Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A Townswoman's Cloak


Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company

The vase would be for the yellow sun-streaked

daffodil, its brilliant bouquet untold

in hues, Wales aristocracy of gold

under the watch of gothic castles, meek

out of gentle song of a thousand trees

next to black international velvet.

Where the spires rise to the morn’s fiery stealth

the ink drawing can scarcely describe me

as I am now, my hair white, my eyes bright,

I am in waiting as the country’s sight

is just out of reach too. The stone upon

stone of Caernarfon and Harlech’s dim light

seeping out from walls within walls and tide

waters brimming far away dreamy shore.


There is light in this vase of yellow-born,

like the sun streaming across the miles, bold

and high cliffs, isolated nature, old

red sandstone,  rugged cliffs battered by storms,

wild grass hosting a long Skokholm haven:

seabirds, in heath and salt marsh, St. John’s wort

rises serene; three-lobed water crowfoot—

with whisper of dew on ancient heaven.

In the grassland there are the tree mallow,

small nettle, sea campion—the guillemots,

chiffchaff, willow warblers, common whitethroat,

over mudstones and Red Maris. Fallow,

the linen of the garment lay in knots,

and the seamstress laboured at the new cloak.


With yellow dress now tied at her thin waist,

lace enamel lapping at her pale sleeves,

the ties drew back the bodice, and the lea

glistened from beyond her locked garden gate.

Ghostly was the sound of rabbits footsteps,

quietly the dawn transpired its gold knock;

the meadow courted her favour, as clock

ticked on and guided her elder years, debt

to those who had shown her guidance, advice

over the years always wise with graying

mentors’s speech, their moment joys and shadows,

until she knelt with sentiment, chastised.

In the will of God: saints—deepest praying—

stone upon stone was an altar hallowed.  


The moor, grasslands and coast, rife with curlew:

eerily they call, and townspeople lift

their heads—shaking at the suicide rifts

which rise to sky and echo; almost rue

their grey feathered existence were they not

shrieking a blood-chilling eloquent call,

frightening as Eden’s vine at the Fall,

her austere fertility entwined brought

images of fruit and flow’r to the mind,

along with temptress of the gnarled tree,

where pressure from the dark side stormy, breaks

down walls of the imagination-kind.

Pecking in the mud with icy curved beaks

each curlew contrasts Snowdon’s snow-flaked peak.

Emily Isaacson



Thursday, April 14, 2022

Requiem of the Waterflower

Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company 

Under the weeping willow, embedded

with opulent pearl, for eternity—

silk and cotton now momentarily

to the floor, the mossy river threaded

through the countryside ambling on at rest.

The long draped wing-like creamy bell-shaped sleeves

hung, momentous and old as the dry leaves

upon the ground. The guests dressed in their best

were unsure whether they were here, gifting

for a moment or a new century,

as the water floated by, the petals

met reflection of the hills, now sloping

away into the distance, luxury

of the crescent moon still whitened, natal.


It’s rare to be so quiet at deep grooves

that the moon, still unborn, whispers loudly

amid the bustle of skirts, with baby

carriages, and swish of dark horses hooves.

It’s rare to have a bluest heart so kind

that one would flutter in midair over

the stained purple-white wild lilies cover.

There was a greenish bank where diamond rinds,

hues of bubbles floated, amid stoic

remembrances and florid faces, sound

as glassy-eyed wine. The only priest was

present in season of the Spring Fair, it

cantered like a new horse, as he came ’round

only twice per year when given good cause.


The bride was wearing white soft-spoken lace,

her ladies, blue willowy glass figures,

baby’s breath to roses. Dainty creatures

of a delicate nature, they made case

that her figure was a pale rose in bloom

and her soft creases did not hide a child,

shining gold hair was plaited, smooth and mild,

she was quite reverent of his duty too.

But she was kind, and timely amid strife,

life in its piercing the dank moss shallows

of her life had made them crisp flowing pools,

and she stretched out her hand, became a wife,

she wore the diamond of her days, fallows

of a fertile land, farmed with ancient tools.


This royal moment in the river field

acquiesced to nature’s horn and plenty,

no woman’s life should be poor and wanting;

translucent gown following and men reeled

at the sight of such a character to

stand so graceful and so elegant, mild

as would a maiden be, yet there with child,

as her bourgeoning soul would attest, blue

were his eyes, and theirs was a renaissance

ceremony, in formal dress, as spoke

the custom of their age. They were not young,

too young, to be the green reconnaissance

of all love in youthful years, which day woke

too early—was it just the web was spun?


