THEME POETRY

APRIL 2022 = REMEMBRANCE

WHISPERS FROM HEAVEN

Zanita Varnado Johns

United States

https://www.zanexpressions.com

 

I welcome the whispers—softly spoken—

uttering, “I’m so proud of you!”

When love calls from heaven, I smile.

Angelic reassuring voices appear 

just when I need a nudge. 


Tender messages from my loved ones 

comfort me in perpetuity on earth.

I receive and retain them 

deep within my soul.

It is well with my soul.

Keep whispering—I’m listening.

__________

NOW THAT I AM OLD

Sarfraz Ahmed

East Midlands, United Kingdom

https://www.facebook.com/sarfraz.ahmed.5268750

https://twitter.com/Sarfraz76194745

https://www.instagram.com/sarfrazahmedpoet/

 

I watch the world in front of me,

I watch it fall off its axis,

I watch it capsize,

As the waters flow all over me,

Through every orifice,

Through every vein,

On and on we go,

Until nothing else remains,


Except the memories,

Imprinted onto my retina,

They can take everything,

They can have it all,

But they can take the memories,

The things that I hold,

Now that all the love has gone,

Now that I am old.

__________

LIFE LESSON

Cathy Hollister

Tennessee, United States

https://www.instagram.com/cathy.hollister.52

 

At six years old, in a new school,

first grade games taught him so much.

Be good, play fair, yes that’s the rule,

not always easy to follow such.


First grade games taught him so much, 

playing checkers with his friends.

Not always easy to follow such

straight roads. Turn to devious bends?


Playing checkers with his friends,

play fair and lose? Or to devise

straight roads turn to devious bends.

So tempting, victory the shiny prize.


Play fair and lose? Or to devise.

The man recalls his early years.

So tempting, victory, the shiny prize,

but squandered trusted brought on fears.


The man recalls his early years

at checkers and their playground games.

But squandered trust brought on fears,

when he was left alone and shamed.



At checkers and their playground games,

honesty first took its roots.

When he was left alone and shamed.

He was not picked for Duck, Duck, Goose.


Honesty first took its roots.

He knew why, though it was cruel,

he was not picked for Duck, Duck, Goose,

at six years old, in a new school.

__________

GRANDMA AND ME

Jan McKay

Edinburgh, Scotland

https://www.instagram.com/jmcwriting/

 

People say I look like her 

And I see too

My Grandma

Staring back at me 

From the mirror

Or see me strangely 

Out of place 

In faded photos

my own mum held

as a babe in arms


I remember us

Together on the edge 

Of the summer holiday spare bed 

Looking out 

over the lawn tennis courts

across the road,

The daily tailor suited commuter

Whizzing past on his skateboard

His tethered polecat

keeping pace at his side

(yeah, 

I know)

And the box of Cluedo

On top of the wardrobe

Waiting to fuel our 

Excited after dinner 

deductions

And accusations

My little girl question

Because

Grandma knows everything 


‘Why do some people swear so much?’

Then her deprecating explanation that

It was likely that not being very bright

Would mean that they might

Not have the right

Vocabulary

To express themselves 

Eloquently

The way we do dear


That chat still

comes to mind sometimes

When now as an adult 

I curse under my breath sometimes

Or a swear gives my thoughts

That extra punch sometimes

Too much

I cringe

With a dim lazy guilt

A disapproving breeze

Ruffles the pages of 

An imaginary dictionary

On the windowsill


Then I remember 

How alike we are,

Me and Grandma

__________

SHE CAME TO ME IN A DREAM

Pratibha Savani

United Kingdom

https://www.facebook.com/pratibhapoetryart

https://www.instagram.com/pratibhapoetryart

 

She came to me in dream

I was at her door

About to leave

Mum came walking up to me

Like I always remembered her to be

As herself

Walking from her kitchen to see me

I was at the front door

She walked up

And hugged me

To say goodbye

It felt so real

The feelings

The moment

I woke up

And remembered it clearly

It was still the very early hours

Of the morning

And I went back to sleep

Waking up again to get ready

I just knew

Today was going to be the day......

i was sitting beside her

later that morning

with my family

.......as she passed away

 

Jai Shree Krishna

__________

LAST WORDS

Skye Price

London, United Kingdom

 

If I could handpick 

Silver embellished 

Undeniable poetic 

Last words for you

I wonder what would part 

From my lips


Would I relay our past? 

