Tuesday, April 17, 2018

View from the Fifth Floor

The bamboo wood plays shadows 
on the full moon framed in the window,
a glimpse of the universe spreading, 
spreading past all comprehension.

Put your head on the pillow.
Set your slippers by the bed
as sentinels waiting for the dawn.
Rise, swivel to touch the floor.
Light, glasses, radio, hot coffee.
Relief of knowing
you can coordinate each effort,
lack of surprises
a relief.

The pain of a divided world presses in. 
The view from the bedroom window
is a fraction of the real world.
Beneath, it is Guernica.
You have seen ages pass,
and now the cups of coffee are numbered.
Where is solace now?
Slippers by the bed,
the moon in your window?
The necessity of awareness,
or the losing of it?


© Evie Safran, 2018

Girl and the Moon
by the Estonian painter Karl Pärsimägi
from Wikimedia Commons
In public domain in the United States



Public domain

Monday, April 2, 2018

Objects

Small objects,
some round, some square,
some big lozenges,
others egg-like, or sculpted, or cut
in clever shapes
I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago.

Stamped upon their collective visage
are numbers, letters, trademarks,
symbols of authority, and other magical incantations
which inform the reader (should he or she possess
the requisite microscopic ability) of contents,
definitions, and the all-important DOSAGE,
an Anglicized word from a forgotten Mediterranean dialect meaning TOO (dos) OLD (age).

Too old to what? you may ask. Why, too old to see,
too old to handle, too old to count, too old to read,
too old to remember, to ask questions, 
to think, to hear, to dream.
Fear not, imbiber, these are but overheard baggage
when the symbols are empowered
and the magic begins to roll.

Oh, did I mention the effects, i.e., the enumeration of miracles
to be wrought, along with the after-effects, 
the collateral effects, the side effects?
To be taken with water. Do not drink water
when dosage exceeds the square root 
of the mass of the earth’s moon. In case of eclipse,
drink heavily any liquid that comes to hand. If unable
to read these instructions, signify by sending 
a long accusatory letter to your doctor.
If directions are followed,
relief is almost certain, unless
it isn’t, in which case, it won’t be.

Does this topic upset you?
No problem. Just take a pill.


© George Phillips, 2018

Adrenallrx
by FtWashguy
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, March 26, 2018

Complementary

For those who stop themselves

I am afraid to share my voice but you love to sing.
From now, when I am beside you,
may your glad singing always override my inhibitions.
May you remember to look at me directly 
and sing loudly with no thought to my shyness.
May your voice, which soothes me in plain speech,
in singing wrap around me and pull out my smile, 
a hum, so maybe someday my song will rush out to meet yours.

You avoid moving to music but I love to dance.
From now, when you are beside me,
may my sway and stomp always override your embarrassment.
May I remember to look at you directly 
and dance freely with no thought to your shyness.
May my feet, which walk comfortably beside yours,
step joyfully around you and pull out your smile, 
a bounce, so maybe someday your dance will rush out to meet mine.


© Laura Seale, 2017

Couple dancing, Peru
Library of Congress
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, March 19, 2018

On Ground Cut Small

It was my wish before this all began
That the generals felt our pain and rode off
In the night when we were so sound asleep  
We could not arise and begin our fight
Once again, once again, on ground cut small.

Surely great leaders know when troops weary,
And though spirit bound by bronze and steel, they stand
Where tomorrow finds them a new home beyond
The bounds not of steel or bronze defining them
As one, in what they never were nor want.

My wish so sorely slashed by fear and pain,
Generals by small men retained again,
And love turned to hatred again in flame
As my home falls to the depths of grief,
Golden only in defending itself.
Golden only in defending itself.

But now a song is sung I wish were new,
Yet began seven centuries ago, 
When fire and metals blended for weapon 
And tool in kiln of concrete kept secret
To survive in the desert that goes like this,
  
The highest steeple in the greatest land
Is no larger than the pettiest man.
The highest steeple in the greatest land
Is no larger than the pettiest man.
Once again, once again, on ground cut small.    


© Dennis Wright, 2018

Unburied Dead on Battlefield ~ Hanover County, Virginia
June, 1862
Civil War stereograph
DeGolyer Library collection, Southern Methodist University
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I Feel the Edge of Myself Now

HOW I LOVE MUSIC
THAT MOVES THE TEARS IN MY HEART 
TO MY EYES!

