BHR Issue 1 Winter 2014

WELCOME to Blue Heron Review Issue Number One

Blue Heron Issue One Cover1

(cover photo by Robert Lee Haycock)

Sharon Auberle * Pd Lietz * Paula Schulz * Maureen Hand * Liz Rhodebeck* Jeannie Roberts * Ingrid Goff-Maidoff * Mary Jo Balistreri * Kristi Martel * Anjie Kokan * Kimberly Blanchette * Shannon Jackson Arnold

Robert Lee Haycock (cover photo) * Jason Iffert (photography) * Jane Riley (photo credit, “Canoeing on the Kickapoo”) * Pd Lietz (artwork, “Your Wings”)

Sharon Auberle

And These Thy Gifts

She weighs it in her hand–
the day to come–the grace
of morning light on cracked pitcher
the scarlet of rose hips
from which she will make tea
the yellow of eggs, the blue plate.

Then, as in every day of her life,
she crosses herself
folds small, strong hands
and prays thanks
to her white-bearded god
who must surely soften
just a little, as he watches…


“Perhaps we have been given our oversized minds as consolation for being grounded. Though we have no wings to lift us up, we have imaginations that will.”

-Frans Lanting

Whatever you do in this life,
never ignore small miracles
like this flock of white pelicans
soaring in circles overhead,
their great bodies backlit
by the sun, radiance pouring
down through their wings
in waterfalls of light.

Consider there might be
angels among them,
but even if you don’t find angels,
know your heart has been softened
by these immense beings of grace.

Please do not dismiss such gifts,
for rarely are we so blessed.
And oh, don’t turn away
and resume your small life,
instead, rise up, for a little while
as if you had seven foot wings,
as if you realized, finally,
we are all made of light.

Six Degrees of Separation

Only six people, it is said,
separate any person from another
anywhere on this earth.
I want to believe this.
I want to believe,
with just six connections,
I could know an Eskimo,
an African tribesman,
a mother in Iraq.

I want to believe it would take
only six people to reconnect
with a gypsy I once saw,
the woman in cold rain
on the steps of the Duomo
in Florence, Italy.
I would find her again,
her feet knobby and bare,
her black hair tangled in dusty braids.
Begging, she would whisper again
for my bambino, please,
for my bambino

and this time I would take
her chapped brown hand,
place lira in it,
close her fingers around the bills.
This time I would get it right
not turn aside
as her sleeve brushed my coat.
This time my shame
would not outweigh hers.

About Sharon Auberle

Sharon Auberle is the author of three poetry collections – two of which also contain her photographs. Her newest work is a collection of poems with Ralph Murre, titled Wind Where Music Was. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, both on-line and paper copy. For reasons, which are still a mystery to her, she has authored a blog – Mimi’s Golightly Café for seven years, which contains a potpourri of her images and words.

Pd Lietz

A Hunger Rising

a hunger rising
with each unique scent
I salivate and unconsciously
tighten my hold
no finer gift than words
placed on tablet or paper
time has no place there
waiting to be devoured
a side show about to begin
how inviting the prologue
main meal rich and substantial
with the pouring of the senses
I am intoxicated
imagination rampant
click click, the movie non-stop
my tongue silenced
with hands old from the garden
the paper luxurious as silk
with each book read
I sip the finest of wines
give a toast and murmur well done
and welcome back my mind

knowing I am more than
because of a book now closed

YOUR_WINGS Issue One Pd Lietz

(artwork by Pd Lietz)

Your Wings Upon the Ground

I found your wings upon the ground
looked around but you were gone
the telling sway of the grass gave way
where you had fallen and now you lay
with orbs of dew I soothed your brow
softly vowed, ‘til your passage I would stay
heard the wisp of your breathless sigh
embracing infinite space where one does fly
I smiled at the quest of your aura, that of lore
felt the vibration of trembling wings
the gift of angels and fairy things

