The single white rose captured the old gardener's attention,
He lovingly cared for it, like it was his own grand-daughter,
The roses were just like family and friends in his eyes,
He gave them bright sunshine, and plenty of fresh water.
He had always planted roses in reds, yellows, and pinks,
Yet, it was the one white rose that he favored most,
The old gardener admired it's innocence and elegance,
A quality that the other roses just could not boast.
This precious rose was pure white, like new fallen snow,
Which only a cold, late November day could bring,
It's delicate petals were soft to the finger's touch,
Similar to that of a feather, in an angel's wing.
The old gardener was perplexed and astonished,
Only this rose bloomed through spring, summer, and fall,
Each of the other roses had withered months ago,
The frost and cold weather did not affect it at all.
With a smile, the old gardener took one last look,
Unknowingly, death would soon come without warning,
After he had settled down for a nap in his chair,
He drew his last breath, later on that morning.
His funeral was held on the very next day,
Loving words were spoken, as he was laid to rest,
His grand-daughter approached, with tears in her eyes,
As she placed the single white rose upon his chest.
The cemetery was a quiet and peaceful place,
Where family and friends gathered to remember,
A gentle snow began to fall upon the casket lid,
Brightening the gloom on this final day of November.
The old gardener's soul departed from this earth,
Lead away by a choir of angels, on delicate wings,
Then on through the pearly gates of heaven's garden,
Where the white rose still blooms, in eternal springs.
November 25th, 2013
Written by: Kelly Deschler
Copyright © Kelly Deschler
Like a herd of cattle, placed on a ship.
Upon my back, I felt their whip!
Ripping into my flesh, excruciating pain.
Forced across the big water on a trip.
Living in darkness with little to eat.
The feel of chains around my feet.
Amidst tortured cries, the ship did shake.
Waves pounded the hull with relentless beat.
Only once a day, would we see the sky.
Huge sails, caused the ship to fly.
Further and further away from my home.
Feeling confused not understanding why!
A white devil, steered the wooden ship.
All his mates evil with scabbed putrid lips.
Yet we, depended on them for our lives.
Without them, into the ocean we'd slip.
The journey long, felt like an eternity!
I longed to be anywhere but on the sea.
My mind occupied with thoughts of my home.
yet, I could not escape this horrible enemy!
Sick and dying were forced to walk the plank.
Then into the cold water they quickly sank.
The sailors laughed, as the last man was tossed!
Their spirits boistered with the rum they drank.
Many days later we finally made land.
A place of stone and wood, I could see no sand.
Crack of the whip, we rose to our feet.
"Off of my ship!"was the devil's final command!
For Verlena's "Writing in a black Perspective" Contest
Story continued for my own pleasure, not part of the entry.
Slave Part Two
Brought in chains, to a raised wooden stage.
Bids tallied carefully, sales written on a page.
That was when I witnessed, a most perfect girl.
Bought by a fat man, she was placed in a cage!
I was up next, I stood still as he bid on me.
"One dollar, gimme two, two dollars, sold for three!"
Then I was taken and locked up in the cage with her.
Together we both dreamt, of one day being free.
Brought to the plantation, in late September.
I worked in cotton fields, until November.
Then I would be purposed, to cutting fire wood.
For cold and snow came, by early December.
In the evening, we were left to be with our kind.
While in the big house, our master dined.
Later at dusk, my angel girl would come.
Her beauty so amazing, she made me blind!
The taste of her body, my rememberance of home.
We gave each other pleasure, when we were alone.
Even though the master, wanted her for only him.
I felt like a free man, when I would hear her moan!
Her pregnant, I wondered if the child was mine?
If I was the father, I would be bound in twine.
Still inside I prayed, that the child belonged to me.
In the end, that would be certainly be fine.
Nine months later, almost to the day.
The love of my life was taken away.
In death our child born, middle of September.
The master's anger, I could not sway.
I was awoken, ripped out of my bed!
He took out a musket loaded with lead.
Finally free, in spirit we both travel.
There are certainly worse things, than being dead!
Copyright © Richard Lamoureux
Here under the cold winter sun,
Beneath the old, lifeless tree,
My winter mourning has begun,
When no one comes to visit me.
Left out here on the edge of town,
Underneath the gray and gloomy sky,
In a lonely cemetery, with not a soul around,
Where every lone wintertime, I cry.
