Riding an elephant
Down the narrow trail looking triumphant
Scanning the golden landscape
Like Hannibal with enemies in flight
Sight from a lofty height
King of the jungle moving
With lioness by his side
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Guides by my side with packs on their backs
Some paths steep with rocks
Boots slipping below our tired feet
Beautiful birds in unison flight
Moving with terrestrial light
Stunning sunlight summit on the peak
Praying in an Ethiopian Church
Preserved in rocks built by humans’ hands
Never touched by conquest plans
Protected from the invaders’ footsteps
Queen of Sheba and Solomon’s nest
Touched by Arch of the Covenant
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus once slept
Eating yam, sipping palm wine, and tasting milk
Freshly squeezed by experienced hands
Taste of life in the mosaic grassland
Sustaining and soul refreshing
Cradle of humankind adorning
Invaded for its gold, riches, and human capacity
Birth of life on earth with tenacity
Respecting its living and arduous journey
Essence of life once was and is again to come
Riding a camel across the hot Sahara sand
Once wet now dried, exported gold from Mali…
Treasures from the hearts of once African empires
That which was, is, and shall forever be
Africa the birthing Motherland
We still love and respect thee!
Seventh Place Winner
"African's Pride" Poetry Contest
Sponsored by Adeleke Adeite
June 30, 2010
Once upon a time, many years ago,
There was a sweet and lovely - red, red Irish rose,
That was plucked prematurely, from the garden vine;
A budding beauty, taken in her prime.
She was laid to rest, upon the death, of a lovers dream;
Upon a chest of ebony, where lie, his would-be Queen;
Lowered deep into the depths, of the church yard cemetery;
Her scarlet petals, wilting in the summer breeze.
Then the earth begin to fall, like autumn leaves;
Upon her petals, and the chest of ebony,
From above her tomb, where stood the grieving groom
Weeping , weeping, like a willow tree.
Then the sky begin to disappear, amid that mournful cry,
As tears - from above, fell from that lovers eyes,
And came to rest, like dew drops on that Irish rose,
As she disappeared beneath the earth, there in his grief below
In time, he laid a stone of ivory - upon her grave;
Etched deeply - with the promise he had made:
To love his Irish Rose - forever and a day.
The years and all their seasons came and went
And a million lonely tears were cried and spent
Upon her grave where everyday he kneeled and prayed
And dreamed of her until his dying day.
The epigram has long since faded on the ivory stone
That still stands alone upon her grave
Where from the million tears of love he gave
A seemingly impossible - blue, blue rose has grown.
Written: June 18, 2010
Note: To late for the contest,
but I thought I would post it anyway.
Scientists say it’s just a mirage,
but sailors claim the ghost ship floats
in air, with stormy seas below.
Again he tries to round Cape Hope.
Captain van der Decken angered God
one savage 18th Century night.
Vowed he’d sail till “Judgment Day,”
to cross the Table Bay, he’d fight.
The Flying Dutchman disappeared
sank deep in foggy, wind-swept sea,
but the captain’s doomed to walk the deck
each night in perpetuity.
King George the Fifth, the Prince of Wales
are two who saw the Dutchman.
Although these royal heirs survived,
most meet death -- the captain’s omen.
His curse prevails in Wagner’s Opera
and Washington Irving’s story;
crews tremble, ghost ship emerges
Dutchman floats in frightening glory.
So many sailors and their ships
still meet demise on starless nights,
when demons steer the Dutchman
and a vengeful God reads last rites.
Till this day the Flying Dutchman
looms threatening on a ravaged sea.
For Judgment Day the captain waits,
luring crews to their destiny.
*Entry for the Story Poem contest.
A man with impeccable charm, sophistication and grace,
Fred Astaire was at once both marvelous and enchanting
As the twentieth century’s greatest dancer and master artist.
He made his sublime dancing (“hoofing”) seem effortless.
Capturing the American spirit with both panache and verve
Fred Astaire glided across some quite wonderful movie sets:
Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), Shall We Dance (1937)
Done magnificently—all harken back to a different America.
This America tho’ more old fashioned was one of “can-do”
And boasted a gutsy bravado even in times great hardship.
Fred Astaire with others was a sturdy star symbol of the then
Greatest Generation that helped bring peace to a war torn world.
Fred Astaire was part of this Greatest Generation entertaining
Packed audiences and dazzling them with steps of joy and perfection.
Tho’ now gone Astaire’s past accomplishments serve as a prologue
For new generations to come and to seize opportunities for greatness.
Where are you Fred Astaire?
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved, Schoeningen, Germany
(September 2, 2014)
A shaman prays, the Spirit hears
While a Seventh Calvary regiment waits
Unarmed, a tribe endures a Union's hate
Their animosities, and their fears
As the blue coats begin to circle...
Their wrath begins to circle.
That shaman saw but a single Spirit
That was split between different beliefs
He could accept the white Spirit Chief
But the white men would not hear it
They would not blend their God
With the red heathen God.
Anger explodes behind powdered shot
Spraying death from muzzled shame
Cruelly winning their ill gotten fame
Painted heroes claim a tainted spot
History claims the Ghost Dance...
As death claims the last dance.
A Dakota creek runs darkly red
Forever silencing the Ghost Dance
A chanting shaman dies in his trance
One hundred fifty Sioux lay dead
Now, only blue coats remain...
Only the blue remain.
A creek ran red with Union shame
When a shaman called the Spirit Great
And that Spirit did not hesitate
He fell on Wounded Knee and came
To take His people home...
His people swiftly home.
