Ralph Monday




Elementary Elements

The elementals element-speak to each other more
deeply than clever machines pinging out
ones and zeroes.

That is what the wind said ripping
through the woods, an angry verdict
blown down from an arctic conscious
of living, unseen energy & blasted down
a gigantic pine tree in the yard between

We live in a world of shadows & dreams
crossed by a naked mechanical reality.
That power could not be imprinted on the back
of a cereal box, or a mattress from Sears & Roebuck
laid out to absorb the shock,

or a dip in the North Sea in the middle of winter
like a rain soaked taper that cannot illuminate
the watery depths, chord extraordinary only held
for an instant.

But the tide returns, all of them, rhythmic unison
whether moon or mind-driven as we live on
sculpted patterns implanted like a stake driven
into vitals, so used to the pain that not even
a lost whimper drips from the trees.

Paralyzed by the clock, locked in lines,
moon forgotten, these now mass hobbies
silently squalling like little hungry babies
for the bottle.

Elementary illiterate, prone to doctor
appointments, cafeteria grazing, to specialists
who specialize in telling us our afflicted

What is the plan you say? What is the plan?
That same wind knows no allegiance to the clock;
Neither does the tree.



Ralph Monday is Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., and has published hundreds of poems in over 100 journals, as well as a chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, a book Empty Houses and American Renditions, a Kindle chapbook Narcissus the Sorcerer and an e-book, Bergman’s Island & Other Poems. A humanities text was published by Kendall/Hunt in 2018 with vol 2 coming in 2019.

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