The State of Mercury

Back in May, my poem, “The Vineyard,” was published in Heart of Flesh Literary Journal. Through Heart of Flesh’s editor, Veronica McDonald, I learned about chapbooks. A chapbook is a short book of poems (usually 20-40). Often, the poems touch a single theme.

In the next few months, I plan to self-publish a chapbook called The State of Mercury. This chapbook will collect poems from my previous two books, as well as some poems that will appear in my third book (to be released in 2023, God willing).

What kind of poems will appear in The State of Mercury? Over the years I’ve written a number of poems whose title is the name of an emotion or state of mind. The whole poem presents that emotion or state of mind using imagery. Sometimes, I overtly connect the imagery to the emotion. (My poem, “Longing” is an example of this). Other times, the title is the only mention of the feeling or state, and the poem implies the feeling or state through its imagery. The State of Mercury will collect these kinds of poems together and explore how changeable people can be.

One of my earliest poems about an emotion or state is called “Grief”. The poem is about a walk in the fog, but the imagery implies the experience of grief. “Grief” appeared in my first book, The Wind and the Shadows.


Stepping out for a walk, 
I see the fog is back.

You never know when it will come,
when the clouds will settle heavily,
blocking out the sun
from the sky to the ground.

It rolls in softly.

Almost before you notice,
it permeates everything,
and the chill is beneath your skin.

When will it lift?
No one can say.
As it comes, it goes.

It always evaporates
after awhile.
The last particles of mist
sparkle as they dance
and sublimate in the sun.

Until then,
I’ll just have to walk 
in it,
keeping the company
of the silhouettes
that appear, memory-like,
in the vapor.

Published by mrteague

Teague McKamey lives in Washington state with his wife and two children. Teague’s poetry has appeared in several journals and in self-published books. He blogs at and In all areas of life, Teague desires that Christ may be magnified in his body (Php. 1:20).

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