poems by Stephanie V. Sears

On the Lake


Something tells you that it will not be here forever

Although highlights and shadows move

Through the day in permanence.

Every passenger is promised a better world

As the boat’s engine grinds politely

Away from the jetty.

On an arrow point of land close by,

An old house, sweet in the human bondage

Of green shutters and lacteous walls,

Stands tall on a lawn incline where,

By the shore, weeping willows brand

Its façade with rhapsody.

The sun hangs immaculate above,

As though it might spread wings.

The swans, their feathered arses upside down

Are confused between two firmaments.

For the sun throws stars on the water like confetti.

Clarity, unstoppable.

Releasing from the dark velvet of slopes

Turned off by the hour,

An emerald mine of pasture,

And from the sky’s pellucid quiet

The longhand of flight.

Dollops of snow on the peaks

Have an afternoon’s lemony taste

To the eyes.

The sliding doors of mountains

Leave gaps to pass through.

You want to escape

Pursuit by mankind.

One second turns the lake to glass

Keeping you still now

In a rumor of infinitude.

A candid calm that does not tolerate

Any schemes of agitation.

All is fair presence,

Neither friend nor foe.






Eastward is best. To reach hotbeds of dream,

tireless, beyond beet fields

battened down with straw.


Bypassing farmland flats,

where hay bales promise


a score of wolf howls,

from the sweven of mountain

blackened by djinns of forest.


In summer, the alpine house,

embossed with blue flowers,


celadon shutters and cello insight,

is mother’s

telepathic legacy.


In quantic passageways walking

in and out of synaptic calms and storms.


Her celestial ceilings cloud over.

By windows, a Darjeeling-scented rainfall,

and the afternoon yawns like a panther.


At both ends of the day, elsewhere

comes home, exotic and enchanted.


Spruce woods nearby

guard the savagery

of the spotted and striped.


Mother haunts her laboratory,

integrating the lovely and the wild.




Tight Rope


We wondered which form of life

we belonged to.

At four and eight, we wove between

the ragged poetics of castaways and

the pillars of establishment.

America’s light-headed

lawns eased back under centenary oaks

though economy fined down our infancy.


Our kitchen table, raw like a slab of meat,

spared us superfluities.

The cottage windows focused on our fantasies,

twelve pane binoculars keeping us from New England blizzards.

Christmas presents stood by

like great idols because

they had required sacrifice.

A summer of thrashing thunderstorms

was another precept of instability.


When my brother and I crossed

the larch and pine wood

shimmering with surmised magic

and the shadings of fancy,

we knew another world,

of wounded elegance,

of Chinoiserie confusion,

blue, green, saffron porcelain stacked

against a heart’s despondency.

The lilting-tongued maid who greeted us

moved cobwebs from place to place

with the languid fingers of a Bebali dancer.

Staircases ascended like djinn spirals

to garrets of hidden woe.

Ancestors, framed in wooden austerity,

darkened by secular emanations,

hovered like moths around candlelit suppers:

an arpeggio of courses closing

with the decadence of profiteroles

sobbing hot chocolate sauce.

In every fireplace winter fires etched

an archaic charm into Manchurian rugs

where we nested like squirrels.


Already, gymnasts steadying ourselves

between mightiest and most modest,

on that tight rope

striking a balance.

poems by Stephanie V. Sears

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