Below are the all-time best Claire Bogdanos poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members
Poor old teddy bear, waiting tired and time-worn
Reminding me of many nights spent too forlorn,
We have seen better days when your soft coat was new
And all the dreams we dared to dream seemed overdue.
I put away my childhood toys as I grew old
Because I’d sought the happiness that futures hold.
While childish hopes are based upon small simple things
They fade into the lonely past that growing brings.
Sometimes I wish, with all my heart, I could recall
That yesteryear, so long ago, when I was small.
There’s a precious amount of brief security
In loving a teddy bear who loves only me.
There’s a special place that I now recall
Both secret and safe in a garden wall,
Far my favorite space when I was small
Was that wooden gate in the garden wall.
And there beneath that garden way
One million tears were washed away
And drained themselves into the ground
To gain the solace I have found.
When I’ve spied a spot with a hidden door
That may lead to the rest I’m reaching for,
The sight of a hedge by a garden gate
Is the knowledge that mellows oft too late.
One entrance in a crumbling wall
Was childhood’s fancy to recall
While shadows cast upon the ground
Did guard the peace that patience found.
The permanence I ‘d felt inside that gate
Where no words alone could ever relate
In the simple fare of my life would be
Like an endless rope of eternity.
I’ve often thought as I recalled
The lonely times when I was small,
I’d lift my wings and follow play
And swing my early cares away.
Ten thousand timeless heads bobbed in the breeze
And shook in the wind and laughed in the trees,
Amidst delphiniums all blue and pink
I’d wait for that sun to just rise or sink
To seek what hides past that garden wall
Where hollyhocks grew so bright and tall,
There beyond the pulse of nature’s lush
Life slumbered deep in a twilight’s hush.
There’s many a gate in many a wall
That has been childhood’s option to recall
When time’s swift shadow played hide and seek
My simple fears had some courage to speak.
Full many a turn has come about
Since those youthful years pursued by doubt
Where the wishing days of life would be
Bound to each one’s goal with piety.
Now much time has flown and it’s far too late
To play in the yard and swing on the gate,
For the wall is gone and there in its place
Structures of brick with no smiles on their face.
Portals of magic beckon still
With aspirations dreams fulfill,
The useful aim of one’s end should be
Some gate that waits for posterity.
Frail silvered bird of man’s invent
In air or drift its time is spent.
My heart flies high on lofty wings
That listen while the current sings.
Not hindered by the traffic’s clog
Nor crippled by the moving fog,
Bold sailing vessel of the sky
Will light on waves that heave and sigh
Like gannet, gull or tern at home
It glides across the azured foam
And banks and heads into the breeze
To land upon its wide-webbed skis.
The thought occurs, as well it might
Of all it’s seen within its flight,
Most images that on the ground
Will thought and deed intense confound,
When viewed from such a distant height
Do lose their power and their fright
And fade into the circle’s knot
Reminding us what’s been forgot
Of all the dreams I’ve ever known
But one remains steadfast and clear.
Of all the seeds I’ve ever sown
That with the spring will reappear,
Of all the gifts I’ve ever bought
And cherished with a thought unreal,
Of all the hopes I’ve ever sought,
In faith, which to my mind appeal,
This simplest one, I’ve valued most,
Friendship sealed with kind helping hands,
A love that feels no need to boast,
A heart that cares and understands.
I am an empty seashell that waits beside the sea
To catch each impatient wave that washes over me,
Within the deeper crevice which is my inner part
There swells all the emptiness that drowns a heavy heart.
I am a frigid winter that never sees the sun
Yet dreams to hold one sunbeam before its light is done.
I am a hollow nighttime wind crying out aloud
Embracing every vacant space stretching wide and proud,
Sheltering a burden while seeking that final cave
To echo trust and recapture all the love I gave.
I am deserted memory living in the past
Wherein all wind and waves and snow are forgotten fast.
I am a lonely stranger, timid, pale and lost, how sad,
Who for the sake of liberty committed all I had.
Somewhere I saw a smiling face
Somehow I can’t recall the place
And once I heard sweet laughter’s ring
Too late I learned a heart could sing.
I thought I grasped time’s fleeting hour
And bent its course unto my power
I knelt upon a meadow’s grass
And begged of God my fears would pass.
Once more I looked into the sky
With hope that faith would guard my eye
I prayed so hard and chance forgot
That some have peace and some have not.
I wished upon each falling star
To reach for love but not too far
I prayed that days would swiftly flee
And timeless grace might bide with me.
I wished so hard and then I saw
A clearer view much as before
Of all my flaws and then I knew
Mistakes I‘ve made as we all do.
Oh mermaid by the fountains edge
There shaded by delinquent hedge,
With naked soul to wind exposed
Remains aloof yet rests composed.
I ponder o’er your endless plight
Forever left just out of sight.
I climb the stair to lonely bed
Through halls with bleak and empty stead.
Raw courage will importance play
Command each night to greet the day.
Abide with calm and peaceful mind
Within the span that time will bind.
This single vigil I must keep
Until my heart slips into sleep
Reminds me of that maid too bare
Whose marble eyes do vacant stare
Into the world to never see
Some ending of futility.
The white mist softly falls and fades
Dancing in a symphony
Each flake, a prima ballerina,
The world is an eclipse wondrous white,
Mysterious patterns make their way,
Disguising ordinary scenes,
Creating panoramic view
Where’er the eye may fall.
The world appears to wear a furry coat
Of ermine hue, fragile as the morning dew
Resting on the petal of a rose.
A solitary cadaver of spring
Slumbers beneath the blanket heaven sent,
God is in His glory and all the world
Reflects His purest image.
The air is fresh clinging to each bough,
There’s ne’er a garment which man
Could e’er allow to garb a mortal
In a cloak of such great majesty
Nor tell of such infinity as this world
Which is such a wondrous sight to see
When it’s fresh in snow.
Yesterday, a leaf fell from my favorite tree,
In silence, all alone, I watched it slip and slide,
Turning somersaults, drifting, so melodically,
Graceful, with nought other passage than downward
For one fleet second, thoughts of revolution grew
And cast themselves across the windows of my mind,
Where fragments of one’s journey weigh for times,
Inciting spasms of questing doubt, life doth blind.
We are, each soul of us, mediocre in our way,
Endowed with talents born long ago, yesterday.
Skills that we erringly believe to be unique
Consume other needs, while that special praise we seek.
Observed through private mirrors which the mind
And colored by the ego that our pride reflects,
Images, much gilded by vision clouded, seen,
And silvered by the hope that we are as we dream.
Mankind, foolish, now wanting, thinking what will be,
Wastes his days midst effort veiled by futility.
That cycle, which in youth, had its first beginning,
Will end in age, with neither losing or winning.
Why did you take my dreams and brush them all away,
Like scattered ashes of some forgotten yesterday,
Blown with the biting dust of winds that swiftly glide,
Just drifters on life’s road, unwanted, cast aside?
I’ll mend the twisted fragments that have not been lost,
Time will veil some pieces and never count the cost,
A feckless sort of action, yet task worth knowing,
By simply standing tall, find endurance growing.
Wisdom laced with caution that loneliness will marry,
Gull’s nest on seaweed, though set adrift, may tarry,
A titmouse, in the thornbush, emerges, wings intact,
While dreams that died of neglect, often seem abstract