Canticle of Temper

Poetry by J.R. Tappenden

sometimes/legends are wrong. sometimes/the unyielding ground fights fiercest.


praise the silt of bone after fire, how it smothers what’s left of gold fillings. Tiny kernels,

I plant them, craving warriors: a fight,
spoiling. no one comes. sometimes

legends are wrong. sometimes
 the unyielding ground fights fiercest.

silence swallows all songs, victory or sorrow; anger and acceptance sound the same at the

praise the surface of the gold-seeded earth, praise the ground that gives nothing back.


J.R. Tappenden is the founding editor of Architrave Press and poetry editor for december magazine. She earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Missouri – St. Louis where she also served as the university’s first Poet Laureate. Her poems have appeared in The Baltimore Review, Flyway, Euphony and elsewhere; her chapbook Independent City is available now from Wells College Press.