Within a week dust fell
Upon the shoulders of
A timepiece.
An enormous shell.
An empty show box.

My well-worn rag is green
And pushed against fine things – 
And table legs.
Hallway rails.
Vacant chair arms.

In the hallway -step-step
Then skip my hearts beat.
Ragged door.
Behind its wall
No voice of reason.

Within these weeks dust fell
Upon each mountain object.
Wipe the clock.
Turn and place
My fingers round the doorknob.

The old rag fallen carelessly, sleeps.
Beat Beat -this life pumps –
The door cracked – 
My life’s unreason
Stands waiting.



When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

by Mary Oliver


It is clearer.
A pair of cruddy working shoes
By a metal door-
I am heavy - Off comes the day!
Costume. Name plate. 
Used up words and unused love.
This old basket holds it well.

See my dear friends!
Pages bonded and lined up in rows.
But some escape
And find themselves lying quietly
in unexpected places.
My heart longs to stack them.
Up against the door.
For this: A final barricade.

A pen. A sharp pencil.
Loose inked Paper.
I muse, I write, I bleed.
Music plays a serenade –
An ode to pages gone missing.
Mortar, life’s blood, tears
Hold paper bindings against the door –
Lay down my trowel. Sleep.

Shelley Rae Bell

In the Pause

All of life has paused
Quietly waiting
Like a heron facing sunset - 
For Onward Rest.

In the peace dawn
- the unveiling of the sun.
And the owl's soft callings sleep.
The whippoorwill sings songs
at the falling moon.

This. Pause.
Take a breath. Be
You think of me.
Between the darkness
and Light.
And I know.

Shelley Rae Bell

What time is it?

Threads are scattered
across my lap. How long 
have I lain cross this table?
Tic Tic the Clock
in the back of my head -
and the table rocks.

Threads. Thread...
bare in my hands.
The original tie -in.
Like a macramé hanging -
in its unformed state
yet frayed from sliding fingers.

And the time.
Ceasing. Unceasing. I relent.
the hands, the pen, the plug.
Toc Toc the Clock.
Stand - and the threads scatter 
Across the floor.

Shelley Rae Bell

Incomplete Dominance

Look at this recess all covered in theory!

As if the world was paper thin and transparent,

Mottled and crumpled,

Taking shape Under a watchful eye.

I contort. Take a turn in the weather.

as if I could change the wind or a grey spotted cloud.

Tumbled now and jagged edged Under a monochrome sky.

So then. Now. Take it back!

the form and philosophy, written.

I am sharp and slicing the paper essay,

the fading ink is mine.

Song, Sorrow and a Flower

I have a song of sorrow in my heart.

you only know.

The first born light today

shines on me.

while I suffer notes of weariness

shadows play in minor key.

I lay down in cool downy greens

and I see

notes in blues and reddish hues.

Up and down the scale it goes

a song begging to be free.

shelley rae bell

My Hand is on the Lock


Do I keep things out? Or in?

I cannot tell. I would not say.

Forged bars are where doors

would compose an opening.


I held the blacksmith’s hammer.

And tongs when I breathed fire.

Placed each bar in tedious fashion.

A wartime plan.


Do I lock the door against? Without?

I select. I would indulge.

A secret keepers combination.

A brave companion.



shelley rae bell