I painted a stone black
and called it night.

I wrote the word good on it
once the black paint dried.

I thought of throwing it through
your window.

I asked fireflies to carry it through
your open window.

I took firefly hostages
in a mason jar.

No negotiator arrived
to hear my terms.

I set the hostages free
and pocketed the stone.

You sleepwalked out of your room
but not out of your house.

I saw you downstairs in the kitchen
and hoped you woke

for more than an appetite
for comfort food.

You returned upstairs
when I stepped between the geraniums.

I organized six snails
and pointed them toward your door.

I placed the black rock upon their shells
after I bribed them with beer.

Three nights later and you had not yet
received my message.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


She was sometimes happy and sometimes sad.
She seemed religious in the vein of Vivien, the Lady of the Lake.

She tended to follow mother ducks on land.
She disliked and refused to use the words Fairy and Nymph.

Her gaze turned men to stone
only as long as both their eyes met.

Her gaze ignited woman to fire
in a manner that burned their spirits brighter into the world.

She lead the worst kind of men into the lake.
This journey did not go well for them, especially when drunk.

She lead the best kind of women to the shore
before the transition to the Other Wind.

One evening catching fireflies in a jar
I captured her as she waded into the intermittent glow.

I kept the fireflies prisoner long enough to write a poem.
She was not in that poem, but this one.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Peace comes at last,
stumbles through the dark,
grasps at the porch light,
settles on the glider
and there escapes
the youthful excitement
that ignites fireflies
over in the pasture,
before going inside
to wash at the basin,
then to bed and sleep.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and Paul vaguely remembers
the Frost poem
and other writings with the theme
Less Traveled.

He thinks of all his friends
who stood at the fork
unable to make
a directional decision
and got bumped and battered
by those behind
who knew their way
and were in a hurry
to get home or to a job
or other things they love.

Paul hides behind a tree.
A creature of the wood,
afraid of roads
that lead hither and yon.
Afraid of the travelers
he would meet
not knowing if they
were trustworthy
or brigands
until it was too late.

He will not leave the wood
for it is his paradise
and provides him
all he requires
even though
it is demanding work.
He guesses
it is the same
for the road’s travelers
and their chosen occupations.

He cannot imagine himself
as a tinker, a tailor
a soldier, or a spy.
Ah! Another literary reference
to spark his mind.
A firefly in dusk.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney