April 2, 2014

Quick Note

Welcome to the fifth issue of Misty Mountain. This time, we have a selection of eleven poems by nine poets, and a painting based on the theme Wildlife. We hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

Many thanks to all the readers and contributors. 

Happy reading!

Two Young Deer at Sunset by Fiona Clements

Fiona Clements lives in Ireland and has been writing poetry for about four years. She loves nature, animals, her friends and family. She wishes for world peace and end to war and hunger.

One poem by Lee Evans

The Inhuman Condition 

The front half of a frog
Eyes shining
Throat pulsing
Squats between a snake's jaws
On a flat mossy boulder
Unable to leap
From the crowd that stares
In repulsed fascination
As the reptile patiently
Swallows the paralyzed
Amphibian that waits
In helpless resignation

If you save it
It means that both your eyes are blind
If you do not save it
It means that both your body
And your shadow are not visible

(Cf. The Transmission of the Lamp, Chuan 15)

Lee Evans lives in Bath, Maine, and works for the local YMCA. His poems have appeared in such journals as Mused, The Christendom Review, The Metric and Decanto.  His latest collection is available on Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-evans/the-hazards-of-being-useful/paperback/product-20597798.html

One poem by Gordon Hilgers

Animal Planet

Always, every direction, as far as

emptiness shall ever rise-up from stone,
third planet, latchkey child of solar system’s
multiplicitous, orbital wheeling, look long,
ninth planet, for we are the animals, moving
as one duplicitous seduction, whispering
through brother vegetation’s inhalation of
what we leave, and breathing oxygen, for this
is the unacknowledged Christmas, rainbow
covenant, blue-baby Krishna walking clouds
out beyond universal pillow-fighting, building
creatures of our own in stone, mutely
speaking about behemoth dirt-clods rotating
around pure energy:  How stellar spills,
pure light Milky Way, breathe; that is
the dark secret.  Rare earth, independence
of Schrodinger’s cats, Russian box dreaming
inside dreams, inside newer dream-works…
then you turn to face me, she-goddess, beauty

unbound, smiling, yes, the smiling body. 

Gordon Hilgers has been writing poetry since age nine, seriously from age 13, really seriously from age 19, then not so seriously beginning in 1985, then super-seriously beginning in 1988, leaving-off in 1992, getting back on the poetry train in 1993.  He has not been too serious since then.  Publications range from Misty Mountain Review, Red River Review, Every Reason, Deathlist 5 and other small and rare publications. 

(Note: "Animal Planet" is a cable television channel in the United States, one specifically designed to please animal lovers. This poem, however, is not necessarily about the television programming.)  

Two poems by Jeannie E. Roberts

Along the Old Abe State Trail

Buoyant with the prospect of spring, buffleheads
float beside the drab fringe of April.  Reeds rise
near water's edge, stand their ground weathered
in the beige remains of winter.  Tree frogs fuse
with pitch and personality, resonate the essence
of old friends.  Pine snake slithers through the
browns and buffs of withered grass as afternoon's
overcast dims the division between river and sky. 
I rise near the Chippewa's edge, stand my ground
holding the bounty of another season about to unfold.  

Tree Frog                                                               

Where it's cool
against my skin,
I remain

hidden inside
shroud, within

shadow, tucked
tightly away,
atop bark,

below branch. 
You could say,
I've dressed

for dinner—

cloak, daubed
in drab
with a tincture

of taupe.   
In time,
I'll expose

my brilliance—
to my favorite

shade of green. 
But until then,
I'll pose

near spider,
posture by fly,
then leap

to the occasion,
knife and fork
in hand.

Jeannie E. Roberts is the author of NATURE OF IT ALL, a poetry collection (Finishing Line Press, 2013).  A lifelong visual artist, she is also the author and illustrator of LET'S MAKE FACES!, a children's book.  Her poems have appeared in the Illinois State University's Festival of Language Festival Writer, Misty Mountain Review, the University of Wisconsin Barron County's Red Cedar Literary Journal, Verse Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets' Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, Your Daily Poem and elsewhere.  Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jeannie lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.A.  For more, visit http://www.jrcreative.biz/

April 1, 2014

Two poems by Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois


Every mama armadillo
bears identical quadruplets
who recall the four quadrants
of the Earth

the South and West from whence she came
the North and East
to which she travels

Where she’s going
where her quadruplets are going
she doesn’t know

No one knows
but they push on
they make their steadfast way
going where God wants them to go
God’s beloved “turtle rabbits”
as the Aztecs called them

They keep their heads down
watch for predators
coyotes bobcats raccoons
Their shells are not always perfect protection
They keep their heads down
They cultivate humility
They move north
They move east

The children grow
and every female armadillo bears
identical quadruplets
who recall  
the four quadrants of the Earth


It was taught in third grade in my old school
but in second in my new
so I missed Cursive

and my teacher curled her lip at me
when I told her
and asked for help

She thought I was scum
a homeless kid
mom probably a crack head
dad a deadbeat
missing in action

He was missing in action
but in Afghanistan

In my imagination he was tunneling out of a cave
like a red earthworm through dirt
persistent, tireless
digging from one continent to another
digging his way to me
one day to emerge in sunshine
head first
like an infant
but without the squalling
with a big smile
See… I made it

The teacher still wouldn’t teach me Cursive
so I made up my own curves
modeled after the curly hair
of the dark-haired girl who sat in front of me

The teacher grabbed the paper from my desk
showed it around to everyone
and they all laughed
laughed at the kid with the holes in his tennis shoes

everyone except the dark-haired girl
She recognized herself in my
home-made Cursive
She saw her reflection

and it was the only validation
she had received
for as long as she could remember
She had her own story
as I found out later


Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois’ poems have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He is a regular contributor to The Prague Revue, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, most recently for his story “Purple Heart” published in The Examined Life in 2012, and for his poem. “Birds,” published in The Blue Hour, 2013. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for 99 cents from Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.

