Poets Read

Poets Read: Mary Ellen Shaughan

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is How It All Started by Mary Ellen Shaughan and it appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

How It All Started
by Mary Ellen Shaughan


No one is sure how it started. 
Someone, no one can remember who,
tossed a burning vowel into 
the conversation knowing 

that it would probably 
spark a fire, but was either too 
slow or maybe unwilling
to retrieve it before 

the entire dialogue went up in flames. 
It caught the rest of them off-guard 
and for what seemed like hours
but was actually minutes 

they tossed their own smoking 
syllables into the fray and yet 
they seemed surprised when 
stored resentments snapped and popped, 

shooting burning invectives 
searing and sizzling deep 
into vulnerable hearts, eradicating 
the site where trust once lived.

Mary Ellen Shaughan

About the Poet: Mary Ellen Shaughan is a native Iowan who now lives in a hotbed of poetry in Western Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in Foliate Oak, Gyroscope Review, Califragile, A Quiet Courage, Page & Spine, Blue Moon, 2River View and others. Her first collection of poetry, Home Grown, is available on Amazon.