List the reasons to love you

Find the scrapbooks from the cupboard

That I never finished making 


Would I wish there was more time? 

Or tell you that the time was right 

Knowing it would still hurt 

To keep my thoughts my own


Would I prepare a speech?

Much like our vows

With time woven in 

To the perfect choice of words


Words that stand in

For the conversations we won’t have

The goodnight embraces

and routine morning kiss


On the other hand, last words

Are not usually our choice

They can even be something 

Otherwise, forgettable

Expected 

Predictable 


“Drive safe”


“Dinner will be waiting”


“See you soon”


Words can be a habit

Until uttered in finality

Frozen in eternity

As our last words

__________

I REMEMBER YESTERDAY

Julie A. Dickson

New Hampshire, United States

 

Once I sat with glee on Grandfather’s knee

as he told stories of yesterdays;

I listened intently and then inquired,

“Yes, but do you remember tomorrow?”


He smiled a knowing grin at me, a child.

Thoughtfully he pondered and finally spoke,

“Tomorrow will be a time to wander.”

Grandfather wove me a yarn of intrigue.


My eyes opened wide and I could not hide

surprise at hearing what life might bring.

“You’ll grow and learn, perhaps even explore

far off lands where mountains touch the sea.”


Shifted my eyes to a window, I drifted.

I’d journey to the north to see glaciers

or south to Galapagos to find turtles;

I turned back to hear his tales of Mexico.


Years have progressed since Grandfather professed

wisdom, dancing eyes opening paths

I did not follow, never saw his mountains;

Galapagos turtles long forgotten.


Reading to my son, leading him through geography, 

to ask me questions – we explored maps;

my thoughts returned to Grandfather’s stories,

places like Mexico I’d never gone to see.


We talked over the atlas of far off lands; my son asked,

“Do you remember tomorrow?”

I saw my Grandfather’s smiling hazel eyes and

hoped my son would see his mountains.

__________

COFFEE CAKE

Emalisa Rose

United States

 

It's when I bake coffee cake

that we poured in those pans

that belonged to your mother

that you passed on to me and

I’m filling the tins up with chips

nuts and raisins and I won’t

lick the spoon because you

would scold me for doing so

but then turned away with a smile

that I’m warm with remind of the

times that I baked with my mother.

__________

BARRY’S STORY

John Grey

Rhode Island, United States

 

The old man used to come home
laughing from the bar,
on his arm, a woman from the mill,
Rita, Jenny, Ruth,
maybe those were the names,
so many, so alike,
with makeup caked on thick, lips Ketchup red,
and sweaters and slacks so tight
their bones clapped when they walked.

I knew nothing then about widower fathers
and women from the mill.
Why the rush to be alone?
Maybe they told jokes behind their hands.
Or smoked two or three cigarettes at a time.
They could have even stolen
more than a sip or two from the liquor bottle.
But whatever it was, it couldn't begin
until I was in my room,
the door closed tight behind me.

He'd be impatient to get me off to bed,
what with his shirt half unbuttoned,
red stains on his cheek,
and Rita, Kenny, Ruth already panting
like a cow just given birth.
Tension mounted with each of my
footsteps up the stairs.
My father's look was like a wind from behind,
blowing hard against me.

__________

GOODBYE TO A MEMORY

Duane Anderson

Nebraska, United States

 

Once again, I found myself

dining at a Mexican restaurant,

one I had fond memories of,


ordering the same food and drinks

I remembered having

on my prior visit years ago,


but maybe my tastes had changed,

or they had a new chef

and had changed their recipes,


or, just maybe, I had one too many margaritas

my last time around, corrupting the old memory bank,

but now, plans on returning again


were at the point of no return,

any good memories having already

faded into a deep, dark, black hole.