As I lay here, frozen and numb,
Crystal snowflakes are falling down,
The dead of winter has finally come,
Like icy teardrops upon the ground.
The wind howls like a lonely, lost spirit,
Through grass overgrown this December,
And it still hurts me to hear it,
That nobody even came here to remember.
Icicles have formed on the iron gate,
And the days now become dark so soon,
Forever sealing in my forgotten fate,
My only friend is the bright, shining moon.
And so I'll just lie here all alone,
No one will come until the spring,
And while you are staying, warm at home,
No one has left me flowers or anything.
Copyright © Kelly Deschler
Gone are the days of childlike hope and dreams.
Our tender years were cast on life's broad streams.
Rich mem'ries float on waters still serene,
while thoughts drift past the seasons in-between.
That final bend of river not yet seen,
we set out seeking vistas new and clean,
where aging frame and psyche' still burn bright,
made strong and sharp as blades in morning's light.
We'd dream and see realities yet new.
Our aging forms, set free, would test as true
those aptitudes and skills not proved since youth.
The vision, quite sublime, has become truth.
We'd run the race as when young, full of drive,
to sense a new resolve, to feel alive.
The blood and air would surge deep in our chest,
hearts striving one more time to be the best.
Perhaps, we'd stand on mountain tops and view
our world and all its peoples kind and true.
If foes of that time bid earth-mates good will,
we'd aim from common fate all strife to still.
And, when the course of each life had been run,
we'd pray wise God affirms all was well done,
while setting each soul free from fated slings
he bids us soar on air that yields to wings.
Copyright © Brian Baumgarn
What’s In The Urn
Strangers offered me to join them in a drink
I met them on a mountain edge while skiing
They seemed like friendly normal people then
So what could happen in a simple cabin?
Finding that which is not there or vanquished
What is there that cannot be perceived?
Placed upon the mantel piece are ashes in the cabin
Brass vase, a receptacle for lost souls sits in repose
A death vase to glare at over cognac
By the sober flames cast by
A fire place glow observed in action
Liquid spirits pour out their poison
In the cozy living room inside the cabin
Drinks alone cannot remove this feeling of distraction
The urn is piercing through my soul
People belong in cemeteries you know
With all due respect for the dead
Scatter them at sea when they‘re deceased
Not paraded around in gloom to cause unease
Or as a center piece for living rooms
I’m not relieved to find it is a lizard on the shelf
To be exact, an exotic iguana family friend entombed
And to assume that fact makes this matter optimal
I beg to differ on that point and voice my opinion later
There must be a plot of ground outside
Or toilet somewhere to flush it down
But better left unsaid, as they are bereaved about the death
And I am their invited guest
Iguana tried consuming the family’s cat
Another favorite pet
It is surmise, that’s how it met its end
Ended up expired inside the urn
The receptacle was there and going nowhere on its own
I swear it follows me from room to room
By embers glow and ash, shadowing my every move
A brass smile casting off the urn, leaving me concerned
I could not take my leave
The container followed me
So I waited, fixated on the thing
Is it coming back to life to eat more bugs or me?
Finding that which is not there
Is easier in the dark
Rising to the occasion of the day that breaks
I must escape the premises to continue skiing
Into the frozen world outside I fly
With no discernible signs or paths to lead or learn
I get away, no time to say good-byes or find my way
Never again will I say; what’s in the urn
Copyright © Earl Schumacker
Once there was a soldier boy,
young and brave and smart.
He had some questions bugging him,
they tore his brain apart.
He went along to ask his friends-
''Why there can't be peace?''
They just laughed into his face,
''Let us tell you what peace means:
';Peace means love, peace means hope
peace means painless, fearless trust.
There's no love, there's no hope,
all the fearless lay in dust.''
He went along to ask the trees,
the plants and flowers too.
Then they all replied to him
''Answers we have few:
People kill themselves and us,
they cut us up for fire.
And with the fire that they cut
the tension becomes higher.''
Soldier boy then went to war,
questions still in mind.
He kept on searching in the field,
for answers he can't find.
He walked up to the enemy,
beat starts to increase.
''Tell me, good man, tell me please
why there can't be peace?''
The man pointed his gun to him,
aiming to his heart.
''I'm sorry, young man,'', then he said
''I really hate this part.''
Once there was a soldier boy,
young and smart and brave.
