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Sunrise Over the Sea
Mary Jo Balistreri


Embered over the eastern seaboard,
the sun takes the entire horizon as its hearth.
The hum of daybreak ignites, flames lick
away the dark, and the amorphous takes shape
in apricot, chalky blue and crimson pink.
Sand, sea and sky stretch for miles, throbbing
like the heartbeats of Rothko color bands.
A white Adirondack chair sits abandoned
in the bent and frozen grasses.

My friend turns to me and says,
Never again will life hold us
in the same way it does today.

From Joy in the Morning (Bellowing Ark Press, 2008).
Used here with the author's permission.


Mary Jo Balistreri was a concert pianist for most of her life, but in 2005 she began writing poetry after the death of her seven-year-old grandson. Poetry gradually helped her transform her grief into something resembling acceptance. Mary Jo’s award-winning work is widely published and she is the author of four collections: Still, gathering the harvest, Best Brothers, and Joy in the Morning. In 2014, Mary Jo began writing haiku and haibun and, since then, has turned almost entirely to Japanese forms. Mary Jo lives in Wisconsin; learn more about her at






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Beautiful...written with an artist's eye.
Posted 02/26/2016 12:59 PM
Jo, A beautiful and emotional descriptive scene of sun rise contrasted with the abandoned white Adirondack chair. Also, this friend this moment and you are never again. A beautiful ending.
Posted 02/25/2016 09:13 PM
Thank you to all of you for sharing this day with me in your comments. Much appreciated.
Posted 02/25/2016 08:38 PM
Beautiful, haunting poetry Jo...I so enjoy your writing!
Posted 02/25/2016 07:52 PM
There are peaks of beauty and emotion. Like my long ago friend said: "You can live your whole life in one day."
Posted 02/25/2016 05:46 PM
I just endorse what everyone else has said . This is a special poem.
Posted 02/25/2016 03:13 PM
Janet Leahy:
Jo, you set this scene beautifully, and then give us the gift of appreciating each moment. Thank you.
Posted 02/25/2016 03:12 PM
MJB paints with color in this poem in her own inimitable way. Beautiful imagery with the last two lines a gift to etch into your heart...
Posted 02/25/2016 12:38 PM
I had to read this over and over, to fix it permanently in my heart. Donna Hilbert
Posted 02/25/2016 11:42 AM
I liked this one from the first line, "Embered over the eastern seaboard," I put it in my journal. Thank you and thanks to the Grace River Poets for your contributions to faith-based poetry.
Posted 02/25/2016 10:01 AM
Lovely--reminds me of a poem by Mary Oliver, "Why I Wake Early in the Morning." First line, "Hello sun in my face."
Posted 02/25/2016 09:00 AM
Beautiful, descriptive and with a message that really grabs me. Thanks.
Posted 02/25/2016 07:57 AM
so lovely, Mary Jo...I want to post the last two lines where I'll read them every day...thank you Sharon Auberle
Posted 02/25/2016 06:49 AM
Jean :D:
Love the descriptions of the sunrise, could almost hear the waves washing on the beach, lovely!
Posted 02/25/2016 06:21 AM

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