Taunja Thomson – Four Poems


The Call

Dusk comes early this time of year
and you have climbed over hills
for this view—
for this pale sunset
whose manteau of magic
falls on the neck of lake
opens waves
pulls nebulas of hues
from indigo depths
to create a garden of ghostly
lights         an ambush
of blooms
of cobalt stems topped
with amaranthine florets
each a divinity        a hieroglyph
you cannot parse        a bell pealing
over the sound of water
drumming on shore.
You drift under the shimmer
come up for air
your skin aglow
barnacled ebony        eggshell        saffron        sable
while horizon like a jackknife
cuts sky until it bleeds night.

~inspired by Ewould De Groot’s painting “Call of the Loon”

Opulent Favors

Buck ambles in the twilit lea.

Leaping is for mornings
when the buzz of bees
rattles the coneflower.
Pronking is for afternoon
when the movement of humans
startles then dispels the haze
of sun motes lazing just above ground.

This evening is for the dragonfly
scudding over and skimming algae-laden pond

for fern tribes commingling in shade
and sighing the name of each newborn frond

for violets peppering grass
as stars speckle amethyst sky.

This evening is for the prickle
of mist         the swelling of shadows
and thunder cracking sky open
for rain’s sharp patter
on this opulent field
of plenty.

Over Radiant

Holding the ghost-white moon
between my palms
I shuddered.
The air tasted of apples, and June
held me rapt.

Black-emerald tree shadows
waved bushes        brushed ground.
Cool air crossed with warm
around my limbs
frogs croaked
in chorus
silver underbellies
of clouds

I swallowed the night whole
through my pores.

The lightning blinded, opening
narrow channels so long choked
with the blur
of being.

I received the benediction
of thunder
then it moved to the next town
leaving me with the cool
moon and clammy dew
lying over me
and the chirping
of grasshoppers
as they climbed
over radiant blooms.

Under Grapes

In April all those years ago
there was no better place
to sleep than in that lea:
shielded by vines
cushioned by grass
with a daisy pillow
and in a cream and moss-
colored dress with dusky blooms
your feet folded in golden shoes
a pomegranate falling away
from your hand.
You dreamed past all the flowers—
sheathed and mauve and open and white
and spiked and red and ruffled
black-centered and olive-stemmed.
You dreamed of earth opening     shaking
rumbling and you slipped
under soil and roots.
The world was all shadow and fire.
Screech owls orated from cypress trees.
You saw a small figure—
her face ashen
she wore a mantle of torch and bat.
She had left her lea behind
and open sky was a dream
wind a wish         grain a portrait.

You woke up on moss
a sward of verdigris
insects speaking in your ear
soft grey swath of sky
drizzle of rain
pomegranate bleeding its seeds
into ground.
The only change: your hair from brown
to the deep violet of coming night

~inspired by Felice Casorati’s “Dreaming of Pomegranates”


Author’s Statement on Beauty

A memory, a wish, an idea, an image, a sound.  Whatever form it takes—a hairbrush lying on the dresser, a desire for peace, a feline stretch, a kite bobbing in the wind, the om sound—beauty evokes.  The evocative nature of beauty is what propels artists and writers and musicians to make more beauty.  In this way, beauty is circular and generative, vigorous and fertile, the soil from which springs more beauty, which then in turn drops its seeds.  Beauty is not necessarily “regular,” smooth, or pretty.  Alanis Morissette’s “funny lip shape” in her song “Silent All These Years” sums this up—what evokes can be weird, ironic, counterintuitive.  Yet to me the single defining feature of beauty is that it always serves as a clarion call for artists of all kinds.


Taunja Thomson’s poetry has most recently appeared in Potomac and Surreal Poetics.  She has co-authored a chapbook of ekphrastic poetry which has recently been accepted for publication. A worshiper of nature, her summers are filled with water gardening, and her winters are spent obsessively feeding the birds and other wildlife that appear in her one-acre slice of heaven, a field.