Thursday, 15 June 2017

2 poems by Ryan Warren

Morning Business, In the Rain

Though I grumbled
into my jacket

and out to the dark morning
though it took some time

for an investigatory nose
to uncover the right

square inch to anoint
with the business of the body

as sheets of grey sky
thrummed my hood

wind whipped my jacket
fur quickly flattened

and I tugged irritably
on the damp lead


life takes the time that it takes
and all the while

what a wonder it is about water
that it can fall from the sky

that a thirsting Earth
can swell to receive it

yet still hide scents
to beguile low noses

what a wonder it is about dogs
to be as happy

in the sheeting rain
as any day of mildest blue

my impatience
is my business

not the dog's
nor the rain’s

nor the wind's
nor my socks’

which will always
eventually, dry.

First published on 02/06/16

The Ravens of Japan

The ravens of Japan
speak with a different accent—
deeper, more rich and throaty
than the high-pitched caw
of their American cousins.

Or perhaps, even
a language of their own, where
in sonorous raven Japanese
while circling the blossoming
peonies and plum trees
of Hama-rikyu Gardens,
or alighting atop the pungent eves
of Tsukiji Fish Market,
they dictate their commentary
on the civility of the humans
peopling the earth below:

crisp and ordered as folded linens,
elegantly dressed,
salting each day
with a thousand thank-yous
and quick, generous little bows,
the value of harmony
laid deep in their bones,
the knowledge that
courtesy shown to others
reflects honor back to you.

Of course the vigilant ravens of Japan
from above the sculpted trees
also spy the hidden currents beneath—
the inequality, the stricture,
the regard given to surface things.

Certainly. Certainly the ravens know
from their watchful perches,
but I cannot tell you
how I would have found this
as a younger man
when I loved bold, high-pitched words
and exhausting honesty
so much more than today.

Today, when I find that I thirst
for even a sip of courtesy,
that I've flown halfway around my life
to at last discover the cartography of restraint.
How we treat each other,
in even the smallest things
is everything, it seems.

A point as dark and fine as the ravens,
slowly circling the painted Japanese horizon.

Ryan Warren lives with his family by the sea. His poetry has previously appeared in numerous journals, including California Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, Amaryllis, Poetry Breakfast and Your Daily Poem. Find more at

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