green, sage and yellows against the brilliant blue sky. Listen in the dark twilight near a swamp. The powerful performance of the tiny spring peepers will totally astound you. Be awed by these extraordinary gifts of our great God and His astounding, imaginative and varied creativity. “His splendor covers the heavens and the earth is full of His praise.” Habakkuk 3:3b
©Elizabeth Kranz | At her home on the Bonnechere River.
ELIZABETH KRANZ gave up gainful fulltime employment to mother her five children so she often wondered what she would do when they grew up. What would God want her to do? Well, they’re up and out and now she writes about them, biblical characters and the canoeing adventures she has with her busy, talented Pastor husband. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Art & Science By Michael Salcman As Horace says A face will smile to see a smile, Or weep at tears. Is the baby’s smile less wonderful for mirror neurons, those spiky angels in our brains who mimic our humanity everywhere they gaze? Is memory less wonderful for its impression by sorrow or praise? Rejoice you parents, targets of blocks thrown by a sensible child, not aiming at inanimate souless things as if a small animal wilding. Wonderful to know the source of the spring, to walk beneath that waterfall of feeling. © tmcsparron | Pixabay.com
Fragment for a Swan By Michael Salcman Reading you a poem, feeding a swan, the black eyes close the head lifts and your long fine neck extends your face to me. You sniff the air feel each sound the vibration of each vowel and consonant that bends the down over your lips firmly, firmly closed against the need to comment.
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MICHAEL SALCMAN, an internationally known neurosurgeon, who is also a poet and art critic, was born in Pilsen Czechoslovakia. Former chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Salcman is the author of almost 200 scientific and medical articles as well as six textbooks. Salcman lectures widely on art and the brain and on the brain and creativity. His poems have received six nominations for a Pushcart Prize and have appeared on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and in several anthologies. His widely-praised anthology of classic and contemporary poems on doctors, patients, illness and recovery, Poetry in Medicine appeared in 2015 (Persea Books). His forthcoming collection, A Prague Spring, Before & After, won the 2015 Sinclair Poetry Prize from Evening Street Press. You can hear and see him read his poems at www.salcman.com. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 12
Migrate By Sheikha A. In the hidden parts of an open sky, a mute bird sings its hymn – the voice of a believer does not need to be loud, a man that has walked a thousand steps to his destiny will not be asked of his slippers but the burning of his soles will step on healing from just believing in the path, the same sky bursting a thunder is also one that rains, regardless of how tamely or wildly it falls, the water finds suitable route to migrate to the earth’s core, all of life comes alive, the sun breathes again and flowers cross the seas on a wind’s sturdy back, happiness finds its way of being for nothing needs to be tried, contentment doesn’t need purpose; if the point of existence since has always been peace, all of mankind would sit on mountains meditating their purpose away. © Olga Galushko | DollarPhotoClub.com
SHEIKHA A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. She is the author of a short poetry collection titled Spaced [Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013]. Her work appears in over 60 literary venues that can be accessed on her blogsheikha82.wordpress.com She edits poetry for eFiction India.
Yellow Butterfly By Melanie Wilcox The wind and sea tumble and splash, laughing children playing catch with a yellow butterfly. Here and there, up and down, she’s fluttering but she is not free. Warm gusts of wind toss her, helpless, into the surf. I can save her. I know I can. Finally I have her in my hands, carrying her past sea oats on sand dunes to safety under the yaupon and cedar, safe from the rowdy play of wild children.
MELANIE ARROWOOD WILCOX fell in love with the sea long ago. When she needs to remember who and why she is, she returns to the shore for inspiration. The Outer Banks of North Carolina are her favorite haunts. You can contact Melanie at 55Peaches@outlook.com.
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Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
In Depth of Winter by Paul R. Davis We have felt too long, too sure the advent of the darkened sky that creates the blithe snow's cry, encapsulating ourselves now to endure. If there is reason in this chill, strive to find the song of winter's flight headlong into the stillness of our night.