He had some questions bugging him,
they took him to his grave.
Copyright © spring goodman
Emerald etchings are given birth
to bask their lives in summer's sun,
until brushing brutal winters cheek,
They cower yellow; brown undone.
Swirling down onto concrete pyres,
They somersault to a random grave.
The earth lays claim to copper corpses
But the winter wind is a cunning knave.
It finds and flips the fallen fibers,
then flings them crisply to the street.
The failing sheaves of burnt magenta,
tossed like chaff from harvest wheat.
Now strewn about with playful malice,
and denied the resting place they crave,
for the golden sun is a glint of amber,
but the winter wind is a chilling knave.
Copyright © Gerard Keogh
One windy night upon my breast
I felt the kiss of winter’s breath
A breath that blew me into flight
Upon my breast one windy night
A leaf once green now bathed in red
With coat of spring and summer shed
True color bursting at the seams
Now bathed in red a leaf once green
Upon your breath I learned to fly
A flame of glory in the sky
Not knowing that the price was death
I learned to fly upon your breath
But all too soon I came and went
The seasons of my life were spent
A bud in spring that came to bloom
I came and went - but all too soon
Author: Elaine George
Written: March 3rd, 2014
Copyright © Elaine George
Smoke comes off the chimney tops
Trails behind the breeze as the rain drops
Hurdles under the clouds to seek shelter
Disappears in the vapor of a darkest winter
Snapped under my coat I ran to shelter
My steps tracing the trail of glass
Sweat dripped down my palms elevated
I lift my knees and walk agitated
Took a second to notice, a scarf hanging
Neck loose, head bottled, scalp dangling
Cold breath sneaked up and down my neck
As the lady grasped sight of her final dread
My gaze slid under her skirt
Her undone hair and bloody shirt
All climbed to intertwine juxtaposed above
Merciless, spineless, slithering gloves
Ice-clawed eyes stared back in horror
Hands clenched in fists flagrant in color
Put a finger on his lips and whispered
A tone that struck my nerves unhindered
Speak a word and you're next
Don't put my patience to the test
Walk away, disappear, 'cause if I find you
You'll pray that god take you before I do
I couldn't hesitate twice abt walking
Suddenly, he cringed and started falling
Branches broke as his neck followed behind
Snapping backwards, dispersing his spine
I slowly walked over and found a note
To whom it may concern, sloppy hands wrote
I am but a victim, of this woman's throat
the day she stabbed me, the day she spoke
I'm but a lonely spirit roaming free
Why has this lady followed me
To murder all that I loved and once cared for
To sweep off the little things I'd die for
She was Lady Death, the one we all fear
Seductively laying us to eternal rest
Drove me to heaven, doors slid clear
Her arms wide open, her warm loving chest
Then to hell I went for my earthly deeds
The torture I've seen for all those years
And you're next in a line of slaves
A queue of misery, a farm of graves
Your eyes have seen a deadly charm
Life as you know it is far long gone
Prepare for a sinfully long run
Here she comes, load your gun
Copyright © Ziad Gadou
I have found myself at the threshold of death on several occasions. Each time I managed to
look it in the eye, doff my hat and say, “I’ll catch you up the trail.” This is not to say that I
am some special breed of hombre that casually defies death, for there have been many who
have gone the way before me and managed the confrontation in heroic decorum.
Nevertheless, death is not some evil state of being that only the brilliant or daring may defy;
nor is it a release from the severity of life. If anything, death is the threshold of eternity. Life
provides all known qualities, conditions, trials and tribulations that we encounter throughout
the fruition of our purpose.
Oh, death is not the enemy, for life provides our foes,
The ills, disease and suffering… the countless other woes;
For this is as it was ordained since Earth was yet to be,
When life evolved on other planes, the eye will never see.
We all embrace our time and grow in body, mind and soul.
We foster wisdom, strength and faith, fulfilling every role.
Prepared or not, the time will come, our form will waste away,
While life goes on, as is ordained by He who plans the way.
No, death is not the enemy, an end that one should fear.
It’s but a threshold for the soul to doff its mortal gear,
While life transcends its bond with Man to dwell forevermore
With He, whose force conceived all life and is its very core.
Copyright © Jim Fish
The warrior lays her weary head,
With heavy heart she cannot bear,
Burning tears stream down her face,
As whispered memories touch the ear.
