Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review,etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 16 books including Selected Poems” from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and “Ribcage” from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize.Colby is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review. .
ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Someone said you can only use the word Beauty
Twice in a lifetime of poems.
Keats used up his reserve in one flat
Declaration that we argue still. I wonder if he
Contemplated that dying in the small room
By the Spanish Steps. He knew his fate
As we know ours: decay or ash.
Anything but beauty.
ON THE SEVENTEENTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Each full moon deserves a name:
Crow, Sturgeon, Harvest, Hunter.
The face grim or grimacing
With pain or relish. The unforgiving
Split that spun it off into
A simple lightless disciple.
Walked on, examined, nothing much
Except for lovers staring up
Into a circle of promise
ON THE TWENTY THIRD DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
A dying man gasps. His thirst
Is for a life that is departing.
Composed mostly of water, his body
Calls for more than he can swallow.
The land parches in a great
Arc of warming. One day the sun
Will drink the earth in its fiery
Goblet. Meanwhile, we admire
How water falling
From a height braids itself to impatience,
How rivers perceive the easiest way,
How ships founder
In the Horse Latitudes. The throats
Of seamen ashy with despair
Surrounded by temptation.
ON THE TWENTY SEVENTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Warmth. Roasted meat.
No wonder we gather before its
Thrusting red peaks. The volcanic
Inspiration of the earth’s great heart.
Vesta, goddess of the hearth,
Protects the home fires. The wild fires
Roar over the prairies
Stampeding the bison.
Light the vigil candle. Its small petition
Ignites the hem of the virgin’s gown.
Line up those to be executed.
The last word they hear is Fire.
ON THE TWENTY EIGHTH DAY OF GOOD IDEAS
Before the Patriarch with his staff
Or the shepherd on the hillside,
A clay idol, all breasts and belly,
In the hands of the wise-women.
Magical female. Harvest mother.
Protectress of cities.
Owl-wise, Cow-generous. Riding on a
Scallop shell out of the ragged seas to give
A name to beauty. Kali, armed and rearmed
With light and darkness.
Calling us home.