Betsy Mars – Four Poems


Hooke’s Law

Spring sprang, for how could it be kept down
when life itself was rising, bursting
budding, thirsting.

Winter, absorbed with harsh realities
graying, decaying, days and thoughts,
cheerless holidays, years all end.

Thawing, Spring brings muddy residue,
fleeting sun and threats of rain.
Out pop pink flowers from bulging buds,

too taut with promise to stay tight-lipped;
eager to attract each needle-nosed suitor
sowing a track of fertile infidelity.

Spring sprang, defying gravity’s pull,
its zenith reached in summer, finally falling –
but for now, let’s leap



Leaves flicker, fried, France’s
last chance at catching
summer’s fast fading light.

In flight to a floating fall –
no harvest time
raking the seasons away.
Bon fires burning elsewhere:

bad books and short fuses
frayed, electrifying –
nerves running down the wire
like squirrels in disarray

chasing after windswept nuts,
with nowhere to go 
but up


English breakfast, Australian afternoon: a poem inspired by tea bags

English breakfast, marmalade and tea,
enclosed gardens with gray stone walls,
a little duck pond ripples, quacking softly –
hedgehogs rolling like small tumbleweeds, ­
A musty library, a ladder, a dusty book.
A shady grove, a thorny hedge, a rocky ledge.
A stile and a field crossing,
scones and clotted cream in winter,
Christmas cake and Roses candies. Woods,
magnanimous in ancient confidence.

Australian afternoon, full of bird sounds
and bush walks, odd bedfellows and strange
encounters. Scent of eucalyptus breathing
free, evolution and slow change, holding onto
what’s vast and primitive, the foundations
of life crawling belly flat from water’s edge,
rock solid on empty plains,
ravenous and carnivorous life in hidden pools,
grasping jellied tentacles on beaches
preying for a tender ankle.
Unsuspecting walk into the spider’s web,
closing in on something profound, gripping.

Evenings are less devoted; love affairs with
France or Italy: alternating, unfaithful.
Lingering meals at heavy tables
weighted with history and lightened
with conviviality – coarse bread
and fresh wine, olive oil pressed
virginal and regional, bearing ripeness
and abundant stories through its roots,
branches, fruit. Pits to process,
bones to pick, cheese to follow.
Lingering, we sip small coffees
and eau de vie, and thank our lucky stars
to see the sky open up for us again.


April Fools

A poem in April or any day,
a dessert in the desert – mouth-watering
mirage or a sweet ending,
a trifle, a sponge to sop up
life’s syrupy spread,
a meringue, a cake of a thousand layers,
cream-filled or fruited,
an ice or a slice of the pie,
an afterthought or
a finishing touch,
something to take the night’s edge off,
something light when the rest of you is


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is connection – to animals or nature, and especially with other humans. Oftentimes art facilitates this connection by providing an entrée into experiences other than our own, and we feel a kind of permeability between ourselves and others (past and present), as well as between us and the larger world. This intensification of emotion and lessening of personal boundaries can lead to deeper appreciation and compassion. That moment of feeling or receiving compassion is what is most poignant and beautiful to me — the recognition of the other and the ephemerality of all things.


Betsy Mars has long resided in Southern California. She was born in Connecticut, but moved several times as a child, including spending two years in Brazil. She is a poet, educator, animal lover, mother, and traveler. She has her BA in Psychology from USC, as well as a Master’s in Communications Management through the Annenberg program at USC. Her work has been published by the Rise Up Review, Silver Birch, Gnarled Oak, The Ekphrastic Review, and in the California Quarterly journal, among others, as well as in a number of anthologies. She currently indulges her need for risk-taking by substitute teaching and living with multiple animals underfoot. More at: