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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


When I wrote this poem from my new book “Still-Water Days,” I remember hoping that somewhere among the galaxies other beings are doing better at loving one another (and maybe us) than we are able to do ourselves.

Twenty years ago, I wrote a poem in response to September 11, one that reeled with my horror at people having to choose between jumping or burning. I posted it last year and thought about posting it again today, but this one feels right for how I’m feeling this morning.

My heart goes out to all the grieving families, with deep sorrow for us all. I think none of us will ever forget where we were and what we were doing when we heard what was happening. Sadly, these days it often seems we may never learn from the past. _________ Dandelion Puffs

"The unpastured Gods have gone" Kenneth Slessor from his poem “Earth-Visitors”

Did the gods frequent green pastures here? Did they press designs into those tall grasses, taunt us with riddles hinting at their origins?

None will say they’ve met them face-to-face, if faces they do have, or welcomed them to join the daily feast at our common table.

So who created them, these visiting gods? Who sent them to Earth, blew them out like dandelion puffs until they landed here to

scatter fragile seed? I’ve not seen the dragons they ride in on—their sudden fiery spinning in the heavens as they come and go.

I believe that God above made these visitors— God of all that lives on myriad unknown planets—yet not above since there really is

no up or down, but only out from the burning center of all birth. Someday they may return to save us from ourselves, or perhaps to punish us

as if we were their lost children who have sadly turned away from all we ought to love as we spiral together through infinities of sky.

© Penny Harter 2021. From Still-Water Days (Kelsay Books, 2021).

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