About Pd Lietz

Pd Lietz is a widely published artist from Canada. Her writing, art and illustrations have appeared in and as covers of many publications: Naugatuck River Review Summer 2011 & Winter 2013, MaINtENaNT: Journal of Contemporary DADA Writing and Art #4, 5 & 6, Visions, Voices and Verses, Sunrise From Blue Thunder, DoveTales “Occupied” an International Journal of the Arts , Uncoil A Night, Beautiful Women an anthology, Origami Poetry Project, Songs of Sandy, When Women Waken, to name a few. She is also artist-in-residence for Writers for Peace. Links:;;;;

Paula Schulz

Beginnings of a Soul

Working warm earth deep, my child and I
find a lipstick-of-a-wanton-woman-red
bug so small it stops us. Raising a hand
to brush it away it leaves only a smear.
Then a wail opening in him like an arc
of a falling star, like a line in the sand
he had somehow crossed to the first
beginnings of a soul.

(First published in Bellowing Ark Vol. 25 No. 1 Jan./Feb.)

Developing A Natural Grace
for Kara

your tears tell me
the math problems won’t come right.
Never mind. Consider
the spider who, though all shriek
and swat at him, daily weaves
a clean geometry which inspires
more awe than all the games
played by mathematicians.

Lisa said that Julie
said that you told a secret.
Let it go. Use your wit
to walk among the others
like a cabbage. Clean and
keeping the core of yourself

I have seen
you twirling in front of
the mirror, displeased. Be patient.
In time you will add the
sum of your years together
to become the poplar
learning a ballet of air
and applauding yourself
with a thousand silver hands.

Late April
for Jo

cherry tree burning with new color.
An exuberance of blossom and promise
breaks like shattered glass down each alley-dark
branch, rhymes joy with its lonely backdrop of blue.

I have had a shut-in’s hunger for light
and air. Now this bright spring opening
to a future. I have begun to see
myself as a Giacommetti figure,

one of many, slight      but standing.

(First published in Healing Muse 2011)

About Paula Schulz

Paula Schulz has participated in several ekphrastic projects, reads for a local women’s shelter and is pleased to have been asked to contribute to this issue of Blue Heron Review. She has poetry forthcoming in The Healing Muse. Her mornings are spent with three-year old students in a preschool setting. Life is rarely dull. She lives in Slinger, Wisconsin with her husband, Greg.

Maureen Hand

Lemon Meringue Pie at Midnight

Maybe I’ll bake lemon meringue pie
for the funeral…

The blissful years,
I’ll bury beneath the garden
to curl around the roots of orchids
and bloom luminous memories.

The painful years,
I’ll place on a flaming pyre
to smolder into opaque teardrops
and twist sadness into ashes.

For the eulogy,
I’ll wail with mourning doves
to wake embers of fires past
and waltz with wind in my arms.

…maybe we’ll fall in love again
and eat lemon meringue pie at midnight.

Canoeing on the Kickapoo photo

(Photo by Jane Riley)

Canoeing on the Kickapoo

We’re stuck in a sandbar
on the Kickapoo River,
the “crookedest” river in North America,
so they say in Ontario, Wisconsin.

I tell my daughter
it’s hard to keep paddling
with all the twists and turns
through marshes and swamps
around rocks and fallen tree trunks.

I tell her it’s hard to paddle
and watch muskrats, beavers, waterfowl—
just look in those reeds over there
river royalty eyeing trespassers,
cawing at this red canoe.

Spying on that blue heron is what got us stuck
but sometimes getting stuck is good—
to see wildflowers crane their necks
to feel the sun’s blazing rays
or just to squeeze sand in your hand.