The matchmaker nodded her fair consent,

they had breathed vows, a renaissance couple,

common in their time, even nuptials

were seen in almost half of cream crescent

moon young lovers wed along shadowed lull

of waters, where the trim of flowers deck

while perfectly gathered at the scooped neck,

and the pearl beaded bodice falls below

the wedding full of fine giving detail,

a life joined to a life is turtledoves—

where no death, waxen, cold, where flaxen breathes

the clothed bridesmaids celebrate, holding train.

The vests of his men were as brown as cloves,

velvet, and marching on in league motifs.


It was the Golden Age of Art Nouveau:

the curved glass bell of time had rung before—

mosaics out of brokenness, stained cores

of glass rose from marble floor to dome, no

sinewy sense of movement was nature’s

graceful shapes paired with yellowed narcissus.

The time of falling dusk had walked with us

into the organic future that spurs

the art of a new century, detail

fine and ornamental in its finite

way of climbing intricate design walk

of the nineteenth century with black rail

to render elements sculptural wine,

fluent in curves, iris buds and starched stalks.


How had this composite of medieval

times, limber of foot, danced into black tie

irony with exotic butterfly,

as was the case of her entourage belles.

There was the artist, the model a muse

sitting pale, simple before the painter—

no movement, hands folded, as in winter

of a soul, a childless stance waiting, loose

of the trappings of work and menial

blank servitude that so characterized

the eyes of darkened blind without new art;

here, the dim room started, congenial

to be receptive to old sterilized

forms of dying while still alive, thou art.

Emily Isaacson

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Requiem of the Siren

Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company

That was my golden hair, similitude

to past enchantments and Persephone,

conducting the blending aquamarine

with flashing heads, spirited dolphins’ broods

with pools of tide, fragmented sea-scored shell

that broke the wave upon the shore of death:

a carcass of the whale was there in breadth,

the length of a ship, its past hulk of hell.

The symphony of water and earth vast

as the panorama of gemstone’s fire

torments these blue lovers, bound in tumult

to future’s marriage ring: no ending last,

hidden jewel of nature’s cleft, to sire

their tryst with sea, and their poet, the salt.  


Miranda was seen offshore in a storm,

the tumult was evidenced of the tide

of spray against the lighthouse, ghostly-eyed

in moonlight, through the wee hours of the morn.

A sun would rise, its reddened rays would pierce 

fog of misperception, waiting for you:

become a conceptual woman, too

tired by the wind and its haze, coerced

no longer by manipulative hands,

the elements demand that you survive  

in deference to them and their dark wails.

To the brine muse these were effortless rants,

she had no evil notions to contrive,

she effaced them with her green siren’s tail.


In the depths beneath which the mer-castle

lay, there was a siren queen with refined

melodious lines and beings, benign

starfish fibula made wool oracles.

From a mermaid’s nautilus shell emerged

in marine blue, carded yarn, like a dream.

The mermaids held her baby son supreme,

from the rule of Tristan not now submerged.

The queenly mother sang, harmonious

the salt waters drifted by, eventide

in laser cut brass and soft enamel:

whisperings of the seahorse to the gust

of salt and lash of navy. Sunset’s bride:

moon will rise at twelve and ride in purple.


Deserts beneath the sea were sandy, coarse, 

with scarlet crustaceans in number

to seduce those golden torn asunder

and the bottom’s tap of thunder was remorse.

The conductor continued at the reigns

of the sea house deep beneath the turquoise;

it was a mermaid’s lair and with my eyes

I saw the brittle castle’s coral veins.

Flanked by equestrian horses in red,

I plumbed the deeps of oceanic bliss

and sky aglow with setting lucid teints.

O’er the cliffs the rival raptors circled.

I wore linen (and was of sea born lips),

the highlight of my crown was ruby painted.


Let the beautiful marine chord resound—

O Linen: undertunic of the sand,

tri-coloured, penchant, hanging from the land;

our stitches have reclothed you, and we found

you hanging by a mermaid’s silver thread.

The haggard stones of earth your tomb laid bare,

archaic doctrines speak of mermaid’s lair,

the simple life of stone on stone for bed.

Their pillow lies beneath my head, for dire

is the hard life of those who work not play

for bread of kale, and crusty Irish moss.

The jewels of the mind and heart, the wire

therein the caverns of the sea doth weigh

of blood on fire. The eldest simple cloth.