__________

MEMORIES OF SPRING

Kimberly Madura

United States

 

After the words, my friend

then silence, time, intensity disappears and intimacy fades


Suddenly, once spring evening the breeze comes

around me with a touch of

something sweet and soft in the air


And I remember it all once again, once again

__________

BALANCING THE WEIGHT OF MEMORY

Judy DeCroce

New York, United States

https://www.linkedin.com/in/judydecroce

 

When I think of it now,

perhaps he wasn’t there,

but he was, and so was she.


Once, she laughed, played, cleaned, and cooked,

while he drank, drank, and drank.


In that time of static; he, the noise,

the unpredictable anger;


and she,

the appeasing love and strength.


She– the sorely missed home I return to.

                        He— only remembered.

__________

SOLITAIRE

Carolyn Chilton Casas

United States

https://www.instagram.com/mindfulpoet_/

 

The cards are worn, white edges

darkened by hands

that often held them.

They no longer slide easily

like a new deck,

the bicycle-riding cupid

and his reflection faded,

the numbers and letters

jumbo size for older eyes.

 

On a visit, my daughter asks

me to teach her rummy.

Her boyfriend’s family plays,

and she wants take part.

I point her to the bottom

cupboard where board

games they played as children

occupy a neglected space.

 

These were grampa’s,

weren’t they?

She must remember

the many cribbage games

at the dining room table

after dishes were washed.

Or watching him play

solitaire nonstop

in his small home on the hill.

 

When she leaves,

I take the deck tenderly

into my hands, shuffle the cards

the way he taught me.

I deal out a solo game

and reminiscing, begin to play.

__________

BUT I TOLD 'ER SHE DIDN’T LOOK OLDER!

Ken Gosse

United States

https://www.facebook.com/ken.gosse/

 

My wife said her birthday was here,

“Yesterday—but you missed it, my dear!”

so she helps me regret

what I’ll never forget

when it comes back around every year.

__________

HE’S NOT HERE

Joshua Factor

North Carolina, United States

 

He hasn't been for a while now.

Despite gossip typically spreading like wildfire,

some people have yet to

receive the memo. 


So, they'll come from far & wide

to the home of this former person

in hopes of resuming their typical

relationship.


When they reach their destination,

the sadder but wiser man answers the door

to break the news to them.


They spend the rest of the trip trying to come to terms with the new status quo

prior to returning to the safety of what they once knew.


Before departing, the man behind the door informs them he left a forwarding address & hopes

they'll write.


The ones who do go on to become legends in their own right

and the ones who don't were never worth his time in the first place.

__________

WAITING PART 1

Jane Fitzgerald

United States

https://facebook.com/JanesPoetry/

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-H.-Fitzgerald/e/B01MSW2FLO

 

I waited on the path

To catch a glimpse of you 

Your smile, your pause

I waited just for you

In train stations

By the hour

At home near dinner time

I waited just for you 

Your smile, your hug 

Your touch, your light

Your reassuring voice 

The eyes that truly said

I am here just for you

And now I am waiting 

Waiting, just for you

To slowly die

I hear your labored breath

See a form

That's partly you

And know that now

I will always, always

be waiting, waiting

forever, just for you

__________

WAITING PART 2

THE HOSPITAL

Jane Fitzgerald

United States

https://facebook.com/JanesPoetry/

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-H.-Fitzgerald/e/B01MSW2FLO


How will I ever forget

Those last weeks

Long empty shining corridors

Leading to death

Long days of watching

Your every breath

Waiting for every word 

Every look

Waiting to know

That you still knew me 

Waiting to know

That you still loved me

How will I ever forget 

How I slowly lost you

First your strength 

Then your body 

Then your mind 

How will I ever forget

The empty look 

The last breath 

I saw you take

__________

OUR LAST WEEKEND BEFORE COVID

Neal Whitman

California, United States

Making Love Out of Nothing at All

Lyrics by Jim Steinman, recorded by Air Supply


found today

in my Navy peacoat pocket

once a scrap of debris

this detritus swept ashore


water, tide, and sand

performed renewing work

over time to shape

this timeless treasure


meant to be saved

we are so glad 

to have it found again

this keepsake


it took its time

to be discovered by us

on a remote beach

this jewel, this sea glass

__________

BACK IN TIME

Kath Jo Bryant

United States

 

