Be angry, and do not sin.

—Ephesians 4.26

We’re told a large volcano roils and seethes
beneath the soil of Yellowstone. The steam
that rises all throughout the park, and wreathes

its many pools and vales, would surely seem
to validate that claim. Word is, that should
that angry monster find an open seam

and rush the surface all at once, it would
erupt with so much force and power that, well,
let’s say not much would come of it of good.

The beast is vented, else it would be hell
to pay. Its geysers and its bubbling pools
release the pressure, so it doesn’t swell

to bursting, which it would without these tools.
And what of all the rage that festers in
my soul? One trusty mechanism rules

that ugly beast and keeps it chained within
the dark recesses of my heart. I know
my anger would erupt, give way to sin,

but for this outlet, this release valve. So
I write, and writing lets me let it go.



Am I alone in this? A subtle stirring
within my chest will quicken any time
I come across the word. It’s like some prime
condition in my soul, both reassuring
and troubling, like a tiny kitten purring,
a lion pacing, or some life from slime
emerging, seeking beauty. And then I’m
on high alert, lights flashing, systems whirring.

Say “poetry,” or any cognate of
it – “poem,” “poetic”; mention any poet
I know and whose work I have come to love,
or quote some well-wrought lines: before you know it,
I’m interrupted, as if from Above,
and searching for some seed, and how to grow it.


T.M. Moore’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published five volumes of verse through his ministry’s imprint, Waxed Tablet Publications. He is Principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, he and his wife, Susie, reside in Essex Junction, VT.

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17 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Line 4 is not in sync with the iambic pentameter meter. It does not have five discernible stresses.

    Since no one seems to care for my suggested fixes in metrically deficient lines, I’ll leave the repair work to someone else.

  2. joespringza

    The content is great, just what I needed today, so not to blow up. Thanks.

  3. Monty

    Regarding ‘Venting’, TM: I realise that you’ve intently re-arranged the diction in L9 from what would normally read “..not much good would come of it” to “..not much would come of it of good”, but the latter sounds a tad awkward to me: I can’t get my head round “come of it of good”.
    There must be a better way than that of wording it: e.g. “it would be hell; that much is understood”.

    The same with the last line: “I write, and writing lets me let it go”. I can’t get to grips with “lets me let it go”. I know what you’re trying to convey (the release); but, again, it could be worded better, even if you just swapped ‘lets’ for ‘helps’: as in, “I write, and writing helps me let it go”.

    I say the above bearing in mind the exemplariness of your previous pieces on these pages.

    Regarding ‘Poetry’: it’s a mini-masterpiece. How well and how humorously you’ve conveyed the feelings that many must feel when they’re a slave to the written-word. And how flawless the grammar; how rich the use of language; how imaginative the analogies/metaphors; how crafted the rhymes.

    I sincerely hope you find many more “seeds” to cultivate.

    • T. M. Moore

      Thanks, Monty. I appreciate your suggestions and your most encouraging words. Do you think it would help line 9 if I changed “of good” to “for good”? And in the last line, I’m using “lets” as “allows” or even “enables”, so I think “helps” doesn’t quite get at what writing actually does for me. I’m very grateful for your thoughtful response.

      • Mike

        Beautiful flow… I love the way the words fall when read aloud. Internal rhymes are also natural and pleasing.

      • Monty

        I’d rather not say, TM.
        When I suggest words/lines, they’re usually only my initial thoughts; gathered while writing a Comment. They only give an example of what could be . . and they’re certainly not saying what should be.
        That’s the author’s choice.

  4. Mike

    For line 9 on “Venting” how about… Yellowstone would be renamed Black Wood… only kidding…

  5. Mark Stone

    T.M., Both poems are classy and upscale. The first is a wonderful example of a terza rima. After I read the poem, I did a search on “terza rima” and found an excellent article on how to write one on the SCP website (by Dusty Grein, dated January 5, 2017). I agree with Monty that “come of it of good” sounds a bit awkward. My suggestion is:

    let’s say not much would come of it that’s good.

    I am totally fine with the last line of this poem.

    The second poem is impressive in that 50 percent of the lines end with a feminine rhyme. Also, I like the images of the kitten and the lion and the slime. Concrete pictures I can see in my mind always make a poem more interesting. Finally, one often sees poems where the author sacrifices clarity to accomplish meter or rhyme. Not in these two poems. The meter and rhyme are spot on, and the narrative is clear and arresting. Very well done!

    • T. M. Moore

      Thanks, Mark. I keep pondering that line, and the suggestions you and others have made. Right now I’m thinking I will just leave it as is, but we’ll see.

  6. Amy Foreman

    These are both creatively crafted poems, Mr. Moore. I particularly like the analogy between the cauldron of lava below Yellowstone and our own propensity to anger and rage. What a perfect, concrete metaphor, cleverly unraveled. Well done!


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