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Ward Kelly Poems



The poet's head is in the air --
no doubt of this, for one hears it
all the time -- and that is where

my literary constructions
are made, with words, there,
in the air.


We make gargantuan efforts, all of
us humans, in substances not intended
to last, like tooth and bone,

not meant to endure; we labor
like a dentist whose forty year
efforts all end up in tombs.


Odd to think the airy edifices
have outlasted nearly everything
but the pyramids, and will be

touched by the human eye
ten thousand years from now . . .
new readers, constructing new flesh.

A Mighty Belief in Tonight

The blue scars you streak
across my breasts are made
by fingers more timid than
those you would think to use

when you find me under
the skins at night; now
your hand is sacred while
you hold your face stern . . .

these fingers tell me we
may not love again in this
life, here in these woods,
yet my breasts speak back

to you . . . I breathe in with
all of me, raise my bosom
under your hand, and my
skin says we will bloody

ourselves mightily today,
dedicate many of the enemy
to the gods and to the fortune
that is our love; in battle

these breasts will turn red,
and when I catch your eye --
my knife spinning between
our faces -- I will give you

a mighty belief in tonight.

Artist's note:
The Roman historian, Ammeanus Marcellinus, wrote that Celtic women followed their men into battle, taking an energetic part in the melee. An axiom of the times was a Celtic man and his wife could hold off an entire troop of Roman soldiers. It was not recorded however if women went naked into battle as the men did. In the Celtic world, women possessed equal rights with men, and could inherit land and wealth. Women could be elected to any office and also be admitted to war councils.

A New Education

I lift this petal, not a gift, not
a message, but it came from

you, unexpectedly, folded
by the pages of the novel you

intended for me to read, a new
education in the artistry of the soul,

written by an author I did not
recognize. But the petal has taught

me much more about your own
soul than the book ever will, since

it's clear this book was once given
to you by your former lover, the florist.

I lift this petal, not a gift.

CHARLOTTE'S WEB        ARTVILLA       Poetry ©Ward Kelley

New bio info:
As for me, I'm a 51 year old business executive with 3,600 people in the division reporting to me. I only mention this because in a sense the daimon that propels my occupation also propels my poetry. For instance, Gertrude Stein once said, "If Mr. Robert Frost is at all good as a poet, it is because he is a farmer -- really in his mind a farmer, I mean." So in my mind am I a businessman who writes poetry, or a very minor poet successful at business? Who knows? Yet I tread carefully with this balance for fear my daimon will leave me, or my greed will taunt me for decades.

Formerly I managed distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona and Illinois. My wife and I now live outside of Indianapolis and are currently toiling with much determination on our second crop of children, having adopted four wonderful girls and fostered several others.

Ward Kelley has seen more than 1100 of his poems appear in journals world wide. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelley's publication credits include such journals as: ACM Another Chicago Magazine, Rattle, Zuzu's Petals, Ginger Hill, Artvilla, Sunstone, Spillway, Pif, 2River View, Melic Review, Thunder Sandwich, The Animist, Offcourse, Potpourri and Skylark. Recently he was the recipient of the Nassau Review Poetry Award for 2001. Kelley is the author of two paperbacks: "histories of souls," a poetry collection, and "Divine Murder," a novel; he also has an epic poem, "comedy incarnate" on CD and CD ROM.

Thank you for your visit to Ward Kelly Poems. Take the Artvilla tour Bus to surfing for fun:
FIDELITIES ~ Elisha Porat
Follow the affair poem
Apples Painting
Trash N' Tate Museum by H.J.Weston
Janet Buck New
Fog Poem
Parking Lot Dog Poem
Storm Poem
Follow the Plough Poem
Chasing the Dream Poem
Yesterday and Most of Today Poem
Israeli Poet ~ Elisha Porat
After Lunch Poem
Madman Poem
Crazy Old Lady Poem
Precipitation Blues Song by John Carmichael
Dude Painting
Demons Poem
Wine poem

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