modern poetry

modern poetry

modern poetry 150 150 Robert Alan Rife

a medicine cabinet

stuffed with placebo


a closet full of clever


a basket of plastic apples

half-eaten, half-observed

spit back out where they too

become poetry


Hermes has a message

but his feet are raw

from too much slogging

in circles through the plumage

of the self-engrossed


t.s. eliot squints from

the writing chair

he’s but the worn-out scrivener

too tired to interrupt

from his tidy perch

hidden beneath our dust

and pretention


dickinson donne blake and hopkins sprawl

themselves out prominently

under the african violet

on some coffee table

but with coffee-stained faces

that sag bored from hearing

glorified journal entries

too minute for verse


was it williams’ red wheelbarrow

or mary’s kingfisher

or a d. h. lawrence butterfly

or even the silence of e. e.

that first whispered



was it too many commas

and too little rhyme

to make something live?

did the truth live among the

dreaming gemstones

where words give birth

to flight?


or maybe those words

were bled from the same

shaky pens

leaching the heart

of day-starved paper still

straining to see?


Robert Alan Rife

My friends think me complicated. My employer thinks me talented but at times, troublesome. God, and my wife see me as I am - a philosopher-poet with a rather circuitous journey of life and faith, the music and worship minister at Yakima Covenant Church, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and writer. I am a graduate from Spring Arbor University with an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership. These poems, and my life, are dedicated to those places where life, liturgy, theology and the arts intersect with and promote spiritual formation – who we are becoming. Join me on this journey to word-land. Maybe we'll find each other there and share a story or two.

All posts by Robert Alan Rife