Our sensibilities we swallow whole as bitter pill. But by fireplace and by candle's gleam, under blankets in bed's security, we as children hunker down in dark's obscurity. In sleep we drift toward spring in dream. ÂŠ mari_55 | DollarPhotoClub
Take Away By Paul R. Davis Take away the mud from my wet grass, take away my money so I can be rich, give me grey clouds that have understanding. Take away the macadam from my flimsy footsteps, take away the winter coat, so I can feel cold like it should be, give me the snow that embraces the shed leaves.
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Take away the hot coals from my plate, take away the cold sweat from our bed, give us the eyes locked in love, the afternoons and evenings entwined in our bodies.
PAUL R. DAVIS lives in Central New York State with his wife, parrots and cats. Now retired, he enjoys operating model trains, philately, gardening, and preparing meals with his wife. His work has been published in Latitudes, Comstock Review, Comrades, Hot Metal Press, Georgian Blue Poetry Anthology, The Externalist, Centrifugal Eye, The Good Men Project, PoetryRepairs and others. He believes in a simple poetic philosophy: to wit, the joy of expression, the necessity of communication. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 14
Haiku by Virginia Boudreau
Faded denim sky snow drops, crocus, colombine bird house in the eaves
By Virginia Boudreau Cherry blossoms blush petal skirts twirl dip flutter ballerina trees
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VIRGINIA BOUDREAU lives in a lovely seaside community on the coast of Nova Scotia. She can often be found combing the many beautiful beaches in the area. Her poetry has appeared in a wide variety of North American literary journals and anthologies.
Haiku by Paul Hellweg waves breaking gently easy, peaceful beach morning love never hurries
PAUL HELLWEG is a full-time freelance writer (mostly of reference books). He is the author of over 200 published poems, and his poetry has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and multiple Best of the Net awards. For more, please visitwww.paulhellweg.com. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
White Noise by Taylor Losier
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White is the colour of babies and brides on the first day of the rest of their lives.
White is the colour of babies and brides on the first day of the rest of their lives. because no matter what came before how they got to that day or how they came to be for that day they are clean. White is the colour of snow on a cold maritime morning. when the sunlight glows and the day is new the branches cracking under the weight of the ice like a gunshot in the air. White is the colour of the rocks hedging my grandfather’s garden. carefully pulled from the forest floor meticulously cleaned surrounding hydrangeas and hostas and plants whose names he’s told me but I’ve forgotten. White is the colour of silence complete, total and impenetrable. of a radio without any sound except for the static murmurs rebounding off of walls antiseptic burning your nose as you remind yourself to breath. White is the colour of a blank page before I tell myself to write. before my pen covers it in ink before my hand smudges the words that tumble across the page hurrying and stumbling to escape words, stories, songs, before I forget.
Originally from Quispamsis, NB, TAYLOR LOSIER has been writing ever since her sisters first begged her for bedtime stories. Since then, she has earned a degree in English Literature from Mount Allison University. Her first completed novel, entitled Ragged, was published by the Underbridge Press. She has also had prose and poetry pieces published in literary journals such as 7 Mondays, The Steel Chisel, Pictures and Portraits, and Cargo Literary. Follow her on Twitter @taylorlosier13. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 16
She’ll Never Sleep With Socks On by John Rowntree What compares to falling asleep beside a warm human being? What peace but in that primal union? Too rare to recall that life, in the end, is lived as an animal. Up and down goes their breath. Up, Down, In, Out. Steady. Reliable. Sacred, if anything is. So cold to crawl into a bed alone, the sheets and blankets a desolate sea, And in those depths all you can do is remember. Simple pleasures—simple is rare. But the story continues in the morning. Sunrise or habit or alarm clock: all create the slow glow of emergence. Eyes open halfway and groans escape. Strands of messy hair are fanned across a worn pillow. Touch, refuge. “You’re clearly seeing me in my natural state,” She says with some embarrassment. But why? Nobody’s more beautiful than when they’re in pajamas. © 280179 | DollarPhotoClub
JOHN ROWNTREE is an emerging writer of poetry, fiction and plays. His theatrical work has been staged academically and independently, and several short stories have been published in journals. He has been the recipient of three writing awards since 2013 and is currently working on a science fiction novel. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Simply Takes Your Breath Away By Carol Oberg It’s that one day each year your memory grabs onto, stacks the feel of it all together hides it somewhere in the back of your mind so that moment of walking to or back from school, home, work always catches you by surprise. No date circled on the calendar or weatherman’s forecast foretells that smell of warmth you had nearly forgotten the exhilarating freshness of that first unexpected breath of spring air that captivates the sheer feeling of being alive.
