Cities of the Ocean

Cities of the Ocean
by Julie Sumner

The hidden cities of the ocean
Never wilt from wind-filled drought
Or register the rosy clouds of sunset.
Their avenues of patterned sand
And eel-haunted seaweed suburbs
Exist in the peaceable sway of
The salty, undulating current,
Silently blind to the turmoil
Seething above on the boiling surface.
A rogue wave recoils, strikes, retreats:
The blue-and-white ship capsizes–
Its hallways morph into stairless stairways
And both dining chairs and passengers are thrown
Into the same pile of broken things.
But many fathoms below
In the hidden cities of the ocean,
Life proceeds as usual–
Except for a few smooth-finned citizens
Who look up in short-lived wonder
At the waves of vibrational thunder
Sounding just now in the watery sky.

copyright 2015.
Reproduction granted only by permission of the author.


by Julie Sumner

A wing-tipped ballbearing
Pings through the humidity–
One of a million,
Annoying but
Otherwise iridescent
In a non-descript
Sort of way–

Yet in its plain
Single-syllable name,
We lodge all of our longing
For our own veined wings
To spring forth,
Buzzing loudly and carelessly,
And lift us off our
Well-known ground to

Van Gogh’s Colors

Those colors which have no name
Are the real foundation of everything.
-Vincent Van Gogh
from a letter to his brother, Theo

Van Gogh’s Colors
by Julie Sumner

The sun in neon just before it slips through
the fingers of the western horizon,
The scrap of a robin’s egg tossed by the road
like a chipped tea cup,
A new peach still waiting to be overtaken
by the blush of ripeness–
Those colors which have no name
Are the real foundation of everything.



For a look at Van Gogh’s amazing use of color in his paintings as well as wisdom excerpted from his letters to his brother, Theo, check out Tom Willett’s compilation of pictures and quotes is a great way to get to know this amazing artist through his own words as well as his art.


Holy Spirit,
We confess that we have held grudges,
Judgements, hardness in our hearts.
We have forgotten that we are all
Members of one another.
Help us to live with an acute sense
Of how you have forgiven us,
That we may offer the same
To those around us,
In Jesus’ name,