Making A Joyful Noise

by Mary K. O’Melveny


Pans and pots clang, bang from open city
windows.A firefighter plays bagpipes
outside ER doors. A cellist serenades
from her porch. Another by way of zoom.
Violinists comfort from their balconies.
A trumpeter perched on an aerial ladder
plays O Mia Bela Madunina
in the square of Milan’s Il Duomo.

Music has calmed us in our direst days.
Thaletus sang hymns to Spartans as
they huddled behind doorways to avoid
cobblestone streets ravaged by death.
Henry the Eighth cloistered with his organist.
Black plague singers marched through London.
Civil rights marchers sang We Shall Overcome
as they faced down our scourge of racism.

From every vantage point, armadas
of choristers have deployed to defeat
our latest melancholia. This revolution
has been televised. Across the world,
all rise in praise of joyful noises.
Honor our s/heroes with harmony.
Librettos liberate. Amandla!
We are singing. Singing for our lives.



Mary K O’Melveny,  a retired labor rights lawyer,  lives with her wife in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, Mary’s work has been published in many print and on-line journals. She is the author of A Woman of a Certain Age and Merging Star Hypotheses (Finishing Line Press 2018;  2020) and co-author of the anthology, An Apple In Her Hand (Codhill Press 2019). K. Nizar, a multi-disciplinary artist from Kerala’s Kozhikode, who began his career on movie-sets doing art works before being a visualization artist for a leading newspaper in Kerala.  

A Finger Tip Has One Hundred Nerve Endings

by Mary K O’Melveny


This fact explains why I want to caress
every surface. Press hard against countertop,
doorframe, bed pillow. Finger each avocado,
orange, purple onion. Fondle a pale
pink dogwood petal, trace each fine line to
its yellow center flower where hope resides.

Strangers and neighbors pass in hallways or
on sidewalks. I want to reach out, extend
my arms, hold their hands. I believe they might
feel the same though we simply nod our heads.
I am one of the lucky ones. Each night,
my wife and I explore our tender places.



Mary K O’Melveny began writing poetry after retiring from a long career as a labor rights lawyer.  She lives with her wife in Washington, DC and Woodstock, NY.  Her award-winning work has appeared in print and online journals and on blog sites such as The New Verse News and Writing in a Woman’s Voice. She is the author of A Woman of a Certain Age and MERGING STAR HYPOTHESES (Finishing Line Press 2018, 2020) and co-author of An Apple In Her Hand (Codhill Press 2019). Art by Karyn Kloumann, founder of award-winning indie publisher Nauset Press.