"To See It" featured on Gratefulness.org

To See It

We need to separate
to see the life we’ve made,
to leave our house
where someone waits, patiently,
warm beneath the sheets;
to don layers of armor,
sweater, coat, mittens, scarf,
to stride down the frozen road,
putting distance between us,
this cold winter morning,
to look back and see,
on the hilltop, our life,
lit from inside.

https://gratefulness.org/resource/to-see-it/?utm_campaign=share_button&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR2ErBwl3t5lH-gWy0Gb7g-TwDdH4dRx4bf5M55e63WSdqBZi-ZVXhTl8C4

Live Encounters publishes Five Poems: The Mind of A Day, Sally and Pat, In NY Harbor, Gravity, In the Village Store

The Mind of a Day

When you sit looking from a porch
through the mind of a day,
you see rain and sun bestowed by sky,
on each leaf and tree,
on the whole sea of living green,
clouds massing and vanishing,
breezes winging the scent of freshly-ripe lilacs,
neon-green grass blades
not yet cut this season.
You hear raindrops begin again,
each one separate from the other,
as a sky turns silver-grey,
radiant circles of light
growing in a rain puddle,
as a wind rises, rustling your hair,
equally with new-budding leaves—
the maple over your head, elm
across the street, the whole small town
among woods—so much to see,
when everything else falls away
and you’re free to look
through the mind of a day.

Sally and Pat

Sally lay in bed, refusing food,
waiting to be taken, in her upstairs room,
by the end she’d chosen.

The day before,
she’d thrown her dirty clothing in the wash,
exclaimed with glee: My last load!

A week later, Pat lay dying in a hospital room.
I sat by her bed, held her hand, read a book
to her and Mulberry, the man she loved,

the one she knew was a Roman chariot driver,
come back to court her.
No wonder he likes Nascar.

A year later, I dream
I hold a baby in my arms,
still feel the baby’s weight on waking,

understand it’s Pat, come back.
They say it takes a year or so.
Now, I wait for Sally in my dreams.

In New York Harbor

Though Catholic,
my father chose fire,
his ashes dispersed in saltwater—
no grave, no bones, no body
to lie beside his mother, father.

As the tide drove us seaward,
I didn’t expect the shadow
of the bronze statue,
torched and barely visible,
rising through the waves—

nor the motion of the silent craft,
engine stopped, cross-currents
pulling us back through ashes,
as if we or they were a sieve—
sure I heard his laughter.

Gravity

When it’s windy and the waves rise up,
we kick our legs, as our arms,
through plash of water, plunge deep,
beating a steady rhythm
toward a shore we cannot see,
like sledding, but with less gravity,
the swoosh of snow in our faces
as its force speeds us downhill,
as we shift our weight left or right,
as we reach our gloved hands into snow,
as the sled carries us careening
around a steep hairpin descent we barely see,
at night with our flashlight,
a tiny beam leading us
through Earthly darkness—
how we enjoy it,
even reaching the shallows,
held by gravity again.

In the Village Store

As a woman and I wait
in a snaking long line to pay,
a man cuts in front,
and she catches him, insists he retreat,
but he, angry, I assume,
from last week’s election,
the President’s drubbing,
snarls: You’re one of the damn Dems,
and Not a lady, assuming, I presume,
that she wants to embody
such an antiquated state,
while my nose twitches like a rabbit,
caught napping in a coyote den,
wondering if I must choose
a side to leap to, as a chasm opens
between the chocolate aisle and the cheese,
as she points her finger like a light saber—
screeching his ass is as big as Trump’s,
fat, I might judge,
from his eating too much beef,
as she displays her blue-jeaned posterior
like a peacock’s tail, firm and toned,
I assume, as she pats it,
from dieting and yoga,
here in Vermont,
where he likely presumes
we all vote for Bernie the socialist—
New Age heathens in want of evangelical saving,
while we profess enlightenment,
but sometimes act like orangutans
squabbling over bananas
in the wilds of Borneo.

