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
Copyright © Joseph Spence Sr | Year Posted 2010
I can clearly sense your utter despair of Der Matratzengruft*
As you valiantly carried on your poetic works to the very end.
This did not change your literary accomplishments well-known,
And your courage through the misery and morphine* is undeniable.
Your lyrical poetry speaks volumes among all of German literature,
And it was most marvelously set to music by the likes of Schumann,
Schubert, Silcher, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Strauss—to name a few.
Their melodic tones as applied to your verses then, now live on forever!
Your role in and principal contributions to Romanticism fall in line
With the highest quality of your poetic language and its intention.
Your role in battling early nineteenth-century censorship in Prussia set
You out front of many of your contemporaries who resisted much less.
It’s so tragic Herr Heine that your literary resistance so prominent in
Challenging Prussian censorship would make you ever so more noted,
And besmirched as the Nazis in 1933 burned your books and those of
Other German scholars as a reflection of their insane and twisted beliefs!
It’s with great irony indeed that the banning and burning of your works by
The Nazis was parodied further by them as they ignobly quoted and used
Your famous line from “Almansor,”* when you likened that “where books
Are burned, in the end people will be burned too.” We know what they did!
And so, with both honor and sadness I do understand the very cry of lament
From the confines of your mattress-grave about your final exquisite poetry,
Written through writhing pain and tears as you faced the end of your life.
It took great courage to face your end like this while staying true to your Muse!
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved (December 15, 2014)
(Narrative Quatrain poetic format)
*Der Matratzengruft from the German means “The Mattress-Grave.”
(Heinrich Heine was confined to his bed, his “mattress-grave,” in 1848
with various illnesses until his eventual death eight years later in 1856.)
*Heine poetically referred to his pain predicament in the poem “Morphine,”
written near the end of his life, when he noted in two famous verses:
“Gut is der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser—freilich / Das beste waere, nie
Geboren sein.” (In English: “Sleep is good, Death is better—of course, /
Best of all would be never to have been born.”)
*Almansor was a play written by Heine in 1821 that had a most famous
line in German: “Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Buecher verbrennt,
verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.” (Rendered in English: “That was
but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as
well.”) The significance here is that as the Nazis burned the books of Heine
and other German artists on the Opernplatz in Berlin in 1933, they actually
celebrated this event by “engraving” Heine’s famous words from “Almansor”
in the ground at the Opernplatz site. The obvious depravity of this terrible
event reflects the innate cruelty, stupidity and evil of the Nazis as they
burned the books and defiled the names and reputations of Heine and other
famous German writers. Their actions were monstrous and shameful, and
were indicative of mankind’s base instincts at their very worst. Moreover,
despite converting to Protestantism from Judaism in 1825, Heine’s Jewish
origins played a continuing presence in his life and were one of the major
factors for his being scapegoated by the Nazis later in 1933. And besides,
the Nazis were always more interested in burning books, rather than
Copyright © Gary Bateman | Year Posted 2014
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
Copyright © Diane Locksley | Year Posted 2011
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.
Copyright © Elaine George | Year Posted 2010
We live today in a world of great tumult
And of rising uncertainty and anxiety
Which pervade the world stage like a cancer
Despite soaring technological advances
Our environment and our home Earth
Are bearing an unimaginable burden
People are wondering what must be done
To right these wrongs and adjust our course
Before we turn the corner to “No Return”
Tyranny, Poverty, Disease, and War
Are still with us today since the beginning
Of time and are mankind’s greatest shame
God may be with us intellectually
But mankind must be self-reliant
To survive an inattentive, distant deity
People see answers to these enigmas
Sounds are made, echoes are heard
But nothing comes back in response
Frustration reigns supreme for many
Fear and anxiety multiple all concerns
There can never be easy answers
Tyranny still reigns alive in many countries
As the actions of tin-eared dictators abound
And are on ample display for all to see
Poverty is still a shameful, terrible curse
Which afflicts the most unfortunate
And is paid lip service by the wealthy
Disease is a scourge still in our world
And still felt by those most in need
And never enough is done to change this
War is the ultimate insult to mankind
And its wide-felt swath and affliction
Plagues yet our modern, enlightened world
What to make of all these challenges
Is not easy for any of us to digest
And let alone understand why
Yet understand, comprehend we must
If we want a better world for all to live in
A Sisyphean task at its very best
Man still holds the key to make change
Positive and real for our troubled Earth
But can it ever be really so in the end
Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved,
Schoeningen, Germany (October 16, 2014)
(Tercet unrhymed poetic format)
Copyright © Gary Bateman | Year Posted 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
Copyright © Timothy Brumley | Year Posted 2011
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.
