The Color of Harmony

I forget how joy feels until it returns
And then it is akin to Coltrane realms.
His hand at the helm, matter falls away
From itself. Whatever the situation,

The emotional part of any event has more
Appeal: the shadow cast more interesting
Than its source. My days extend in grief
Until relief appears and I strive to save

Myself from me in between. My feelings
Resist words so how can you know what
I cannot say? I seek peace in mind and body
And I perpetuate while droplets of happy

Punctuate often enough to guarantee my
Continued search. Then comes the hour
When my being reappears, renewed, no ails,
Resonant as both tines of a tuning fork.

Ah, there will be high C and champagne
Uncorked for all notes on the scale...
And especially abounding,
The sound of me.

Copyright © May 2004 Mell W. Morris



Echoes From The Sea

A salute to Seamus Heaney and his shared
memories of Irish myth and lore.

After the storm, winds scour
the sky to lapis and along
the shoreline, quiet voices
of the dead blow out to sea.
Ancient people believed
that drowned souls lived on
in seals and in this eldritch
stretch of seascape, anything
seems possible.

Bruised moss on scattered
stones marks the passage
of others before me and I
feel a need to follow
the melody of souls
to the deep. Rising sea-sighs
lure as surely as smells
of sea asphodels. Soon I
sense an increasing gravity

as if I'm in a burrow
in the ocean bed with cold
and golden tones circling
my head. A womb-oneness
with the sea:
my first glance reveals
a vast symphony of seals.

Copyright © September 2003 Mell W. Morris



Every Poem An Autograph

I live in unsayable lights and any
occurrence might recall: "Sursum
Corda." Lift up your hearts, from
the Latin of my childhood.

Patterns of our youthful experiences,
the 'then' episodes, are imprinted
on our souls and 'now' events summon
the paradigms of prior times.

We never ripen fully nor age to a
degree that relieves our reliving
the ago. When we take pen to compose,
an old haunting will taunt until

restored in metaphors, residing in our
lines. Our poetry arises from our past
even when we think it ignored. Every
strophe I read is a trophy of someone's

life, now indelible, apprising then
surprising me with a treble
of sursum-corda sighs.

Copyright © February 2004 Mell W. Morris





Saluting Robert Creeley

Dew-jeweled, fresh,
renewed. Raindrops
filled with treasure
as a river pleasuring
in its persistence.
To find emptiness
is to fill it, even
his words with aching
holes. Smoke signals
are noisy compared
to his spare speech:
simple, select, rare.
Merely a mouth like
Noah's dove.

Copyright © December 2003 Mell W. Morris




Terra Incognita

Our dogwood hasn't shed its leaves this year
and I feel uneasy in view of all bare trees
nearby. It isn't a Guinness event by any
means, merely a small, unusual occurrence. 
I have amassed a collection of such episodes

but I rarely expose those oddities. I feel
certain arcane experiences occur to others
which enchants and entrances me to know
what comprises and arises in other brains.
Does it rain inside your head? Do musical

instruments produce colors with their sounds?
Do tubas always bellow yellow for you, too?
Do you free-fly through space, awed at a feast
of colors and lights, wonders never imagined,
yet feel intrusive as if ignoring a no-trespassing

rule? Do you experience diurnal deja vu?
My life is filled with unwilled happenings
that tap into neural cells and I cannot
understand that which wells in my own brain
nor do I know my place, if one exists,

in the grand scheme of our universe...all
queries and no responses. Which brings
me full circle: what quirks, majesties,
and mysteries teem in the heads of others
that forever will remain

unseen and unsaid?

Copyright © March 2004 Mell W. Morris




Sprinkling Sapphires

Agitated rain, ambiguous
slaps of thunder, displays
of lightning in opalescent
hue. Yet no wind can blow
my sloop astray: every inch
of air, each jeweled drop
from the sky assure we will
endure. Or so is my belief,
my credo.

When malady fractures our
globe, despite searing pain
and shattering shadows 
bold, I still hear a clear 
melody in my soul. Whatever 
beast of Hades arrives, I 
keep a secret space in my 
heart where at least one 
song survives.

Copyright © June 2003 Mell W. Morris



Mell Morris - The Voices of Blue

In Memoriam

Passed Away on March 18, 2006.