Her armour tarnished by remorse,
Her battle-cry a wimpered row,
Her wounds, of which bleed solitude,
Will never know forgiveness now.
The song began two score ago,
When two came knocking at her door,
In need of refuge from the world,
Of that, and love, and little more.
Forced to fight for every smile,
Her only solace found in song,
She longed for love to rescue her,
And plant her where she could belong.
Jealous tongues are seldom kind,
Self-seeking hearts know nought of love,
The caged canary only sings,
When coaxed to praise from up above.
For the steely spine that now I own,
Forever shall I grateful be,
A gift from her, and from her own.
Courage mounted inwardly.
I'll not forget how I have loved thee,
And youthful memories I will prize,
Til on the shore of His forgiveness,
Whereto now, we both shall rise.
Copyright © Yvonne Evanoff
So words become; the order of the day
and order of the day becomes
the soldiered meaning of all work and play,
the ever present, beating drums.
Then words become; the lure of the lie
and liars lure every son
with shadows of gold 'til they all but die,
to retire, to be, to be done.
And then, once again; the words become
the order of every day
to sleep, to awake, to be dead and done,
'til all words fly, ever away.
Copyright © Tom Hitt
The Way of The Cross
Our Jesus is condemned to die
Oh, Savior, now from Earth you part.
You do not sigh, nor do you weep,
Though our sins have pierced your heart.
Dear Jesus bears the Holy Cross,
Our Savior of all humankind,
For us you start this journey now,
Still endless love for us you find.
Our Jesus falls beneath the Cross;
So dreadful now to bear this pain.
Dear Jesus, when we fall in sin,
Please help us rise up once again.
Our Savior meets his Mother dear,
Mary, anguished and depressed,
Please help us face our sorrows too…
Live up to all our trying tests.
A man named Simon of Cyrene
Appears to help our Savior’s plight
To lift the weight of his great Cross…
Lord, burden us to spread your light.
Veronica wipes our Savior’s face.
Look now! His imprint there to stay!
Please on our souls your imprint make
And help us keep it there, we pray.
Dear Jesus falls down on the path,
Again now for the second time.
But soon he rises to go on,
Lord, help us up to stay in line.
Our Jesus meets some women now,
They kneel down to mourn and weep.
“Weep not for me,” He says to them,
“But for your children, the lost sheep.”
Our Jesus falls again, this time
His journey's nearly at an end.
Dear Jesus, when we fall in sin,
Please grant us wisdom to amend.
Our Lord now stripped of all his clothes—
This torture is so sad and cruel.
Please, Jesus strip our souls of sin,
Our hearts and souls you always rule.
Our Jesus, now nailed to His Cross—
Your death, dear Lord, is very near.
Sweet Savior nail our souls to you,
And grant us grace to have no fear.
Oh, the dreaded Crucifixion!
Our Jesus now so humbly dies,
While all the sins and sins to come…
Are placed before his tear-filled eyes.
Our Lord is gently taken down,
In his dear Mother’s arms is placed,
Oh Mary, Mother of our God,
Help ease our sorrows to be faced.
Now, Jesus placed within his tomb,
To rise again on Easter Day—
Redeemer of all humankind,
With us forever you will stay!
Oh, great day of Resurrection!
From tomb he rises up to sky,
With all God’s angels by his side
He joins his Father up on high.
Oh, great day of Resurrection!
He rose again on Easter Day!
Redeemer of all humankind,
With us forever you will stay!
© Sandra M. Haight 2015
All Rights Reserved
Contest: Death and Resurrection of Christ
Sponsor: Isaiah Zerbst
Copyright © Sandra Haight
A plastic smile
He waves hello
To all his friends
He'll never know
Beneath his skin
There lives the sin
The hurt within
A silent wish
A crazy thought
How does one kill
A mind distraught?
An answer looms
As dead as leaves
It covers life
A matchstick lit
An open sore
A fire burns
Consumes the core
The pain is gone
When all that's left
Ash on the floor
Copyright © Yoni Dvorkis
No one knows how long they'll live
I guess it's much better that way
Who among us really wants to know
When we'll reach that final day?
Please let it be a great big surprise
Like maybe while eating ice cream
Expire with a huge smile on my kisser
Or perhaps pass away while I dream
Death's quite messy at the best of times
Did you ever hear someone say this
“Mary had a really charming death!
She even gave me a good-bye kiss!”