Copyright © Carolyn Devonshire | Year Posted 2011
Wavy patriotic mathematician
do the math ...
Subtraction or addition,
what will the numbers be,
37 or 63?
Slavery took away my parents’ human rights,
and their children’s dignity
I got 59 stripes to show
what was done to me ...
every year on this earth,
I’ve seen my people mistreated wickedly
was the number 40
Forty acres and a mule
Reparation was a cheap trade-off
for my ancestors’s suffering and misery
But, that promissory note
still ain’t never been given to me
Subtraction ends with a negative number obviously
is deeper than a 6 feet hole
It’s so cold inside the modern slave quarters,
the project pipes are froze
Go bury the bones, now there’s less to feed —
politicians playing oppression dominoes
Moving over to the addition side
of the patriotic math equation
I got a lot of woe heaped on my poor poverty:
more income inequality,
more housing discrimination illegality
More police brutality,
and much, much more drugs pouring into
every ghetto community
Add it all up, this is what I see:
red, white and blue platitudes is suffocating me
Red is our labor paid with blood
White is our cotton weary purity
Blue is our ocean of perpetual grief
But there’s more to the patriotic math problem,
come take a look-see
We got multiplication and division
to intellectually wrestle with morally
Stripping away health care and welfare
has multiplied the cries of the poor
Mob rule, and his thug buddy, crime does too ...
gun violence got bodies piling up at the morgue
Multiply the pain of parents
whose kids go milk carton missing
Spreading fear cancer in the affected area,
The disease of apathy is multiplying faster
than campaign corruption smoke
Do the math you dope ...
Depression numbers are climbing astronomically,
higher than you can see
in a Hubble space telescope
Yet, it’s division that takes away
most of the social gains garnered over the years
Factor in the algorithms of hate,
separating forces of social valency
Divide the bond of racial harmony,
cancel out certain colors in the voting crayon box
Do the math ... and understand,
division is a common denominator pox
And last on the patriotic math problem list
is fractions and percentages
That’s how the Revolutionary colonies’ tax returns
were itemized in the beginning
Three fifths ...
Sixty percent human
Slaves were never counted to be worth much,
tax write-off humans who were sub
Back to the future with another tax cut
And after all this time, they still be
doing the same math with a king George touch,
using Orwellian integers
Strange, arcane math symbols and figures
Do the math ...
Some stars are more equal than others,
some stripes are brighter than another
Math numbers don’t lie,
only Cain people who hate their brother
Copyright © Freddie Robinson Jr. | Year Posted 2017
It was the first day of the new school year
The children of Beslan had no need to fear
In anticipation they eagerly left home for school
Some walked hand in hand with Mom and Dad
Others skipped along the well known path
Excitement filled the sidewalks and the streets
As fleeting thoughts collided in mid air
Some thought of new friends to be made
Others of old friends with whom to play
A little sister left at home
Of baby brother asleep in his crib
Much too young to run and play
Some favorite lullabies which Grandmama sang
As Grandpapa played his violin
The first day of the new school year
Mothers beamed with such pride
How their little ones had grown
Never would they ever want to let go
Others gave in to their children’s cries
‘Mamma, I do not want to go to school.