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CAROL OBERG began her writing career with Blue Mountain Arts, Inc., publishing poetry on greeting cards for many years. She was one of three featured poets in Ancient Paths, issue 16 (ten works, one of which was nominated for a Pushcart award). Carol is published numerous times in The Avocet, A Journal of Nature Poetry, and in Burningword, Extract(s), First Literary Review-East online, Garbanzo, Harbinger Asylum, New Plains Review, The Fourth River (Chatham University) and others. She and her husband are semiretired on a small inland lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 18
Through The Myrtle Fields By Sofia Kioroglou The Mediterranean sea the blue sea par excellence the Mare Nostrum of the Romans the turquoise blue of us Greeks. It soothes me and caresses me with its gentle breeze, wafting my mind's fog through the myrtle fields.
SOFIA KIOROGLOU was one of the winners in the 4th Ceasar Dapontes Poetry Competition and her poems have appeared in many international literary journals such as Silverbirchpress, Verse-Virtual, Poetâ€™s Corner, Writink Page, Bonsaistories as well as in many anthologies like the Poetry against Terror Anthology, the Spiritual Horizons Anthology and the Universal Values Anthology. You can visit her website at sofiakioroglou.wordpress.com. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Oceanic Soul By Dora Lafleur Bathe me in river tones, bring me underwater to a place where I can remain immersed in indigos and sweet whispers that were told but never heard. I am pure in my absolution, a baptism into something more than me, something that is always moving, in and out of form, through form and carving the land. I will rush through and laugh along with the singing of the ocean, beating into my heart the instilment of love for all things. This happiness I would feel would be like a clear sky or like marking unknown islands upon an empty map.
Bathe me in river tones, bring me underwater to a place where I can remain immersed in indigosâ€Ś
DORA LAFLEUR is a 25 year old from Toronto, Ontario. Beyond writing and reading avidly, she works as a librarian and as a bookseller.
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Musings By Eva Chapman I stopped to wander on a warm, twilight even the usual stillness filled only with the peeping of the tree frog. My feet found the path, hidden from unfamiliar eyes now trod only by the ghosts of those long gone. My gaze followed the banks of the muddy creek where countless fishermen had whiled away many an hour dreaming of the one that got away. I too, had spent time on those muddy banks with Dad and a sister, not afraid of the wiggling worms in the bottom of a rusty old tin can. The cedar pines I remember as seedlings were now overgrown and unkempt, planted as a deterrent to the choking plumes of dust that rose with each passerby. My steps then led me to the old ramshackle shed that once housed our dog Teddy whose high spirited nature had frightened me as a child. I then cast my eyes toward the overgrown fields and recalled the countless hours my Dad had spent there, plowing and planting and waiting for the harvest's reward. And my mind drifted to those carefree summers we spent just four young girls, lying on towels in the front yard, slathered with baby oil seeking that ambiguous suntan our fair skin never found, lost in the tune of a love song from a static filled transistor radio, all with plans of a tomorrow where dreams really did come true.
