Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

For Jack Powers

Photo by Bill Perrault


Poetry is the graphic expression of insightful perspective. Masterful poetry requires expert literacy, insatiable curiosity, a sense of daring willingness to both explore and share, and a glad acceptance of responsibility--good, bad or indifferent--for blazing trails into hitherto unexplored territories both within and without.

This does not occur in a vacuum; each poet draws direction and inspiration from those who have gone before, each according to their own path, following a map a soul tracks etched in iron gall, felt-tip and rattlecan, graffiti inscribed on the mind and heart by those bold enough to go before, to lay the foundations for future poetic accomplishment. Jack Powers has laid foundations such as these.

I have followed trailblazers and pathfinders such as these, as have we all, and I am deeply and eternally indebted to them for their insight, their determination, their perseverance, their vision, their art and their craft, as are we all. My work is theirs as much as it is my own. Jack Powers has blazed trails such as these.

Poetry is an orphan. Touted as the highest form of language by dusty professors in musty classrooms, it is virtually ignored by what passes for mainstream literature, whose jaded tastes tend toward the formulaic romantic and horrific, mass printed junk food for the intellect and poison for the soul. Still, poets and poetry survive, lurking in the shadows of small pub circles and the corners of lyrical coffeehouses, leaving many to pen their fate, as Dylan described in his song "Hard Rain". From these corners, from the dust beside forgotten roads, from the inner reaches of the human soul, the vagabond spirit of poetry cries out for a home. Jack Powers has heard these cries and would not let them go unanswered.

Stone Soup is a home for Poets, and Jack Powers its Godfather.

--Colorado T. Sky


In the complex dark
Of a convoluted shell,
"The Pearl of Great price,"
A miniature Moon,
Formed from pain
Around the cruel irritant
That spurs all true creation.

And you are the pearl diver,
The only one
Who can bring this thing of beauty
To the surface of your consciousness,
This gift to all,
Into the light
Of beneficent Sun.

--Joanna Nealon

These Little Deaths…

Flying higher than the soul can trace
Extended to the scope of moon
There is no end to this flight
Like death, it is a destiny no doubt
Bits of light shed only a glimmer
Of harmony – I know I will die like this
Words that swell in the knot of my brain
Where am I? ho am I? And you--who are you?
There are paintings in these clouds above
I have seen their faces transform into promises
Beyond my memory, just before I fade
Into the depths of despair and these legs
Tremble with my arms – and this heart of mine
Is no longer divine.
It will fade in time
Bring me back to the blue of this sky
Before my dreams became nightmares of today,
Before my dance became a disjointed rhyme,
I am here, there, with me, without you – in space,
And I never asked for this
I never wanted to live, to die like this,
Floating in a field that resembles a heaven
But it is always hell, and without the words …
Always grunts, screams and angry, wild thoughts
That gesture suicide, and is this life?
So many studies and cures, but not for this
I suffer in silence because no one wants to hear it
And Van Gogh painted these visions, temporal with flow
Believe in me, I understand why you let the bullet in
Your beautiful, beautiful mind – brushes still wet with
Cadmium reds bleeding a shame beyond any poem,
Fire to fire, dust to dust, fire to fire, dust to dust
Slice the canvas not the brain, I never wanted to go insane
Oh lift me up God, don’t bring me back down again
Shake up my veins, my arteries to leave my legs weak,
Dizzy in my own speak - too many pieces astray,
And all I can do these days is pray
These little deaths, angels with wings dripping tears.

--Deborah M. Priestly

Bird with Strings

A tall sixteen, Jack stands in Storyville
Charlie Parker hobbling out in a heroin glaze
Spinning a top of bebop, 1954.
He takes in the notes, notes the takes,
Just as he will, all the way down the line,
At Peter Piper’s, Charlie’s Tap, TT the
Bear’s Place, Out of the Blue
--For 37 years he has strung his soul with the sounds
Of the troubadours of Boston...
It’s thirty years after the baptism by jazz, 1984:
Next to the Red Hat, in a Beacon Hill church basement,
Those sound echo off the walls,
My sounds, reading my poem on Bird.
Jack takes in the echoes like a teacher
And follows with his tale
Of catching the deteriorated demon.

Another poet reads.
Scripture seeps through the talk,
Queries over Malachi, Noah, Nero.
“Where is Daniel Cantor?” Jack asks;
Daniel is spreading his Best Butter
On bread in Brookline.
Greg eats the bread at T Anthony’s
With coffee, cream no sugar.
Ed and Barbara and Don Quatrale
Are drinking sherry in the fens.

Acorns fell from a petrified oak.
The oak still stands,
23 years later,
Ringed and fat as a redwood.
From its outermost boughs a robin’s nest falls
Into Jack’s rapid hands.
He carries the nest into the wild, without cracking an egg,
Strumming his poet soul
Every step of the way,
Bird’s song rising to meet him.

--Gordon Marshall


A younger poet
"Gets to Know" WHAT Matters
I have two hours:
But without that
Task I sought;
I wonder
That your handsome
Lets me breathe forgiveness
In your home, when you're not
I haven't brought a gift;
But things to share bulge from my bag.
My "Peaceful" mind explains
Your grace,
Waiting on the stoop
Would have left me vanquished
In ways I could not have
Brooked nor bridged:
Your Art is like your heart--
And, yes,
I want to be it:
Glad to Free it;
Know I see it:
Your absence is a presence,
Except that when you're here,
I'm there.
Though, now that you've arrived,
My art; contrived, can only stare
In wonder at the branches that you bare.
The Bright Forsythia,
Oh, so Yellow, is a
As only God
Can manufacture,
Into "Time"--
Has a meaning;
Your Care.

--Margaret Nairn