Probably the absolute best way to me
Is in the warm embrace of a loved one
The shock could cause their death too
Then off we'd both go when fun's done!
Bet you're thinking, how can he make fun
Of such a serious subject as death
Hey! You ain't never going to avoid it, folks
So enjoy life till your very last breath
© Jack Ellison 2014
Copyright © Jack Ellison
The Texans weren't supposed to be
Holding the old mission.
Sam Houston sent Jim Bowie there.
Said he had a vision.
Bowie wanted to save the fort.
So did Colonel Travis.
They say when Santa Anna came
Carnage there was massive.
Two hundred men would die that day.
One was Davey Crockett.
He couldn't save the Alamo.
Too few men to stop it.
Santa Anna won the battle,
Taking back the city.
He killed each and every soldier.
Showing them no pity.
Santa Anna was defeated
Outside San Jacento.
The Texans bore the battle cry,
Copyright © Ray Dillard
filling the radio with words of availability
lot lizards selling their souls to diesel driving “Joe-s”
in and out of truck cabs under a weeping moon’s protection
Jane, works the night, wondering if her daddy knows
lipstick on and high heels strapped as the sun sets in May
call sign; “Wild Orchid” …. “Anyone looking for a good time?”
a traffic jam of radio chatter…… congested air waves
the August sun rises on a night of sexual crime
Orchid petals caressed with greased stained hands
her pale white color quickly wilts to brown
the young November night is holding her final bloom
evidence of violent pruning becomes talk of the town
a knock on the door……………….. a flower delivered
Wild Orchid’s father is asked, “Is she the one?”
he checks her stem, quickly recognizing his roots
inevitably, the withering of his blossom has begun……
Copyright © Abe Lopez
Through the open window
An unintended entry way
Pale the moonlight streaming
Careless, now the price to pay
It perched upon my bedpost
All reality to confound
A tilted head, a beady eye
As yet he made no sound
My secret now revealed
He knew my every thought
My visitor in a feathered cape
Harbinger of death he brought
At last a guttural caw I heard
And in terror begged" no more",
"Leave me be to my just fate
for yes, I killed the fair Lenore"….
With apology to Mr... Poe
Copyright © Barbara Gorelick
The pro-Hanoi Vietcong many years ago
In the 1950's Diem's government they'd overthrow
All opposition was crushed killed or jailed
These elected ones to their people they failed
This Buddhist country so religious in belief
Now politically torn apart, impending future grief
In the early 1960's with the CIA in place
Discussing with Vietnam's generals, Diem, assassinated in disgrace
With the Vietcong army, growing from strength to strength
Another communist foothold, going to any lengths
In 1965, with 3500 U.S. Marines in place
By December of that year, 200,000 in many a base
These U.S. Marines, in their defensive mode
Over the coming months, peace would soon erode
With the Tet Offensive upon us, and the "Battle of Hue"
The Americans were now involved, this bloody war now brews
One decision to end this conflict, came in 1969
Nixon sent 18 B-52s, bordering Soviet airspace line
He wanted to show he was capable, to end this bloody war
But as the months and years progressed, the body count would soar
The anti-war movement was gathering strength, also in 1969
But the "Green Beret Affair" started to undermine
A U.S. Army platoon raped and pillaged, the village of My Lai
Where civilians were massacred, and many left to die
In 1970-71, Cambodia incurred wars wrath
Where they and the country Laos, were in the U.S. bombing path
Also in 71, there was the cutting of the Ho Chi Minh trail
But arms and supplies got through, this mission to no avail
Later in the same year, the Anzac's withdrew their soldiers
The U.S. also reduced, many of theirs from Vietnam's borders
In 1973, Nixon declared the suspension of offensive action
The Paris Peace Accords took place, peace with this warring faction
Between the years 73 - 74 under Trà, the Vietcong grew in strength
There was no mass offensive, to lure the Americans to their trench
Gradually they marched to their target, to see their enemies eyes
To their city of Saigon, now over a million humans have died
The average age of the American to die in this bloody war
Was just nineteen years old, never knowing what they were fighting for
So many came home from this horror, leaving themselves behind
Because so many came home different, home with a different mind
Even to this day, many Americans look back and ask
Why their elected Congress, feed them to these tasks
The sad thing about Vietnam, it continues to this present day
Where governments make decisions, asking guns to hear their say
Copyright © James Fraser
I dreamt my father came to me
From beyond the grave words spoken
He held my hand and said to me
Your life cycle has broken
Mom sent me here to fetch you
And take you home to heaven
I rejoiced and hugged my Dad
Eager to see my late folks and husband
But before I could get dressed to leave
My father had departed
Does he still wait to take me home?