So long ago

  My mind replays

The things that happened

  In yesterdays 

The memories sweet

  I'll not forget

Like a favorite movie

  On my TV set

They bring me joy

  And make me glad

Special friends I've known

  Special times I've had

Remembrance is

  A priceless gift

You can't replace

  And gives your soul a lift!

__________

LOVING THREE WOMEN OF HONEY AND STEEL

Antoni Ooto

New York, United States

https://www.linkedin.com/in/antoniooto/

http://www.ooto.org/blog/

 

 

1. ENGLISH IVY


She had a habit

of loving the wrong man


even when every chance to fly free was there

and holding on when all of us were gone.


Perhaps holding on was all she ever knew or wanted…

a kind of permanence she felt necessary



2. A BUTTERFLY


Her heart skipped 

slowly     or  too slowly

fast      or too fast

a butterfly rhythm without discipline


concern was only for others

and too, her generous smile proving she was alright


when she died

all fears of loss left with her

so too, a favorite chair

the coral afghan    music    friends

and letters in a box marked “save”



3. WILLOW TREE


As a general battling a lifetime of illness,    

and dread in a wheelchair which anchors

to waiting rooms,


assaulted by invasions of surgeries

she, finally, took back power

as the warrior who set about her end


directed how the final battle would go

and assumed all responsibility—


even when held to a cot, she suffered no fools, 

stood her ground where traces of strength

gathered one last time


and with sword lain down…

                                           found Victory.

__________

REMEMBRANCE

Daya Jaggers

United States

https://society6.com/ladydaya

 

Remembrance, please bring through 
Clarity 
never to forget 
what we have done 
the misery and pain
the wrongdoing
Swiftly
the bells are ringing 
to resurge our collective 
Knowing
imploring us to 
Facing 
all hidden shadows of our pasts
Coming 
into our 
Golden Heart of light
to reconcile with the 
Benevolence 
remembering our pure  
Original
Loving  
Nature

__________

HOPE

Najma Naseer Bhatti

Sindh Pakistan

 

Keep forward, ‘till the end,

With flare and full of passion 

Brighten your hidden abilities,

Just like every new morning,

Before it passes through darks,

Finally, nights are replaced by light,

You may face hindrances,

Keep forward with firm intentions,

If so, then the next world will be yours.

__________

PASSING THROUGH CUDDALORE THIRTY-FIVE YEARS LATER

Vidya Shankar

India

https://www.instagram.com/vidya.shankar.author/

 

Traffic snarls

Wheels thunder

Horns threaten

Dust rises

LEDs and neons glare

And I 

In a car, windows rolled up

Inhaling air-conditioned breaths

Sit stupefied, shocked

The anticipation of joy

Shredded to nothing 

As we pass by

Concrete, grotesque faces 

Of a developing economy


This town 

By the river Gadilam

Thirty years ago

Where I had spent

Three memorable growing up years

Quaint, quiet then 

People on foot, bicycles, cycle rickshaws

The chettiar’s car, our school bus 

We heard the temple bells

Breathed in fresh air

Wore pinafores and knickerbockers

Played bare-footed on the streets

Ate gooseberries plucked off trees 

This town

This monstrosity of a place 

We are passing through now

Where one went shopping

To buy happiness —

Is this what we have all become? 

 

 


Footnotes:

Cuddalore: a district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu

chettiar: Members of a land-owning and mercantile community in Tamil Nadu, the Chettiars are pioneers of banking and commerce. They are traditionally wealthy.   

__________

MEMORIES

Karuna Mistry

United Kingdom

https://karunacreations.wordpress.com

 

Outside world of reality seen whilst the inner world extracts the live stream

Memories, a biological virtual copy; a neurological playback lobby

How much memory to compose a poem; how much brainpower to keep it going?


