Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews

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Take a step to the Edge of Twilight

Where mystery and imagination take rein!
Feverish Dreams
Feverish Dreams
a poetry collection by SS Matthews
available at Amazon


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Fever of Dreams

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake-Henry David Thoreau

We are taught to pursue our dreams, those things we may envision, but sometimes what we dream takes us down different roads indeed! SS Matthews

Feverish Dreams
Available today at Amazon
Poetry from the hidden side of mind by SS Matthews.

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Jaelyn 008

I, collector of bones, follow the winds of erosion,
seeking those treasures embedded in stone
by the relentless press of time.

I, scavenger, of the endless rise and fall of slope,
sift the dunes for bits of my past
in history’s house of the dead.

I, in a probable future, as bones revisit the sun,
specimens sorted, polished and placed-
atrophied under the glass.

I am trapped within the irony,
in guise of archeology-
my answers locked in ivory-
I shall forego today.

With a blessing, I return
my tomorrow to the sand,
retrace my steps in reverence
heeding a wind that learns to wail.

SS Matthews 2004

Previously published in Fusion Poetry Contest
2nd place

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symths ferry 020

“Master,” asked the student, “what is Tao?”
And the master replied, “That which is unseen is Tao,
Tao is the language of trees, the industry of bees.
Tao is the river in motion, rapids are Tao in commotion.
Be as the river, enduring rapids to gather quiescence.”

“Master,” asked the student, “How does one attain enlightenment?”
And the master replied, “One does not look for the light!
Do not seek that which can be sought!
Do not dwell on that which is attainable!
Seek, rather, the stillness of the empty bowl,
so that you may be filled.”

“Yes, master, but what is Tao?”
The master replies by cuffing the student upon either ear.
“Listen, do you not hear the silence of the great Tao RING?”

SS Matthews



Halloween 063

A ceaseless current rolls its course as surface oscillations-
archetypes of the human mind in endless fascination
seek the swifter water where the elemental flows.

All my expectations wash like driftwood to the shore,
tossed to beach and dying in the aftermath of storm-
barnacles bleached and drying cling to underlying form.

Another piece of flotsam set adrift from isle to isle,
as powers unperturbed propel this raft of dreams I ride.

Overhead a field of blue, a blazing, sullen sky,
erases known horizons,
conjures islands through refraction,
life is liquid in reflection,
on this string of faceless landfalls spread
a giant’s stride apart.

SS Matthews 2008

Feverish Dreams
Feverish Dreams
a poetry collection by SS Matthews
available at Amazon

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A Casting Retreat

sunsets 003

I like a rod stiff, sensitive, strong and
This 5 ft. 5 FLW,
Millennium series chrome
Shines like a mackerel in May.

Matched with a silk-smooth, Spider-cast reel,
I can flip a half-ounce half way through heaven-

Where the sun in quiet grace recedes
Beyond this river’s bordering edge
Of sentient soft-wood trees.

Offering this moment
As penance I fling
My weight, with all my might
To a shimmering distance.

SS Matthews 2000

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The Fangs in Heaven’s Jaw

The malignant smile of a pitiless sun is mirth this land must bear.
Where pilgrim clouds brave searing skies in drafts of tortured air.

Painted desert’s spirit sky beheld the mighty thaw.
Bared fangs of bone and fire stone as teeth in heaven’s jaw.

Ancient rift in humble earth, a canyon carved in rage.
Ten thousand years of glacial tears birthed cactus, sand and sage.

Nighthawks sweep that crimson dusk, in ‘swoop’s they rend the wings
Of fragile prey that end the way the desert sunset sings.

Salvation flees this jagged gate each eve at day’s death knell.
At vision’s edge, haunts stalk the ledge above Tartarus where I dwell.

On Watchtower Rock a sentinel waits, notes weep from a reed in his hands;
Descend to the bed of a river long dead a-wash in drifts of sand.

I tarry a moment to offer a prayer to send this sad spirit home;
Whose echoes invade the silence I crave, my demons I must face alone.

Hallucination, spectral musician,
Wandering shade from the past depart!
Abide no more in sorrow,
Staunch your flow with Yarrow,
Fade, forget tomorrow,
It’s just one more beat of the heart.

Rest you ghost in slumber far beyond this headstone ridge.
An ever-expanding skin of stars beckons you, o’er that bridge.

Let me tend this dusty tomb where I shun the strife of life.
Sleep where angels heal old wounds and visit no more my night.

SS Matthews


A Bridge to Cross

One dream ago
I misplaced my path
And wandered through a fog,
To where chanting winds
Sing rocks to sand
As beds of ancient soil.

Scorched by fears
And worries of frost,
I happened upon myself
Sitting silent drinking sky
Not caring what was lost.

I rose and looked me in the eye
Then with familiar hands,
Spun an arcing thin mirage
To poise across the span.

This bridge above the arid waste
Of all my secret strife,
Forms within and flows without
To an oasis I call life.

No spoken word said I to me
But something was revealed.
Across the bridge, myself then walked
The rest my lips conceal.

But of the flower I must tell
Which thrives in barren soil,
Beneath a sky that never rains
On a land of ceaseless toil.

SS Matthews


Too Late for Sunrise

Bird, Egret

Gray wings of dawn
glide currents of flame-
ten thousand degrees above
the horizon she burns
onto heaven’s stage, vaporizing
late waking wisps of angel’s hair mist.

Sea-spray lingers in the air
misting lower levels.

There is music in this morning
to which sand pipers play
peck and dodge to the percussion of waves.

Lyre breezes strum worlds into motion
creating symphonies in slick and spiral halls
of un-chambered tide strewn shells.

Peeling away layers
is the way the wind bends,
smoothing into swells
shearing tops into sparkling trails
fanned from crests onto pelican wings
that slip single file toward a gathering.

Pastel condominiums-
first to wear the warming rays
the mirror-flash of sunrise blast
on windows blind to surfers’ dance.


Artists sketching on reams of watery canvas
through veils of vanishing shadow
slicing seams in aqua-marine
drafting arcs of white shot tight
through the curl of oncoming day.

One block away, another world awakens.
Students flock from parking lots
burdened with theories and proofs
lending today to tomorrow.

While pragmatic professors
prepare to pave this day’s face of the endless wave
enjoying last, eager sips of a decaffeinated reality.

Poetry by SS Matthews




Bringing a blush, roses tossed to the lips of cumulus clouds,
The sun sets soft as December swells splashing against my balance.
Length of graphite in my hand, points my arm Atlantic.

Pelicans ply the wake of Dolphins leaping home.
Gulls scraping surface slicks for scraps,
Glide beneath a misted orb materializing above the horizon,
Silhouetting their silk smooth outlines against its brightening shine.

Seeking his place in the universe, another fisherman wades past,
Distorting a perfect proportion between life and limitation.
With my back to the breath of God, I nod.

Burdened by desire, he needs to wade deeper.
Buoyant in this moment’s grace, I am weightless,
A reflection of moonlight rising toward a sea of stainless stars.

Poetry and Photography by SS Matthews