I stopped to wander on a warm, twilight even the usual stillness filled only with the peeping of the tree frog. EVA CHAPMAN resides in Spencer, WV. Her poems have appeared in Two Lane Livin Magazine. She bases her writings on personal life experiences. In her free time she pursues her passions which are poetry, song writing and reading. You may contact her on face book or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
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God’s Graffiti By J Forrest Wellman
hen I tell the story of when I had the opportunity to meet Jesus, most people roll their eyes in disbelief. I know it is hard to imagine Jesus showing up in the mountain state, even though our state slogan is “Almost Heaven.” It was late July and the dog days of summer were in full swing. My best friend Dave and I were typical sixteen year olds. We loved two things, talking to girls and fishing. I must say we were a lot better at fishing. I lived just up the road and I told Dave to stop and get me when they were ready to leave. Needless to say I ran home to inform my parents of the spectacular news. My mom was gone so I told my dad what I had heard. To my surprise he didn’t seem to be impressed. He calmly replied, “If Jesus is there, you come back and let me know so I can bring the rest of the family to see him“. I turned to walk away when a lady said did you see him? No I replied. She answered back, I had trouble at first too but now I can. She pointed to the large tree behind the man preaching. I looked and behold I could see him clearly. Not the real Jesus but the image of him in the outline of the tree. The street light behind the tree gave it a kind of halo effect. A smile came on my face as I
stood there and looked. I wondered how this tree came to be this way and if it was some kind of sign of something to come. After I thought about it for a few minutes I concluded only God could have created such a wondrous sight. I then walked back to the car and told Dave and Cecilia that it was a tree that looked like Jesus. To my surprise they didn’t laugh or make any jokes. They went and saw it and agreed it looked amazing. Later we started on our journey home and Lucinda and Dora Mae laughed about their being misinformed but agreed it was worth the trip. It is memories like this that I treasure the most from growing up in the mountain state. I have seen other things like the Jesus tree that looked as if mother nature had some help. Like a thirty foot tall bolder shaped just like a boot. There is also Waffle rock. I challenge anyone to look at it and tell me how else it could have been made with out some help from the Big Man. The list goes on and so does my never ending search for what I have come to call Gods Graffiti. All a person has to do is open their eyes when they are in this wild, and truly wonderful West Virginia. The place I have always been proud to call my home.
JACK WELLMAN is a coal miner and freelance writer, proudly born and raised in the mountains of southern West Virginia. He loves his morning coffee, classic movies and time spent in the hills of his beloved state. Jack lives in Charleston, WV with his "New Jersey" wife and two amazing young daughters. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 22
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Clay by Ruth Deming The living room floor is spread with an old sheet spattered with paint the music, soft and low materials within my reach.
Rolling it around on an old bread board, I stare. .. You bring me peace.
I lift up the red clay from Mexico and hold it in my hands, heavy as a grapefruit, its pungent smell making me sneeze. I laugh and caress it in my hands now pecan brown. Rolling it around on an old bread board, I stare. What do you want to be? A shape forms, though it has not appeared. Quickly I form head, large ears, topknot, wide nose and dangling earring.
RUTH Z. DEMING has had her work published in lit mags including River Poets and Bookends Review. A psychotherapist, she runs New Directions Support Group for people with depression, bipolar disorder and their loved ones.www.newdirectionssupport.org. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her blog is www.ruthzdeming.blogspot.com
Buddha, you have come to me. We shall dwell long and lovingly here in my house. You bring me peace. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Manna Falls by Donal Mahoney Cardinals bicker And knock seed from the feeder. Doves parade below.
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DONAL MAHONEY has had work published in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html.