May I stay with you today?’
On wings of hate evil had already arrived
With diabolical plans and bombs in hand
To maim and murder the children of Beslan
Who became captives in their little school house
After the dastardly deed was done
Dreams and aspirations lay splattered 'cross the floor
Childhood innocence forever vanished!
On the day of internment the sun in his temple hid
Earth wept pouring rain, her bitter tears
As Mothers’ voices cracked and strained
Cried out loud, their children’s names
While others pleaded in vain for death
Fathers in a state of shock stood stoically in the cold autumn rain
Wearing faces carved in stone
The blood of children cried out to Heaven
Where at the throne of mercy
Sits a God who is just
Though their bodies lay broken in tiny white coffins
On angels' wings their souls did ascend
He will judge all men and their deeds
All, on one appointed day
A tribute to the children of Beslan, No. Ostetia, Russia 9/1-3/ 2004
Copyright © Annalise Brigham...a.k.a. Audrey Haick | Year Posted 2009
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.
Copyright © Mac McGovern | Year Posted 2010
Through shadowed forest glade she rode
'Midst grey and gloomy chill
No single thought of safety did
A moment stay her will
The mist clung to her nostrils as
She charged into the brush
The creatures of the forest paused
In terrifying hush
Foreboding seeped into her bones
Ghastly, from ages spent
Urging her mount to breakneck speed
Resolve would not relent
To slow would mean downfall into
A consequence of dread
She knew if she but lost an inch
He lover would be dead
This morn she was awakened by
His servant at her door
And with his last breath utterance
Fell bloodied to the floor
It seems a tartan wearing clan
Appeared in red and green
‘Tis true that a more fearful sight
Is rarely ever seen
Unwittingly, they’d crossed the line
Into the Fraser realm
It was then they were set upon
In stand of noble elm
So, now she raced to intercede
Upon her love’s behalf
To beg for mercy from the chief;
That he withhold his wrath
The secret she had hidden would
Surely offset slaughter
It was true she had been born the
Fraser Chieftain’s daughter
She’d fled her home ten years before
With young Lord Cameron
The rival clan’s incumbent heir
Her lover and champion
She’d not been sorry up to now
For following her heart
She knew the toll her love would take
Right from the very start
But this would be a sacrifice
She'd never wished to make
That for his life she would exchange
Hers for the clan to take
Copyright © Donna Golden | Year Posted 2009
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
Copyright © Andrea Dietrich | Year Posted 2010
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
Copyright © Xavier Keough | Year Posted 2009
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
Copyright © Earle Brown | Year Posted 2011
There is an old cemetery in my city full of legends,
and stories, one I find creepy is people being buried alive;
back in the day there were many buried prematurely,
according to tales, once there was an earthquake and caskets;
were discovered with scratch marks on the inside of the lids.
There were even stories of people waking up during embalming,
I guess the determination of death back then was questionable.
The fear was so real for the wealthy and paranoid,
they purchased "safety caskets" so just in case they could signal;
from the inside to the outside world by ringing a bell,
or raising a flag to say, I'm alive here six feet down, please hurry!
So the legend says.
April 5, 2017
Narrative/"Buried Alive" Creepy Legend
Copyright Protected, ID 890129
Written for the contest, Urban Legends
Sponsor, Nayda Yvette Negron
Copyright © Broken Wings | Year Posted 2017
Greet the little King,
who has been born in a cold manger
on the holiest of nights;
and by the glitter of a descending star,
He will spread peace in the land...
follow the shepherds and find that sight!
My gift to Him is my joyful song,
and with this clarinet I will usher in His coming...
walk side by side with the pretty angels and rejoice;
bring Him your gift, and surround Him with joy!
See the three Magi arriving on jewel-draped camels,
holding in their laps the gifts of His destiny.
A winter's night has always been completely bright,
every hill is hidden by darkness, but an heavenly light
appears across the frosty sky of Bethlehem, while divine
voices announce Emmanuel's glorious birth,
everyone wakes up and sees that star and follows it;
and where it stops, they find a baby without a crown.
