The “Muse”

A sailboat, small, unvarnished wood,
her sail a swath, a patch, of red
fastened by type-9 yo-yo string
to a pencil mast and a stick of boom;
a sailboat, small, unvarnished wood

atop a bookcase, moored abreast
an amphora vase wanting Greek wine,
sprouting a wilting bouquet instead,
a spray of yesterday’s anemone—
the “Muse” awakened, coming about

full-sail departing the bookcase bay,
close to the wind, alive in the lines,
craft aslant making its way:
the “Muse,” into the main, Gangway!
past the tin-can clatter of everyday.



Leland James is the author of five poetry collections, four children’s books in verse, and a book on creative writing and poetry craft. He has published over three hundred poems worldwide including The Lyric, Rattle, London Magazine, The South Carolina Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New Millennium Writings, The American Poetry Review, The Haiku Quarterly, The American Cowboy, and The Ekphrastic Review. He was the winner of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and has won or received honors in many other competitions, both in the USA and Europe. Leland has been featured in American Life in Poetry and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
www.lelandjamespoet.com & https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/leland-james

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11 Responses

  1. Satyananda Sarangi

    Greetings, Sir!

    This is sheer brilliance. The melody, the imagery and the flow! This is top-notch.

  2. Paul Freeman

    Wow! I found this amazingly vivid, Leland, as if your whole study / den / library were brought into view, focussing on the ship before your creative imagination set sail.

    Is this just a model boat you made, or a ship in a bottle being unleashed?

    My fave line amongst many fine lines …. ‘the “Muse” awakened, coming about…’

    The uniqueness of this poem also helps raise it to great heights, I felt. The greatest praise I can give is that I wish I’d written it myself.

    I was going to say this poem deserves a better title, then realised ‘The Muse’ is the name of the ship. Doh!

    Thanks for a fantastic read.

  3. Margaret Coats

    An unusual concept, to consider a sailboat that turns out to be a miniature built from simple materials. I would call the first stanza the “craft” part of the development. In the second stanza appear symbols of culture (bookcase, amphora, wine, flowers, and the name “Muse”), a fuller preparation for what is to come. The third stanza describes the motion of creative activity. How many poetic adventures involve a ship–and here is another, sailing past the “tin-can clatter of everyday.” Nice work, Leland.

  4. Alexander Lazarus Wolff

    This is remarkable writing and incredibly refreshing to read. Your technical dexterity polishes every word. I was especially pleased to read your poem “The Sanitarium Window” too.

  5. Bunny

    Dear Leland James,

    I really like your poem. I can see the sailboat very clearly in my mind. Thank you as always for your wonderful work!


  6. C.B. Anderson

    This poem is adrift, without a narrative, but the succession of images (many nautical) drop anchor in time to instruct the aspiring poet that the port has been reached, though there will always be shifting seascapes. You always test me, Leland.

  7. jd

    A lovely poem. Thank you for the pleasure of
    reading it (twice and maybe more).


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