About Maureen Hand

Maureen Hand taught high school English and writing in Amsterdam, NY. She has also taught memoir writing workshops, as well as poetry writing workshops. Her writings have appeared in magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. She is the author of, Write the Snapshots of Life, a book on memoir writing, as well as co-author of Lemon Meringue Pie at Midnight, a collection of poems and photos.  Find out more about this poet at:

Liz Rhodebeck


I awaken in an open,
empty place – strange;
vast as an ocean, prairie, desert.
The air is still.
The air blows softly.
The view clear,
but there is naught to see.
I have never been here.
I have been here all my life
and didn’t know it.
The vibration
of a violin string
hangs in the air
soundless, though
my skin hears it.
There is nothing
all around,
yet it seems to have
all the answers
like a blank canvas
waiting for the colors.
I am awake,
find in my hand
paintbrush, baton, seed –

I begin.

Iffert.Rhodebeck reflection pool copy

(photo by Jason Iffert)


Within the deep silence of solitude
I squander an afternoon sun
watching it slide down the slope
of shivering trees, shaking in
the thinning warmth;
I only blink and breathe,
let this stillness settle in me
like the piled softness
of pine needles on a wooded trail,
the smooth silver pitcher
waiting on my mother’s sideboard.
The sound of a pause summons me
like the chiming of a Sabbath blessing
that bids me rest, see each moment sacred.

(Previously published in Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, 2009)

That Daring Young Woman

From one-hundred feet above the ground,
I let go of the swinging bar
with a deliberate thrust,
tingle with the gasp of lightness –
hands open, full of sky;
in the stillness of that moment of shimmering blue,
I realize the net below me
is gone…

but I have sprouted wings.

About Liz Rhodebeck

Liz Rhodebeck is a freelance writer and poet from Menomonee Falls, WI. Her poetry has appeared in Your Daily Poem (online), VerseWisconsin, Red Cedar, Goose River Anthology, Echoes, The Penwood Review, Empty Shoes, Margie, Verse and Vision, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar and others. A lover of the arts, Liz was co-editor of the community ekphrastic project, One Vision: A Fusion of Art and Poetry in Lake Country. She also performs inspirational programs with Grace River Poets. Her fourth chapbook, Here the Water is Deep, is now available from Orange Hat Publishing. See her website

Jeannie Roberts

Observations Bring Hope on an April Day

―In Memory

Near bracts and stalks, along the fade
and wilt of cattails, buffleheads float
past the stems and remnants that hem
this pond, dive midst the subtle shine
of slate-colored waters, blur beside
stands of withered remains where
sequined light capers beyond the traces
that embody a season of leavings. Here
in prismatic greens and purples, drakes’
crests shine―their plumage reflects
in spills of black and white as mates
blend in feathered waves of grayness.

Midst the graying wilt of my heart,
where loss stalks, blurs beside a season
of leavings, I stand near the shining spill
of ducks and I’m reminded of spring―
how the stirrings of Earth crest green
and the journeys of birth crown purple,
how dawning’s trace every stem,
embody each remnant in prismatic
waves of abiding light―its legacy rises,
in luscious intervals, in the gracious giving
of existence.

All Life Rising

Yes, a person wants to stand in a happy place,
in a poem. If the world were only pain and logic,
who would want it?

(Lines from the poem “Singapore” by Mary Oliver, HOUSE OF LIGHT)

The afternoon was pleasant,
full of favor, light, and you.
How content to be sitting,
reading your poetry,

absorbing each line with ease,
agreement, standing in poems
surrounded by all life rising:
flowers, Buddha, black bear.

Yes, a person wants to stand
in a happy place, in a poem,
in life, by dwelling deeply
in the moment, letting

joy lead, choosing to see
how each life shines; after all,
if the world were only pain
and logic, who would want it?

