In the Room


Two cellos’ cries, in unison,
like anguished souls hov’ring
bound within their haunt,
tarry and lilt in this harrowed air.
The lamp is dim and idle,
casts its yellow hue upon
an old photograph on the end table
whose thousand words are questions.

You would not know by visiting here
there were a missal on the shelf,
flanked by vague philosophies and
the diary of a woman mystic.
In tattered leather binding,
printed on thin leaves like starched silk,
there is, according to rote,
some unintelligible answer. 

Next to the dusty Virgin
stands a shadowbox. Inside,
among the gray and worn artifacts
we’d found within crumbling plaster walls,
still filled with tiny white tablets,
an apothecary label marks this small bottle
that seems to wink or nod sometimes
toward the end table. 

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In Tune With Nature


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As I Remember

Men speak of phantom sensations where once were limbs

That severed are no more, but may prick or throb no less than

When they were; as dreams awaken distant pasts and place us 

In a time long gone

And long forgotten.

I do remember in your kitchen, sitting round, a conversation –

Ten thousand of them through the years, that knitted something

Of a family I belonged to. 

And often wonder whether, how, a heart can too have phantom parts

That seem to only echo within some severed, hollow chamber,

As though we were, still,

As I remember.

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Wisconsin Winter Fun

Sledtastic 2015 from Andrew Ellis on Vimeo.

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Old Tjikko


Old as mankind in Eden
As solitary, too, she towers humbly
Over the slope of Fulufjället.
Only she knows how many times
She’s fallen to ice or wind or fire;
We only see her present crook
Some centuries in the making.
While men have idly warred and bred
For wont and fear of love
Across the forming continents,
Old Tjikko gained and held her footing
These ten thousand years in silence;
And stood when standing seemed impossible,
until it was. – But stood again,
Only she knows how many times.
How many limbs she must have let go
To millennia of Winter winds
And ice atop her mountain;
And to men, perhaps, as kindling or as clubs?
Old Tjikko only knows.
What would this quiet Nordic sage convey
Of geologic drifts and tides,
And oceans and since-vanished stars,
From before the spruce was Norway,
Could Old Tjikko only say?

Old Tjikko

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Grip my hand, this is the way.
We’ll see her timid alight
East over the serrated mountains
That cling heavenward the sky
Morning, noon and night.
Walk closely by in the silent shadow
Of this hemisphere, at my side.
She’ll come, and lighten some
Our wending way, unwinding
I’ve been before.
Listen to our footfalls petting
The grassy hillside climbing,
While trees nearby are sighing
A welcome croon.
Speak no words a while
That will not say as much to nurture
Friendship’s subtle bond along this path
As does dear Nature by her own.
Hold – be still a moment. See –
Her crown grazes the horizon!
There’s the might of innocence
Whose light is not her own, and only
mildly reveals our weathered visage!
Stand close against my side;
We’ll watch her rise
Before we lay our bodies down
And cares away
To sleep and breathing.

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I say “Christ!” and I do mean it!
That all that’s lovely to splitting nerves,
throbs them to a groaning pain
in the heights and apexes of their delight;
So, beauty follows the form of Love –
so rich and dense with heavy awe
yet floating lightly on a violent sea,
drawing out the soul to whimper at its might.
– But LOVES to whimper in the shadow
of a good thing so large looming!
A pitch and tone and scale and key,
will swoon my heart to weeping
at a thing so beautiful, it razes me.
There’s a wound, but a wound
of ecstasy, that words can’t say:
the lash of horsetail drawn against a string,
that bleeds the angels’ echoes
to spill upon my ears,
with sentiment that surpasses human words,
and drives or draws me to come undone,
to cease to be my center –
forget my flesh. My soul, it SINGS!
Whatever of, I sometimes think I know,
But so, so much greater than!

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