https://liveencounters.net/le-poetry-writing-2019/03-march-pw-2019/laura-foley-the-mind-of-a-day/?fbclid=IwAR1MBedvvLMgf5ODcWIFO0g_cAURaxtU8gpey2cFSodN6hTv3nngAAUFnOM

"Year End" in DMQ Review Spring 2019

YEAR END

I want to bury him
though I doubt it’s appropriate
for a butterfly.
Perhaps I’ll climb the icy hill,
trudge through woods and slippery snow,
to place him as close as I can to sky,
in the field he would have floated over,
on his way to Mexico,
if October hadn’t been too cold for flight.
The orange-and-black-winged beauty
thrived, in his screened-in cage,
lit with purple happy lights,
and fed every day by hand,
his proboscis dipped in honey water,
until, on Christmas day,
he birthed three sacs of sperm,
a rare gift for me.
Finding no mate,
he folded his wings and died,
face pressed into the New Year’s daisy
I gave him, as a human lover might.

https://www.dmqreview.com/foleyspring-2019

"A Perfect Arc" on The Writer's Almanac


A Perfect Arc
by Laura Davies Foley

I remember the first time he dove.
He was five and we were at a swimming pool
and I said: you tip your head down as you are going in,
while your feet go up.
And then his lithe little body did it exactly right,

a perfect dive, sliding downward, arcing without a wave,
and I just stood
amazed and without words
as his blond head came up again
and today

I watched him for the longest time as he walked
firm and upright along the street,
with backpack, guitar, all he needs,
blossoming outward in a perfect arc,
a graceful turning
away from me.

“A Perfect Arc” by Laura Davies Foley from Syringa. © StarMeadow Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission. (buy now) 

http://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-february-5-2019/

"It Is Time" on The Writer's Almanac

It Is Time
by Laura Davies Foley

It is time to gather sticks of wood
so we can cook the sap that we have drawn from the earth.
We will bore holes into the maple trees,
collect buckets, stir the froth as it boils.
Then we’ll finish it on the stove in the barn.
We will do this together,
balancing the heavy iron vat,
pouring the hot syrup,
tasting the sweetness.
We did it through the pregnancies, the births.
Let’s do it once again.
And then we will cultivate the honey bees
and tend to the alfalfa in the fields.
It will be the best of times once more,
fourteen loads of fresh hay,
and my hair will be long and we will collect raspberries,
and make a pie.
The garden will yield a bumper crop of beets and basil,
and we will split wood all fall,
and stack it,
and be ready for the winter,
when you will weave a blanket on your loom
with dog hair and horse hair and my hair
and some dyed wool too.
And I will nurse the babies by the fire,
and neither of us will grow older,
and we will never forget,
and nothing will ever die.
We need to gather sticks now
and build a fire quickly,
before the season passes on,
before the field,
where you are sleeping,
blossoms.

 

“It Is Time” by Laura Davies Foley from Mapping the Fourth Dimension. © Harbor Mountain Press, 2006. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

http://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-march-8-2019/

Valparaiso Poetry Review, "What Stillness"

What Stillness

Lily pads ripple in summer breeze,

as if they bloomed for me,

revelation-white clouds float

through a divine blue sky.

No human voices break

the stillness of this hilltop pond

where I come to forget

the foolishness of homo sapiens—

where a trout leaps from the lake,

splashes shining down,

opening a glimpse into

the world below the surface.

My dog, wet from her swim

between the visible and hidden,

shakes dots of sparkling light

from her dark coat,

forming a watery aura.

What sunlight does to water,

stillness does to us.

http://www.valpo.edu/valparaiso-poetry-review/2017/04/12/laura-foley-what-stillness/

Ode to my feet

For years I've thought them queer,
hiding them
in steamy boots and sneakers,
but recently, I've begun to like
their well-worked lines, blue
veins, tapered, skinny elegance.
Funny looking, yes, oddly
protuberant, awkwardly angled,
unlike anyone else's,
models for a medieval statue's,
ancient granite feet
on a church facade,
thoroughly unmodern.
Yet, how well they climb steep cliffs,
work my slinky kayak's rudder,
how they tingle, tapping to music
across a wooden floor,
dangling below me
when I sit on high seats,
and turning pink as we wade
the cool mountain pond,
warming, as they carry me
faithfully home to rest.