Memories come, what good are they? Brings me regret for things that may

Memories inside constantly play over and over, until another soon takes over

Memories aid or cloud one’s brain tank whilst injury and anxiety help run a blank


A memory is meant to permanently stay so why does it eventually run away?

Memories are how we honour the dead; when grieving, they are very fresh in the head

Memories start strong and vibrant but with fewer thoughts, they do grow silent


Memories are static – or so we think – a psychological reality: an unreliable kink

A smell, sound or sight creates an impression, yet new exposure changes our recollection

Memories are also subject to manipulation; they become fluidic with autosuggestion


Memories fade; but the new way to remember artificial aperture

Photos and videos, they do carry on to the next generation – and beyond

Digital memories refresh your head – keep clicking through until you are dead


Are you a memory millionaire or must you constantly speak a questionnaire?

__________

YESTERDAY REVISITS!

Madhu Gangopadhyay

India

 

The book fell off the shelf.

Dust layered, pages brittle.

Face down it lay,

She picked it up,

The crumbs of dry petals!

Once scarlet, fragrant

Now withered, remnant,

Strand of a decayed past!

Almost forgotten!

A red rose,

Bouquet of love!

Between the pages of the book

Trapped!

Dream catcher, she had never hung.

Expunged! 

Life waded through, sometimes danced;

When the sun pushed through the

Closed doors of clouds,

She laughed loud! 

Yesterday winked at her!

Plethora of images, emotions aroused!

Lay scattered on the floor!

Those echoes, now charcoal!

She froze! 

Butterflies flying with broken wings,

Invisible bee's stings!

Glancing at the infinite, the sun she missed!

Tears cascading down her cheeks,

Transfixed, she stood!

A fragmented maiden, pain kissed!

__________

SUPPLICATION 

Miranda von Salis

United States


Remember when poems came easy

And we sat 

Creating theologies as quickly as we abandoned them?

Grinding rocks and reeds into timeless runes

Whose enchantments had nowhere to go.

We did not know then, 

What the world had in store

And me with only my prep school Latin 

and feigned belief in magic to get me through.


Ego memini nihil,

Ego mimini omnia

__________

I HAVE BEEN TO PLACES OF GREAT DEATH

Nolo Segundo

United States

 

I have been to places of great death:

Walking the battlefield of Gettysburg,

As a lusty young man of no firm belief 

Who stepped between the great rocks 

Of Devil’s Den and felt his soul shudder

as though he had been a soldier there, 

and died in fear a long, long time ago.


I taught my tongue to the gentle Khmers

As civil war raged and the killing fields

Were being sown—I left before the 

Heartless murdering began, the killing

Of over a million: teachers and students,

Doctors and farmers, the old, the young,

Each with a photo taken before dying,

Their pictures taped to classroom walls.


And when I visited Hiroshima, now myself

Chastened by death’s touch, and knowing

My soul real, knowing of meaning absolute

And of unseen forces that work good or ill,

As I stood at the first ground zero, I once 

Again, shuddered to feel the pull of madness

(though I knew not if it was my own or some

Remains of that evil which brought the fire

And brimstone of a worldwide war….)


But by then I knew I could pray, and so 

Opened my desperate heart and sought 

His mercy—and then I saw a sort of angel, 

Who took me from that place of insanity,

Healing me while we wandered by the

Beauty of the Inland Sea as my storm 

Calmed and left me, never to return….  


I have been to places of great death, and

I have felt death’s cold, careless hands.

But I know now what death itself fears:

The Light, the light eternal which carries

Souls beyond time itself, like the winds

Of a Love exceeding all understanding.

__________

MY DAILY MIRROR

Laura Grevel

United Kingdom

https://www.instagram.com/lauragrevel

http://lgrevel.org

https://www.facebook.com/LauraHGrevel

 

As I walked down the street,

a woman saw me filming my moving feet.

She smiled sweetly.

I’ve become wunderlich, un matto gatto, je suis fou, un loco, lost my marbles,

stayed too long in the toilet talking to Hitler about the war.