About Jeannie Roberts

Jeannie E. Roberts writes for both children and adults. She is the author of, Nature of It All, a collection of poetry (Finishing Line Press). She is also the author and illustrator of, Let’s Make Faces!, a children’s book. Her poems have appeared in the Festival of Language’s Festival Writer, Misty Mountain Review, University of Wisconsin Barron County’s Red Cedar Literary Journal, Verse Wisconsin, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Your Daily Poem, Zingara Poet and elsewhere. Her public readings include Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, Wisconsin Public Radio and other venues. Jeannie lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. For more, visit

Ingrid Goff-Maidoff

Iffert.Ingrid blue bolt copy

(photo by Jason Iffert)

Sometimes A Kiss Can Do That

Sometimes a kiss
can do that:
unhinge a rusted gate
to let the moonlight in…
Send rain to a parched field,
to play the dust like a drum…
Release a hollow ache…
Warm a stubborn chill…
Build a bridge, a raft,
a momentary trust…
Sometimes, through a kiss
we open
to the infinite world
that holds us.
I’m not saying all the time
but sometimes.
And sometimes
this is enough.

Our Poem Which is Infinite

Tonight your words draw me back
into the poem in which we are living.
It is a rich and merciful poem
and it spins its warm story around us
drawing our bodies down
into the urgency of our belonging.
How is it that we, neither holy nor wise,
could live in this beautiful poem?
It is the fire we tend with our kindling,
the table we cover with bread,
the altar we make bare for offerings,
the pitcher we empty and fill.


I hung hope out with the laundry,
clothes-pinned tenderly beside a pillowcase
and two sheets.
I could tell she needed air ~
a sweet puff of wind.
She needed to get warm again
basking in the sun.
After a few hours,
I came out with my basket and took her down.
We both felt refreshed.
She said, Don’t put me in the closet with the sheets.
Spread me on your table.
Let your guests spill their wine and crumbs of bread.

Wash me gently; put me back in the sun.
Lay me across your bed
so I may warm you in the night.
Or put me on the children’s bed
that I might comfort their dreams.
Whatever you do, she said,
include me.
It is the only way that I can live.

About Ingrid Goff-Maidoff

Ingrid Goff-Maidoff is a poet and anthologist who has shared her love for spiritual inquiry, beauty, and the wisdom traditions of the world through her books, cards, retreats, e-offerings and gifts for more than twenty years. It gives Ingrid deep pleasure to create works that help others feel more whole, more spacious, and more intimate with their own lives. Her books include: The Joy Book, The Honey Sutras, Befriending The Soul, Good Mother Welcome, What Holds Us, Moonlight and Remembrance, Simple Graces for Every Meal, The Abundance of Grace, and many quote anthologies. Ingrid lives with her husband and two daughters on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  To learn more about Ingrid Goff-Maidoff visit:

Mary Jo Balistreri

All That Is Left To Say

When the scent of wild strawberries wafts from the woods,
and returns the juicy-sweet meadows of childhood,
when the double pleasure of present and past throws me
this heady bouquet
on a day already fully flowered with gifts,

I praise.

While on the cedar boardwalk through the mangrove forest,
when glossy green leaves reach out,
when tangled and twisted prop roots snare imagination’s
strange wildness, and warblers unseen call out in song,

I praise.

And when at last the calm pond of the gulf stretches
blue beyond the horizon, sews itself seamlessly to the sky,
when it lifts the edge of its white-skirted flounce to the sand,

what can I do but praise,

and praise again

as thousands of filmy wings flit backward, forward, hover
their last hurrahs, last two weeks in the air
after a lifetime of water—
these dragonflies, damsels, their new resplendence
mating, creating—Oh joyous affirmation of life—

Praise and praise and praise.

(Won 1st place in a competition for the Michigan Poetry Association)

Archeology of Desire

Steam curls its way up the spout,
unfurls petals of mist that displace
the winter of a cold kitchen.
My gramma clasps her hands around
the blue-willow cup, its glaze
cracked and veined. She lowers
her face to the heat, takes a sip
and rests her head against the back
of the rocker, the hiss of wet wood
our background music. Soon
the stories spin from her mouth,
worn from telling, smooth
as softest flannel. How they tint
the bleak day in warm pastels.
She guides me through the prairies
of youth, the furrowed ground
of growing old, of births and deaths
of children and husband, crocheting
the past with mauve shadows laid
against the gray simplicity
of the North Dakota Plains.