Answer, Dad, I'm broken hearted
To join all my loved ones in the afterlife
Brings great joy to me, no fear
So I will sleep lightly again tonight
In hopes Dad will reappear
*Entry for the "Dream Land" contest. (Based on a real dream.)
Copyright © Carolyn Devonshire
A toddlers Crayola masterpiece marks the box
Where the story of our days now tarry
Passages tilting the axis of a bittersweet equinox
As photographs eclipse yesterday and today unvaried
The plans we made for a life
After years of work and worry
Useless installments when your partner dies
The crumbling of everything you once held firmly
Riveted, uprooted with every slide
Scenes of "our time" bring you back to life
I step from earth, you from the sun, for yet another goodbye
And the dam finally collapses behind brave hazel eyes
But not the brokenness your death left behind
Still, though no more than ashes it resides
Like faded photographs etched in the mind
Fanning the embers... one picture at a time
Rage rises, for you left me alone
Without refuge for all life's trials
And our sons fatherless before they were grown
Every step feeling more like a mile
I've grieved so long
And tried to move on
Like river water never looking back
But it's motion sings the the words to our song
Leaving me afraid I'll never belong
Or live out the plan we devised
For all my days my efforts give way
Blundering, burdened and blind
How does one truly recover
When the mate of their soul is no more
Or pass from one realm to yet another
When the walls of your heart no longer have a door?
Frustration builds like Lego towers
toppling to the floor under the weight of the world
Is it grief or something disguised by cowards
When a heart gets stuck from the pain that it's learned?
This ode to a man
Who in covenant took my hand
The marriage equator engraved a permanent mark...
For his death left a total eclipse of my heart
Crazy as a loon
But my God... how I loved you
My eyes fixed upon our favored moon
And I wonder... Do you miss me too?
Anniversaries used to be a joyous accomplishment
Marking years of selfless love made
Now it serves only an acknowledgement
Of a life interrupted by a cruel twist of fate
Of ill trusted hopes
And a future unmade
For us left behind to cope
With memories and photographs fading away
On this the 2nd anniversary...
Of your passing away
In memory of my husband of 25 years
Copyright © Sarai Romani
Many voices from the past,
Always echoing in my head,
How long can it last,
I thought you were dead.
You always tell me what to do,
So I don't make a mistake,
Somehow you always knew,
How many I could make.
Because once I hurt you,
And you'll never let me forget,
But what can I do,
You're not quite dead yet.
Why won't you leave me alone,
Will you never forgive me,
I wish I could atone,
Please, just let me be.
The hollow echo of your voice,
Will linger on forever,
You've given me no choice,
It'll never stop, ever.
The sound of you used to make me smile,
But now it tortures me,
I will always be in denial,
So an end I'll never see.
Copyright © Kelly Deschler
Once again, the powers that must
In rise again in what we trust
An overseas conflict, another war
Just what in the hell are we fighting for
Families are asking, Korea has just passed
Generations again reft, how long will it last
A country in need, to rebuild again
Flags at half mast, in wind and rain strain
Once again into war, sent by the Washington Post
To send back reports to hit home the most
Military observers were the first to be sent in
Another chapter of man entering existing sin
I'm witnessing our ariel power, Lam Son 719
US planners determine their incursion, saying all will be fine
Along the Mekong River, we'll carpet bomb their supply trail
Tons of munitions and napalm, this spread surely cannot fail
Many sorties are being flown, for the wounded and the dead
Whilst Nixon and his cronies, aren't thinking with their heads
The news of losses has reached me, nineteen have been killed
Eleven missing, fifty nine wounded, more American blood spilled
Seven fixed wing aircraft, more sons in action loss
Whilst back at home more protests, fading the dyeing's gloss
To to this job that I do, I was never prepared for this
To witness such bloody scenes, and ignore that life is bliss
How can I write about a soldier, whose name I'll never know
Killed at nineteen years old, his family he'll never see grow
Or even explain to his parents, when carried from the AH-1
His body bullet riddled and limp, when lifted it bloodily run
I never went back to the theatre, called the Vietnam War
Having witnessed the wanton killing, what were we fighting for
This colonial conflict that started, us on the side of France
So many came back as strangers, many to live in trance
James Fraser's entry into the contest " WORLD OF WAR: VIETNAM "
Copyright © James Fraser
Sore to the bone
Running on a drop of energy
Just gotta push through
I'll rest eventually
My shoulder has gone numb
But my body feels her weight
As if she's gotten heavy
Since her unconscious state
If I could, I'd stop right now
But who knows how safe it is here
And if I could even start again
I may fall asleep I fear
Soon my body will give up
But I'll make it as far as I can
And hopefully haven isn't too far
And I can put her in helping hands
Walking all day and night
It's hard not to think on past
And any thought I come up with
Has me struggling to hold sobs back
I've kept my ears open
Trying to focus on only sounds
But all I keep on hearing
Is my shoes crunch on foreign grounds
Bang. I hear it softly.
