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

Related Articles

A new poem by Jeremy Nathan Marks

Canadian poet, Jeremy Nathan Marks

Poetry by Marguerite L. Harrold

Marguerite L. Harrold's work can be found in The Chicago Review: The Black Arts Movement in Chicago Special Issue, VINYL Poetry, The Matador Review and elsewhere

Poetry by John H. Sime

John H. Sime has been a freelance writer since college in _Kickapoo Free Press, Wisconsin Poets Calendar, Verse Wisconsin, Howling Mantra, Hummingbird, Lake City Lights.

More Like This

2 poems by Alan Cohen

Alan Cohen's writing appears in New England Journal of Medicine (1977), The Road Not Taken (2017) and more

Coyote Warning, Poetry by Marybeth Rua-Larsen

Marybeth Rua-Larsen won the Luso-American Fellowship for the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon

Poetry by Frances Roberts-Reilly

Poetry from Frances Roberts-Reilly a direct descendant of Abram Wood and the notable family of Welsh triple harpists, fiddlers and storytellers.

2 poems by Martina Reisz Newberry

Martina Reisz Newberry, of Upland, California, daughter of a steel worker, storyteller father and a talented, artistic mother, uses words that jostle and ripple in responding to the environment.

2 poems by Vivian Wagner

Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University.