“Morning on the Maine Coast” by John Grey

Here’s dawn, in golden high heels,
and sky pushing teal and ochre
onto the early risers.
I yawn before the uncurtained window.
The colors take sides.
Light blue above, a deeper hue, almost indigo,
to the waters of the inlet.

Thank God, the nightmare’s behind me
and boats bob, the fishermen unfold nets,
at the wharf below.
Beasts arose, men were slaughtered,
and all because I ate late.
But everything’s coming out of cold storage.
And above, birds are in the ascendancy,
mostly gulls but the one dark solemn crow
that remains from my sleep.

No storm today.
Not when the morning sings to me like this.
Nothing ominous.
A sparkle on the surface.
A good catch out at sea.
The demons would tell me
that this is all outside of me
and they’re the ones
that have the inside running.
But maybe on such a day,
I am also outside of me.
Find me there,
not back in my brainwashed head.
I inhale warm air.
I exhale intentions made clear.

Author Bio:

John Grey is an Australian poet, and U.S. resident. Recently published in
That, Muse, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Hawaii Review and The Dunes Review.

“Palace Amusements” by Jack M. Freedman

This poem is dedicated to my father, Reginald Freedman (1948-2013)

Palace Amusements

Asbury Park
greets me
within your thin lipped
toothy smile

At the end of every labyrinth,
you straddle the seashore’s yen.

You are a funhouse mirror
distorting my figure
yet always finding
abundant embodiments
within my gut

My navel yearns
for that connection
to amusement within
these vibrant walls

Love was the product
of jackpots
won from slot machines
dispensing ducats

Tokens tossed from one hand
Arm pulled by the other hand

You were the windfall
stashed within this chest
of hazy nostalgia

Adulthood proves more haunting
compared to the cart
carrying me through
those mysterious halls

Wishing I could be hypnotized
just so I could catch a spoonful
of what once satiated my satisfaction

One taste of the sacrament
derived from riding the roller coaster
before it became a cliche
denoting a diagnosis

Before mania
surged through my synapses
like a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo

After bumper cars foreshadowed
the accidents I’d face
throughout these
static frequencies
of depression

If you were a Eucharist
I’d be an idolator

For you were the body of a god
I tasted before knowing what it meant
to be a righteous Jew

You were the excuse I needed
to play hooky from Sunday school

You were the choir who greeted me
before I possessed the voice to echo
any calls I desperately needed to answer

You were the calming voice I needed
before my own soothsaying emerged

Now the tongue with which I speak
needs to taste the honey
into which I dip my apple

Now this fruit
stores nectar
of passing years
in a cloud

Accessed via my digital thumbprint
Repressed via my carbon footprint

Pollen is carried by a generation
of workers and drones

If I left an intention on my doorstep…
I’d wish for it
to be carried
by the Westerleigh wind…

I’d hope the corners
of the crown
in my castle
mirrored this palace
of amusements

I’d pray the pleasantries
could be contained
by the channels
from which we feel joy

May our data be easy to transmit
even if our devices are outdated

May said devices be reused
as analog anecdotes

Let them be paperweights
for the childhoods we cherish

Preserving a trail
back to the inner offspring
struggling to spawn and survive

Background for this Poem:

Palace Amusements was an indoor amusement park in Asbury Park, NJ. I went there when I was six years old and miss it terribly. It closed back in 1988, but the legacy remains with Tillie. This was the mascot of the palace I make reference to in the first stanza.

Author Bio:

Jack M. Freedman is a poet and spoken word artist from Staten Island, NY. Publications featuring his work span the globe. Countries include USA, Canada, UK, France, The Netherlands, Ukraine, India, Nigeria, Singapore, and Thailand. He is the author of the upcoming chapbook, …and the willow smiled (Cyberwit.net, 2019).

Find More by Jack at:

Facebook: @andthewillowsmiled

Twitter: @JacobMoses81

…and the willow smiled by Jacob Moses on Amazon

© The Literary Librarian 2019

All photos public domain

“Two-Way Gratitude” by Karen O’Leary


Two-Way Gratitude

Eighty-year-old Sid
steps behind the till,
waving off his wife.

Stevenson’s Gift Shop
is an icon on Main Street
of our small town.

“Two bits minus
two bucks credit,”
he says with a smile.

He slips my book
into a brown business
bag, “Come again.”

I hand him a twenty,
“Keep the change.”
His wife sighs.

Our town was built
on kindness & respect,
something I honor.

Background for this poem:

“I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota. People help people. My Dad has Alzheimer’s and the support he and Mom have is so heartwarming. The kindness and respect are models for those fortunate to witness or be a part of it. This poem is based on life in our town.”


Author Bio:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.


© The Literary Librarian 2019

“Concise Writing—The Cinquain” – an article by Karen O’Leary


Concise Writing—The Cinquain

By Karen O’Leary
JUNE 21, 2019


One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from editors over the years is that they hate poems that ramble on and on. Poetry is communication. Oh, how we cling to our lyrical imagery, a bunch of flowery words that end in a sea of nothingness, leaving the reader with “so what?” The message we are trying to convey should drive the poem. Anything that doesn’t forward that message should be weeded out. It’s not always easy.

