Margaret Rozga – Four Poems


Ode to Hope

I dream Izzy’s library books are in a neat pile on a corner table.
I dream my own are — see, just under those papers. I dream
of finding lost things. Someday I will write my counterpart
to Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” It will start with
The art of finding… It will start with finding words. Maybe
It will start and conclude with nearly identical lines.

It will contain silence. It will hold silence
at its roots. It will hold silence at its center.
It will be a tree, strong trunk and many branches.

It will be a painting, a drawing, a photograph,
a sculpture, an installation. I will read it
to the six people who long to hear it. I will read it
to a room with all the chairs filled, people standing
at the back, along the sides, even out the door. I will read it
from large type on a sturdy sheet of paper. I will read it
from the screen of my cell phone.
I will commit it to heart and do spoken word.

Not yet.
First the words of others.
First a seedling. One seed,
“One Hope”

First a fence around the tender stem.
First protection against bark being stripped away
by hungry deer. First abundant woods for the deer.
First the impression of their prone bodies in the tall grass.

First a single word, single sound.
First the turning of silence into sound.
First silence without hope.

Risk Awe

The flight pattern, its sweep
carves orange scallops against the green.

Someone nearby must grow milkweed,
pin point monarch eggs underneath
the leaves, at first unseen.

Soon voracious eating,
the chrysalis, and two weeks
later, pulsing wings. See

again in flight a loose weave
the absolute refusal to be unseen.

Catherine at Cape Kiwanda

Who is this person? Artist, daughter
waves of sunlit hair like water roiling
up sand, settling on stone still deeper in tone
as though light can be dark, and a spark dense

In her element, she works at the beach,
studies stretch of dune, curve and reach of cape
her hand moves like wind, her pencil like a twig
nodding, dipping, waking, arcing, skipping

Lines of rock go deep, of water surface
Something relaxed in ridge, and taut in water
Something nurturing, like a mother
in this artist daughter, who coaxes forth

the transparent lines that rhyme rock and sea

River Breadth

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
–Langston Hughes

It surfaces, too,
wrinkles, dips, peaks, valleys,
not Narcissus’ mirror. More.

As intricate as and perhaps more
telling than cool silent depth.

What cross purposes in color pulled
from full array of sun splay and flora.

It is not the length that draws us here, not
beginning and end—spring, brook,
Euphrates, Nile, Mississippi—brush
aside length, source and mouth.

This is the section
we come to again and again,
we who cannot know
the fullness of ocean breathe
in this sweep of river.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

In last November’s northwest wind, the cosmos in my garden waved their delicate and their bright pinks, their mauves and magentas.  After their start in a small pot and being twice transplanted, finally they were flourishing.  I took a photo of them.

On my Facebook author page, I posted this photo of beautiful abundance as the last of three, the first two being photos of the cosmos at those earlier, unpromising stages. I relished this beauty, but at first I had no words for it. Every phrase that came to mind seems to overstate what I saw in the sturdy cosmos that survived a challenging summer. Only after several days was I able to add words: In the meantime, the cosmos grow more beautiful.

Beauty survives even in trying times.  Beauty helps us to survive.  Now each day I try to find and to recognize something beautiful.


Margaret Rozga has published four books including Pestiferous Questions (Lit Fest Press, May 2017). She has been a resident at the Ragdale Foundation and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and held a creative writers’ fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. Rozga’s work has appeared recently in the Mom Egg Review, the Whale Road Review, and Los Angeles Art News.