Greet the Son of the Highest, the Wonderful Redeemer,
whom the Virgin Mary has borne in the humblest of places...
in the small town without a temple, or a palace for the Emperor,
where Mary and Joseph will train their child in Godly ways;
greet the little king, He will smile and invite you in,
and His smile will spread peace beyond the star-lit hill.
Copyright 2009 by Andrew Crisci
Copyright © Andrew Crisci | Year Posted 2009
The cat bowl has been frooze for a week now and the wind is howling like a banshee in the
window cracks. The thermometer reads eighteen degrees and dropping, granny says the
temperature will keep dropping; she knows the degree of pain in her joints is more severe
than ever before. I hope that the old car starts on time in the morning to get me to work and
The wind was blasting like hurricane forces against the vinyl siding of our home. I hoped
others will have a safe and good night and no frozen pipes or worse. I am glad to have a roof
over my head, my family safe around me and a full belly. Everything else really doesn't
matter. Though I pray that we will have no wind damage to our home tonight on this coldest
night in history.
The night the house was buried in snow; we found a fully frozen buck close to our house and
mounted his head since he didn't need it anymore. The antlers make a good hat rack.
Yes the north wind blew harder than I have ever heard before....causing instant frost bite to
any bare skin exposed. The kind of night for snuggling and chilli or any warm beverage.
This cold night was special in a spiritual way; there was a special visitor to our door that
night and he brought a message like no other. I knew the message was for me and only me
from God Himself....
Yes I had a real awakening that night while fighting off chill bumps and cabin fever.
to be continued...
Copyright © Doris Culverhouse | Year Posted 2010
Speak, and be heard, let those feelings be set free,
our God given right, I once heard, freedom for you, and me.
Look at the picture, some paint covered in clouds,
isn't it our right, to speak out loud?
History in high school, was taught with pride,
now all those Americans we studied about, have long died.
With them went hope, and a chance of equality,
these are the things they fought for, not selfish greed.
The Pledge of Allegiance we said everyday,
and everyone stood, as the words were said.
The Constitution was studied, and reports were made,
in front of the class the next day, we would stand up, and say.
All our freedoms that were given to us,
now narrowing down, "help," who do we trust.
A prayer was given, with our heads humbly bowed,
using our freedom of speech, we thanked God out loud.
Everything has changed, now we worry about safety in schools,
shootings, perverts, and God was evicted, now Satan rules.
Copyright © Christy Hardy | Year Posted 2007
You hear about
the Black slave trade
but you never hear about
the white slave trade
the Irish and scottish
for the white slave trade
the female slave trade
continues in all cultures
it should not be
It should be about
man's inhumanity to man
As a world
we should stand
teach your children
the colour of a mans skin
you teach your children
to abuse people
teach your children
to hate abuse
you create a world
that loves peace
Anger and hatred
yet there has already been
too much violence
ninety five million
Killed and abused
by the spanish
to line the pockets
of king Leopold the second
Millions of Jewish people
killed in the second world war
Man's inhumanity to man
we prove that we can hate
creating more violence
is not the answer
and only leads
to the cycle of war.
Copyright © Bernard Barclay | Year Posted 2017
Military and civilian linguists and intelligence analysts, my colleagues and I were monitoring the Balkans troubles, supporting our troops in theater 'down range'. We were working the 'Mids' shift from 11 pm till 7 am at Bad Aibling Station--formerly a military intelligence site. I had read that we were in the western European zone that would experience a total eclipse of the sun that morning. One of the other Serbo-Croatian linguists had a car on post. I voiced the thought "wouldn't it be cool if we drove out to Mount Wendelstein and saw the eclipse from up there?!". He and another agreed. After shift we drove to the base of the mountain, and decided to hike the trail to the top rather than pay to ride the cable car up. Many Bavarians had the same idea, and it was somewhat crowded on the summit. When the eclipse was finally full, it was like standing on shadowy clouds surrounded by a large ring of light--eery, bizarre, and colder than anticipated both due to the elevation and darkness. Two minutes and twenty-six seconds of totality. I had goose bumps for several reasons, and could understand why primitive man would have been so terrified of the experience. Returning back to base, we learned that it had been overcast down there; so local people only saw it get dark, but missed the actual eclipse. However, three Sergeants had been in the right place at the right time, to see the first total eclipse in Europe in forty years, and last one of the twentieth century....August 11th, 1999.
