Kelly Moyer (Masters of Wabi)

Masters of Wabi

nightfall a dusting on the dreamthistle

Kelly Moyer


ghostly voices
peeling the pomegranate
for the pith

Kelly Moyer

Kelly Moyer is an award-winning poet and fiber artist, who pursues her muse through the cobbled streets of New Orleans’s French Quarter. When not writing, stitching or weaving, she is likely to be found wandering the mountains of North Carolina, where she resides with her partner and two philosopher kittens, Simone and Jean-Paul. Hushpuppy, her collection of short-form poetry, was recently released by Nun Prophet Press.



Above the gates of Hell, it is asserted by Dante Alighieri one will find writ large, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter.” From a Zen viewpoint, ending suffering is predicated upon relinquishing our desires. A prickly flora which still manages to flower, but whose durable armor protects it from consumption by foraging plant-eaters, the fluffy down of which attaches to seeds allowing their transportation through the wind, linking this species to dreams Kelly Moyer finds a riveting area to dissect through expressive poetry. The pomegranate too is ripe in layered associations, perhaps most notoriously traceable to the story of Persephone, abducted by Hades, whose consumption of this delectable fruit sealed her destiny of residing in the underworld, and her nuptial compact with its ruler. The seeds of this crop have since been coupled, in storytelling lore, with fertility—also featuring prominently into devotional artworks, set dressing oft noticeable accompanying the blessed Virgin and her immaculately conceived Child—the institution of marriage and its supposed indestructibility. Buddhism similarly reveres the pomegranate, and according to one parable Siddhartha utilized the fruit to assist a lady demon with overcoming her problematic propensities toward consuming youths. There are intriguing Judaic meanings encoded into a pomegranate’s alleged 613 seeds, each of which some believe represents one of the old testament’s 613 commandments or mitzvot.[1] A pomegranate’s pith, it should be specified, if bitter is edible as well, though the majority elect to discard it. In these two poems, proceeding from the sabi of day’s curtain falling and the unwrapping of skin, we arrive at wonderful places of wabi in the remaining dubious, possibly superfluous center, a lowly yet plucky weed shimmering in the darkness. These are wonderfully ambivalent, atmospheric operas Moyer has created, with disembodied choruses and backdrops which seem akin to Indo-European ‘thin places’ Alan Peat described so grippingly at Wales Haiku Journal. As reader, one ultimately is inclined to applaud the resolute vegetation which defends its aspirations, flourishes and proliferates through the air magnificently, similarly to respect the hero for concentrating beyond the cosmetic artifice, searching for deeper meanings even if they prove less sweet or palatable. In a seasonal sense there is also an enchanting continuity in the cyclical composition of these pieces, which picture darkness and emptiness yet anticipate an eventual Spring of rebirth and abundance, as the phoenix arises from its ashes and Demeter’s daughter in time returns to her and the surface, and makes a habit of it for portions of each year!

[1] See ‘Why the pomegranate’ by Patricia Langley at

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