The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 –2178


Volume-3                                                      DECEMBER -2013                                           Number-2



                    by Katharyn Howd Machan


In 1622 the ship went down,

knots of gold its cargo

beyond mere Spaniards’ dreams.

I’ve seen the heavy cross

studded with amethysts, imprinted

coins with their hundred stories

only the dead can tell.


In books the pirates always get

their just rewards: prison, hanging--

or the sack of silver for Long John.

Children ache for harsh blue ocean.

White sails stiff with wind.

They carry swords that flash bright

lightning, learn to shout and swear.


It’s islands where the dance of bones

begins dark memory. Ten paces, twenty,

ingots’ own deep curse. Enough to know

sapphires’ sparkle, blood of rubies’ gleam.

Parrots and rum turn spit to hope,

and where the map is torn and burned

the true adventurer dreams.






                                 by Katharyn Howd Machan


When in sweater and tie his young son came home

full of facts of betrayal, love sold for silver,

how deceit was a smile like a small twisted snake,

repeating the nuns’ harsh belief in black guilt


the man tried to speak of Jesus and moonlight,

how a story needs to unfold in the dark,

of Mary and Mary and the rooster crowing

all part of the savior’s path to be Christ—


but how can a gentle father sway

a boy who’s been told what’s wrong and wrong

by the teachers trained to make him listen

to the slam of the heavy Church door?