The Lockdown looses more than clocks

for I took a walk today to see a blackbird play.

No, this will not be that kind of poem!  No rhymes!


Is it too late to start over, God?

I could live in Mexico, raise fruit in Oaxaca, 

work in stucco, or raise oregano,

eat frijoles, con Hierba de Conejo.

At sixty, get some new ear piercings.

Fearless reds and unashamed yellows dance before me.

The sky lets fall redemptive grace.

My footsteps speed their pace.

I said, no rhymes!


Some Lockdown days loose themselves from the clock of human time.

The lift and the gift of it,

the sift and the gist of it.

I said, no rhymes!


My shadow disappeared today.

Did it tread beneath that tree stump?

Did it slide beneath that stream top?

In Texas, a winter storm has caused a state of emergency,

frozen the whole and cut power to 2.5 million.

In Houston, Mattress Mack has invited people without heat

to come sit on the furniture in his store until their electricity comes back on.

They’ve given up on Lockdown.


Once upon a time I was young and in San Juan.

The fort stood sad upon a rock; waves crashed.  The sky was overcast.

Once upon a time I did not walk down the street filming my feet.

__________

HE CALLED ME HAPPY

Heidi Gilles

United States

https://www.instagram.com/the_heart_pages


I kissed him gently,

“hello!”

we didn’t speak,

but our eyes met in a place so familiar –

a place of comfort

and the warmth of home.


As we sat in the space, where he slept

and nourished his now aged body.


(He called me “happy” – a symbolic gesture

of his life of deep, connection to those most beloved)


I remember the last time,

we rode bikes to the beach,

together, with his best friend – 

two old men

and a daughter, drinking up the landscape,

as the peddling

brought us to the shore.


I remember the time,

on the mountain, our last skiing adventure -

a picturesque memory in a 4x6 frame, 

of a daughter going through,

a difficult chapter, 

delighting in a heavenly day, 

with her dear father. 


(Moments became years,

 that turned into memories, so many…)


It is our words shared through time,

that I cherish the most – 

about the life we choose and,

the lessons,

but mostly about love, 

And, how to honor the gift 

of a capacious heart, by sharing it through -

thoughtful expression. 


On my way, 

planting a soft kiss onto, his deeply wrinkled cheek –

words of love, quietly exchanged by one.

“I love you forever,” I said. 


I placed my hand over his heart,

and then, he lifted his index finger, 

which met mine, and

served as our last embrace.


“I love you forever,” I said,

As the door closed.


(He called me happy)

__________

WE STAY TIGHT AND CLOSE AT SEA

Peuo Tuy

United States

https://www.facebook.com/khmergirlpeuo/

 

Digging clams, we stand still, bend our knees

with our duck feet on the ocean’s floor.

Sand and gravel tickling our toes:

Feeling oh so goooood,

with our sarongs lifted up to our thighs,

we make indigenous happy faces.


Digging snails, picking up all sorts of sizes;

black and stone-like peek through.

We giggle, waiting for them to peek again.

Grabbing with our bare hands, 

we gathered hundreds.


Chasing crabs----tiny, medium, big ones.

As the tide recedes, we wait for them 

to scurry back onto the ocean’s abode.

We walk quickly,

picking them up, they

bite our dark-bronze fingers.

We make funny, hurting faces.


In my dreams...


Every summer, we jump for emotional joy.

We always make indigenous joyous faces.

We can’t wait to go back to share memories 

laughing, smiling.

We stay tight and close, never letting go of those good family times. 

__________

RIDING WITH PRIVATE ANDREW MALONE

Pankhuri Sinha

India

https://www.facebook.com/pankhuri.sinha.56

 

Since 2007, that song has been 

Playing in my head

Like it used to in my car!

A song so beautiful 

And touchy, seems hard to

Even  write about 

About a slain soldier of foreign country 

Not exactly a foreign country though 

A country of which

I was slowly becoming a citizen!  


Its an amazing process, naturalization! 

