KB Ballentine – Four Poems

Everyone Who Loves Grieves

Dusk thickens into night.
Afterglow smolders horizon’s thin line,
moon echoing the sun’s song.

Near trees, crows ink the yard,
linger. Their silence
stunning more than sound.

I want to erase the muted light
spying on evergreens, the porch,
ribbons of shadows tripping us.

Complete darkness. Even clouds would be better —
finding our way by lavender and rose blossoms,
mimosa feathers drooping
while rain drips, dribbles the bark.

Ardgroom Stone Circle

How many thousands of years have you been there? —Ho Xuan Huong

Bark wet with rain, the hemlock drips,
shards of liquid carving valleys
into the trunk. Echoing fissures in rock,
layers of gray marbling the hills.

Through tufts of grass, creeping jenny flickers
and still the stones wait. Fog and dew web
the meadow, the small cairn in the center.
Ragged path rings the circle, fixed and frozen.

Feet, legs damp from the walk-about, I pause.
Kittiwakes cry overhead. Ocean shushes the shore
where chamomile and cats-ear cling
in Kenmare Bay.
Salt scatters, tickles
my lips, my tongue. Blue rushes stretch and blur
the horizon. Starlings shift shadows,
argue in hedgerows. Who was here first?

A gust ruffles my hair, surges past
and I head for home. Clouds scoot east,
scraps of stars faint and far above.
Traces of gold, lavender on the rim of night.

When the Light Leaves

My world shriveled when you left,
hoarfrost blinding the firs.
House too large, rooms with beds
but no sleep, only memories
of you. A narrow life
until even my heart closed in
on itself, a rhythmic dirge.

Then spring. Sharp song of wrens.
Warming rain in simple drops,
a surge of daffodils
outside my foggy window.
Your shirts in boxes, address blank.

Summer rumbles like the ocean, a waving
green vastness summoning me outdoors.
Fringe of grass nuzzles bare feet —
echoes your touch — I lose
my balance. Daisies, bee balm tremble
by the driveway. The sun licks my face,
you riveted in my thoughts,
polished, still bright.

Unseen, Two Small Fawns

Redbuds vein the woods, purple
pulsing through leaping green.

Spring erupts in laughing daffodils,
cherry blossoms clustered in clouds,
gasping, gazing into the wind.

Moss retreats to the wood line,
as daylight lingers, forsythia bursting.

At the coast, wind lathers waves,
gulls shrieking in the shallows.

Afternoon sun tags shadows,
warms sand and rock, pools stranded by the tide.
Inking the sky, pelicans trail the horizon,

and, in hedgerows, wrens scuffle
with song, nuthatch descending the oak,
drawing down the night.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

This world is filled with so many beautiful things, and so often we miss them because we’re too busy on our phones or wrapped in our own thoughts or simply weary of all the things that weigh us down.

When I stop to look around, even the most unremarkable images make an impact: the yellow butterfly swirling against hydrangeas, a puppy nuzzling the new baby, even a bent bicycle tire can summon poetic lines.

Beauty. It is in the eye of the beholder. If only we will “behold.”


KB Ballentine has an M.A. in Writing and M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her latest collection, The Perfume of Leaving, has just been awarded the 2016 Blue Light Press Book Award. Her work also appears in River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011). More at: www.kbballentine.com.