Wednesday 5 May 2021

3 Poems by Joseph Farley

 Yellow Brick Pilgrim

I kneel in the cornfield
at the feet of the scarecrow
seeking forgiveness
and directions to Oz.

Let the trees throw apples,
and monkeys descend from the sky.
I shall suffer all calamities
on the route to find God,

and if he turns out
to be some fraud in a suit,
should I complain,
or applaud this fantasy

for weaving strange beauty
into a world more bleak
without the willing
suspension of disbelief.


Someone always has to be the canary,
singing of danger in the depths of the mine.
No one listens, they just complain about the noise,
or threaten to ring your scrawny neck.
You will always be a nuisance while you live,
but when die, oh, when you die,
then all who work in that dark shaft
will tremble.

Seeking the Golden Bird

There is what you want,
and there is what you settle for,
the bird you try to catch,
and the one that wind up
in your hands.

One may have borne you
on its back,
across seas and summer fields
to its eyrie
in the peaks of your desire.

The other, well,
it sits there,
and maybe gives you eggs,
or just turds,
but it is yours,
to feed and care for,

or pluck and eat,
if you think you are
still brave and nimble enough
to grab golden feathers
in the wind.


Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory from 1986-2010. His poetry books and chapbooks include Suckers, Longing for the Mother Tongue and Her Eyes. His fiction works include For the Birds and Labor Day (Peasantry Press). His work has recently appeared in Big Windows, Lummox, US 1 Worksheets, Horror Sleaze Trash and other places.

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