(First published in Bellowing Ark)

Moonlight and Roses in Sun City West

It is Karaoke night at Prince of Peace. They come
like a call to prayer, some with black CD cases
clutched against their chests,
others swinging empty arms with a bit of swagger.

They assemble at round tables. Give selections
to the guy that’s mastered the switches. Another man
prints names in block letters on the blackboard.

When the band begins, Wayne walks to center stage
sings, Who’s Sorry Now,
looks directly at us, each question more aggressive
as he becomes lost in an earlier version of himself.

Nadine is next, a big woman, tight curls framing
a small face. Her body rocks with
The Very Thought of You,
and the gauzy purple dress swishes and swirls in the limelight.

Tom can’t sing at all since his stroke, but he wheels himself
up front to mouth the words to, Moonlight and Roses.
After his performance, he gives me a high five, his grin
like the crescent moon in the room’s only window.

And so the night goes. Lou Rawls, Elvis,
Nancy Sinatra in her boots.
And you thought coming here might be a test of endurance
forgetting how the desert shines at night,

showers of stars so close they are Braille for blind eyes.
These troubadours of song grow large and luminous
like that, like the cereus
blooming under the darkened sky.

(First published in White Pelican Review)

About Mary Jo Balistreri

Mary Jo has two books of poetry published by Bellowing Ark Press, Joy in the Morning and Gathering the Harvest. She also has a chapbook, Best Brothers, published by Tiger’s Eye Press (January 2014). Mary Jo is delighted to be part of Blue Heron‘s inaugural issue.  Find out more about this poet at:

Kristi Martel

Warrior Daughter
(for Pauline Santos, my Mama Warrior)

I am your warrior daughter,
fighting for you to love yourself wholly.
I am your peacemaker,
knowing the fight is never you against me, but greed against love.
I am your truth-teller,
voicing the real.

We kill the body
when the body masters the spirit.
We kill the spirit
when we make the body its slave.
And when we balance
pleasure with compassion,
we are whole.

I am your warrior daughter.
I am your warrior son.
My mama warrior died that day.
So now I am the one.

But the Devil says, “Get stoned.”
The Devil says, “Take. Eat.”
The Devil says, “Hate. Envy.”
The Devil says, “Don’t sleep.”

The Devil says, “Get greedy.”
The Devil says, “Lust. Lie. Steal.”
The Devil says, “More, more ,more, more, Lazy.”
The Devil says, “Don’t trust, just fear.”

The Devil says, “Get famous.”
The Devil calls my name!
The Devil tells me to love you,
to give myself away again,
to give myself away.

But I get bored of lazy.
I get bored of hate.
I will not sleep here,
and with this one small thing,
I beat the Devil again.

I am your warrior daughter,
fighting for you to love yourself wholly.
I am your peacemaker,
knowing the fight is never you against me, but fear against love.
I am your healer,
making you feel.

We kill the body
when the body masters the spirit.
We kill the spirit
when we make the body its slave.
And when we balance
pleasure with compassion,
we are whole.

We live wholly for a century,
wholly for a long time,
holy for all time.

I am your warrior daughter.
I am your warrior son.
Mama Warrior died that day.
So now I am the one.
I am the only one.
So now I am the one.

Blessed Community

Here, I can be myself.
And here, I can look right at you.
Here, I can sing the song of my soul.
And I will be heard by you.

Hear me please.
There’s nothing, nothing, nothing I want more than peace.
But I don’t mean peace extreme like freedom from Bush’s war.
I mean peace in me, in you, in even him ’til war’s just not even possible anymore.

I can be myself, and then
I can look right at you, and then
I can sing freedom.
I can be peace.

Hear me please.
There’s nothing, nothing, nothing I want more than peace.
But I don’t mean peace extreme like freedom from Roosevelt’s or Wilson’s wars.
I mean peace in me, in you, in even them ’til war’s just not even possible anymore.