Mell Morris was a most gifted poet whose work on The Poetic Link both moved and inspired me. She possessed a special affinity for the Irish poets, including Seamus Heaney, whose use of vivid imagery and internal rhyme are also hallmarks of her own writing, treats for eye and ear. Mell loved the natural glories of the world around her. Her favourite colour was the exuberant blue of irises, and Van Gogh one of her best-loved artists. I have included an iris from my own garden in tribute to Mell - and Vincent, too. Mell's words are paintings on the canvas of imagination and longing.

She endured much physical pain during her last years on earth, and often struggled to post the poetry she crafted for others' enjoyment. Her laptop became her alter ego, her means of communion with like-minded poets and readers. Through its electronic voice, she left us a rare and splendid legacy. Only a small portion of it is offered here, by permission of her son, Eric Walker. There are dozens more of Mell's pieces still listed on The Poetic Link (

Winter Drought

Of two million words in the English language,
only a few are apropos: arid, desert, dry,
vulture. I watch the birds spiral from high
places down to scabrous, scorched earth.

On the horizon, cumulous clouds with dark, heavy
underpinnings start to form then change to new shapes,
amassing cloud upon cloud. They disappoint as clouds
finally dissipate before they reach us. All that rain...

gone like broken promises. The sky is a canopy of grey,
soft cashmere grey. Each day the same, temperatures
ten to fifteen degrees higher than normal, a result
of global warming, or so they say. My mouth is dry

and I feel as if I were floating outside of time...
a sensory suspension. Winter sun shows shadows
with colors I've never seen, rivers of light sift
slowly through the landscape. A sepia scene

where I summon and call the rays of light, day
and night, until at last, raindrops begin to fall. 

Copyright © January 2006 Mell W. Morris

Deep In My Heart Is A Song

Rivulets gurgle insouciantly, following
The course of gravity. Gifts given freely
For our use and for me, a time of an 
Accelerated inspiration.

The stream plays over pebbles in its bed,
Eddies around stones and rocks, and
Expands in places where it roils with
A whispery sigh. I breathe deeply

And say, "This is it! This is my place
Where I feel rooted and where I'll
Live and die." A medulary moment, close
To the bone, a luminous event to dispel

The lassitude and languor I've lazily
Allowed to accumulate. I tire of living
Like a tumbleweed, blown here and yon
At the wind's whimsy or the will of others.

It takes determination to root this ashy-blue
Weed and soon I have a surround of feathery
Blue blending with the lavender hue of my 
Lilac saplings. The people here welcome all

Who come with pure heart and no ploy to
Destroy the land. I feel flooded with peace
And grace like the stream which brought me
Here. Rivulets, freshets, all waters bring

Me to my knees in a prayerful attitude
With a song of gratitude
That at last, at last,

I belong!

" ... you call Van Gogh's painting to mind and Irises hangs over my bed. My room has his Sunflowers, Irises, and Starry Nights so no matter where I look, he's there to inspire me. I also have two 'still life with flowers' prints.

... I just finished a poem where I quote Van Gogh again and it's as with Heaney and his poetry... I must stop writing about/like (as if I could!) him.

I feel such intensity about my favorite poems, songs, etc, but I hope I don't miss part of life by being stuck therein. However as I peek out at the world and see Dubya/Kerry debating, I am so appalled, I scurry back to my nest of color and harmony." - Mell, in response to my critique of the above  poem

The Texture of Blue

I prefer repair to prayer as religion still
grapples with sin after all these centuries.
I've read that many trade God for a sense
of God but I want my blue true.

The scent of laburnum and lilac on the breeze
brings me repentance; add a briny, blue-eyed
sea and I am inspired past mediocrity. The
scene loses its outline which speaks of a

touch divine. If my blue is too pallid for 
you then lean back and enjoy the revelry
of geese skywriting the ways of the world
in blue: cerulean, lapis, and turquoise.

Give me Vincent-blue of Starry Night
and of Irises. No palette ever held
blue as Vincent conjured but he always
returned home, ruing the hue he could

see but not reproduce on the canvas. Your
blues have inspired our lives, dear Vincent,
and I hope the divine allows you to see your
truth from empyrean view.

Copyright © November 2004 Mell W. Morris

"I dearly love that poem of all my creations." - Mell, referring to "The Texture of Blue"

If You Could Live Your Life Backward

Blackbirds flew across the sun this morning.
Was it an omen of mourning to come?

