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Best Cyndi Macmillan Poems

Below are the all-time best Cyndi Macmillan poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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123
Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

SANCTUARY


If this safehouse
                         was a sanctuary
we would protect 
those hunted by injustice,
prove with the activism of words
that some arrests should not happen,
that we are not immune to suffering


(sing Joy to the World, here)


We would not treat it as a retreat,
a place to hide 
                          only ourselves
from the realities that others face
while we stuff ours
with more pecan pie


Pass the potatoes, please
(sing Angels We Have Heard on High, here)


If this safehouse
                         was a sanctuary
then from our pulpit sacred words would erupt
with reminders of the commandments


We shall not murder
We shall not bear false witness


If this safehouse
                       was a sanctuary,
we’d speak in the gospel of blood, 
we’d disrupt the facade of peace,
embrace our global brothers 
net each child, woman and man
             who gasp         who flounder 
in violent seas,
in oceans of YOUR indifference 


(sing Silent Night, here)


If this safehouse
                        was a sanctuary,
we would not ask our brethren
to remain silent,
in the clutch of ancient Romans


(Read, New Romans)
(sing O Holy Night, here)


If this safehouse
                        was a sanctuary
we would not let the persecuted
be lunch for lions because

their despair disturbs,
their agony bothers,
their pain dares to break hearts
and a heart must remain intact,
especially during this time of year 


as we describe sex and sunsets,
laugh over limericks
frost syllabic cupcakes,
tie verse up in bows,
visit friends, leave tidbits of kindness


while others hear bombs
                              empty a school,
kill a good neighbour,
gut a street


(sing Away in a Manger, here)


If this safehouse
                            was a sanctuary
we would widen the walls
to house each shell-shocked soul,


we’d tell each story,
we’d rise-up against butcherings,
bandage the maimed
and our voices 
would reach into the emptiness
   
              
                we are becoming


as the bones of dehydrated children  
martyr  Mount Sinjar


as the cries of new babes born in mangers
are smothered, each day
 

by the apathy of poets
by your longing for sanctuary
because – after all—it is Christmas


It's not meant for anything
                but the birth of Jesus


and virginal snow on evergreens

(sing Amazing Grace, here)






Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

AN EDUCATED MAN

He reads voraciously

to his young children,
beholden and somewhat bewildered 
by sweet progeny 
their relentless leaching of his words 
hungry baby birds, small peep teachings

He reads sporadically
 
to his father, articles from the paper, 
headlines and bylines,
for his dad has cataracts, now, and velum hands
shake newsprint, making a rattling sound 
too like the quiver of their cloistered skeletons,
all those remains, all those remains

There is wisdom in comics, he has found, 
bucolic rings so like old church bells 
tutoring fields through fog

He still tries to read

his wife,
shared history in eyes,
the geography of long sighs, that topography of belly,  
yes, yes, a theology that spills from parted lips
bless each rumpled sheet, that chemistry 
which repeats poetry, spoken in a dialect, so rare 


He remembers reading an encyclopedia 

in the face of a beggar, once, 
the prophetical sparking from high brows 
which seemed to be only crossed currents,
a lifetime recorded, an unbound edition, A through Z
but when he turned carefully to C,
he'd found a full entry on compassion
and charity

Soon, he'll no longer read music notes

through a soft blur, playing guitar for one
a thousand times more educated then he,
this twelve year old girl, her heart 
an open lecture hall,
that smile of pure academia, 
may she ever be an opus angelorum,
that reaches, will ever reach, 
far past mere hospice walls.







Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

CHAN


Ghost knight, playing Tolkienesque chords
over common, white noise,

I still hear you, cosmic brother,
strumming the songs of pentagrams 
           from your optical guitar, 

like that scene out of Star Wars,
all were always welcome at your wild bar –
interplanetary troubadours, euphoric warriors
or a ninja geek incognito, a wistful rhymer
         who knew truth seldom whispers,
love is the only real free-artistry,
requiring no discipline, no perimeters,
no limits and no definitions

I still hear you, cosmic brother, 
so alive, streaming a high volume 
of colours, blue still holds a torch for you, 
loud and proud,red engulfs night 
without one regret,

but its your delicate gold, my friend, 
         I can never forget




Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

SUNCATCHER

Delighted, I return to the stained glass
studio in a dream. A Maltese Seraph 
is nigh, pleased by crafted canvasses 
Peace plays in her illuminated laugh
for she is moved by both the fired art
and wholesome scenes piously framed
in elongated windows. Pure light darts
between beauty forged by artistic fame 
and the burnished backs of horses pulling carts
on the village street. St Jacobs, a plain land
praising simplicity: a message of heart
heard in her voice, seen in the lay of  hands.
But a wink teases as she lifts suncatchers, 
seeing sweet figolli in each pastel patch.

*Figolli is a Maltese cookie decorated with bright icing and enjoyed at Easter.
Like two dimensional Easter Eggs ;)

This is to our friend, Charmaine, an angel of Soup, who is from Malta.

