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Mary Jo Balistreri


the sawgrass ripening and cattail wands
an eagle’s keen over mangroves
and spoonbills mining mudflats

a lone kite   angled and aloft
vultures that drape the sky
osprey fishing from ribboned nests.

Praise the angler’s wicker creel
white caps that riff the waves
tide edging up pylons on the pier

trellises of trumpet vines
bamboo clacking in the wind
the thin blue cast
of a skimmed milk sky

Praise this day that beckons
scoops me into its net
this spacious silence
this joy that is morning

From Still (Future Cycle Press, 2018).
Used with the author's permission.




Mary Jo Balistreri was a concert pianist for most of her life, but in 2005 she began writing poetry after the death of her seven-year-old grandson. Poetry gradually helped her transform her grief into something resembling acceptance. Mary Jo’s award-winning work is widely published and she is the author of four collections: Still, gathering the harvest, Best Brothers, and Joy in the Morning. In 2014, Mary Jo began writing haiku and haibun and, since then, has turned almost entirely to Japanese forms. Mary Jo lives in Wisconsin; learn more about her at





Post New Comment:
What better way to bring praise than to list so many colors on the ultimate Creator's palette? So well done, Jo. Love the images and sounds, especially, "bamboo clacking in the wind".
Posted 09/11/2018 04:28 PM
Such skillful use of particular images, and a gift-collection of shoreline sights. Thanks much!
Posted 09/11/2018 11:52 AM
Beautiful images to help erase the ones I have on this memorial day. Thanks, Mary Jo
Posted 09/11/2018 10:44 AM
Perfect poem for today as we remember to praise "this joy that is morning."
Posted 09/11/2018 09:08 AM
Beautiful images...a poem to come back to often.
Posted 09/11/2018 08:47 AM
Wilda Morris:
A beautiful poem to start the day: "this spacious silence / this joy that is morning."
Posted 09/11/2018 08:41 AM
I love the last verse. It is now in my diary. Thank you.
Posted 09/11/2018 08:29 AM
Larry Schug:
A good place (and poem) to return to during the day.
Posted 09/11/2018 08:23 AM
One soft and lovely image after another. How much we miss in our hurried days. Love this!!!
Posted 09/11/2018 08:18 AM
It's 5:30 am in Pacific Northwest and this lovely poem is a perfect way to greet the day.
Posted 09/11/2018 08:13 AM
becky evans:
A beautiful poem and a beautiful way to start this 911 anniversary day with its otherwise haunting memories.
Posted 09/11/2018 08:07 AM
Janet Leahy:
Wonderful images, the perfect poem to greet the morning. Thanks Jo.
Posted 09/11/2018 07:34 AM
Lovely language! I love mornings too.
Posted 09/11/2018 06:49 AM

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