width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses



Phibby Venable

The Children on Broad Street

Where they live the houses are folded
into small apartments and carried
by large families into tiny personal chapels
Each evening I can hear a hundred prayers
filtering into the dank darkness and the smell
of fried food and sweet milk children
There is a playground on Broad Street
posing as an art gallery
There is a smear of small hands
and a graffiti of large angry ones
Pictures of colored houses and trees
are dropped by clumsy hands,
jerked along too quickly toward home
Glass bottles glisten in pieces
and slides wobble on their bases
Sometimes  special children will climb
the steps to the top
There is the call of.. look, look at me!
in young attempts at high places
There is a certain spark of brightness,
that I hope God is watching,
just before their plummet to the bottom.

 2008 Phibby Venable

Blue Stone Mine in Carolina

now when the blue sun shines on flagstones 
and the heat of summer wavers on stone 
and the pale milksop of sheaves 
or when it rains, and all that glistens is blue 
and the earth gives way softly to rain, 
i remember the smooth plucking, 
the blue stone miners of carolina, 
i watched them down soft, dirt roads -- 
all the rough pulling, the unloading, 
the saws moving, the sleek rock, 
the massive stone riding truck beds 
into the civilized blue for garden paths 
and home decoration -- and i remember 
my childhood of rough rock quarries 
and copperhead snakes 
and long cattails in black water 
when the rock was untamed 
and the wildflowers slept 
like hermits in the sun 
beneath the rain, 
the wildflowers, 
so strong, so deeply hidden 
and i could hear 
the shrill scream 
of saw against stone 

 2008 Phibby Venable

Vine Flowers

All I speak of here is true 
I do not let the blue sky move 
I seldom glance beyond the soul 
of small birds hidden in the trees 
Their presence quite enough for me 
I walk where morning glories rise 
at dawn and dusk, and often I 
am lost in wild and vital blooms 
I do not care for man made seeds 
I cannot see the tragedy 
of roses falling from the stem 
Their time is short, their grasp is weak 
while vine flowers cling to permanency 
Pink, lavender, and satin blue 
They rest in sun and bloom anew 

This poem is my flower to you.

 2008 Phibby Venable

Building a Fire

Often I kindle desperate yellow flames 
that leap into a chimney 
I have failed to clean 
And the newspapers still rolled 
in rubber bands lend fuel 
to wooden blocks and new logs 
too green to burn 
except with the kerosene, which makes 
everything engulf itself 
All of my life is circumspect and edged 
except for that one moment 
when everything is illuminated 
by trial or force or small tries 
and something remote in me 
brightens and moves closely 
to the beauty of heat 
where I have not yet adjusted 
the sturdy black vents 
to the passion of pulled color 
and red splintered spits 

 2008 Phibby Venable

About the Poet:

Phibby Venable's work has appeared in 2River, Poetrybay, Southern Ocean Review, Appalachian Journal, and various e-zines & journals. She has authored three chapbooks, Indian Wind Song, On White Top, & What I Saw Beautiful. She holds a Degree in Social Work and works with the community, the elderly, and animal rescue.