One poem by Holly Day

Butterfly Cage

when I was pregnant, all of my dreams
were about snakes. as much as I tried
to dream only about baby kittens, baby puppies
human babies, my nights would be filled
with twisting pythons gathered in knots
inside me, their slick skin undulating
in the dark, pushing and bumping as if
trying to find a way out.

friends without children would ask me
what it was like to be pregnant and I’d
have to lie. I was so worried that
imagining the baby inside me was a coiled serpent
in my stomach
meant that I was already a bad mother
meant something was wrong with my baby.

“It’s like being a butterfly house,” I’d say instead.
“I’m all full of fluttering butterflies.” I’d put his or her hand
on my straining stomach as I spoke, whispering
“Can you feel them move? Can you feel it?

Isn’t it wonderful?”

Holly Day was born in Hereford, Texas, also known as “The Town Without a Toothache.” She and her family currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches at the Loft Literary Center. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, and Guitar All-in-One for Dummies.

One poem by Hem Raj Bastola

Carefree bird

White plumage fly
Getting high
Locate a trunk.

Staring and staring
Below the field is wide
Thick and so wild.

To food, every pace
Stooping, slowly
In the swamp
A pond Heron
In and out
It's beak.

Hem Raj Bastola is currently working as a freelance local tour guide in and around Pokhara Valley, Nepal.

He has worked as a Guest Service Agent at the Hotel Pokhara Grande, as a cave guide, inside the cave area for all tourists as well as office assistance in Guptshor Mahadev Cave, as a substitute representative for Sita Travels, as a freelance trekking guide for tourists to the surrounding Annapurna range and as a book salesman in Annapurna Stationary Center.

Hem also enjoys writing poetry, listening to music and collecting stamps.

One poem by Banita Khanal

Hey human!

You live and let us live
It’s fine if you can’t give
But please, please don’t take
Don’t take our freedom
Our freedom to live
Our freedom to breed

You maintain your place
It’s fine if you can’t plant
But please, please don’t cut down
Don’t cut down those trees
Those trees, our shelter
Those trees, our home

You take care of your pets
It’s fine if you can’t love us
But please, please don’t hunt
Don’t hunt us for your enjoyment
We are also like those pets
We are also living beings

You earn from our sites
It’s fine if you want to see us
But please, please don’t destroy
Don’t destroy the jungle
The jungle for the sake of environment
The jungle for your own sake 

Banita Khanal is a freelance writer. She has completed a master’s degree in business studies from Tribhuvan University. She has been posting some of her best poems in her blog. One of her short stories recently appeared in The Kathmandu Post. At the moment, she is in a process to publish a collection of her poems.

One poem by Juliet Wilson

Wild Otter Chase

On a remote Scottish island,
an excited TV presenter whispers your name to camera
implying only patience stands between us and you,

We, however, have only ever been teased
by your footprints; leftovers from your meals
found on rocky shores
and stories told in hotel breakfast rooms.

Told in quieter whispers when we return home
are stories of your kind in our city
leaving footprints by our less romantic waters.
Our paths cross yours on every weekend walk.

But you remain invisible.

Juliet Wilson is an adult education tutor and conservation volunteer based in Edinburgh, UK. She edits the poetry journal Bolts of Silk (http://boltsofsilk.blogspot.com). She blogs at Crafty Green Poet: http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com. She is currently working on her first novel.

One poem by David J O’Brien

While You Were Away

That little oasis of wildlife you retreat to
When the heat is heavy or the morning bright
Never stops, while you are home, being alive
And busy with staying that way, so that
The fact you haven’t been for days does not
Mean leaves are not now fanned out
Or that flowers ceased to be displayed.

Despite your absence, you can not say
The goose’s eggs have gone unlaid, or
That robins’ nestlings are unready to break
Out of their cerulean prisons, for
Gaping maws to make parents brave
The rain to gather grubs and bugs.

While clouds spread from tree to sea
And you were awaiting warmer weather,
The first brood was fledged and have flown,
Chipmunks opened eyes to go exploring
And those goslings are gone,
Bobbing down to the next pond along
Beyond the bend in the brook.

David J O’Brien is an Irish ecologist, poet, fiction writer and teacher. He currently lives in Pamplona, Spain, where he teaches and writes. He has recently written about deer watching for Ireland’s Wildlife and deer management for the Irish Wildlife Trust. His first novel, Leaving the Pack, will be published in 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing. More of his writing can be found at http://davidjmobrien.wordpress.com/