Leafspring By Gregg Dotoli late winter silver sun falls on the high oaks and land gently awakens its children green baby buds open and stretch to the soft notes of a SpringSong natures unbroken promise warms our cooled hearts chilled by mercurial winter days leafspring zing the annual élan
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GREGG DOTOLI lives in New York City area and has studied English at Seton Hall University. He works as a white hat hacker, but his first love is the arts. His poems have been published in, Quail Bell Magazine, The Four Quarters Magazine, Calvary Cross, Dead Snakes, Halcyon Magazine, Allegro Magazine, the Mad Swirl, Voices Project, Writing Raw and Down in the Dirt. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 24
Angel By Joan McNerney I want to make an angel in the snow though I am old for that sort of thing. That is something I have never done. A woman from Vermont told me about it. Nobody made slush angels in Brooklyn…unheard of… with no meadows to angel in. We just threw hard packed snowballs at each other sliding over icy streets. Now I will take my pick of snow. Find a perfect field of that lush white stuff. I will lay down on a cool bed flapping my arms up and down to make sacred patterns. Yes, I will angel away over and over until finally I fly off to heaven. Want to wing it with me? © ValentinValkov | DollarPhotoClub
Celestial Songs By Joan McNerney A Prussian blue sky, willow weeps golden threads, silver snow drifts on brown earth. Hallow mouth of the moon. Clouds cross forming an airy handkerchief. In our frail world, even meteors, the eyes of heaven fall like dust from God's hands. Today's work is done. The sun fell from the sky for a bowl of stars. © Melinda Nagy | DollarPhotoClub
JOAN MCNERNEY’S poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Hands By Carolyn T. Johnson gesture, invite, encourage entice me into the cool, dimly lit cavern nestled aside the cliff of the seaside hotel remove my fluffy robe float a crisp cotton sheet over my naked form slightly chilled, slathered in rich lavender-scented lotion knead the small of my back navigate knotted shoulder blades slowly massage muscles probe pressure points soothe pent-up tension move in harmony with the ancient rhythms of the sea gently coax my mind to wander, to drift to dream in rippling waves
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Mornings, Finding Joy By Carolyn T. Johnson
very day, in the mundane things, in the minutia of life, a point in time that could easily be overlooked, that’s where it happens. It’s individual, it’s personal and, when you find that sweet spot of the day, it’s addictive. Mine is first thing in the morning, before I put my feet on the floor, powder my nose or don my glasses. I feel for my cell phone in its familiar spot, safely tucked in next to my Kindle. I keep my eyes closed while it boots up because the screen gets supernova-bright at one point during the process. Then I wait for the buzz, that enticing indication that “I’ve got mail.” I glance over the items in my inbox and smile as I click on the everpresent morning mail from my husband, a habit we established after our first date in 2000. The first email is always titled “Howdy” and subsequent ones “Appreciation, Appreciation ll, Appreciation lll,” depending on his mood, time constraints or spurts of creativity. They’re short missives, positive and thoughtful, that remind me how good marriage can be. I respond in kind with our familiar myriad of nicknames, marvel at how he always remembers our ritual, and continue down the screen. My cat mewls, wanting water from the bathtub spout, as I click on an email from Carol, my dear friend across the pond, who is six hours ahead of me. We haven’t seen each other for fifteen years, yet still correspond occasionally. She’s responding to the BBC
magazine I sent her about the Royal Families of England. I knew she’d love it when I spotted it in the grocery store. I was careful not to crease the seam as I flipped through it to read all the juicy bits before mailing it. As I read her email, I could picture her setting, cup of tea in hand, snow sprinkling down outside her frosty windows. Next is a long email from “my boy” Nils in Berlin. Nils and his younger brother Kai were my morning charges while I lived in their home as an exchange student in college. Of course, Nils is no longer a boy, but a grown man in his forties, yet I still think of him as that precious little five-year-old peering over the foot of my twin bed and giggling. He’s responding to my email from last fall, updating me on his career moves, his younger brother’s eternal bachelorhood and hoping my plans for visiting Berlin are still on for March so I can meet his family. Our plans have indeed changed, but I make a note to send his little boy, Eine, a cute birthday card soon. One more email to go before my bladder forces me to get out from underneath my cozy covers. I click on the following one and see a precious photo from Tuesday’s luncheon. It’s of me and my sweet neighbor Parr, now in her twilight years, smiling for the camera. Her short term memory is fading, so my friend Barbara and I tagteam to keep her under our wings as we mix and mingle with neighborhood friends. We’re thrilled she’s still willing to get out and about. I glance at the clock on the nightstand. It’s time. The day has begun. The cat needs feeding. The bills need paying. A laundry list of to-do’s beckons. Interference has occurred. But my glass is now half-full and my day is off to a great start.
