Poetry by Carolyn Martin

In Praise of Community
with thanks to Merriam-Webster Online

A coterie of chick-a-dees
in my maple tree.
A tribe of constellations
in a nightfall sky.
Brown-robed monastics
before breaking bread.
Circles of poets
from their living rooms.
Fellowships of love

Let’s praise
every synonym
that binds, bonds, ties, unites
and make a communal vow:
if any family, circle,
troop, guild, league,
club, or neighborhood
into a clique, sect, gang,
faction, or closed shop,
we’ll revise
our acclaim and delete
our membership
a moment’s doubt.

Pay attention and you’re saved.


It pays to pay attention  – which is not
like paying bills, the pizza delivery guy,
or the piper – wherever he may pipe.

Nor is it like paying compliments,
taxes, penalties, dues, visits, respect,
or up-down-forward-back for anything.

Crime doesn’t pay, unless it does.
Neither does arrogance when you nip
your own line to title this poem.

But when oblivion’s about to hit
pay dirt and saving’s worth a fight,
rouse attention, slumped in the doorway

of your shuttered mind. Focus its eyes
on barefaced possibilities peeking
through blossoms of an aging cherry tree.

About the contributor

Carolyn Martin's poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. Her fourth collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, was released by Unsolicited Press in February 2019. She currently serves as the book review editor for the Oregon Poetry Association and poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.www.carolynmartin.com

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