Copyright © Mark J. Halliday | Year Posted 2015
He returned home from the war, but he did not stay,
For he returns to the war that he must fight every day;
He keeps in silence the torments that rage inside
As they are tethered to the horrors that he must hide.
He returned home from the war, but still in his mind
Are the acts of destruction so vividly defined.
O’, there is no more reality, for hell has taken its toll
From the wages of a war that now burdens his soul!
He abandoned the war for a tranquil home,
But onto the battlefield he returns to roam;
And within his mind the fallen have come to retire
As languishing ghosts from the smoke and the fire.
He now suffers the despair that has come forth to define
The images of war that rage in his mind;
He hears the voices each night from the darkness inside
That resound from the horrors that he must hide.
He returned home from the war, but only to find,
The ghosts of a war that now lurk in his mind.
He does not speak of these things that haunt inside,
So he endures the anguish that he must hide.
He returned home from the war, but he cannot escape,
And he’s become an effigy with a monstrous shape,
O’ he hates the regrets; he hates what lingers inside
Where the torments of war shall forever reside!
Copyright © Robert Liam McCallum | Year Posted 2015
And how did things go with you, enquired the owl, of Dumpty.? Well he replied I travelled
quite a time and saw a few things on the way..' anything that points to foul play said the bird?
well on the way to where I ended up I came across some stuff said the Egg, really..' the
owl intoned leaning ever so slightly toward the egg..' what does it ' entail' the bird asked? as
at that moment it turned to preen its tail feathers..' well said Dumpty in a sibilant tone..!
As a matter of fact I think it best to discuss it further at some distance from here..! really
replied the owl again raising its eye feathers, and still managing to look refined in spite of a
slight waddle as it hurried along..' I..I well I don't know quite how..how well how to put it said Dumpty..!
to the owl, yet all the time looking over at the still prone form of the cat, but it appears.. Oh my: it seems...'
Dumpty said; that his name is..well its considered well.. Its a..a (square word) some nice guy name of
Daver Austin was celebrating some of your many exploits, and so on..and that's what happened..! It is as such classified..
I have even heard the name 'Moguls' mentioned..' in hushed tones around here,,' pray tell dear
owl, are they descendants of that Genghis Khan; by any chance..?
copyright joe maverick poetry 2014
Copyright © Joe Maverick | Year Posted 2014
Dumpty decided to leave the camera lens, he journeyed all the way back through the
various connections, he did not bother to investigate for any (nasty remarks) conspiritorial
conversations or nefarious intentions, as a matter of fact.' he did not wish at the moment
to be witness to any more negativity whatsoever despite his avowed mission..!
as he went he thought on how to ask the owl about what he had witnessed
without seeming too 'ignorant' (he supposed was the term) that owl when they spoke..'
or rather when 'he' spoke, the bird, really spoke very little..! as a matter of fact precious
little might be a better word he thought. ( the owl just seemed so knowledgeable) he really just
just wished he could get back to being Humpty-Dumpty once more, (born again? ) what if
there could be some way of Dumpty getting help.? those humans seemed to be able to get
a second chance 'at things' but then again they all seemed in one piece..Before he knew it
he was back at the camp..'
copyright joe maverick poetry 2014
Copyright © Joe Maverick | Year Posted 2014
Owl..' Owl..? Dumpty had just turned back to resume speaking, yet when he looked the
bird was not to be seen Now where did that Owl go?? Then Dumpty looked down..!
