Selected Poems

By Theresa Morris

Stony Point

Now begins the end
of our season of want.
Slow the tide moves out,
reveals the widening breach
and we divine a line of green as the sun
moves through each lifted wave before
the curve spills white and lacy,
down the still surface
onto the black rocks
upon which we sit watching,
moments of time
reach through time.

The seawater is clean where it spills,
traces the shapes of the rocks
or rises up in showers of drops which glisten
the spray and silent wash,
even the deeper seaweed-ridden places
where we swim against the incoming tide,
laughing as the waves hit us and we rise
and fall
and rise again,
tasting salt
and the first hint of loss.

The moments that here are brought into one,
merge in patterns that seem a web
spun from unknown sources,
the same shining from the sun on drops of silver threads
as once walking through woods,
we brushed against traces

See how this moment resonates with that,
carrying its vibration as the past converges
with the present merges,
astonishes us
or moves us to tears.

Salt drops glint and spill,
commingled in patterns
we will spend our lives
to understand.


There are long wooden benches outside
the room on the 9th floor where
two men have been sitting all day
after day, hunched over a plain wooden table
wearing ill-fitting clothes
while trying
to appear calm
and in control.

They’re surrounded by
a coterie of legalese
and guards with badges and weapons,
facing a judge on a high bench
beneath a motif
that reads
‘In God We Trust.’

They’ve been accused
there was a lot of blood,
guns were fired and two people died
perhaps executed.

It was an evening like any other
in a bad neighborhood,
a small dark apartment
where crack is bought and sold,
it’s not unusual,
addicts lose hope and
someone makes money off it while
others play games, the pleasure of obliteration
the power of money and guns.

I’m told the witnesses are criminals
they were high at the time
unreliable, untrustworthy
the evidence is murky
everyone is black,
I’m being asked if I can determine
who did what to whom—
I’m told it doesn’t matter why,
intention is everything.

I’m not sure if I should judge these deeds—
am I a peer to these people?
In the way of chance
someone has to judge these acts,
bring justice,
those who died may have been helpless
may have been just as bad as
those who killed them,
trapped in something they couldn’t escape
and these men, strangers who may be innocent or guilty
must be judged and
we are students lawyers teachers,
we work in design
we live in nice buildings
we’re educated, talented, cultured,
white, or light.

What is it to judge?
Who are we to assume responsibility?
And yet, who among us cannot?
There are women present
in the back of the room
silent now, a silent chorus
uneasy, weary, patient
they look serious, tired
not bored,
none of us dare to look bored,
have they cried out or wept?
We’re not allowed to know.


Theresa has a (newly minted) Ph.D in Philosophy, and her research has been on the philosophy of Hans Jonas, on the topic of the relation of the human being to nature and the role of ethics in that relation.  She has been a writer of poetry for close to 30 years.  She loves the word, and how it can bring the truth to light. Some of her work can be viewed at