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  • By John Steele

"Locust" and Other Poetry


Face down on the ground, hands by your sides,

palms up, with all four limbs extended, lift

your head, chest, arms and legs—a locust perched.

Knowing John the Baptist wanders here

living on locusts and honey, watch out. If he

should pluck you from your perch, show him your eyes.

Stun him with your beauty, your sidewise gaze.

Hold him spellbound till he sings your praise.

How could any man of God

not see such divinity?

When John encountered Jesus,

he saw God behind his eyes.

How could anyone not love

the one who looks out through your eyes?


Kneel and sit between your heels. Lean back,

set your elbows down to ease your crown

onto the floor and arch your spine. Then raise

your arms, clasp your elbows, press them down

behind your head to lift, expand your chest.

Breathe. You’re no ordinary couch.

More like a luxurious chaise-lounge.

Why not lie back, allow your mind to roam?

Slow down and watch the stream meander on.

Follow your reflection to a pond.

Look through the reflection, into the murk.

Seek the one who sees, questions, longs.

Can you see down to the bottom?

To know yourself, you must look long, and long.

John Whitney Steele is a psychologist, yoga teacher, assistant editor of Think: A Journal of Poetry, Fiction and Essays, and graduate of the MFA Poetry Program at Western Colorado University. His poetry chapbook, The Stones Keep Watch, was published by Kelsay Books in 2021. His full length collection, Shiva’s Dance, will be released in 2022. Born in Torontoand raised among the pines and granite cliffs of Foot’s Bay, Ontario, John lives in Boulder, Colorado where he often encounters his muse wandering in the mountains. Website:

1 Comment

Aug 20, 2021

There is a difficulty here because many people believe the locust referred to in this particular context was the bean and not the insect.

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