So far but still so near.
Bang. Another gunshot sounds
And I've collapsed in fear.
I close my eyes but another goes off
This time in a memory
And now I'm filled with rage
At how repulsive humans can be
My thoughts turn to my baby
Slipping off of my shoulder
I set her down and examine her
Bloodstained gown and skin colder
My worst nightmare but it can't be true
I listen in for her sweet breath
No. No No. No No. No No.
What's this silence? This isn't death.
This time I don't close my eyes
I see a sight that makes me sob
Memory of the last I saw my wife
And now my baby's with her mom.
Each one of us left covered in crimson
By a monster, a gunshot, a blow
Their death is the death of me.
This is as far as I can go.
Inspired by Morris Gleitzman's novel "Once," a historical fiction about a boy in Poland
during the Holocaust.
Copyright © Destiny Budd
She was a pretty muse
As far as muses go
He said she had about her
An incandescent glow
There was a certain mischief
He saw there in her eyes
And though he couldn’t touch her
He’d tasted paradise
She made his mind to wander
Down honeysuckled lanes
A few moments with her
And he’d forget all his pains
She had such rosy lips
Cascading raven hair
And though he could not touch her
He felt her presence there
She made him feel euphoric
She knew how to beguile
Was it the words she spoke?
Or the magic of her smile?
She was a pretty muse
As far as muses go
But it did seem of late
That she was losing her glow
The muse sat and wondered
At what had dimmed her light
In playing hide and seek
Was she lost of his sight?
She thought to seek him out
When to her great surprise
She found him much bewitched
By another Muse’s eyes
At once all of her sparkle
Her charm and beauty too
Blew away with the wind
She pondered what to do
The muse just simply smiled
Blew a kiss towards his face
She changed into a fairy
Flew away without a trace
At times when the dear poet
Sit downs to write a rhyme
He finds the words are lost
And he gets lost to time
He wonders about the muse
And in the flicker of candle light
He can’t see the little fairy
Just sparkles in the night
The heavy hearted poet
Is out of poetic tune
He killed his inspiration
He killed her off too soon
But then again the fairy
Smiles at him from afar
She knows her work is done
Now she’s just a guiding star.
Eileen Manassian Ghali
Copyright © Eileen Manassian
My mother starts moaning, with another one due.
She won't live to see, as she struggles to wheeze.
I never knew famine would produce skies so blue.
But no need for toilets, I forget how to squeeze.
Searing sun inflates skulls into baroque balloons.
One whining dog, dying , from a surfeit of fleas.
I squint as my sister beats a roach with a spoon.
She's holding out hope, with a morsel to tease.
My eyes can still water from the feces and trash,
tossed up by vultures to release fresh disease.
I dig up what moist dirt I can pound into mash.
An old man collapses, not a single one grieves.
What passes for corpses- baking black as they pop.
Now the flies feel the heat and retreat to the trees.
My brother keeps wailing and I wish he would stop.
My breathing grows shallow in the oven fed breeze.
If it helps each of you,
I am down on my knees.
I beg you.
Hand me one piece of bread.
Would you, please?
Copyright © Gerard Keogh Jr.
Crimson mist in the Dallas sky,
a frantic wife's mad dash.
The world watched us as we cried
for hope gone in a flash.
Brilliant poet with timeless verse
and enduring message of peace.
A murderous fan fulfilled his curse.
Does lunacy ever cease?