I don’t always succeed in trimming enough, but short forms have helped me hone and weed out more of the frill. One of my favorite short forms is the American Cinquain, invented by Adelaide Crapsey. Though there are other ways to write cinquains, I would like focus on the syllable count “2-4-6-8-2” format, for this discussion. These poems are typically un-rhymed. I cannot begin to cover the development of the form over the years.

It’s hard to ramble too much when the structure only gives the poet a total of 22 syllables to work with. The title is pivotal. Those that are seasoned in the art of cinquains often use the title as a sixth line—launching the poem without repeating something that is stated in the five lines.

Below are a couple of examples which I hope will be helpful and that you will enjoy—


Enya’s Star

a touch
of magical
words, shining to uplift
souls, blends the grace of heaven’s light
in song


Tapestry of Dreams

rainbow moments
and fields designed with dreams…
the collage reflects a passion
for life


I know what you are probably thinking—”she repeated dreams in the title and in the poem.” I was going to choose another example but I wanted to convey the tapestry as a weaving of strands and yet, it was essential that the reader know this is about dreams and desires that go into that passion for life. It is very different than starting that same poem with “Weaving Rainbow Moments” as the title. I hope you agree. Sometimes we get caught up in semantics instead of focusing on the piece as a whole.

I would like to invite you write one cinquain, or more. Please post them as comments – one poem per comment – so that every cinquain becomes a highlight all it is own. This should be approached as an activity to try without worrying about the perfect poem. This way we can enjoy them without being overly critical in hopes that we can learn from each other.

I am grateful to Amarine for inviting me to share time with you at this beautiful journal. She is wonderful to work with. Please consider sharing poems for regular submission too.


About the Author:

Karen O’Leary is a writer and editor from West Fargo, North Dakota. She has published poetry, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues including The Literary Librarian, Frogpond, A Hundred Gourds, bear creek haiku, Shemom, Creative Inspirations and NeverEnding Story. She edited an international online journal called Whispers for 5 ½ years. She enjoys sharing the gift of words.


© The Literary Librarian 2019

“Island Paradise” – A Poem Video by Bruce Rowe


Background for this Poem:

“I wrote the poem while working out of town and missing my wife. Using nautical visuals is a result of my loving everything that has to do with the ocean. For many years, I was an avid scuba diver and immersed myself into everything piratical.

“I was born in the Deep South of Louisiana, where folklore and myths are as plentiful as fireflies in the Bluebonnet Swamp on a midsummer’s night. I love integrating the supernatural elements from those myths, in addition to others from around the world, into my stories.” ~ Bruce Rowe


Author Bio:

Bruce has short stories published at Spillwords, DastaanWorld, The World of Myth, and CafeLit. His story, “The Rider,” was nominated for Publication of the Month in October of 2018. “Grandfather’s Clock” was a featured piece at Spillwords, as well. “The Lonely Traveler” received a special mention at Cafelit.

Bruce presently resides in Southern California.


Find More by Bruce at:

You can read all of Bruce’s short stories, flash fiction stories, and poems that have been published in one convenient place – Bruce’s Writing Room.


© The Literary Librarian 2019

Poem written by Bruce Rowe. Video Poem Video Composition created, using public domain images, by Amarine Rose Ravenwood at The Literary Librarian. Music by Alexander Blu at OrangeFreeSounds.

“A Mother’s Treasure” – A Poem Video by Amarine Rose Ravenwood


Author Bio:

Amarine Rose Ravenwood writes poetry and fantasy fiction for children, preteens, and teens. She has been writing since her early teens. As well as being an author and poet and the owner, manager, editor, and publisher of The Literary Librarian journal, Amarine is also a freelance fiction editor for Night Sky Book Services and also provides services as a poetry editor for Poetry Passions Editing Services. Amarine’s poetry joins the hosted poems of The Literary Librarian’s Pantheon of Poesy as just another poem, and Amarine abides by the same guidelines The Literary Librarian has set up for all poetry submissions to this site, as just one more member of a larger writing community.


Find More By Amarine at:

“A Mother’s Treasure,” “The Free Spirit,” and “A Grandmother’s Promise” in Voice of Eve, Issue 2, pages 50-56:

“The Fairy Queen” poem in the Cadence anthology by Clarendon House Publications

Amarine’s Facebook Author Page

Amarine Ravenwood’s Magical Realm (WordPress blog)

Amarine’s Twitter


© The Literary Librarian 2019

“This Morning” by Joan McNerney


This Morning

Between deep night
and soft dawn the
mist covers fields
spreading over daisies
climbing bunchberries
wetting seeds, leaves.

Milky smoke roams
back and forth
wandering voiceless
through mountains
of morning.

Whistling in fog
past sycamores
warblers seesaw
up cloudy layers
up up circling
toward heaven.


Author Bio:

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle PressDinner with the Muse, Warriors with Wings, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is “Having Lunch with the Sky” and she has four Best of the Net nominations.


© The Literary Librarian 2019