Fine and unusual sleeves in garnet,

the embroidery meanders mouline,

pendants of magic and solstice earring

wear themes of the wind’s silken clarinet.

This, your favourite white tunic—a dress

so long it would drag on the castle floor;

but executioner is at the door—

life is over with its clumsy caress.

He seeks a chopping of your golden locks;

his orders are clear: you’ll have no trial.

You look already dressed in acclaim’s bills

of mermaid songs and runes among the rocks,

the shores have woven memory in style,

linguist: but what is that to the lame hills.


Bright dominant chord sounds in ocean’s nave,

each home of pearl-fringed shell is icy kind,

but is there not a tear behind the smile?

The sea is calling, knows your ancient cave.

The mer-Queen waits for Tristan to come home

each night by window roped in black velvet;

even though the stars are far away, sits

she by the casement, wary of his throne.

This bonnet in kind is made of fine lace,

is the baby’s helmet and the sea salt

stirs. Rivers of the deep flow, currents down,

where Medea pours oils upon the face

of beggarly poor who heavenward call—

salt mines of poetry beneath the ground.

Emily Isaacson

Eclipsed poem: with material from the line Sea Born

by Armstreet Clothing. Used by permission.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Requiem of the Lilith

Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company 

Her flower was the lily, ominous

white, that spoke of pale stones left by moonlight,

when the toppled spades landed on the might

of what we call home, writing, venomous.

There was a churchyard, yet all was still now,

and by the darkness’s dread came Lilith fair;

they thought her but a witch and yet ensnared

by her enchantments, verse and rhyme they bow.

Her hair was fiery strawberry blond, to

the waxen marble floor. When by the fence

there came a herd of Jersey cows, and she

called them, and their bells jangling, they came through

the gate into the churchyard. The spire lent

its shadow to the falling light, and lea.


There was a glad flower, men in a bind—

if it were real or imagined; yet nigh,

it produced the most frightful velvet kythe,

hallucinations of another kind,

and no one knew their meaning until dreams

were interpreted by those of the art.

They woke from their starry beds with a start

and could not discern if their nightmares, cream

of another chocolate from the night’s fist.

The problem was that peasants were so tight

with their coins that they could not entertain

royalty. Yet Lilith summoned all, list

in royal procession, walking down bright

aisle with swaths of innocent gown and train.


The Lilith was a beauteous blond curl

that wrapped its way around her platinum

coronet, the head whose skull was mamon

and yet ivory. Her ash produced pearl,

yet only one drop, for the inner scent

of transcendence had wreathed her to the earth

her dying day, when on a pyre of mirth

she lay. The clothing of the trees was rent

to autumn’s scarlet mood, and bounteous

sepia scarves, in colours of the weave.

She wore Eve’s clothing yet, adorned in sun’s

gold rings that haloed her; now humorous

she glanced in the mirror of the lake’s eve

and knew the moments of the fairy’s pun.


There was a time in the beginning when

all earth had bowed to her regality,

her mind with Adam’s knew equality,

her mode had been his decent soul mate then.

Yet, when she would not marry him in moons

and acquiesced only to the wood’s haunt,

she fell short of all his desires, his wont

for a mother of children, that blue womb

submitted to the throne of his mindful

patriarchy, his husbandry, his care;

when she would not bear his children, her cool

black eyes flashed at him lightning’s silver foil…

the tresses of her head laid golden bare,

and with her mouth she kissed him as a fool.


Her power would be in her aloneness,

the desert of her hands without fruit ripe—

crimson from lime—her stateliness a gripe

she would take from the ancient gnarled fruitless

mossy tree, growing from the beginning

of the world to the end of time, purple

starless, casting shadows of its cripple

who embarrassed it too, leaving a line

of shame. She would leave, then, and make self stilled,

scarce amongst the rocks and grey caverns stone

of the desert. Her planet, colourless

was another space, where no being dwelled

save the remnants of Isaiah, alone

with his parchment scroll, rolled here effortless. 


There we would find her, quiet as the sand

under the moon, in a desert of owls

where only jackals hide. This was her fowl,

the birds of the air she called by name, and

they followed through skies of dusty Hades

in train, as if the light has held them there.

It was the end, she was the thief, and bare

his hand, he would, for his last card, of spades,

was dark Lilith. They feared her in the night

as was her way, with black claws and fearsome

beak. They pulled the shades, they held their children

close, yet they had called upon her midnight

with frightening incantations, winsome

wiles and treacherous prayers to euthendom.