Almost making you fall in love 

With a whole new country

Of sprawling grasslands

And wild daffodils, calling out 

With names exotic like 

Shenandoah and Savannah 

Mesmerizing with rapids, falls, gorges

And strange befriending accents 

Like Toby Keith addressing only 

The American guys in that imaginary room

Of air waves floating in the sky 

Emanating from that radio channel 

Becoming my favourite 

In my car, as I drove 

On roads like sweet home

Maple and King’s Highway

Parking on Boulevard’s like Niagara Falls 

Drawing a smile on my face 

Unlike any known before!

One day, would I become 

A part of that American ad

Of multiple-coloured folks 

With dramatically different features 

Announcing, ‘I am an American!’ 


Was I driving, working, behaving

Right enough to be a part of that ad

Was a question that never occurred to me 

With so many American friends, so many 

Accolades around! And riding almost 

With Private Malone

Championing peace! 

Was I being overly tested? 


Sure, loving one more

Country didn’t mean at all 

One didn’t love one’s own! 

This slow immigration

This slow identification 

With so-many if not all things American 

Would it ever mean the forgetting 

Of the prick and pain 

Of being away from motherland

Mother herself, mother tongue 

And so much more!

Not just the lapping waves of oceans around 

Green or not and the tall crown of Himalayas

White or not, and we all know 

War is a terrible thing! 

In schools all around the world 

Kids are being taught anti-war lessons

Merits of peace, and nationalism 

Linguistically, or moderately 

And outside the classroom 

With whoever we are riding, or walking 

Or skiing or climbing 

We know, war is a bad thing 

War kills people! 

And if you have still not read 

The letter by Private Andrew Malone 

Please read it, as he hands over 

The keys of his old corvette 

Sliding on the American roads 

As the emblem of peace

Read it please! And pass it on 

To the Russian soldiers today

Asking them to rebel

And to tell, their leader

Russia is gigantic enough! 


Why should all wars record 

The soldier testimony of Auschwitz 

Saying, “We were just obeying orders!”


Why should Ukraine have to lose this war

And why should citizens of nations 

Revere only their martyrs?

That they must, but they can do more! 

And make less war! 

Conscription or not! 

As I, deported out of that 

Glorious ad, and the land of golden apples 

Make do, with the song alone 

Of Private Andrew Malone 

Am visited by strange dreams 

Of war time treaties 

A frontline of peace days 

Frequents itself 

Barging in my sleep 

With rival soldiers 

Standing guard 

In freezing winds! 

Celebrating remembrance day 

And the ghosts of martyrs 

Appear suddenly 

Totally randomly 

Asking simply 

To reach across 

Shake hands! 

__________

POETRY MAN

Michael Lee Johnson

Illinois, United States

 

I’m the poetry man, understand?

Dance, dance, dance to the crystals of night,

healing crystals detox nightmares, night tremors.

Death still comes in the shadow of grief,

hides beneath this blanket of time,

in the heat, in the cold. 

Hold my hand on this journey

you won’t be the first, but

you may be the last.

You and I so many avenues,

ventures & turns, so many years together

one bad incident, violence, unexpected,

one punch, all lights dim out.

__________

A RARE BROTHERHOOD

(a star poem*)

Lakshman Bulusu

New Jersey, United Staates

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/127227.Bulusu_Lakshman

 

A rare brotherhood

Between my dad and uncle

Went beyond kindred


Dad, his heart so good

Taking a father’s role, through

The years forward


Cared for his brother

From childhood to adulthood

Step-by-step gentler


Uncle chose action

Repaid in countless measures

Dad as his role model


What else can it mean?

I can only say this much

Like brother, icon!


A rare brotherhood

Dad, his heart so good

Cared for his brother

Uncle chose action

What else can it mean?

*A STAR poem (invented by Lakshman Bulusu, NJ, USA) consists of five tercets, each having the syllabic count in lines one-to-one - representing the five triangles of a star. followed by five lines formed by taking the same line (i.e, the line with the same line number) from the five tercets that form the enclosing pentagon formed by the base of the five triangles. Additionally, the last five lines by themselves can form a STAR poem representing a star with five lines converging to a point (similar to asterisk).

