Featured Poet: Karen Gronback Johnson

After living almost her whole life in CT, Karen Gronback Johnson and her husband retired three years ago to a farm in the mountains of Virginia. In her previous life Karen was a member of the clergy in East Haven, a police chaplain, and co-founder of East Haven United. She has been affiliated with members of Guilford Poets Guild since 1978 and now works with the Ridgeline Writers. Karen grows a lot of their own food and has recently taken up stained glass work.


Love After All

An unsuspecting swan trails
shining threads within its sapphire wake
A vivid branch flares red among
the dowdy leaves of late summer
Salt scent of turning tide
teases my soul to far off
places where you are as if
thirty years were some swift
accident of good fortune that
you should love me after
all this time.


Veranda Lullaby

Sky fades to dusty purple
Cicadas drone a rasping rattle
The hound barks at deer
unseen behind the scrim of trees
Hummingbirds vie for a turn
at the feeder chasing
and chattering

I seek no omen
no harbinger of good or ill
save fireflies
dancing for each other
I sit in the shelter of
the veranda that wraps
its arms around this house
and it is enough.


Snow will come

Predictions cast no doubt
The moon of early evening shrouds
herself in hoary cloud and I
am left uneasy with details
left undone as if the fact
of snow could silence
all as easily as
some sweet apocalypse
to make common all
disparities of circumstance
sifting mercy or disguised
by a forgiveness so deep
not one might escape the peace
that falls so gently
so relentlessly when the
snow will come.


Home Visit
After the painting High & Dry by Donna Favreau

It seems like just a couple years
but Margie tells me it’s six at least
because Morgan was only five last time
I came home A drive around town reveals
she may be right
the tackle shop now a pizza joint
the drug store closed and vacant
boards on the town dock giving in
to splinters and rot
Rounding the bend down Old Cove
and there’s Bart’s sailboat in a cradle
by the garage and I remember now
hearing that he’d passed and how
he loved that thing like a woman
and I almost wish I could stay
move back and reclaim the old life
but then there was a reason
I moved on.