BABYLON SISTERS – poetry by James Goertel

BABYLON SISTERS – poetry by James Goertel
Sennacherib of Assyria during his Babylonian war, relief from his palace in Nineveh

Sennacherib of Assyria during his Babylonian war, relief from his palace in Nineveh


Begin again,
the forsythia blooming bring birds
which have never wanted
to be anything more
than a reminder of the illusion of gravity
holding us bound
to old grudges and misgivings
which can never weather a collection of springs’
divine design to bury winter’s bitter shivers
beneath green blades and the promise of crocus
in purple’s plaintive reminder
of Christ’s humility
in the face of humanity’s inhumanity,
in diaphanous reflection of the enviable wings
of saints who suffered the shackles
of martyrdom
with only the salve of forgiveness
for Babylon sisters and brothers,
carrion left below an ambivalent heaven
perched above the buried ruins
holding the bleached bones
of mortality without end.

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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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