there full stretch and upon its back lay the poor Owl..! What could he do..?? as he was
thinking just that thought he ran 3 times round the fallen Owls form in sheer panic..!
then out of the corner of his eye; he saw the dish..! Water he thought! and grabbed the dish..' then just to be on the safe side he picked up the spoon,! he rushed over to an old
wooden pail and dipped the dish under the water. he ran back and threw it onto the Owl it
took seven attempts before the Owl suddenly shook its head and staggered onto its feet
steady on dear Owl said Dumpty as it swayed on the spot..' Oh said the Owl how awful..'
( a square word ) Its no good at all, Excuse me but would you mind if I help you to sit
on that low branch over there,,' Dumpty said He guided the owl across and it sat down
ruffling its feathers.! Do you mind dear Owl if I make so bold in asking, what Egg-sactly
is a (square word?) It is a most uncouth array of words, that humans use to denigrate others
said the Owl..' Its not a thing nursery rhyme characters should even know of; they cheapen
peoples understanding of each other Dumpty, Oh what a terrible pass we have come to..!
( square words ) Oh how much damage they can cause..! And what a wrong thing to do to
link it to the sweet brave cat...' why he even travelled to London to see the Queen and they
still know him by that name there now, as a matter of fact I'll bet they still have a chair with
his name on it..' this will not do I shall fight to have his name recognised as it always has been
and he is certainly not a has been..! It is his by former precedent; as in (pussesion) is 9 tenths
of the law..!
Copyright Joe Maverick Poetry 2014
Copyright © Joe Maverick | Year Posted 2014
The First Round
You are a pothole that I swerve not to hit.
But you follow my trail endlessly and the sniffing.
When I am cornered I lash and teeth bare menacingly.
We circle each other looking for an opening and claw.
The words make me bleed but ignoring the pain.
The Second Round
Hurling insults and curses the fight searches our past.
I am knocked down from a memory and slowly gain my feet.
I throw a cross at your fears and you stagger with pain.
The referee gives you a standing eight count and the bell sounds.
We sit in our corners and take water and advice.
The Third Round
The crowd roars as we touch gloves and you give me a hook to the body.
I am cut and its deep but the doctor examines me and says I can go on.
The hook brings deep shame and I can't breath and holding the ropes.
My corner knows I can't go on so a white towel comes.
The referee stops the fight and we pay him when we leave.
The next couple are in the lobby sitting waiting for the doctor.
Copyright © Patrick Cornwall | Year Posted 2012
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)
Copyright © Gary Bateman | Year Posted 2014
I have realised just now” added the Owl, “that you were destined to know me better, and I believe I was destined to teach you something from my modest store of knowledge. Does it not seem more than a little strange to you that we have, if you'll forgive the expression in light of your earlier incident, 'bumped into each other' I being of the Avian species, and you having been an egg? So you see I would have an affinity with you already....’ Hmm... I wonder what (He) is doing here. Oh never mind.' He moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.” As Dumpty digested these words he felt somewhat reassured yet strangely perplexed, “Now” said the Owl “second questions second, I suppose I had better give you an idea of the attributes of the Mongols the other people you touched on, Mongols. Now where to start??” Said the Owl clearing its throat somewhat. The most famous of these was their 'Genghis Kahn' my own father was his Owl companion, whom the Roman world has characterised as a most brutal conqueror, but then again the were literate, and had the media weapons of the day (so to speak) to use against him, remember he was really the only one to defeat them properly speaking. Not saying he did not subjugate many nations and he and his armies killed all who opposed him, yet for all that he saw himself as a man being used by God to bring a.. well, a spiritual cleanliness to the world, he valued the open plains, he wished to see his horse herds grazing free as far as the eye could see, over land that re-generated itself; he enjoyed living close to the land and off of it, and if life was shortened by this type of existence he would rather have an active short life, to him that was preferable to living inside four walls, in unclean Cities where the free wind did not blow and the ground could not breath, he saw cities as places where people 'specially Romans toileted in their own homes, and of course he was right although the waste channels did not flow all enclosed like they do today, so while the 'civilised' world oh how I do 'abhor' that word, I suppose I've picked that up from the Mongols, the civilised world complained that the Mogols smelled of unwashed bodies the open steppe and horses, on the other hand the Mongols were disgusted by the lewd practices of the Romans, for instance when he'd captured Rome he was incensed at the life sized naked statues, so he ordered his men to put clothes on them (one can imagine statues with tartar hats and coats).”
