All posts by Judy Longley

Thoor Ballylee by Judy Longley

Thoor Ballylee tower and bridge

1st place winner of the Streetlight 2017 Poetry Contest Thoor Ballylee Home of W.B. Yeats Massive stone, empty air, the river’s cool breath, a space the poet enters. Image stacked upon image reveals his world, not yet a poem but a current stirred by starlings sailing from oak to oak or a riverbed that shapes the flow of water. The scratch of his pen brings cows to amble across the page, black-and-white sway of bellies, breath forming ghosts, extinguished when muzzles dip into water. Kestrels stir upon a ledge, chicks pulsing with hunger the castle’s … Continue reading Thoor Ballylee by Judy Longley

Magical Thinking by Judy Longley

Hey Diddle Diddle illustration

Memphis, on the brink of World War II, a crowded city, my family squeezed in a small duplex. Mother and Father work in weapons factories. We’re gathered around the radio in our tiny living room. Suddenly a shout bursts from the curved wooden box— “Pearl Harbor has been bombed!” Three years old I hear Mother’s small scream, see my Father’s frown grow deeper. Not sure where or what Pearl Harbor might be, I’m afraid to sleep that night. I lull myself with a favorite nursery rhyme. Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The … Continue reading Magical Thinking by Judy Longley

The Yellow House by Judy Longley

tiger swallowtail butterfly

Sleep bears me to the farmhouse slanted on a steep hill, commanding the highway below. Yellow clapboard and fieldstone constructed after the Civil War, the first floor a single room of stone, fireplace centering it. I warm my hands at the stone hearth—a rosemary bush flames silver-blue tongues, new stems uncoiling as fast as they burn. Through pungent smoke shades appear: my children young again, interrupted in their play, John, my professor husband with his eternal scatter of books, friends, just passing through and the ghost we all tolerated. A woman we agreed, wearing white … Continue reading The Yellow House by Judy Longley

Two Poems by Charlotte Matthews


Self Check-out   Of course I have my doubts, but when no one’s looking I pretend I’m someone else: the tightrope walker, The Great Farini, crossing Niagara Falls with a man on my back. Or the veiled beekeeper squeezing the bellows of my smoker to calm the hive. I wish I could reverse time to meet the doctor who, so eager to rid my mother of scarlet fever, told her to cut her rocking horse’s mane, told her it would grow back. I’d explain how a lie rearranges the world, and in a very dangerous … Continue reading Two Poems by Charlotte Matthews

Sunday School; The Passion of Bursars by Michael Chitwood


Sunday School   Here’s what I’m thinking: Why does a duck need an ark? What’s a flood to a duck? The teacher says I ask too many questions. I raise my hand again, thinking if we didn’t have teachers would we ever have to raise our hands? I won’t eat tomatoes. The slices in a white bowl are like pieces of someone, Saint Somebody of the Better Boys. I might go out and play David and Goliath this afternoon. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be the giant. Everybody wants to be … Continue reading Sunday School; The Passion of Bursars by Michael Chitwood