Varsha (Monsoon) 2021 Poems - Shelby Stephenson


The Innocent Project
By Shelby Stephenson


Heaven's Another Word for Love

The dark creeps into enough light. What’s new?
The sun just comes out for you; the dogwood
At wood’s bramble takes on the reddish hue
Your lips exact. Part them, your teeth look good.


It is a touch you have when we’re apart,
When Almighty’s will to sing together
Turns detriment out of your woman’s heart,
When Hymen, garlanded, brings you hither.


Your seasons waltz into my vacant rooms
And thence diffuse your nursery’s colors.
October deepens every raindrop’s plunge
With waves of passion from all the lovers.


Your lips, your smile, the forest unadorned
Together bring forth verdure clad with charm.


A Clock: Our Arms

We kissed under the clock that cold March night,
Though memory does not allow recall,
And both our arms clung to the curfew’s fall;
They seemed all hands to me, a singing sight.


Your eyes were closed to me the way you see
Inside instinct pure as ditties I learned,
While Mac ran, Muff climbed a tree; Humpty leaned
And lost the lasting promises of glee.


You were anxious to get to your dorm room
Without being grounded by dalliance;
I joined John in his Plymouth Valiant.
He looked charming as any future groom.


Looking back, please know that he took his bride
And I studied the law as it failed me;
Your face’s profile eased the clock and tree.
The story edges our love’s lasting guide.


Shelby Stephenson from US was the poet laureate of North Carolina from 2015-18. For 32 years he was editor of the international literary journal Pembroke Magazine. He belongs to the Society of Distinguished Alumni, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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