Ancient Sequence

Before the threads of light
Tore apart and
Wove a frictive spark
Of life
That broke through the
Eternal darkness
What was there?
When I think of endless space
Without the grace of
Time and place
Without the perfect memory
Of your face
With your soft halo of hair
Into the world
I cannot think or feel
Or even dare to imagine
That anything else is real
Beyond this one joyous fathoming
Of you
The first explosion
And its arc
Of imagination
From explosion
And creation
To this fragile moment of sensation
What was there before that?
And its mystic code
And all the distance that it rode
From that mysterious inception
To this palpable connection
I make
With all of time
Through this one second
And in this nexus
We find the ancient sequence
That allows us to be
And to see sense
In all this chaos
Where we finally enter
Through each other
Into the center
Of the All
The one
The no-thing
Every-thing we call

© 2023 Julie Flanders
Photo credit: Isaac Quesada
April is Poetry Month Day 30
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Our Own Hands

Polar bear attacking underwater with full paw blow details showing the extended claws, webbed fingers and lots of bubbles (focus on bubbles) – bear looking at camera. See more of my animal photos at

The day is translucent
The air still breathes winter
We breathe winter in
It might be the last time
We take this breath
Of cold
For granted
As the world grows old
And weary of itself
There is no reservoir
For the arctic shelf
As it collapses
Waters rise
And we close our eyes
To hear the choral reef
Sing grief into the tide
Whales ghost-ride
The eastern coast
Fish die
Birds fly 
But fail to understand
That soon
There will be no place to land
We once went to the zoo
And saw a polar bear
Underwater dancing
In crazy tiny circles
A tiny, fancy illusion
Of movement and freedom
We could not unsee him
One day 
We may be him
Prisoners of our own small world
As eternal summer settles in
And we become the skin
Of parchment upon which we write
Our sins
Before we do one last confession
The earth was beautiful
That was the lesson
We failed to understand
We erased ourselves
With our own hand

© 2023 Julie Flanders
April is Poetry Month Day 29
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Spirits in Rome

A cute couple stroll through the park in black and white

We sat in the hollow day
Seeking surfaces
To hold
What had already gone away
Someone left
A broken Christmas wreath
In a dry heap
Next to a lost, tinsel-hairy tree
Near the bridge
We are about to walk beneath
The museum is empty
For the holiday
The relics frolic in the ghost hallway
Where the ancient secrets sleep
Or wake
To remind us of the truth
We are ghosts who frolic too
I hold your hand
Against the cold
The year is new
But we are older than we used to be
New York sidewalks welcome us
We know each other
And the bus to take
To bring us home
I think a thought of Christmas past
We were in Rome
With everything that does not last
Cities, countries, planets, stars
We walked the ruins
Saw the scars of time and place and
Stone avatars
That haunt each street
I looked at you
You looked at me
We kissed
A kiss of melancholy
Felt the sidewalk
Guide our feet
Past centuries we could not see
Moving there, along with us
In New York now
We take the bus
With all that loss inside of us
We are
What we can still call home
But close our eyes
And think of Rome

© 2023 Julie Flanders
April is Poetry Month Day 28
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The Forgiven World

Sad child, boy, walking in a forest with old suitcase and teddy bear, wintertime in the snow

The forgiven world
Inside a small boy
Who waits on the porch
For his father to come
A light snow falls
The sound of setting plates
Comes from the house
Christmas Eve
The boy’s mother
Too busy to wait
For a man as likely to show
As Santa Claus
Because he is tired
Of wrapping gifts
Of telling reindeer stories
And making excuses
For Saint Nick
Tells him he is sick
The world of women
Doubts all men
But the boy does not doubt
Except when
He waits quietly
As the sky moves
From white to red
To gray
Abandoning all light
On its way away
The aromas play seek and hide
In the house
Not enough
To draw him inside
The boy becomes aware
Of the bitter cold
Creeping up his spine
And a tightening
In his stomach
That won’t unwind
A little later he resigns
To the darkness
Moving past his mother
Careful not to meet her eyes
He pretends he doesn’t care
He tries
She watches him
Climb the stair
To his room
And slide away
From childhood
To bed
Closing his eyes
To the toys on the shelf
Of his room
He lifts off
Hand in hand
With a snowman
An eagle’s view
Of the sky
And the village below
No one knowing him
Or what he hides
He finds an empty space
By the evergreen tree
Imagining a place
Where his presents will be
Where someone will come
When he wakes up
In the night
To say everything’s okay
And turn off the light
Where someone will tell him
About angels
And love
About his guardians
Or the days to come
To mend the past
Why time moves
So slow yet fast
And why you have to look
For things that last
The boy’s mother prays
For his sake
Knowing his whole world
Is breaking
The night fades
And thoughts of the day
Start to loom
Weaving a fabric
Of life resuming
The boy wakes again
And leaves
To ghost
The world of men
Who know
The numb eternity
Of the porch
Where a dream
And a dark torch
Never arrives

© 2023 Julie Flanders
April is Poetry Month Day 27
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magical picture, girl with red hair runs into dark mysterious forest, lady in long elegant royal expensive emerald green turquoise dress with flying train, amazing transformation during fiery sunset.

The leaves gossip
The sky pretends
Clouds stand back
In dark insecurity
They will arrive
They will go away
The world is mutable
Shaped by unseen hands
As the universe contracts
And expands
We stand
Holding our absurd plans
As if they were real
A map is not the territory
The territory is not really
What is there
But we stand
In the bright afternoon air
Listen to the trees
And give voice to the air
What a song
Nature sings
We are the audience
Of peasants
Miniature, meaningless, cosmic
Little things
We are the witness
We are the mirror
The eyes of the universe
Seeing itself
What a beautiful
Miraculous day
We hold what we can
These leaves blow toward us
Before they blow

© 2023 Julie Flanders
April is Poetry Month Day 26
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Baby Fetus hologram on dark blue background.