St Jacobs is a Mennonite Village. It is common to see people drive by in horse and buggy.
Old order Mennonites wear clothes of another century. The women wear prayer caps and 
pinafores, calico dresses, no make up, no adornments. The men wear black suits, 
black hats, solid shoes.


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

HER FIRST PLACE

Small pleasures are kind, so very giving
for when toil erodes and drudgery wears,
I may pause and find the joy of living
in the warmth of hearth, an obliging chair.

A short respite satisfies, brings me cheer
as embers tend to each crumpled toe,
and I stretch a thought as the cat draws near,
No demands it makes and its purr is low.

Soon, I will remove each trace of cinder
from the grate , then into ash I will wade,
but folly delays and daydreams hinder
the obligations of a proper maid.

Still, best this free life, however sooty,  
then the gilded bondage of my lady. 




Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

FIREWORKS


Exquisite, this expectation as dusk
mellows each ruffle on her robe de style*,
warm her expressions, candid, unrushed
for lake waters return that sunny smile.

A hem trails the shore with tulles of twilight,
overcome, the hush of angels almost cries   
at grace in upsweeps and poise held as night
steals her away with a sorrowed sigh.   

Dark this vista til she yields her jewels,
moonstone and topaz, citrine and ruby,
all her wisdom to forever unfurl  
in fireworks, a blaze of poetry.   

Love left its mark, Heaven is now altered
by a flourish that brightens even the stars.






*** We will miss you, Linda Marie, but your poetry, light, love of life, will continue to live on... GODSPEED....

* A Robe de style is a long gown with a wide, billowing skirt 


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

THE HOURS

                                                      Don’t count every hour in the day, 
                                                      make every hour in the day count.
                                                                                         ~Anonymous~
                                                                                                   


How heavy and quick are indifferent hours, Their tread crushes the most tender of dreams, And though time knows not its pressing power, It tramples the heart, yet hears not the screams. A dancer, sculptor or siren with song beholds the cold clock and its silent charge, Each stage, chisel and note aches to belong to minutes that mince, steps buoyant though large. These tasks of days grate and night pounds abuse, But the artist learns to dodge, buck and roll, How clever is craft! How wily the muse, For we, the moved, do not cower or loll. The sun bears down and a blue moon marches, ~ Beneath their weight, my poetry arches ~
*Written Feb 12, 2012 For Paula Swanson's "Trample" Contest


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

UNFORGOTTEN


My recollections are grifters, dragonflies glazing
glacier springs, skimming over unforgotten lands,
fleeing my inept hands that so long to just once snatch 
that fragility, but those filigree wings raze the heart.

Recollections can be Mercurochrome whims 
that heal with stings and then leave stains.
Are such things a balm and do they enflame? 
Grifters all, those yesteryears and their sly charms,
That shift alarms and then zero in for the kill.

Dragonflies soar through my dreams like they did 
at the cottage we rented the summer I turned twelve, 
before my mother changed, became ill.

Glazing the lake, the sun seemed lower there.
Glacier cubes, little ones, would click against
cups that held lemonade, but I had a secret.
Springs hid in a forest nearby, so I would trek
through woods to sip water so pure
that I was Bernadette in Lourdes.

Skimming stones over the lake, trying to 
count past two, I never succeeded.
Over and over, I would try to wake the 
Mystical Lady beneath the reeds.

Unforgotten are those days.
Lands of soft green are now gold.
Fleeing memories can’t be done.
My childhood is a menagerie of tales untold.
Inept are these words as I scribble moments
that ate melting Raisinets as the sun set.

Hands, much smaller, now flutter in mine.
That and this, she commands, and asks why
the man in the moon wants to hide.

So, I watch the magic in her unfold,
like that spring and that child from decades ago.
Long is the growing process, but short are days.
To remember those firefly evenings is to forgive,
And those campfires sparked more than conversation. 

Just once, though, I wish I could forget the rest.
Snatch that gawky girl and return her to enchantment.
Fragility deserves a second chance to sing with crickets.
But those hours are gone, and the ones I now live in
are driven by the compulsion to nurture.

Filigree wings worn by a tot remind me of journeys and 
how time’s narrow portal opens only to close.
Raze I will that autumn and its mad, destructive chill 
and I will protect one serendipitous season.

The heart we are given can be filled with such love that the
maternal trickles its way down to a girl studying dragonflies and
we hop on a boulder to sit with our former selves
shoulder to happy shoulder.  


*For Debbie Guzzi's Et Cetera Contest.


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

DOUBLE OH

DOUBLE OH

1

James, you’re incorrigible, my double Oh.
Outclassing the other tuxedos, you arrive
at the crowded casino and men glower
as women part their lips, each rivals. 

