W. Luther Jett – Four Poems

The Sea-River

Maybe it was the sea-river
         (White was the rose and red were her tears)
and the fragrance of the blue waters
as the wind ruffled her hair.

And maybe it was the wood-dove
         (White was the rose and red were her tears)
fluttering over the cobblestones
in the still of the morning air.

Or maybe it was the old bed-stand
         (White was the rose and red were her tears)
and the breeze that came in through the window
to rustle the letters there.

Yes, maybe it was the first street-car
         (White was the rose and red were her tears)
sounding a bell at the corner
as if someone waited there.

No, blame it all on the sea-river
         (White was the rose and red were her tears)
the call of  the broad, booming ocean
and the wail of the gulls in the air.


In deep night, sparrows
huddle together for warmth.

Out there beyond the ring
of solar dust, the stars

Fall through the lonesome arc
of time and dark unknowing.

Though we who watch the small birds
watch the great and distant lights,

We cannot know that anyone looks back.
Draw closer to me, then,

And I will drape my coat over
your thin shoulders, breathe in

The warmth of your hair, trembling,
feathers in the evening wind.


Night spreads
star-dappled fingers through
her dark, dark hair.
The cry of the mole-cricket
goes unanswered.

How we waltzed
away those languid spring
evenings lush with jasmine —
spinning wild along
the canyon’s edge.

In a city
that has forgotten its past
willfully, a gaunt urchin
fondles a brocade scrap
as if it were a doll.


A silence — dropt
amid the roar —
a room apart ——
If you would enter
a sanctuary
without start
nor end nor any
in between
but an expanse —
more pale
than any snow’s new-fallen
after winter’s gale.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Archimedes said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will move the earth.”

Beauty is the lever which moves the soul — to action or reflection, to laughter or to tears, to passion or compassion, in company or in solitude.

Beauty is witnessed in nature, as well as in the acts of humankind. It is as much present in a mud puddle as in a grand mountain range, and as much in a toddler’s tantrum as in a symphony — if one will only see it. The task of the author, the artist, or the composer, is to expose and translate the innate beauty which surrounds us. In this sense, with beauty itself the lever, the poem, the work of art, the song — these form the place to stand.

And as we move the soul, so we may move the world.


W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, such as The GW Review, Beltway, Innisfree, Potomac Review, and Little Patuxent Review as well as several anthologies, including My Cruel Invention and Proud to Be. His poetry performance piece, “Flying to America,” debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. He has been a featured reader at many D.C. area venues. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father, released by Finishing Line Press in the fall of 2015, and Our Situation, released by Prolific Press, summer 2018. More at:  http://www.lutherjett.com