CAROLYN T. JOHNSON, a freelance writer from Houston, Texas, draws on her colorful life experiences in the US, Europe and South Africa for her short stories, poetry and essays. She writes from the heart, the hurt, the heavenly and sometimes the hilarious. Her work can be found in The Houston Chronicle and The Austin American-Statesman newspapers, as well as the Whispering Angel Anthology series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine and numerous other anthologies and e-zines. Carolyn can be reached at email@example.com. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 26
Hayden Pond, October 8 By Douglas G. Campbell If I had a boat, you would find me at the center of the pond, circling with the wind, wrapped in its chaotic dance. It is a holiday, and yet the water is empty, boats lie strewn along the shore like empty tortoise shells, overturned. I would be dancing on the wind’s song following the crazy laughing voice scattered by the sky's bellows, taunting too, the earthbound waves. Even the dry leaves rattle silently through the sky, sketching their wingless flight across the sky's almost empty sheet, orange dots peppering the blue. As I have no boat, I will imagine the wind crashing through the waves’ rhythms as they sweep the pond.
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The Collector By Douglas G. Campbell
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I am a collector of rainbows; the soft lightening of the Mocking bird and Wood thrush which dances through the leaves shaking the light which lies sleeping within the spider's hammock. I am a collector of smiles; the dim thunder of the mountain's round stones and pebbles which rumble cautiously among the smooth whispers of the night gliding through the trout's mica pools. I am a collector of laughter; the bubbling winds of sounds which ripple from your eyes like the sunlight's verses which drip from the stone cup of the waterfall's song.
DOUGLAS G. CAMPBELL lives in Portland, Oregon. He is a retired professor of art at George Fox University where he taught painting, printmaking, drawing and art history courses. Douglas is also the author of Seeing: When Art and Faith Intersect (2002) and Parktails (2012). His poetry and artworks have been published in a number of periodicals including Carcinogenic Poetry, Borderlands, RiverSedge, Rockhurst Review and In the Teeth of the Wind. His artwork is represented in collections such as The Portland Art Museum, Oregon State University, Ashforth Pacific, Inc. and George Fox University. Contact him at the following websites: www.linkedin.com/in/douglasgcampbell and www.douglascampbellart.com. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
Splendour By Anne Levesque Behind Taroko Hotel The air shimmers With the wings Of white butterflies The lacy young brassicas Desire Between the roof and the Mountain A small sky Swallows dip And fly Play high All day the tour buses Swish by Pink and peach and purple Between the swaying tasseled curtains The eyes of Mainland China The guide Announcing the next Photo-stop Inside Taroko hotel A B-movie on TV The sound of street karaoke The outrage Of chained dogs I escape to the lobby Seeing my sock feet The night clerk runs Fetches me a packet Of paper slippers Outside I take the mountain For the night
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ANNE LEVESQUEâ€™s poetry and short fiction have appeared in Canadian and international journals and anthologies. She lives on the west coast of Cape Breton Island. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1 | 28
Breathe By Steven Tutino I leave
the dream of winter and awaken to the Spring: the sky so clear it lights up my heart and I am suddenly glad to be alive in this eternal moment of re-birth. The joy of creation is a possibility I encounter everyday it merges with the joy of living, it soars through my being like air and electricity and I am filled with the fire of roses* for love of all things. I am replenished, re-born with a new desire to re-create my longing for you, the joy I obtain when you enter my thoughts. I create because I want to live more fully, richer, to feel the sonorous and multilayered depths of life swimming through me and holding my consciousness in its channeling values of color and ocean… Share, create, let go. Breathe, just say breathe and as you say breathe you will become dove and air sweet light and petal like light moon shine upon the distant waters of flooding ebb tide. Before your day begins, set aside who you think you ought to be and give thanks for everything: friendships, hardships, lovers come and gone the wonderful people in your life. *
The phrase ‘the fire of roses’ is a German to English translation from Bachmann's "Aria" by Peter Filkins.
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STEVEN TUTINO is currently an undergraduate at Concordia University in Honours English Literature with an additional major in Theology. Steven enjoys writing, drawing and painting. He has been deeply inspired by the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan. His poetry has appeared in Concordia University’s Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality and is set to appear in The Paragon Journal. His artwork is set to appear in The Paragon Journal, Beautiful Minds Magazine as well as The Minetta Review this upcoming Spring. Steven currently resides in Montreal, Quebec. You can contact Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook under Steven Tutino. Halcyon Days - 2016 Issue 1
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