The Color of the Rose


Past heaven’s gate, I should like to know
How came the crimson color
Of the rose?

“Warning,” we alarm in red,
And so the widow on her sordid web –
Or is it an invitation? Love is sticky
Business, it would seem:
Desirous to both devour,
And be licked clean.

Crimson’s warm like a loving heart
And deep, as love’s not shallow.
But crimson red was drawn, too, by Cain
As love and hatred want the same:




Had the rose yet bloomed in Eden
When Eve yet loved her spouse?

Or did her thorny spine proceed
From the bloodied soil ‘neath Abel’s head:
At the germination of that apple’s seed,
The first rose grow in its stead?

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A Walk Among Trees in Spring


Tender cotyledons rise through wet decay –
Sons of wood, to synthesize the Sun of May.

Beside, the recumbent matriarchal bole
Bares wistfully her weathered, mossy scroll.

Our silent footfalls pause, advance, and pass:
In one brief and hallowed moment, we saw their first and last.

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I feel a cold Autumn wind at my back, and rain,
Walking away, or trying, from the past.
Had She decreed that you were honest then,
or could have loved me well – well,
it would not change the scene.
I reached for your face at midnight
and it wasn’t there to touch, but gone.
I strain my mind to think on it:
half a lifetime that started as some pleasant dream
and turned to hell and nightmares of the heart,
plodding on and giving everything I had and was
to some phantom screenplay
you wrote yourself out of, and into
another man’s arms and bed.
I am left here disillusioned and confused.
Was it a good, is there some purpose
to so much of life spent dreaming?
What of waking, I want to know,
to what end or purpose shall I go?
I cannot abide this season’s change –
it does not turn to winter, but Antarctica
whose mirages are of love
where none was ever.

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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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