Hear me please.
There’s nothing, nothing, nothing I want more than peace.
But I don’t mean peace extreme like freedom from Lincoln’s or Washington’s wars.
I mean peace in me, in you, in even them ’til war’s just not even possible.
I mean peace in me, in you, in everyone until war’s no more.

Here, you can be yourself.
Here, you can look right at me.
Here, you can sing your song.
I will hear; I will sing along.
I will hear; I will sing along.
I will hear; I will sing along.

(Listen to a sample and download the song, “Blessed Community” HERE)

About Kristi Martel

Featured on MTV/LOGO and NPR, 2011, a MacColl Johnson Fellowship Finalist and avant-soul piano diva, Kristi Martel grew up in New England and earned an ASCAP grant and two music degrees before beginning her touring and recording career. Kristi’s sweet presence and fearless songwriting endear audiences nationwide. Her piano playing combines her love of blues dissonance and syncopation with her classical training. Her voice is at once sweet and bitter, emotional and visionary, articulating prayers and narratives in the same breath. Kristi’s forthcoming album, “Sacred Whore,” is more jazz and soul, and focuses on the universal in our human experience and our need for inner and world peace. Links to Kristi Martel’s music:;;;;

Editor’s Note:  Kristi Martel’s two poems in Blue Heron Review are song lyrics. All songwriters are, in essence, true poets.

Anjie Kokan

Mapping My Stretch Marks

What I see in Euphrates is true:
The hips of a woman carry everything.

I need to talk to Eve about this
but she’s off with the serpent
playing cards. Maybe she’ll win this time.

I trace the circles embedded into my skin,
little snake-marked trails
moving places inside of myself,
leaving dabs the color of plums.

I check my clock again.
Maybe Eve isn’t coming back.
Perhaps her work is finished
and she’s forever playing for fun.

My eyes scan these paths one more time,
catch one more line, fold them tight,
toss them high to the blooming trees
of paradise.

They land like dragonflies,
circling me like some tattooed love crown.

Back into Euphrates head first,
hip-flipping toward fluttering victory.

(First published in Women Writing: Passages)

How to Love Me

Love my backyard, love me.
Love the nettles that creep.
Love the holes in the leaves
of the hollyhocks and the aphids
that chewed them. Love the splash
of it when my kid floods you with the hose.
Love the humidity, love the rain.
Love me in a black dress
by moon-lit tomatoes.
Love me by the patio petunias
in morning coffee ‘jammas, frizzed-out hair.
Love me by the climbing Queen Elizabeth
as I shout the f-word when I’m stung by a wasp.
Love my empty Coke bottles and the sunflowers
I fill them with. Love it that I’ll give them to other men.
Love the zing of my chocolate mint.
Love my new patchouli plant
as I rub a leaf into my wrist.
Love me here, under the burning sun
as it heats a hole into the leaf of your heart.
Love me, love me all.

(First published in Chrysanthemum)

About Anjie Kokan

Anjie Kokan is an award-winning writer living in Palmyra, Wisconsin. She is the creative writing instructor for Ottawa University in Brookfield and a member of Grace River Poets. Anjie has facilitated writing workshops for all ages in Wisconsin and Illinois. Her blogspot, Prompts for Writers, has over 500 creative writing prompts that are free to the public. To find out more about Anjie, please visit

Kimberly Blanchette

3 29 10 wispy pine copy

(photo by Jason Iffert)


Let us submerge ourselves into a world that we define by our own parameters, intellect and connection with The Divine
Let us linger between dusk and dawn
as part of The Sacred Landscape
Let us quench our thirst and hunger equally between
shadowplay of Moon and soft glow of Sun
Let us lose our inhibitions between star strung thoughts
and thick neon painted words
Let us race hearts like over-heating engines
between actions and reactions
Let us bless ourselves between the spaces of breath exchanged, rolled upon the waves of Want and washed upon the shores of Desire …
If only for a moment until the Music stops.
Even then, as quiet Eternal splendor surrounded us,
You would still Quiver…
And I would still be Breathless.

