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Early Morning Blessing
Mary Jo Balistreri


Sleep-drugged and slow-moving,
the day sits cold and gray.
I cook sugar water for hummers,
court orioles with orange and grape jelly.
When the sun comes out with its long taper
to candle nectar and green silence,
shadows falter and slink away, replaced
by flickering votives to honor the day.
Now red-winged blackbirds flame the air
and finches, those haloes of buttery yellow,
hover above buds of palest pink until the entire
backyard glows in the vast rose window of morning.

From Joy in the Morning (Bellowing Ark Press, 2008).
Used here with 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 three books: Joy in the Morning, gathering the harvest, and Still.  In 2014, she began writing haiku and, since then, has turned almost entirely to Japanese forms. Mary Jo divides her time between Wisconsin and Florida; learn more about her at




Post New Comment:
Tried sending from my iPhone and obviously missed out. This poem truly paints with words, musical and lyrical- so beautiful the melding of your talents. It sings with the joy of every new dawn. Thank you from my heart
Posted 03/27/2022 08:43 AM
Lori Levy:
This is beautiful, Jo. I love all the colors that come out when the sun rises, though the day begins "sleep-drugged and slow-moving."
Posted 03/26/2022 05:08 PM
Thank you everyone who wrote here. Im so grateful that you took time to write. What a blessing today.. Jo
Posted 03/26/2022 02:55 PM
Beautiful images! Thank you for sharing this lovely morning!
Posted 03/26/2022 11:39 AM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Jo, you are a poet who truly pays attention to the world, becoming a part of it and whisking your readers along with you...transcendent!
Posted 03/26/2022 11:38 AM
Love this! Love the book too!
Posted 03/26/2022 11:29 AM
Janet Leahy:
Love how the blackbirds "flame the air." Beautiful visuals in this poem.
Posted 03/26/2022 10:21 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this colorful uplifting poem showing how birds brighten a gray day. Favorite image: "and finches, those haloes of buttery yellow."
Posted 03/26/2022 09:57 AM
becky evans:
Your beautiful poem truly honors the day! The vast rose window of morning makes it holy. Lovely, lovely!
Posted 03/26/2022 09:28 AM
Wilda Morris:
A great poem to start the day! It is beautiful, Jo.
Posted 03/26/2022 08:40 AM
Ah the vast rose window of morning. Ive been enjoying Mary Jos poetry for at least thirty years.
Posted 03/26/2022 08:35 AM
My favorite of all, Jo!
Posted 03/26/2022 08:23 AM
Larry Schug:
You have done the impossible,Mary Jo--captured the essence of dawn. One awesome line follows another throughout this poem.
Posted 03/26/2022 07:26 AM
Kay N. Sanders:
I have long loved your poetry, Mary Jo, and you. This poem is delicious.
Posted 03/26/2022 07:23 AM
A lovely way to begin the day. Gret imagery.
Posted 03/26/2022 05:35 AM

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