I Agree With William Blake by Nonnie Augustine

“Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish."

William Blake died in 1827, well before the rise of Hitler, Stalin, Franco, or Mussolini. But he knew, Artists do not flourish, at least not openly, when under the thumb of repressive regimes. Artists draw the eye and ear toward kindness, toward the careful tending of small things, toward the freedom each of us needs in order to flourish. I expect I'm preaching to the choir here, because you are reading this magazine, and so, I believe, you already value art, and because you are reading this introduction to the poetry section of The Linnet’s Wings, you read poems. (Somehow many people don’t, you know.)

How awful life would be, how fettered, if all we had to read were White Papers, financial reports, news of war here and there and everywhere, or heaven help us, the dictates of an autocrat. Have you heard Jimi Hendrix’s version of The Star Spangled Banner? It’s beautiful, heartfelt, and utterly free. There’s also warning in this version of the anthem; he’s rallying us to never let our guard down and always to look for deeper meanings even in something we think is established and therefore completely known. Artists do that for us, whether they lived centuries ago, or are just starting out with their brave, tender voices.

Let me point you toward some of my favorite bits in this issue’s crop of poems:
“Joe’s dovecote/ was a narrow spartan shed/ enough for/ thirty racing pigeons/ cozy on their perches"
Stan Long

“ The atmosphere of Scandinavian coolness/ is tempered by the Japanese aroma/ and visual pleasure of the cavalcade/ of ancient sacred food" John Saunders

“the fathomless deep greens/of fir and spruce, steadfast/ throughout the harsh resentment of winter"
Anne Britting Oleson

“When all of the jobs/ dried-up, you/ helped me sew together/ the pieces of my broken spirit./ Having faith in your own words, in us." Ivy Page

“From inside the closed balcony door the cat watched/ with surprising calm./ My heart beat too was calm./ For a short while I knew everything, with certainty." Beate Sigriddaughter

“that austere boyhood near London,/ lamp-posts disappear into fog,/ images reminiscent of Whistler." Ian C. Smith

As you know, in the U.S. we just went through a bitter campaign season and finally re-elected Barack Obama for a second term as our president.

I am relieved for many reasons, but mostly because I was so disturbed by the other guy and his cronies. In what they said, did for their livings and by how they measured success, I knew. I knew.

These are not men (almost all of them are men) who value the words of poets. They'd not relate to pigeons, cozy in a spartan shed. I do. I’ve been warm and content in the most drear circumstances while a student at Juilliard.

I sense that these politicians, so proud of their success as businessmen, might purchase a Whistler but only as an investment; a status symbol. Not me. I would go to a museum to sit happily in front of one of his paintings and maybe, for a short while, I would know everything.

The Linnet's Wings is free to you online. I hope some of you will buy print copies because they are beautiful. We editors commit to each issue our unfettered spirits and we bring you the work of writers who speak to us without fear, with their best, and in their belief that through art we all will flourish.


Unexpected Faith by Ivy Page

Funeral by Ivy Page

Pine Siskin by Beate Sigriddaughter

You go Home Again by Ian C. Smith

"Meditation on the View from the Bell Tower, DUMC" by Anne Britting Oleson is a beautifully contemplative poem that paints a vivid picture of the landscape as seen from a specific vantage point, possibly a church's bell tower. The poem invites readers into a serene, almost ethereal experience of observing the natural world.

"Uncle Joe" by Stan Long is a poignant reflection on the connections between family, nature, and the sense of freedom and identity that transcends generations. Through the simple yet evocative setting of Joe's dovecote, the poem weaves a narrative of heritage, understanding, and the unspoken bonds that define our relationships.

"At Gardermoen" by John Saunders is a vivid exploration of cultural convergence and the complexities of identity in a globalized world. Through the lens of an airport sushi counter in Norway, the poem navigates the juxtaposition of Scandinavian and Japanese cultures, blending the elements of both in a setting that is at once familiar and foreign.

John Saunders' poem "Descent" paints a vivid scene of reflection and introspection juxtaposed against the backdrop of a flight over the North Sea. The narrator, in a moment of vulnerability, finds themselves "Drunk at thirty five thousand feet" not just in the literal sense of altitude and alcohol consumption but perhaps also metaphorically, as they navigate through the layers of their thoughts and emotions.

The Builders" by John Saunders is a beautifully poignant poem that metaphorically uses the process of building and construction to explore the evolution of a relationship. This piece illustrates the journey from the initial infatuation, marked by tenderness and intimacy, towards a phase where the relationship becomes more stable and secure, albeit at the risk of losing its initial spark and passion.

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