__________

REMEMBRANCE

Shail Raghuvanshi

India

https://www.instagram.com/shailraghuvanshi/

https://musenmotivation.wordpress.com/

 

“Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,

Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!

Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,

Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?”


a month away, a year since you passed on

from the excruciating agony of existence long gone

onerous to imagine you a speckle on an angel’s wing

enduring, a choice you ceased to play resisting;

fallacious on my part to persist with my denial

of your demise, uncanny in its occurrence, a rotten trial

you tersely term as destiny when things could have gotten better

indulged your dreams a wee bit, you preferred instead the letter

tied with a red satin ribbon on the ageing banyan tree

cold in the earth- and the deep snow piled above thee


making a snowman with a cherry nose

reminding me of cherished moments spent close

babbling together, drawing plans for a future

subsisting within hidden fragments of fantasy sutures

transforming girlish whims and fancies

into tufts of cotton floating around like mere fantasies

surfing around local shopping melas in malls

misery, despair unknown to us, our vulnerable ardor standing tall

giggling over witless jokes, recollecting crushes, Hari, Jai and Dave

far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave


assorting bone, flesh, thought and sentiment

a smiling picture replaces the blank wall looking deceitfully eloquent;

your mother places dishes you relished so much when alive

hoping to let you know she still loves you even as she struggles to survive;

your brother, lost without his sturdy pillar of support

searches for your cheerful presence, a lucky mascot

the vagaries of time blurring, rusting, blotting painful memory

the motion picture still rolling, an unstoppable reverie;

should I have embraced her insecurities more willingly-

have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee

 

like I did yesterday, unhesitatingly, unflinchingly

your diffident skepticism pushing me rigidly

a bond that was to bloom like the lotus

withered like the mimosa, life GPS betrayed by a faulty compass;

who to blame when both languished in torment

now, you are not there for me to love you more with life’s scent-

you connect instead, from the ether, diving into gloomy realms of my reflections

bathing me with your invisible astral light drowning all misconceptions

remembering friendship, stringed with beads of dew I crave  

severed at last by Time's all-severing wave.

__________

CIGARETTE SMOKE AND SWEET TEA

Kassie J Runyan

New York, United States

kassiejrunyan.com

 

He sits.

Rocking in his chair

as he takes a long drag

from his unfiltered cigarette.

His overalls worn at the knee

and patched at least once.

He breathes out

and the smoke billows around him

framing his sun kissed face.

His long fingers tap

the arm of the chair

almost impatiently

as it rocks back and forth.

The smoke still sitting

heavily in the air.

He reaches for the plastic glass;

wet and cold on the outside.

A contradiction to the hot day.

He lifts it, taking a long drink

of his sweetened tea

savoring the moment

before looking right at me.

Blue eyes meeting my green ones

just a grin breaks his face

crinkling at the lines from the years

and all is right in this summer day.

 

Poem about my great-grandfather (and the J in Kassie J Runyan – Jacob)

__________

I SEE YOU…

Melanie Haagman

United Kingdom

Facebook.om/girlontheedge90

 

I see you in the background,

Standing out by blending in, 

I hear you when you’re silent,

And your patience’s wearing thin…

I can feel all your frustration,

It oozes from your soul,

I can sense you’ve lost a lot

And it’s left a gaping hole.

I can taste your disappointment,

Life’s not gone the way you’d hoped,

But you’ve hidden it so well

Unhelpful habits helped you cope.

I can see you in the background,

Standing out by blending in,

I can hear your thoughts so loud

Reverberating from within.

I can see what you’re disguising,

From the words you never say,

I can see you’ve built a barrier,

To keep the world at bay.

But step outside your silence,

You’ve so much more to give,

You were put here for a reason

So don’t forget to live. 

__________

Kassie J Runyan

New York, United States

kassiejrunyan.com

 

step

step

break

breathe

the snow stops as

the sky opens to show bright blue

revealing mountains reaching

for the sky