Monika Leepoetry
Monika Lee is a Canadian poet and full professor in the English Department at Brescia University College affiliated with Western University in London, Ontario. She is the author of If water breathes (2019); gravity loves the body: poems by monika lee (2008); skin to skin (with Shelly Harder, 2016); slender threads (2004); a play called The Petting Zoo; the libretto of an opera, The Maker; Shelley’s Impact on Rousseau: Figuring the Written Self (1999) and dozens of peer-reviewed essays on British and Canadian literature. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies worldwide.

September sun

A golden sheen encompasses the wood
and blood red drops of maple spot the greens,
the slanting lights of autumn gleam with time—
kaleidoscopic splendor in the leaves.

A heron curls his neck into the pool
and eddies swirl beside his perfect form;
he sees us and he watches from his stance,
the water mirrors sunshine – light is born.

We sit upon a solid-seeming stump,
the warmth and sprays of blossom hold us there,
the spotted moment’s wordless glory stays
and waters glisten in the clockless air.

A stream, a sky, the leaves, and we are one
resplendent glow beneath the midday sun.


the medina teems with antics.
souks and mules press against us,
tajines and sheep heads sizzle
in an unreal light.

jars of live scorpions are sold –
some come with their own exorcist.

fire eaters, dancers and magicians
throw us through the streets like flames.
i am lost in the hungering.

if we take some of your mint tea
sweetened to excess,
will you let us go,
release us to the palmerie?

or free us to the desert?
there scorpions are not jarred.
the wild cradled dunes
are magician and exorcist.

vanquished on the lake

i took refuge
in the stolen land
on my way home.
angels appeared,
spheres revealed constellations
a braille to my blindness;
dream crystals fell,
were vanquished on the lake.

i felt i was seeing
i had no right to see
– sacred things.

i turned away, and
when i looked again
the future was gone.

slender threads

a truant path, a slender thread
always leads to fate,
vision is an amber cord
tying a noose around the passage of time.

past never was. be here and now.
the future casts gigantic shadows on today.
a vast bird of prey,
it broods over its shadows--
over the eggs our thoughts would be.

a tightening grip on a slender thread,
a rebel grasp on a lengthening cord
slips forward and gives way.
tomorrow plants debris between
the interstices of time.

far-off centuries laugh in beholding this;
dense patches of fog obscure the sound,
but listen. . . and we may salvage time's pieces,
pile and mould them into a legacy,
an unblinking watch upon the days.

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