---- I COULDN’T DO THAT IF I TRIED

AND THAT IS WHY
I BELIEVE IN THE TRUTH OF FEELING
ABOVE THE POWER TO REASON MY WAY

I WISH I COULD CRY EVERYDAY

I WISH I COULD MAP THE COURSE OF MY TEARS
SO WHEN I FEEL LOST
I COULD FIND MY WAY CLEAR
TO GET BACK TO MY SOUL ----
TO THAT BREAKAWAY MOMENT OF UNITY,
OF CERTAINTY,
WHOLE

I FEEL THE EDGE OF MYSELF NOW,
LIKE A CURTAIN OF LIGHT ----
SATORI IS NOT SO FAR AWAY,
JUST A WINK OF THAT SELF-IN-TIME

I AM, AND YOU ARE, DIVINE

I WANT THE COMPANY OF THOSE
WHO STIR UP THE RIVER OF TEARS I’VE STORED,
TO FLOW AND FLOOD DOWN ALL THE YEARS
UNTO THE BLISS
OF ALWAYS

© Gerry Sackett, 2018

Picture taken inside the lens at Pigeon Point Lighthouse
by Jeedew
from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Again and Never Again


Again 
Another senseless violent school shooting 
Again multiple lives changed forever 
Again I do not understand – how such a disturbed young man 
Can have had such easy access to a gun 
Bent on mass destruction—of the lives of others 
And of the life that perhaps long ago was once his own 
Reading the accounts, I am saddened by the tremendous loss 
I grieve for the families and with them and thousands of others in my heart 
The question WHY never to be answered 
Why the warning signs weren’t enough…..
As I read through the paper, I see 
Again, horrid atrocities
Men bound and kneeling before being shot and dumped in a shallow grave 
A young girl gang raped in front of her father 
An internationally known runner tortured for his beliefs 
Women sexually assaulted and this being culturally acceptable
The list goes on and I can read no more 
My optimism and my hope are dimmed 
No gun control 
No genocide stopped 
No protection for those desperate to flee 
Nowhere to turn 
I seek God 
Breathe, needing hope, optimism, peace
Determined to not just be silent 
For in my silence I am complicit in having nothing change
And yet 
I wonder 
What can I do? 
Give me a specific….  There are so many from which to choose
What can I do? 
I do not understand how people, each one once an innocent child, 
Can be so cruel—filled with such hatred, anger and fear 
As to be so violent against one another 
What can I do?
What steps can I take that will bring about actions that say 
NEVER AGAIN 


© Anne Cressin, 2018



Virginia Tech students hiding in Holden Hall during massacre
Photo April 16, 2007, by William Chase Damiano
from Wikimedia Commons  


March for Change Rally following Sandy Hook school killings
Photo February 14, 2013
from Wikimedia Commons



















Memorial for Pulse nightclub mass shooting
Photo July 8, 2016
from Wikimedia Commons








Student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws
after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS
Photo February 19, 2018
by Lorie Shaull
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, February 5, 2018

Beneath the Moon's Umbra (India: July 22, 2009)

In the middle of what seems like 
an ordinary day, 
women bend into their washing 
on river banks. 
Saris bunched at their knees, 
stooping over piles 
of color, they crouch to knead, rise to
sail cloth flat.

From the bridge over the Varuna
where we wait 
the slap of wet clothes on black rocks,
its rhythm rises.
Beside us people, trucks, rickshaws,
ox carts pass
on the way to market, the airport, 
temple, the ghats.

We’re in Varanasi, on this bridge
to see darkness,
not death, but the path of totality,
the moon curtain.
When daylight fades above and below,
crisp shadows soften. 
Few notice the dusk, just us --
white-skinned, tall. 

The lunar screen steals the light, 
dims the day
till traffic slows, men lean out laughing, 
children push in, 
all look up at the shrinking sun. 
We loan pairs
of protective glasses, some look 
through fisted holes. 

For six minutes thirty-nine seconds 
day becomes night, 
only a shiny gold ring tossed overhead. 
Crowd, birds hushed. 
Below us women work without pause.
Slap of clothes.


© Marti Snell, 2018

Indian women washing clothes near Dakore Temple, India
Photo by Ashesh Shah
from Wikimedia Commons