Drought Town

This is the summer of red dust. Everything
sucked dry—hollow as cicada husks, wedged
under eaves and porch stairs—waiting
for a wind change. On the road out of town,
empty grain silos loom, perched like headstones
over wheat-field graves. Harvesters sag, tyres
cracked like the asphalt. Rotting carcasses
litter riverless beds—tongues swollen,
flyblown, unslaked. First, a wheeze,
then my pickup spews steam. It dies in a ditch
under a burnt-orange sun. Tiger snake chunks
graffiti the hood’s underside, one blind eye bulging
from the torn head. It must have sought shade
or wiper water—sliding up from the parched earth
miles back. Now it’s just one more dead thing
in a land of dead things. This is the summer
of red dust. It swirls and the road ahead blurs.

– Ryan Stone

first published by Eunoia Review

The Wind Whispers, The Wind Sighs

– after Longfellow

The wind whispers, the wind sighs,
the dawn light brightens, a magpie cries;
amongst the gum trees tall and green
a girl becomes a faerie queen.
And the wind whispers, the wind sighs.

Morning settles beneath silk skies,
her reign flits by like dragonflies;
deep shadows dress the naked hill
in dusk, as faerie wings fall still.
And the wind whispers, the wind sighs.

Night throws a cloak; a barn owl cries,
another answers, stars blink like eyes.
The queen is gone, won’t come again;
these woods forever will remain.
And the wind whispers, the wind sighs.

– Ryan Stone

first published at Poetry Nook, May 2020

In Fallow Fields

In my father’s field
my fledgling hopes are neatly hedged,
sown in the soil of silent forebears.

Beside a bourne, in chalk and flint,
I plant my dreams deep.

The rasping of his shovel has slowed
this season. Some furrows lie shallow,
others run deeper.

Through rustic panes I watch him bend,
straining against the pull of years
to pluck joy from the loam.

A moment’s pause to contemplate
a lone invader into precise ranks,
before his shovel resumes its dirge.

Discarding my pen, I fall in beside–
a forgotten page, unplowed.

Ryan Stone

First published on The Houseboat in August, 2015

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Souldier

The Harley was midnight polished chrome,
three years of saving — a gift to myself
in the spring of seventeen.

I donned leathers as my birthday broke,
left the house that was not home
and rode out into morning. Rode

until I landed, beneath the steely gaze
of a drill sergeant who forged men
from boys of seventeen.

He shaved away my dreadlocks,
found a fractured soul beneath,
broke it down
then built it up,
stronger,
more complete.

Ryan Stone

First published by Silver Birch Press, February 2017

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Rishi’s Star published at The Drabble

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I’m excited to see one of my drabbles – Rishi’s Star – published at the wonderful site The Drabble.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia offers this definition – “A drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words in length. The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author’s ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.”

The Drabble also has an excellent guide to what they’re looking for – What Exactly Is Drabble.

I’ve been writing them for awhile now and find it a great way to tune in my brain at the start of a writing session…and every so often I’m left with something I like.

Worth a try when you’re next faced with that dreaded blank page 🙂