What baby grows inside
Life giving life to itself
Life giving itself to me
You are all that I see
When I see a flower
A sky, a mountain
A bird singing before it flies up
You are the kick, the push
The puppy snuggling into its mother
To sleep
You are the life I give
Knowing I cannot keep it
I let go
I let you go
I let you come back
And stay
But the greatest love
I have learned
Is to let you go away
Some days I want to scream
Come home, come back
Come back to me
So, I can come back to life-giving
Other days
I know that the seasons
The cycles, the endings
Are as right as the beginnings
The middle, the puzzle
The riddle, the old man
Who plays crazy fiddle in the street
Some things are complete
In and of themselves
Fairies, dragons
Childhood, elves
The future halves itself
And remains whole
It is your own life you stole
Your own choices
Your right to control what is yours
I pour gold in the cracks
Of the broken bowl
The beauty of what has been cracked
Closes as it heals

© 2023 Julie Flanders
April is Poetry Month Day 25
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Am I Home

Country house backyard exterior with bench after snowfall.

The pipes rattle
And spit steam
You wake
As if in a dream
Walking territories
You’ve never seen
You shake snow
From the branch of the tree
Shake salt
On the pavement
Assess the debris
Nature sits still
This morning
But you are still full
Of the storm 
Full of its warning force
The air is so still
And clear
You can hear the echo
Of what you fear
As if it were a song
We all need
To touch
To feel
Let me remind you
You are strong
And I love you
The sky still raises itself
Above you
As if to say
You exist
In this persistent mess
This is nothing less than a miracle
We share
You are so far away
But we inhale the same air
From the same sky
Is this home, you ask
And I reply
Home is you
And I
Everything may go, but
Home is what will
Still be
Home is you and me
You and I
You and me

© 2023 Julie Flanders
April is Poetry Month Day 24
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Before Coffee

Woman covers her face with her hands. Surreal concept photo manipulation.

A small bird in the yard
Pesters the day
With a shrill, persistent cry
You want to go back to sleep
You just found out a friend died
You just found out 
He was in a lot of pain
There’s been another derailment
Of a train
And so many innocent people
Dying in Ukraine
Alan Watts still speaks wisdom
From his grave
Words that enlighten
But do not save
From anything
Except the idea that
Something needs to change
Or not
I wait for my feelings to change
But I’m right there with the bird
Making sounds
That almost form a word
But not really
It’s just a sound
It’s just the feelings
That want to drown
In the pillow
I don’t cry
I just open-scroll Zillow
Dreaming of a mansion
Where I could escape
Change lives
Change places
Change shape
This is not about survival
Life is always-never surprising
This is more like
Credence Clearwater Revival
And now the bad moon is rising
Right next to the sun
The ultimate big one
The sad, climactic ending?
Human beings are still here
We will get up early
And feed or eat the worms
The bird has stopped crying
The morning squirms
In the house below me
All the loving coffee drinkers
Who know me
Are making joe
I will go
Pick up a cup of warm brew
Swallow my tears
And let the day’s activities accrue
Into something familiar
Something new
There will still be an absence that wants its due
A memory
A thought
An ache
Of you

© 2023 Julie Flanders
April is Poetry Month Day 23
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Mother Nature

The eye of the elephant closes
To the world

The grass moves in the wind
The birds rise in a swirl

You imagine a place you have never seen

Where the earth is young
The green trees show off for the sky
The whales sing the song of the sea
And human beings simply occupy

Mother nature sits and waits for us
To remember where we came from

We walk a city of bones
No heartbeat
Noise is our song
We sing alone

Our mother dies
Waiting for us to come home

We have forgotten the way
We prefer to stay where we are
War-torn inside
Blinded by the scar of centuries
Across our sight

Our mother raises a storm in the night
Trying to wave, crying rain
Screaming fire
Melting whole continents of ice
Into tears
To raise the sea around us

We still cannot hear
Sense or remember her

We are lost to the beloved
We dismember and abandon

Our harvest is the poison
We have sown
The seeds of death stir
We have grown strong

To kill ourselves, each other

We pretend we do not know
What it means
To break our brother’s bodies
To extinguish whole species
To smother the earth
In rage and odd smoke

Our mother once sang
Our mother once spoke
Now she will sleep
And wait for us
To come join her in the deep silence

© 2023 Julie Flanders
Photo Credit: David Heiling
April is Poetry Month Day 22
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Views from the coast of Baja california sur, Mexico.


Cortés arriving
Bright white skull
Dark hull
Cutting through centuries of death
In the brief lull of some uncertain
A churning engine of ambition
Scattering the birds
You do not have to speak these words
To understand their meaning
The women’s voices sing your language:
They are keening
The city is alive with music and desire
Rumbling foreigners
Bleed mutinies of firepower
The deities falter and tumble
From their altars
Towers crumble to ash
As the last beating heart 
Is sacrificed to time
All the blood
Gold and vision bled from
The ancient incision
This open vein of pain
A human schism that never closes
It remains
Cortés arriving
Ominous black crow bully
Orchestras of death
Humming through the ocean’s undertow
To land breathless
And march
Across centuries of dust
Harsh boots
Covering the love of what once was
A lost song
Of some forgotten child
Given no choice
But to shatter the bright wind
With her voice

© 2023 Julie Flanders
Photo Credit:
April is Poetry Month Day 21
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