There sits sensuality. Wry brows
lift as you order a martini; particular,
your tastes, roughly refined, never bowing
to convention. Across the table, you war

with yourself. Those dual sides I easily spy,
the loner who targets curvaceous company
and the agent, hardened, a master of lying.
Your lady-killer grin ricochets off me.

Pure trouble. Fury with both barrels loaded.
Duty will win out and leave me owing.


2

Duty will win out and leave me owing.
but I’ll not be indebted to any man, 
alive, that is. These endowments only show
boys like a chest full of toys. Hands spanned

my waist and assumed they’d touched me.
Barely a graze, though some kisses stung,
cuts to the quick.  But you drawl, Tiffany…
Damn your smooth tongue. It lays diamonds. 

Secret service, indeed. I see your skills
and change my position, spin like roulette.
The bed accommodates looks that kill.
You measure up. I’m your compromised pet.

Sport or mission, each need maneuvers
Whether in espionage or under covers.  

3

Whether in espionage or under covers,
player, you’re always on top of the game.
There is something about the way you steer
my mustang, that says you’re entertained

by the maniacal, amused by the chase.
Still, villains and vamps require tutorage,
must submit to limits, be put in their place.
It’s no laughing matter as you nudge

metal against metal, step on the gas
and custom fit nine feet into a six foot
wide alleyway. You’ve taken Las Vegas,
as if the city had been sleeping. Fueled,

you shoot me a look; it rolls like dice, 
smoking...and as hot as smuggled ice.

4

Smoking and as hot as smuggled ice...
our affections flare in body language-
covert actions, once overs, slick disguises,
decoys and leverages, crucial appendages

like that Berretta. Question, what is a Q?
Q-uash, Q-uerken, Q-uarrel, or Q-uest? Do tell.
Each in their way seems to apply to you.
Now, kiss this Q-ueen, go on, man handle.

Oh, these constant disruptions are criminal.
Bonds-men! And do you ever use your bed
for rest, Lover? Trust me, let my arms cradle
your patriotism, your scars, your ... hard head.

First, stop thinking. Then, dust me with jewels.
Nights like this are mined by heroes and fools.


5
Nights like this are mined by heroes and fools,
but evil never sleeps, never sleeps; it plots
like pulp fiction, builds death rays and lewdly 
patrols, then rams plugs into corrupted slot  

machines, if you know what I mean. Schemes
multiply like clones, soulless clay, half baked,
and chaos organizes its minions, impedes
even a primed paladin. They have you scaling

the contumacious walls of dooms day
as they attempt, again, world domination.
Greed cordons, but you shatter barricades,
then infiltrate lairs with polished persuasion. 

Go to work. It’s fine. I’m not new to hellfire.
Let your femme fatale help settle old scores... 


6

Let your femme fatale help settle old scores.
They’ve caught me, think they have the upper hand
while I deliberate on small minds, locked doors
and the strange repression of man.  My plan

hadn’t read the script. Well, mistakes are made
even by the best or those with the best
of intentions.  Gunplay, bombs, each escapade   
to rout the opposition, even that wild west

savoir faire just bores the bikini off me.
We blow the bad guys to smithereens. Done.
Until the next brute needs a lesson.  Discreet?
If I must be. But really, darling, you’re no fun

And as cocky as they come. Never fumbling.
Good girls fall hard, bad girls just crumble.


7
Good girls fall hard, bad girls just crumble.
even I cannot decide which type I am.
After all, what’s love but a risky gamble
bluffing the heart with poker face claims.

I know I cannot be a Moneypenny
nor would I choose to be royalty
and don’t get me started on that Tool, Plenty,
or  the other tramps in your ample harem. 

Wicked your grin, I see thoughts progress
to where palms find more than just a mouthful, 
measured your motions, slowly you undress
me, whisper Tiffany in a voice so lethal. 

Where did you learn to do that? Look out, below
James, you’re incorrigible, my double Oh.





Tiffany Case, Bond girl with grit




Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

ROOTS

                                     i am with the roots
                                     of flowers
                                     entwined, entombed
                                     sending up my passionate blossoms
                                     as a flight of rockets
                                     and argument

                                     Charles Bukowski,  Penguin Modern Poets 13 


   _________________________________________

ROOTS



I chose toile wallpaper
in muted blues
since pastoral scenes 
refuse to budge

Pick that, girl,
and you get nothing else

I stood my ground 

Our ninth move,
I only wanted 
the repeating pattern
of that mill

It’s wheel
would never turn

Homes revolved,
doors slammed, 
nothing was ever still

my mother lit sticks 
of manic dynamite 
which drilled holes in walls,
and drilled holes in my father
who lost 
more chunks of himself
every day

Afternoons shuttled me
into corners 
with Bukowski or Plath,
love lesions,
heavy bloodstones,
sponges

Evenings, too, never settled,
the wind stayed up,
tippled glasses,
ripped pages from 
my books

But when hell 
shifted even darkness into fester-reds, 
I crept into pastels...
as untouched as the core of flame,
as motionless as Wedgewood



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