Four Poems

B.T. Joy

Photo Credit: John Carleton

The Sifting Of Rain

the sifting of rain
and again the world enters
this small room at night
the outer and the inner
in constant interplay
and the sway and bend
of light through glass
even alone
I’m together
with the talk of water
over dark green leaves
in an unfamiliar garden
familiar weather
sweeps northward on the wind
tonight I thought
the ceilings tore and trembled
such a shadow seemed to weigh,
from where I lay, its colossal heaviness
above my head
and then turning to the bedside lamp
I saw the tiny wing, transparent and fluttering,
on the naked bulb
this will be the way with things
and that remembered death I feared
in childhood’s first breathlessness
will never come
nor the one I fear tonight
warm and enclosed
from the climate’s harsh tenderness
in this same way all things
have lost their meaning
so that when I say
now that I have had enough
I speak no more regarding pain
but of blessings sure
and soft as rain


A Common Drift Of Snow

through cotswold glass
snow is falling on the white lawns
obscured from sight
we only see the flurried shadows;
their journey in the wind
and even in December air
each dusting lasts
just a moment
I sit, indoors,
and think of things out there
that gleam their own
unmirrored shapes
and then are gone
they will try to tell you too
that you are worth nothing at all
to react is to cast
a shade of truth
on an utter fallacy
instead be
what you can’t help but be;
the intricacy of frozen water;
a perfect instant caught
in the vision of the world
see clearly,
you are no more insignificant
than any particle of this wonder
wanderer or stay-at-home
scholar or craftsman, both
or neither
you, keeping your promise,
are the keeper of promises
standing beneath the open, winter sky
you, breaking your promise,
are the breaker of promises standing
beneath the open,
you, unblemished,
can’t step one foot from beauty
and I love you
like the air loves the snow
we have touched, so briefly,
but that briefness is so long;
known each other so imprecisely
yet inhabited, these constant years,
a common spirit
so let’s try
no more to be understood
not now, with our gentle gurus,
their pale, cotton dresses wheeling,
as they come in hosts descending
from heaven to the cold earth
hidden from sight and yet not caring
what patch of land receives their gift
and what breath of air accepts
their momentary light


Each Petal On The River

each petal on the river
is flowing somewhere
in this valley the levels of the water
are low throughout the year
and we struggle to imagine how
anything can rise and travel down
again from the mountain foothills
to seas that hush in constant stillness
but each petal on the river
is flowing somewhere
the tree, in spring’s lateness,
relinquishes that weightlessness
it drifts, scattering pink in sunlight,
and nestling where the lotus flowers sit;
in the soft dimples of a new element
moving, already, where elder-blossoms went
and because each petal on the river
is flowing somewhere
your life should not be spent despairing
forever lost, and forever seeking,
the stream has always found its way
even without the petal’s constancy
and how do you know it is not the next turn—
where an ocean is waiting; to carry you home?


Open The Doors

open the doors
or better yet, have none
be permeable; a roofed shelter
through the harsh weather
start receiving pain
like a welcomed guest
the guest comes and goes
but the house remains your own
if agony is on its way
set another place at the table
prepare another meal and drain
the last drop from the wine bottle
leave this life
with an empty bank account
your eyes two wells of water
coloured by the fireworks above
leave this life
inwardly naked;
able to surrender to the slightest wind,
to your own most obvious antithesis
throw off that part that says this, or that
hear, like a remembrance, the single chord of Being
make a room for death
and death will sleep on the job
when it wakes, you’ll be gone already
irredeemably lost in eternity
or better yet, be there now
drop your name willingly, into that pallid hand,
like passing counterfeit coins
into the purse of the ferryman


B.T. Joy has had work previously published in Toasted Cheese as well as with such journals as Obsessed With Pipework, Presence, Canon’s Mouth, Paper Wasp, Bottle Rockets, Mu, Frogpond among others. Email: BTJ0005uk[at]

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