Leland James

The Morning, Waking

Do you wonder at the morning, waking—
Rising above modernity, a praise of light.
Sunrise: the curtain lifts, an inborn aching?

Above the atom split, the genome making …
Does light prevail, transcending mortal might?
Do you wonder at the morning, waking—

“[G]lorious Sun uprist:”sublime? dressmaking?
‘Sentimental’ sequined gown; or words in flight?
Sunrise: the curtain lifts, an inborn aching?

“[S]ilent sun … full-dazzling;” passé? breathtaking?
Dulled minstrel’s saw; or harp of peerless height?
Do you wonder at the morning, waking?

Decree the harp unstrung, earth’s glory breaking
Brighter than the sun—or affirm the rite?
Sunrise: the curtain lifts, an inborn aching?

The rise of sovereign earth, the sun’s forsaking?
Sublimity but thorns impaling mortal sight?
Do you wonder at the morning, waking—
Sunrise: the curtain lifts, an inborn aching?


Leland James is the author of four books of poetry, three children’s books in verse, and a book on creative writing and poetry craft. He has published over two hundred poems worldwide, including The Lyric, Rattle, London Magazine, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Haiku Quarterly, and The Ekphrastic Review. He was winner of The UK’s Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and has won or received honors in many other competitions. Leland has been featured in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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A Poetry Journal

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