Sunrise, 30 December 2020 – by Bonnie McClellan

•December 30, 2020 • 1 Comment
Sunrise, 30 December 2020
Now is the hour of the small birds
storming into the cypress tops,
which do not bend as they do
under the weight of magpies and ravens.
A murmuration of morning steam rises off the cement factory.
Disguised as fast-moving clouds, they power up the valley;
an insubstantial mother tugging at the hand of her sleepy puff of a child,
running off into nothing.
Now the sun snaps across the mountains
an incandescent ribbon of rose-lipped pink.
Clouds, scattered across the measureless pale-blue tile of sky, explode
into tulip petals, pink swans, holy doves

Shadow Play: Fennel and Bees

•August 19, 2020 • Leave a Comment

a follow up poem to “White Skirt on the Train”

For Matthew, on the occasion of his 57th birthday: 18 June 2020

•July 10, 2020 • Leave a Comment

Old Women and Old Men at the Ferry Stop

(The old women)

We remember the harem of the walled citrus grove;

Old women, how like apple trees we gather now:

Pink, heavy with stories of

some familiar odd thing —

mimosa trees, a seagull’s wing.


The wind rattles branch and bone

creases in our skin drawn dry

the feathered marks begin


(The old men)

A grove of old men gathers at the dock

live oak, pin oak;

Backs curved, stilted up

Worn down with the effort of standing

Dry twig of a laugh cracks wry.


The empty and chaotic air,

that passing through the trumpet sounds:

Ferry outbound, ferry in


Grebes baste across the swanless surface

disappearing threads.


21 March 2020, Lombardia, Italia – by Bonnie McClellan

•May 26, 2020 • Leave a Comment

21 March 2020, Lombardia, Italia


everything stilled

the world has stopped

a spring

crowned with silence.

On the occasion of the municipality posting a letter asking people to pay their cemetery dues – by Bonnie McClellan

•May 25, 2020 • Leave a Comment

On the occasion of the municipality posting a letter asking people to pay their cemetery dues


Boxes of disremembered bones

expatriated into/out of locus

sad berth

the heartbreak of a January

blossoming cherry.

Paranoia by Bonnie McClellan

•May 24, 2020 • 2 Comments



Her eyes slide to the side

like a Sienese saint

Painted by the brothers who died in the plague

back when there were 100 stories to tell

while bodies rotted,

left where they fell.

Escape into a place where

 we can’t smell

we can’t feel

we can’t fear

But she’s convinced it’s coming:

selfie snapping

facial mapping

the lost weekend

the bottom

of the barrel.


Three Saints (oil on panel) by Lorenzetti

A Belated Poem for International Women’s Day

•March 14, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Her hair is like a flag,
like an olive branch,
distinguished by its colour,
(unique but the same,
as so many others),
flapping in the wind
fruitlessly offering

Cloud Towers

•July 12, 2018 • 1 Comment
Thunder is grumbling down again,
Out of that un-ironed pile of forgotten clouds,
towering over the Alps.
Sweltering, breaking heat
A few 11 o’clock fireworks,
Even here.


•July 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This evening’s fresh clouds burst, Scattering across the asphalt a handful of rain’s unseasonable black confetti.

A jug of wine,

No loaf.

No thou.

I feed among the lilies of this resplendent sky.


Mothers and Daughters: Communicating Vessels

•June 25, 2018 • 1 Comment

One year when the awakened plane trees
find themselves struck yellow in the night,
there will be nothing left of me but
a memory in your hands as they pull
wet laundry from the spun drum or
open the window’s case –
inviting October’s last, warm breath
to communicate the dust
between one room
and another.

by Bonnie McClellan


This was first posted in May of 2013.

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