Six Poems

by Kitty Jospé



What’s Left


Old house, barn silhouetted on the hill,

two empty chairs on the porch remain still.


You can barter the boards of the old battered barn

in its dust bowl days; spin alive its chattering yarn,


the 24/7 wait in the widow’s watch, now windowless crown;

as the moon out of thick cloud, falls on the exhausted home.


You can hear the ghosts whispering in the creak of the chairs

by the silvering light, descending the abandoned stairs


The house leaking, with the wind’s moan, and sagging—

the groaning wind through the broken boards flagging


under the strain of gathering the past, to make repair—

but only the ghosts speak the past’s presence there.




Note:  The poem was inspired by these pictures my husband took on one of his many
bike rides in poorer sections of Western New York State.




Sound of So (may it be)


I’m feeling just so ever e minor—

glad for older, wiser voices who have lived

the roundness of o, the years slipping in from so…

to so… until a spritely rhythm chases away

anything other than alive-alive-alive.


Like this man in Portugal who has just offered

doces falicios[1] to a girl he fancies, to state

his intention, celebrate what asks to be

celebrated.  They are about to dance

in a billow of bolero, caught in the complexity

of notes, the rhythm speeding on as if to tell a small joke—

trembling between the world we think we’re in

and the one we think we want…


It’s enough to believe melting o’s,

as a blues singer croons, you know, I didn’t know

I loved her, until I began to let her down,

the music making the sound of the ropes straining

over the coffin as it lowers into the grave.


It’s enough to say

so, just for this moment, I only want

soft voicing in the roundness of o,

the years slipping in so… as they slip by.







At the Crossroads


One night, a stranger slipped a word in my pocket,

but it was not possible to decipher the letters—

each like a fragment of a sonnet—


part of a beat where an echo strummed

           “global catastrophe” between the lines[2].

The melody, over, and over, thrummed,


as if to mirror worlds mined

from mirrored worlds of mirrors,

reflecting ourselves in parts designed


to act– shivering with great ceremony.

It lifted up on the mournful sound

of geese migrating. It glowed in minor key—


7 parts: Philos and six Greek words for love,[3]

dancing with sacred texts,

bursting with music, blazing to evolve


into a brand new word so well expressed

every heart could understand

we are each a stranger but also enmeshed.[4]



[2] Inspired by New York Magazine, “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change”
By Nathaniel Rich

Photographs and Videos by George Steinmetz

AUG. 1, 2018

[3] philía, éros, agápe, storgē, pragma, and philautia

[4] A poem need not quote, and must not tell, however, the words of the Dalai Lama echo in this poem. In gratitude and as tribute therefore I cite his words: “Because we all share a wish for happiness and an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anyone we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister…”—Dalai Lama




Meditation on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 As a Result

of Someone Proposing We Change the Name of January


To everything, there is a season…a time to keep, and a time

to cast away, for instance, today, the Roman names of months:

for we are tired of Roman gods; [5] tired of the closing and opening

of doors, declarations of war; tired of supposing there’s a time

to rend and sew; reap and sow; weep yet know there will be

a time again, when the heart is glad.  It is not that there is a reason

to spring into skirmish after skirmish.  It’s only a question of season,

and for each, a time to be born, a time to die.


Perhaps it’s a good thing to start the year with Janus. Consider

the duality of gates; what’s unsaid as we proclaim the dead are heroes,

setting things right. The double-face of Janus reminds us a door opens,

closes, invites us to cross thresholds to find better order in the possibility

of might. January, February: what airy lightness in their endings

as we start over again.



[5] The original Roman year had 10 named months Martius “March”, Aprilis “April”, Maius “May”, Junius “June”, Quintilis “July”, Sextilis “August”, September”September”, October “October”, November “November”, December “December”, and probably two unnamed months in the dead of winter when not much happened in agriculture. The year began with Martius “March”. Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome circa 700 BC, added the two months Januarius”January” and Februarius “February”. He also moved the beginning of the year from Marius to Januarius and changed the number of days in several months to be odd, a lucky number. After Februarius there was occasionally an additional month of Intercalaris “intercalendar”. This is the origin of the leap-year day being in February. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar (hence the Julian calendar) changing the number of days in many months and removing Intercalaris.




Meditation with 5-Syllable Words for Deep Water Days


After three days of steady, inconsolable rain

we thought of Noah and his deep-water-days,

and how abominable the disappearance feels

of something as taken-for-granted as land.

Imagine, your job, not of your choosing

is to care for pairs of hungry, disgruntled

animals while the dolorous world drowns.


That thought wakes up appreciation of infinities

such as sky that shrouds the earth, not the multifarious

nature of mankind embracing weirdness-and-lies

and all that drowns common sense as you wade-in-the-water[6]

even up to your neck, singing O Hallelujah! as it saves

you from bloodhounds-on-your-scent.


I repeat the generosity of the 5-syllable sounds:

Inconsolable, his deep-water days, abominable

taken-for-granted, not of your choosing,

hungry-disgruntled world drowns appreciation

multifarious weirdness-and-lies.

Wade-in-the-water, O Hallelujah!

Bloodhounds on your scent— and I say

generosity…of deep-water days, because of the possible—


How in deep water, all it takes is one kind word helping,

one voice tracing black and blues— how spilled ink

also spells out how we live days crossing

over here to there. Back from there to here again.








My Friend Painted Angels


saying not only do they come in handy,

they abound—ready

when you are,

to remind you to join in the dance—


You do not have to believe me— but I’ve seen it

over and over, when people despair,

tell you adversity will spread its prickly, bitter jam

on a fragile crust of a moment,

its thick darkness breaking all hope, sticking

in your throat with the taste of misfortune,


sometimes the littlest thing will call out,

ask you to pay attentionsomething unexpected—

no warning—

and an equally sturdy apparition spreads its wings,

serves you nectar and ambrosia of the ancient gods

infuses the air with radiance curling up,

like early morning mist,

to hold you in a host of aliveness.

No guarantees, predictions for this—just

a small twist in the way you start to step,

maybe hear the first bird at sunrise breaking

the silence of a long night.



Poem inspired by the collage below called Apparition by Lynne Feldman





Kitty Jospé loves facilitating poetry appreciation and collaborations with word, art and music.  After years of teaching French, she turned to English, and received her MFA in creative writing in 2009.