Timothy I. Brumley
It was in July of 1945
And the USS Indianapolis
Had a crew of nearly 12 hundred alive
But a Japanese sub fired and did not miss
American sailors had completed their job
Delivering parts for the first atomic bomb
Some sank with the ship, others in the sea did bob
No food, few lifeboats, ocean deceptively calm
Surprise attack, no distress signal had been sent
It was four days later those floating were spotted
The survival rate was just 25 percent
With hundreds of sailors’ bodies the sea was dotted
In the movie “Jaws” as Captain Quint had related,
“The sharks came cruisin'. So we formed into tight groups.”
Six men per hour were killed while for help they waited
All were lost but 316 Navy troops
Some victims died of exposure or starvation
But far more were killed by the sharks that had attacked
These men lost their lives in service to our nation
But bomb parts delivered had a deadlier impact
One of the last ships that was sunk in World War II
The Indianapolis had turned the war’s tide
With a mission carried out by a courageous crew
Victory was soon celebrated by allies worldwide
This is an entry for the History Poems contest
Hot August, 1974, I was back for my second year at college,
having just settled into a new place at Anita Apartments,
right next to the guys’ apartment complex called Tanner’s.
My first night, we answered a knock at our door.
Steve Dietrich, a friend of my roommate, entered our apartment,
but my eyes went immediately to the younger man with him.
That would be his brother Joel, there for his first year at BYU.
My first thought was this: How shy he is, so reserved. . . but so adorable.
He was tall and thin and cute as the dickens.
They stayed for just a while, and by the time they left,
I’d formulated my big plan:
to get to know this boy Joel (who everyone just called Joe).
There was to be a parking lot dance that weekend,
and so I waited expectantly, hoping all week
to catch a glimpse of this boy I’d found so attractive,
but no matter how often I strolled past his apartment,
my opportunity for a “chance encounter” never occurred.
The night of the dance arrived and I was right there,
all decked out in my colorful tight top with bellbottoms,
long luscious lashes curled and pink frost lipstick applied.
When I caught sight of Joel, he was slow dancing with some girl.
A blonde with glasses, she was rather plain and smaller than me.
I was not pleased to see her with Joe, and I thought to myself:
Hmmmm, who does she think she is? I saw him first,
and he is NOT going to stay with her tonight.
As they danced, I fixed my eyes on him,
my beautiful, long-lashed, sultry green eyes.
He looked up and saw me then. I must have taken him by surprise
because I did not lower my gaze.
I wanted him to know that he was going to be mine,
so I willed him with my gaze to break away from that blonde
and come to me.
And so he did. . the rest is history.
Beside me at this moment, lying on our bed, watching TV,
is the man who today bears little resemblance to that
very young man I met 35 years ago.
I turn to him and ask, “Do you remember the VERY first time you saw me?”
He replies, “I don’t know; a parking lot dance?”
Well, at least he came close. . .
For Frank Herrera's Contest: Love Story
In this centrifuge of sanctimony
Where I sip the atrophied air of my ancestors
The shipwrecked tide of my unborn children
Angels dangle from a precipice of silence
Strained by strings of a theoretical God
Sung by eyes of defiance
Which navigate the jagged epitaphs below
For that one sediment of salvation
That one moment of submission
Hoping he will see
His wonders, atrocities, his indifference
To cast a shadow of conviction
Over shivering light
Across the inlet where ivory columns crumbled
And modernity now deftly mumbles
Its fleets of fortune baptized
Nigh the bronze dust of golden millennia
Where history lies with its victims
A fugue of fossilized souls
A silent prayer remains
America, why did you stray from the old way.
A constitution put forth, the foundation of our land,
barely recognizable what was originally Jefferson's hand.
Tarnished and smudged by misinterpretation,
overindulgence and greed, to satisfy political,
judicial, and journalistic need.
Once majority rule, now bordering on ridicule,
the law of the land, ever changing, meeting demands,
of whoever takes a stand.
America, why did you stray, parents unable to discipline,
fear children undisciplined now rule, school in chaos,
students unruly, guaranteed to pass, unprepared for their future,
parents unsure, wish for the past, hope the next generation,
won't be like the last.
America, why did you stray, streets used to be a place to play,
neighbors knew one another, socialized every day,
doors left unlocked, nothing to fear, families stayed close,
helped one another, took care of mother.
Now drugs rule the day, hate and crime more common than play,
multiple locks symbolic of today, rarely talk to a stranger,
living in fear; life no longer precious, taken away,
day after day, the bloody count rises, a country in crisis,
victims pay, guilty appeal, courts give them the best deal.
Nobody protests for victims rights, put a murderer to death,
they scream all night.
America, why did you stray, hatred and bigotry alive
and well today, nationalities split, long for the old way,
when an American, was just an American, now hyphenation,
the accepted way.
America, why did you stray, once an industrial giant
you gave it away, too high a standard for industry to pay,
moved out of country, the new American way, unemployment,
poverty, homelessness rapidly increasing, ruined lives,
while billions are spent on so called allies.
America, why did you stray, what's written today,
barely address the wrongs building every day,
religion is accepted, God is not,
country divided, politically split,
presidential bashing provides journalistic wit,
hatred and bigotry, live for it.
America why did you stray, new chapters every day,
really a damn shame.
Before morning sun was dressed for the day,
the white noise came and shook the darkness,
like swells swinging ships on the French Passage,
cargo ships before the engine was pulled
from the womb of modernization
Before the day break open the citadel of night,
leaving weak traces of dark shadows in small crevices,
the darkness was crowned with gold and diamonds –
stars gazing on eastern isles
The sand storms came from Arabia
and we walked with our eyes closed
The Atlantic rocked ships like noisy babies,
the white surge broke like whips,
pushing salt in our wounds,
and we prayed to the God we’ve forgotten,
but he must allow our curse to come to pass,
it was written of us
Souls were thrown in the locker,
as we were dragged westward
On rigid eardrums I play this song