Was there an end to this ghostly story?

The moons swirled, and rings of planets turned to

silver, yet there was only one thorough

woman dark, one—alone in her pouring

called a heaven of hell, was this necklace.

Diamonds of its setting glimmered power,

in the shallows of seas, fish like flowers

swam silver before the throne of clear glass:

he who sits at the bottom of the Great

River watched it all. He knew Lilith from

of old, and watched her hair meld with the gold

sunsets of men’s minds. Manicured estate

stretched to the wrought iron fence in green dun.

New York: this was the city of dreams run.


Emily Isaacson

Monday, July 26, 2021

Requiem for A Queen's Swan

Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company

The wall beside the Queen’s pond was adept

at keeping undesirables out; swans

flew in and landed with their huge wing spans:

enough to break a man’s arm if unkempt.

The eldest woman on castle grounds sat

and watched them every day for silken hours,

her hair was white as snow, her eyes water

blue, as she sat and stroked a long-haired cat.

Her wildest prayers she would enunciate,

and her hands were painfully gnarled I guessed,

she believed transformation was reeling

its answers in the form of art quite late—

the swans were poets: spirits effortless

at self-love, where she had little feeling.


She wrote like the web and was very old,

of a spider’s haunt, the delicate dew

hung from each strand of her mind, not askew,

although her bun contained the wisps of cold.

Elegant swans hated the velvet hounds,

the populace thought they were causing war,

disastrous occurrences, even far

off prophecies had already been found

innocent by church theology, they

only predict the future, not cause it.

Merciless, blood hounds chased and arrested

miserable chaste birds and made them prey;

people of Poland were not opposed, writ

words given up, eating succulent flesh.


For swans are faithful creatures, dedicate

their lives to one spouse, and raise their cygnets

splashing into the waters, calm there met:

their words are harsh and hiss, relegated

to a library stack with fearsome beaks.

Habitual mornings are somewhat poor;

half past seven, they arrive asking for

breakfast. Their host in a house is the meek

Parish Priest, he put the swans under his

protection from the twelfth century’s blood:

it is illegal to harm a swan, white,

black, or any consort—webbed feet, a Liszt

in sleight of hand upon the keys, there could

be no other than the maestro’s bride.


It is treason to hurt or maim molten

swans—played each key with firm finality

and to one soul it resounded teary

into eternity, her one stolen

perfume, that languishing fragrance of youth

when she brought a young blond runaway home

and let her sleep on the couch like a poem

for a few hours into morning. Uncouth,

we lifted our heads in the corn fields, dark

eyes watched a girl running in a sundress

until tears streamed down our faces, music

this beautiful is the texture of bark

on an oak tree, no longer are you less

for living vicariously, physic.


There is one remedy, lest you drive a

swan to its death. There are a host of tar-

black tutus that to the wood ballet barre

exact a pliƩ in sequence, a way

a candle in the wind’s brass bell rings it,

built up to its highest goals’ aptitude,

eventually dies in solitude.

She first bends supple, like a grey cygnet,

in imitation of the older dance,

wrinkled seeds, dancers who have come before,

deep in the ground were rooted and flawless.

Spoken word grows to a thousand’s applause,

green Earth’s oldest tree could not be deformed,

subtle rejection grew its desert claws.


On the dun outskirts of society,

she had suffered every rejection known

to humankind, there was no more wind-blown

morality to impropriety.

Was she now oil or wine, the verse would look;

and the vineyard ran purple with royal

colours, the swollen grapes bursting from toil,

the ground was sandstone and red underfoot.

It was night; the young woman, olive tow’rd,

the sun’s star was far gone at eleven—

in cape, she rang the bell. There was silence.

She would come again, there would be power

reciting by heart an emollient;

she would speak without seeing violence.


A swan’s concerted effort at swimming

is made to look quite effortless, seeming

a quiet glide through waters deep, reaming

at a classroom of old notions, dimming

lanterns with olive oil, lighting the way

by new commitments and new trust in love

that makes us human, singular above

dependency and mentoring our stay

on earth here for awhile: we are alive,

we felt pain, and knew what it was to be

swans and sacrifice for what we believed

in. We went hungry, were unrealized,

we fed the children of tomorrow, sea-

swept lives full of memories, now retrieved.  

Emily Isaacson

Author's Note: 

Emollience adj. 1. Softening and soothing, especially to the skin. 2. Making less harsh or abrasive; mollifying: the emollient approach of a diplomatic mediator.

The Free Dictionary › emollience