Sonnet from Ecclesiastes:
            Ecclesiastes I:9
by Barbara Crooker

There’s nothing new under the sun,
says the prophet, the leaves turning
brilliant colors right on time, one
of the things I love about the fall, this burning
without fire. Unbroken blue skies, home
of harvest, of plenty, combine blades churning
out rivers of golden corn. Our sojourn
on this earth, so brief. But I cannot play dumb,
Storms are more violent, thousand-year floods
more frequent, and the government turns
a blind eye to misery and need. How can we let
it all slip through our fingers? Whiplashed by the moods
of politicians, their fistfuls of cash. Winter will return.
Will we see another spring? I will not be silent.

First published in Relief, 2020

PAINTING: In the Autumn Mist by Tetyana Yablonska (1989).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’d been asked to write something on Ephesians for a specific project. The day I started this poem, my mind must have been off with the fairies, as they say in Ireland, because I went to Ecclesiastes instead. All of the other concerns in the poem were swirling around my mind , large concerns that emerged within the confines of this sonnet. I use “emerged” loosely, as it went through twenty or more drafts. In terms of healing the world, I’m hoping, with this poem, to invite  readers to pay close attention to the natural world, to raise awareness about climate change, and to encourage everyone to speak up (and vote) to keep our beautiful planet going.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Crooker is the author of nine books of poetry:  Radiance, winner of the 2005 Word Press First Book Award and finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance ( 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Excellence in Literature; More (2010); Gold (2013); Small Rain (2014); Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems (2015), Les Fauves (2017), The Book of Kells (2018), winner of the 2018 Best Poetry Book Award, Poetry by the Sea; and Some Glad Morning (2019), Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press. Her writing has received a number of awards, including the WB Yeats Society of New York Award (Grace Schulman, judge), the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award (Stanley Kunitz, judge), and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work appears in journals and anthologies, including Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Her work has been read on The Writer’s Almanac, and she has been an invited reader at The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Poetry by the Sea, the SoCal Poetry Festival, Poetry @ Round Top, The Festival of Faith and Writing, and the Library of Congress. Visit her and find links to her books at Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.