Three poems by Shane Rooney

A Nocturne

I can hear a lonely sparrow
Somewhere in the hall.

Its song is full in the doorways
And dirty shower stalls.

Someone has left it alone
To sullenly weep.

Just listen.

It echoes your name
From the sheer darkness.

Its cry carries with such beauty
It prods you to snap its neck.

Go now and kill it
And put your weary heart to rest.

Untitled (photo by Flickr user Emilian Robert Vicol)

Tar Light on the Roof

Tar light on the roof
Shingles tingle in the heat
The woman across the way
Steps on her balcony
Her daughter a stone beside her sitting.
Their skin both as brown as the leaves
Hair blown in black spindles by the wind
The cheap tin fence holds them from falling.
The yellow din of summer is gone,
I watch them and think of painting a mural
On hard stone tablets like Diego.
His eyes seeing what I see
Paint globs oil and flesh and heart
Thumping of blood through the brick and stone
I would chisel with steel and wood
A stone cutter creating tradition
With smooth round strides
My hands touching her body
The curves and flood of flesh
Gravity in each wave of emotion
The breathing becomes the true art
The penetrating glance and familiar flutter
Wild swathes of paint splattered with precision
The rhythms of living and dying in the monster months
I am capable of mesmerizing beauty and carving
I will never die,
My life is stone.

“Summer maps and waves” (photo by Flickr user Marius Dollinger)

The Morning, A Portrait

Indifferent to the sounds
Like a shepherd herding my bones
I file the day away

Alone at last
I am free to do
As I wish

Wishing against all
To do no more

Sore with wisdom,
A blade of hair
Is a barnacle on the hull
Of my hand

My voyage has been buried
Beneath the road

Yet the sun still rises
On me
Like an unturned stone.


Shane Rooney is a poet currently living in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire. He holds a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts. His work has been most recently published in the Wilderness House Literary Review. He believes that poetry, beer and traditional music are the last unpolluted sources of truth in the modern world. You can reach him at shanerooney@hotmail.com.