If you had known it would turn
Out like this, would you have
Risen when he leaned in and
Asked, 'Care to dance?'

Would you have agreed to the
Fourth of July parade where he
Was pure patriot and you dripped
Perspiration on the general?

Pledge your allegiance, one God,
Invisible. Sunset at 9:00pm,
You risible, sweat drying cool;
Fireworks viewed, inside you, too.

Then, irritating habits, scattering
Papers, tossing out Sunday cross-
Words, his careless ways with your
Emotions. If you'd heard and caught

On before, would you still have
Gone to the store and bought
The lavender dress?

Copyright © October 2004 Mell W. Morris



One As Beautiful As You

It is time to have my piano tuned,
To confront the keyboard once more,
To corral chords of sunshine, ever
Looking around for something to do.

I've enjoyed the sound of colors through
Sleeping stained-glass portals, angles
Of light dispersing from the reliquary
Where forms contrive. But of late, I

Find no fortissimo, no fermata. I place
A flower behind my ear to hear its scent
But uncover no musical conflation which
Feels like an arid field awaiting rain.

Once, Vincent wrote his brother that at
Times he didn't know what to do with his
Misery so he went outside at night
And painted the stars.

I lack his brush but realize that's where
My music lies: in flaming flowers that
Brightly blaze, swirling clouds in violet
Haze, in the strokes of light in Vincent's

Starry, starry nights.

Copyright © June 2004 Mell W. Morris

Inspired by the song "Vincent" composed by Don Mclean.

Blue Tide

When my days are hazy with tristesse,
my heart a burden of regret, my soul
seems polarized.

Eidolons of entropy seize my self
and my up is buried in mire, no desire
to please nor ascend.

Riven and unshriven in my state
of disenchanted duality, I realize
it is time to revise my reality.

With that insight, a score of sun-lit
airs pours inside to luminesce,
to erase the shadows

and replace them with lambent light,
chiming as a timely angelus might.
Music lifts my down, turns the tide

around, and supplies a sarabande
of sound. All provided from above
to thrill and fill me

with undivided love.

Copyright © January 2004 Mell W. Morris



When Birdsong Colors The Air

A pair of mockingbirds nests in a japonica
Shrub near my bedroom window. Long known
For their ability to duplicate the exact
Notes of other birds, both react to my

Morning whistles as if I were Toscanini
And just tapped my baton. I've not been
Able to determine a pattern of their singing
Except one certain event each month.

The brilliance of a full-moon night leads
To a serenade, always from the same perch
In a nearby ash tree. Those evenings lush
With moon-struck glory elate and elevate.

The bird's throat and breast throb as he sings
And after each series of notes, he hops. Sing,
Hop, whistle, hop, croon to the moon, hip-hop.
Perfect cadence of sound and motion, a show

Of delight. Comes dawn, the pair peeks out the
Leaves and with flickers of white-streaked
Tails, they sweep past then out of sight. Yet
Another day for mimetic play, for mimicry

And to flavor the air with arrays of melody.

Copyright © November 2004 Mell W. Morris

"I have no idea of the mechanisms of how a bird sings (only the male in my pair) but before a "big" note, he lifts his chest/diaphragm in a manner reminiscent of Jose Carreras or Potimkin. The smaller tenors seem to have to physically stretch to hit the high note and so does my birdie."  - Mell

"I think I told you I have five of Vincent's prints in my room..."Starry Night"
above my desk and "Irires" above mt bed. My true blues are so close to me, literally."

- Mell , 12/ 6/04 


The Stoop

Marmalade of gold with orange
striations, fresh-snipped mint,
crumbs from a mother's array
of treats, and a child's sweet face.

The herb will wilt soon like energy
in late afternoon and the child runs
outside to play while the light lasts.
A mint sprig in her tea for viewing

a sea of persimmon, cinnabar,
and then grape-deep tints of sunset.
And so begins a tremolo of night's
timbre, its color tone. Scene

from the stoop: a panorama
of nature against a stellar backdrop
of cosmic curtains. Child at her side,
the mother knows they will survive

any dearth or paucity because the earth
always provides. A certain fertile smell
tells that without light, unseen life
goes on until the sprout of dawn.