Marianne J. Dyson

My Poetry

Space Poems Cover showing launch of Delta Clipper rocket.

Now Available on Kindle

I'm mostly known for my space-related writing, but I also write poems about life and friends, and whatever else the "muse" brings to my attention. So I decided to post some of my non-space poems here. (My space poems chapbook is now available on Kindle.) If you like or hate them enough to say so, or want to reprint or perform them, please send an e-mail. These poems are protected by copyright, and permission is required for anything other than personal use. Thanks for your interest in my poetry.

This poem was written for a close friend who had just suffered through a divorce.

For My Friend During an Uncertain Time*
by Marianne J. Dyson

I'm really lucky
to have a friend like you
who knows when I'm joking
and only half,
Who is willing to let me finish
when I need to
or finish for me
when I can't.

I'm really lucky
to have a friend like you
who knows what I need to hear
and makes me listen
if only to myself,
Who stands firmly beside me
when I'm right
and just as firmly in front of me
when I'm wrong.

Now that it's time for you
to face the blank pages
of an uncertain future,
I hope there's nothing
that can't be said
between us,
and will be said
no matter how busy we are
or what time it is
or who's paying.

Because friends like you
sometimes need reminded
how lucky they are.

*First published in the State of the Arts, Clear Lake, February 1999.


This was written after a trip to Scotland where I noticed a lot of women who looked sort of like me. (My great grandmother was a Scot.)

The Inheritance of a Woman
by Marianne J. Dyson

Are you Scottish, they ask
and I ask myself the same,
One eighth - is it enough to claim the clan?
What does it mean, these numbers
don't measure my heritage
in blood, not truly
For I am my great grandmother's daughter
my red hair is hers
my freckled skin
my voice,
She gave me those genes
with no need for a name,
My name is English - my husband's name
Before that it was Greek - from my father
But his mother was Gaelic too
and he carried those recessive genes
like my mother from her Scottish grandmother
or so the old wives say
the men don't know for sure,
women's lines aren't kept
except in their faces, their eyes,
They look at the children and know
who has the temper
the hot blood, the sight.

Am I the daughter of Scots?
Of course I am.

*First published in the State of the Arts, Clear Lake, February 1999.


I read Jane Yolen's lovely book, "Here There Be Unicorns," and also visited a captivating grove while hiking in the Rocky Mountains. The two experiences inspired this poem.

The Unicorn's Grove
a poem dedicated to Jane Yolen

by Marianne J. Dyson

I've been to a grove like that,
like the ones in the paintings,
or embroidered tapestries
of magical unicorns
visiting young maidens -
granting them healing,
romance, and good fortune -
Yes, I've been to a grove like that.

Mine was high in the mountains
a hidden grove as bright as
stained glass come to life -
Queen Anne's garden
gone wild
with tiny strawberries
drawing me to kneel
and savor them like sips
of fine wine
tempting my tongue
to song
on a summer morning.

A dragonfly hovered there,
water-color wings blurred in motion,
eyes observing the comings and goings
of lesser subjects
as they darted
randomly hurrying,
in and out
of the strobing spotlight
created by the joyous dancing
of leaves far above their
mundane reach.

The aspen shivered with delight
as dew tickled and rolled off
their silvered skin
flashing in more shades
than the backs of beetles
glinting in the warm sun,
that like a mother's eye
glowed in amusement as
cotton candy clouds
dripped pink on
the royal blue velvet sky.

I laughed with the jays
when the knee-high grass
brushed like fur against my legs
and begged me lie and roll in it.
Afterwards, I pressed bare toes
into the soft, rich soil
and inhaled the erotic scent
of life abundant.

Yes, I've been to a grove like that,
like the ones women dream about
secretly in church,
a place where God's angel comes
and chooses them
for a miracle
if only for a moment,

a unicorn nuzzles their cheek.

*First published in the State of the Arts, Clear Lake, June 1999.


This poem was written during the Gulf War, but may apply more generally.

The Standoff (a Petrarchian sonnet)
by Marianne J. Dyson

We wait for bombs and death to choose the brave
On sands of heat, or oceans deep with scorn
For guns and jets, our hope against the storm
Of men too young to flee a hero's grave.
The Reaper holds his scythe so soldiers crave
To fight before the light of rightful morn,
Before our dreams of freedom are forsworn
By sun upon the dead we planned to save.

Our lovers wait, our children weep like rain
Without the clouds, forewarning us of fear
We will endure this war for nothing more
Than boundary lines of men in power, and pain.
Or worse, to wait and wait and then to hear
We lost the right to fight and end this war.

Placed 10th in Poetry Society of Texas 1993 Contest.


Science Fiction Poetry

Yes, there is actually an organization for science fiction poets! It's called the Science Fiction Poetry Association, SFPA. The group publishes a newsletter called Star*Line and votes on a number of awards each year, including the Rhysling Awards. The nominated works appear in the Rhysling anthology, and the winners are included in the Nebula Awards anthology from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America SFWA.
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