the poetry that matters

Mark Jonathan Harvey Klassen

Mark Jonathan Harvey Klassen lives in Yarrow, British Columbia, Canada. He runs a writing services company called Namesake. He recently returned from India where he spent the past six years.

tending sheep for everyman, i-vii


i. that prisoner

autumn noise in spring

lying awake at night for him

means more than every silence

every ceiling with counted cracks

setting oceans adrift like dangled moss

to cover the gaping tundra while

he absorbs her pain

and closes distant eyes of calculation

an awful anguish of faith sung throughout

leaving nothing more than quiet weapons

dangerous defects seven more than before

and he doesn’t even know her name


ii. that warrior

riding alone entrusted, duty bequeathed

his plan, a circular task of stone

in battle, a definition of sorts

to slay or be slain

his darkness unfurls, hovering lights

battering the old moon, discretion

in the taut casing of his dreams

every alliance withheld

sensing courage, lost in temptation

his spirit falls, a gentle decay

in love we are never alone


iii. that killer

listening to the policeman of his heart asking him in the silence if that look was good or did he just kill a man and maybe he did but he fixed the problem except for the trail of blood that went by the house of his brother who asked him if when they disagreed would he do the same to him and maybe he would.


iv. that king

a palace full, streets of envy

the pride of place and offspring

made empty by wandering eyes

lonely, tired arms and expansion

echoes in the entryway, the chill

beneath every silence and response

he dares not speak, his stairs keep

hollow beds at bay and remembrance

the kingdom is surveyed, crumbled

this is not the doing of circumstance

another house holds their pain

shared over a quiet meal


v. that friend

he wants something to reach back and touch him quiet reflective he wants a memory to hold and haunt him waiting critical he needs a highlight that sets him spinning he needs an act of courage to make him willing asking stagnant respectable he looks for a rainbow that reminds him falling he looks for sunshine to melt him thankful he finds everything about him matters less turning he finds more integrity excitable an honest place for his honest mess sentimental desperate he needs to face something on the verge of something needs to crumble and fall and die someone needs to hold him and tell him that this something is not really who he is.


vi. that judge

unresolved, neither here nor there

caught in the middle, upset with

the past, unsure about the future

tried for far too long to make it

happen, still waiting for it, but

only sees it floating between

success and failure

left only with the here and now

the hesitation in a lonely moment


vii. that pilgrim

believing above, letting him wander

            exodus deep, exile indeed

                        walked in the garden and waited

                                    wilderness and sacred mountain

                                                he heard the voice, tearing him apart

                                    leaving him alone, restless, homeless

                        suffering the broken, barren

            without help, empty treasures

stillness and holiness


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                                                                                                                      April 11, 2012