We sit around the fire.
The storyteller drones,
until his words expire
in silence like the stones.
Primeval darkness frames
the flower-yellow flames

enlightening our faces.
Like breeze-blown blossoms, we
shift mutely in our places
within the ring while he,
as yellow flowers fail,
resumes again his tale,

which seems to have no end.
Or we may wish it so.
His words bloom and transcend
the darkness that we know
and, through descending night,
bring on another light

to follow, leading to
a place we can survive,
and our own dark subdue.
His words keep us alive,
and, like the dawn, display
the flowers of our day.


The Moon

The moon, a mottled circle cloaked in blue,
As pale and vague as twilight, meant alone
The self I was, the self I barely knew.

For years, before the twilight came in view,
I instigated vain pursuits to own
The moon. A mottled circle cloaked in blue,

I, pale and vague, explored each avenue:
Not one the meaning I had sought, and none
The self. I was the self I barely knew:

Behaving like there never was a clue
Around, pretending I had never known
The moon, a mottled circle. Cloaked in blue,

The moon at twilight hangs in nothing new,
But mottled, pale and vague, cannot condone
The self I was. The self I barely knew

Pursued the unforeseen which only grew
Too late to now with any grace disown
The moon, a mottled circle cloaked in blue:
The self I was, the self I barely knew.


Odysseus Overlooks the Obvious

One day we came ashore and stayed a month.
Aiolos wished to hear the details told
about the war, our travels, hardships, luck,
and how the others who were absent fared.

I told him, answered every question posed
to humble guest, and satisfied his thirst
for news of things I knew beyond his isle,
because the ocean stood between our home,

and wanderers like us would need his help.
He gave it willingly. But at the sight of home,
and after all this time, a captain’s greed
became the rumor rolling down the deck.

The bag beneath the bench contained a storm
and not the bag of gold they thought was there.
So, while I slept and dreams of home prevailed,
my men sought gold they thought I wouldn’t share.

The storm unleashed, I pondered jumping ship
to quickly drown, or whether breathing air
was still the way to go.  Resigned to life,
I huddled there inside the stinking bilge

I was the captain of.  This was my life,
empty of much ease, and full of lack.
My wife and son returned to being dreams.
The wind with random anger blew us back.

The poet gave me wisdom, so no threat
was ever overlooked; I knew it was
an obvious mistake, and not my fault
the poet never had me warn my men.


Featured Image: “Homer,” by Jean-Baptiste-Auguste Leloir, 1841.

Michael Harmon holds a B.A. degree in English Literature from Long Island University and B.S. degree in Computer Information Systems from Arizona State University. He is a retired computer programmer and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. His email address is:

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One Response

  1. Corey browning

    I truly enjoyed the poem “the storyteller”. The lines that most stood out to me in beauty were “primeval darkness frames/the flower-yellow flames/enlightening our faces”. Truly stunning how you switched around “flower” and “yellow” in the second stanza, and then on through the piece completing the metaphoric imagery. Well done!


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