The Key

Like the fine line between unspoken Prayers and Answers
yet to be questioned-
Like each teardrop of liquid sky perfectly pooling
in the middle vein of The Leaf before The Sparrow drinks-
Like the air between us when we are not unsung heroes
battling ourselves for Sanity or Solace-
Like Decision and Desire pressing equally against our skin-
Like streaks of Indigo escaping multi-layered dreams-
Like the tiny granulates of raw Natural sugar
sticking to a bowl because of humidity-
Because it has not been licked and Appreciated by lips, tongue and teeth-
Because it Waits to be devoured in any way that it can-
Because it Knows-
It will go on Living as something else
once it has been consumed-
And somehow you know, you always know-
How to access The Stairway-
The Key.

Fire of Prometheus

Listen to the rhythm of the universe
Learn from the thistle and the flower in the forest of knowledge
Whisper your secrets into the ear of nature
Feel the electricity of creation surge through your soul
Be pulled into the magnetic chemistry of each other
Step beyond the edge of conformity
Seek the fire of Prometheus to illuminate yourself
Do all of this in the name of love.

About Kimberly Blanchette

Kimberly A. Blanchette is a dynamic and enthusiastic poet, artist, public speaker, photographer, and LGBTQ activist. Throughout the last 25 plus years, she has published 4 books of poetry, produced two poetry cd’s, has spoken at conferences and other venues all across the U.S. and has performed on radio and television. Kimberly has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, is a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and is co-founder of Pickle Barrel Press. For more information please visit

Shannon Jackson Arnold

The Essence

My name is untold, fluid
anecdotal and true
seen and unseen at the same time.

It is a coming home and
a leaving.

The beginning swirl
of a chambered nautilus
and its outer edge.

I am weeping willow, white birch
bark, clearly veined oak leaf.

I am she who flits like a bee
drunk with drinking the nectar
of so many flowers.

I am the sun and the moon
the infinite and the fixed center.

In my dream, my name is
luminescent, ethereal,
the sound of a soul ray.

I will extend my hand to you
and say hello,
reaching out across the heavens
and it will rain
down a thousand shooting stars
streaking across the vast night sky.

When you wake up, in the velvety fog of twilight,
you will think my name lost,

but I will still be there
shimmering with light.

From the Peony

Open yourself fully, she says.

Unfurl yourself and surrender.
You will open,
open some more,
and then open more still.

You are like a diamond
of infinite facets.
Your petals effusive.
Take a lifetime to study them all.

Invite others in
to experience
the sweetness
of your nectar,
the delicate caress
of your perfume,
the boldness
of your embrace.

Don’t shrink or
hold your petals tight.

Gaze inside
and touch the seed
you came to carry
during this Earth walk.

The sweltering slumber of summer
will want to overtake you. Resist.

Stay awake.

Don’t shield your eyes. Open.
Take in your beauty and radiance.

You only bloom you once.


Listen to the flowers.

They say, “Go inward, touch the contours of your life.
Notice the texture and landscape of the recent cycle:
What bloomed? What remained under the safe soil of your heart?

It is a time of stillness and release. The days are dark and loamy.
It is time to let go.

With your heart, listen to the tulip opening its petals.

Go into your sacred center and see
the unique shape you are, and that your life is.

Pause to celebrate what has grown within you this year.
Remember to grieve what has passed.
Wait with anticipation for the light
that is being born within you.

Ask yourself: what must be left behind as compost
for the next season of my life?

Then, dig deep and inquire across the gate of your soul:
what seeds must you carry, no matter how hard the winter,
no matter how long the icy journey, so that you may sow
a verdant offering come spring?”

