Into The Mist This shadow life passing away, mute requiem of falling snow, a prayer to end the mortal day; then to a far sweet place I go: to beating wings of startled heart, not mansions grand or streets of gold, not angels wrought of worldly art, what earthly eyes cannot behold; a startled beating heart of wings above a swale at day’s first light, a burst of joy and fright, yearnings, there captured in a moment’s flight of hurtling quail from out a kist into the haze of dappled morn; a far sweet place within the mist, an instant there the curtain torn. Rendering Ruins A barn abandoned, left to drift alone, wind torn and breached upon the reef of time, in fields, now dust, where summer wheat was sewn: the wagons heaped with grain stood long in line to fill the grange of this once mighty ship; now but a shadow, listing, ghostly gray. Raw winds and pelts of rain how cruelly whip the wounded roof and soak the rotted hay —the roof, an April green in days before, a farmer’s name upon it stitched in white. This ark of kittens, bawling calves, no more. A rat gnaws on a crib, the final rite. Yet on this easel, raised by bardic hand, forgotten barns, forgotten not, still stand. Conglomerate Away from hearth and clock, from door and key and lock, I found a pudding stone —a fist of plainest rock with flint and jasper sown— upon a beach of clay. And kept it as my own. The sky was fretful gray, whitecaps upon the bay, the promise soon of snow and fallen wood’s decay. The stone, as dull as dough; its skin was cold and rough. Quite bright the pebbles, though. I climbed upon a bluff and though I’d seen enough of winter’s lifeless spawn, the seascape’s drab rebuff, the beach an endless yawn; the stone I did not throw. But to its face was drawn. A stone I somehow know. A stone I somehow know. Clocks The spinning wheel, day and night, the tides, first frost, lakes of ice, trees in bloom, the river full —clocks of death, clocks of life— my heart relentless beating drum, the woman cycle, dates in stone, a lighthouse beam’s recurrent arc upon the sea, a metronome. Expanding heaven’s starlit face, the starlight reaching back in space to when this world of clocks was wound, and in that lace of fire, what fate? Mainsprings unwinding ever down —imperfect rhymes, a timeless rune? Leland James was an International Publication Prize winner in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition, the winner of the Portland Pen Poetry Contest, the Writers’ Forum Short Poem contest, and runners up for the Fish International and the Welsh Poetry prizes. His poems have been published in ten countries in many periodicals and anthologies, including, The South Carolina Review, Blue Unicorn, Arc, Vallum, Orbis, Magma, and Osprey, Scotland’s international journal of literature; the 2008 Fish Anthology: Harlem River Blues and Voices Israel 2009. These poems are among the entries for the Society’s 2012 Poetry Competition.