 

Featured Poet, Women's Voices for Change — In this sandal season, poet Laura Davies Foley speaks of making peace with her feet, and invites us to do the same.

The Offering

These woods
on the edges of a lake
are settling now
to winter darkness.
Whatever was going to die
is gone --
crickets, ferns, swampgrass.
Bare earth fills long spaces of a field.
But look:
a single oak leaf
brown and shining
like a leather purse.
See what it so delicately offers
lying upturned on the path.
See how it reflects in its opened palm
a cup of deep, unending sky.

 

"The Offering" appears in the literary anthology, Across Borders.

It is Time

It is time to gather sticks of wood
so we can cook the sap that we have drawn from the earth.
We will bore holes into the maple trees
collect buckets, stir the froth as it boils.
Then we'll finish it on the stove in the barn.
We will do this together
balancing the heavy iron vat
pouring the hot syrup
tasting the sweetness.
We did it through the pregnancies, the births.
Let's do it once again.
And then we will cultivate the honey bees
and tend to the alfalfa in the fields.
It will be the best of times once more
fourteen loads of fresh hay
and my hair will be long and we will collect raspberries
and make a pie.
The garden will yield a bumper crop of beets and basil
and we will split wood all fall
and stack it
and be ready for the winter
when you will weave a blanket on your loom
with dog hair and horse hair and my hair
and some dyed wool too.
And I will nurse the babies by the fire
and neither of us will grow older
and we will never forget
and nothing will ever die.
We need to gather sticks now
and build a fire quickly
before the season passes on
before the field
where you are sleeping
blossoms.

 

Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Award

Featured Poet on NH State Council on the Arts Website

New Hampshire Poet Showcase
From NH Poet Laureate, Pat Fargnoli:

Featured Poet: Laura Davies Foley, Cornish

Laura Davies Foley received the Grand Prize in Atlanta Review’s 2005 International Poetry Contest.  Her poems have appeared in Inquiring Mind, The Georgetown Review, The Newport Review, in the film Milk of Many Years, and Syringa, and in the anthologies: In the Arms of Words: Poems for Disaster Relief, and The Still Puddle Poets. Her work has been featured on Gratefulness.Org and on Care2.com. She holds graduate degrees in English Literature from Columbia University and is the honorary Poet Laureate of Valley Insight Meditation Community, and of the Insight Prison Sangha, of Berlin, NH. Syringa, Star Meadow Press, is her first collection of poetry. Her second, Mapping the Fourth Dimension, is forthcoming from Harbor Mountain Press. She lives and writes on the wide banks of the Connecticut River, in Cornish, NH.

Read more on New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Website >

Father-in-Law

He has an appointment
with the Gestapo. He,
a Polish Jew, owner
of a brewery, husband, 
father of two.

It is December, 
nineteen-forty-two.

Before he leaves
the house, he leaves
his good wool coat, 
cashmere, new,
for a friend,
though it is Lublin
winter, ice
and cold.

When they meet, 
they strip him
of the brewery, 
shoot him
in the head. 
His coat remains
to warm the friend.

Published in Bloodroot Literary Magazine, 2009
Nominated for Pushcart Prize

"The Sounds Oblivion Makes" wins Harpur Palate's Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Prize

We're in the barn, 
my job to pour gasoline
into the carburetor
of the old Toyota wagon,
as he cranks the key repeatedly,
and when the can ignites,
burns my lashes, eyebrows--
I drop it, flaming, onto dry hay
and for a panicked interim
we run back and forth,
moan and yelp like animals,
as we fill buckets from the horse trough,
dump water on flames,
fire lapping the barn walls,
cackling with greedy glee,
and my little sister, on a weekend visit,
caught by another kind of oblivion, 
on the lawn watching us, 
pets the purring cat.