Perfect day in the city
until the towers fell.
Religious zealots who had no pity.
Their resting place is hell.
So look at history if you can
and learn from such hindsight.
As long as evil has a plan
we must not quit the fight.
Copyright © James Nichols
Lying still on the class room floor,
brown paper for a bottom sheet.
All the children were gathered round
and my outline was complete.
A cookie cutter girl was I
in bright black paten leather shoes;
with a gathered skirt, puffy blouse
of blue polka dotty hues.
Drawn silhouette, a paper doll,
not ashen as deaths cold harrow,
and I regret, my parents get
left Hiroshima's shadows.
Eight years gone the Rising Sun
was challenged in an earthy sky;
for bombs Little Boy and Fat Man fell
and two-hundred thousand people died
The Man of Steel, old Stalin
passed away in Russia this year;
the hot cold war was in full bloom
and our children hid in fear.
Beneath our desk tops we scrambled
as the shrill sirens shrieked away
the Committee of Five ruled Russia
and Khrushchev was on his way.
Dwight Ike was in the White House
as a veteran, he'd fought hard
the GI bill was now in affect
and bomb shelters filled our yards.
And little girls with ringlet curls
still made dollies on paper sheets;
while the doll shadows left by WWII
bombs blackened in Japan's streets.
*On August 6, 1945, the United States used a massive, atomic weapon against Hiroshima, Japan. This atomic bomb, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to comprehend this devastation three days later, the United States struck again, this time, on Nagasaki. Nagasaki was bombed on August 9, 1945 only three days after the bombing of Hiroshima. And we worry that other countries may develope atomic bombs???
Copyright © Debbie Guzzi
I wade the waterside enticing death.
The sea extols the brash to th’ outermost
Abyss. A ‘know it all’, I challenged this
I capsized in the tumultuous seas;
I’m in the heart of the abyssal deep.
The billowing waters; they crest and fall,
Enmesh and sweep.
Disjointed and astray from sight, I strive
Complacently for that redemptive shoal.
This mortuary that’s surrounding me
Entombs my soul.
I look toward the surface as I scan
The depth of darkness for some tethered hope.
I clutch my hands into the obvious
End of my rope.
The moorings are beyond my grasp. I gasp
And struggle for air as I hold my breath.
The hint is clear enough; I closed my eyes
And swallowed Death.
Copyright © Larry Smith
Your going has left a hole in my heart that time,
The Great Healer, cannot repair.
Your going has left a hole in my existence
That forever and beyond will not heal,
A hole ever expanding from its own nothingness,
A hole through which all the goodness,
All the kindness of you is slipping through.
You were my sounding board.
Trite ideas offered, came back
Enhanced, brilliant and sparkling.
Borrowing intelligence from you, I grew wiser.
Doors opened before me as I strove to be worthy
Of you, my beloved son.
I go on now as you would have me do,
Searching in Nature for the joy
You found in its wonders.
Hearing bird songs with your ears,
Relating to others with your empathetic instincts.
Striving, ever striving to be the person
And mother that you believed me to be
And never letting your memory grow dim
For those you loved and for whom you sacrificed.
You came into this world with a wisdom
That did not come from me.
I thank God each day for His lending you to me
For the time that I had you near
And I cling to His promise
That I will see you again.
I could not tell from whence you came,
Born with a wisdom that did not come from me,
And I do not know where you have gone,
Part of myself, the better part--into Eternity.
Originally entered as verse
A Letter to my Son
Your going has left a hole in my heart
That Time, that great healer cannot repair.
Your going left space in my existence
That forever and more will still be there.
Ever expanding from it nothingness
A hole from which your goodness has slipped through.
The kindnesses you wore as a halo
Have disappeared as well since I lost you.
I used you as a sounding boad to measure
The wisdom and the beauty of the world.
Your ideas were so clear and brilliant,
Through you my own best aptitudes unfurled.
I'm trying to live up to your standards.
I want to be more worthy of you, Son.
You told me once I was the perfect mother,
And with you life was such a lot of fun.
I thank God every day for loan of you.
The time we had was more than worth the pain.
And now I'm clinging tight to his promise
That some day I will see you once again.
I do not know from whence you came,
Blessed with wisdom that did not come from me.
Each day I pray I know where you have gone;
Taking my heart into Eternity.
Copyright © Joyce Johnson