(Previously published in, Flowering Wisdom: Inspiring Thoughts on Life, Love and Blooming Big)

About Shannon Jackson Arnold

Shannon Jackson Arnold is a writer and facilitator from Eagle, Wisconsin. She is the author of Flowering Wisdom: Inspiring Thoughts on Life, Love and Blooming Big and offers classes and private sessions where she supports entrepreneurs and those in helping professions to live into their unique gifts, their deeper joy and their spiritual connection. Learn more at

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(photo by Jason Iffert)

Artist Biographies 

Robert Lee Haycock grew up in California’s Santa Clara Valley, “The Valley of Heart’s Delight,” and now resides in Antioch, California, “The Gateway to the Delta.” Robert has been an art handler at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco since 1988. Robert Lee Haycock’s photography appears on the cover of this issue of Blue Heron Review. Find out more about Robert’s work at his blog:

Pd Lietz is a widely published artist from Canada. Her writing, art and illustrations have appeared in and as covers of many publications: Naugatuck River Review Summer 2011 & Winter 2013, MaINtENaNT: Journal of Contemporary DADA Writing and Art #4, 5 & 6, Visions, Voices and Verses, Sunrise From Blue Thunder, DoveTales “Occupied” an International Journal of the Arts , Uncoil A Night, Beautiful Women an anthology, Origami Poetry Project, Songs of Sandy, When Women Waken, to name a few. She is also artist-in-residence for Writers for Peace. Links:;;;;

Jane Riley taught high school Spanish in Amsterdam, NY. She is a freelance photographer who has taught photo workshops, and she has written articles for magazines and newsletters. Her photos have won many awards and have been exhibited in various galleries. She is a co-founder of the Orlando Camera Club and a member of several photographic associations. Jane Riley is the co-author (photographer) of Lemon Meringue Pie at Midnight with Maureen Hand.

Jason Iffert moved from the Twin Cities to Lake Country, WI about five years ago. He graduated from Minnesota School of Business with a short degree in graphic design and marketing. Jason also studied art history at the University of Minnesota. He started using his first camera in 2007. After moving, Jason started a little business call ID … Iffert Design. He currently works as a freelance graphic artist and photographer. More of Jason’s photography will appear in the summer 2014 issue of Blue Heron Review.  To view more of Jason Iffert’s work, please visit his Flickr page HERE.

Copyright © 2014 Blue Heron Review ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

(Blue Heron Review holds first publication rights for poems first appearing in this issue.  All poems published elsewhere first, are cited appropriately.  All original rights go back to individual authors.)

13 thoughts on “BHR Issue 1 Winter 2014

  1. Pingback: Blue Heron Review Issue Number One Released Today! | Blue Heron Review

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. We are so happy you stopped by to visit, read and enjoy! More to come. Thank you for your readership.

      Peaceful thoughts,
      Cristina M. R. Norcross
      Editor, Blue Heron Review

  2. Pingback: Blue Heron Review – a lovely site: evocative poetry and beautiful art | Wonder, Think and Why

    • Thank you for stopping by the Blue Heron Review site to read some of our offerings! So happy you have enjoyed our poetry and art. Please visit often. We like to provide a safe haven and respite from the world with our poetic creations here.

      Kind wishes,
      Cristina M. R. Norcross
      Editor, Blue Heron Review

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments, Jane. So glad you enjoyed reading our first issue of Blue Heron! I hope you will return for quiet moments of reflection and inspiration. In addition to our 2 issues per year, every month we feature a single poet on our Blue Heron Speaks page. Much to enjoy!

      With kind wishes,
      Cristina M. R. Norcross
      Editor, Blue Heron

    • Thank you so much for your kind support, Ralph! We are so happy to have so many readers excited about Blue Heron. Each of our contributors have offered up beautiful gifts of poetry and art.

      Thank you again,
      Cristina Norcross
      Editor, Blue Heron

  3. Pingback: Blue Heron Review

  4. Pingback: Blue Heron Review is now accepting submissions for the Winter/2015 issue! | Blue Heron Review

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