©Joe Maverick 18-3-2014
Copyright © Joe Maverick | Year Posted 2014
He dragged himself along a narrow corridor,
carrying a golden cat statue with him.
He walked as though the weight of the world
was on his shoulders, as he vomited
out thick blood. His favorite white shirt
was now red and wet.
On his skin, veins were dark
and swollen, as though they wanted to explode!
It is picking the artifact
from goddess Bastet’s shrine,
that made him to be as he was….
Copyright © Teddy Kimathi | Year Posted 2015
“Well we shall have to do our best and 'keep on smiling'” said Dumpty to the Owl, who he was worried could possibly get into a' flap' after all it had heard. “Yes it never helps to despair” opinioned the Owl stolidly. “ I have one thing to say to you dear egg, the reason I did give my name when you asked earlier, was not because I was being rude 'as such' its not protocol amongst the older species of ornithology 'specially Owls (to just give out our names) you see I have existed a long time now, and certainly in the circles I've lived in my name was not common knowledge, now I know you have been around a good few years yourself, 1643 I believe you came into being, however I was for a short time and I will stress it was a short time, observer/companion Owl to a young ruler in the Yuan province in China 1400/1402. Oh they asked me to return to advise them” ruminated the Owl almost to itself; “but you cannot really teach humans, they have been responsible for the complete extinction of whole species let alone wars amongst themselves, they are just so susceptible to pride for a start” the Owl said “and furthermore I find there is all too often a 'good reason' for having a war..! Oh there is always some ogre' either that or (they have to be ugly you see) or there has to be some other 'according to the' Instigator of war. Now where was I? Oh yes some other unreedeeming feature about them, they never mention 'to the general public' that this person or indeed persons is (probably fabulously wealthy) you know the times I have seen 'these brave knights' dash right past the villagers who are beating up the 'ogre' straight past beautiful sobbing damsels, I have seen them rush straight to the door of the treasure room though.. smash it down, lower the chest of gold down by rope, then ride off into the sunset, with nary a by your leave whilst the damsel and villagers are left to repair all the damage... cases like that always struck me odd, anyway, so you see I am quite a bit older than you. Also were I to just give out my name, it could be said by you or (others) should you pass on my name, that you or they, knew so and so, and that they said such and such, and so on and so forth.' (not saying that you would dear egg) but I hope you can see my reasons??” “Well yes” said Dumpty quietly, the Owls eyes seemed to travel up and down him, “Look I have observed that you were not on the whole a 'bad egg' Dumpty, the bird continued on, whilst you were alive and I can see you are facing challenges on how to relate to people at this present time, moreover you have been most kind to myself and the feline, therefore I will disclose to you my name it is derived from the Bubo-Bubo line of Syrian Owls; we are of the greater Owl variety, and are still populous in the world owing to our life values, I don't know if you have heard of the place? There was once a world famous man who came from there name of Abraham. There are still numerous descendants of his in the region today! Anyway you may call me Bubo for short if you so wish.”
©Joe Maverick 18-3-2014
Copyright © Joe Maverick | Year Posted 2014
Hello said the owl..' Dumpty just sat down rather morosely: the owl watched saying no
more..' after a while Dumpty ventured to ask after the cat, 'how has he been?' he asked.
Well you have been gone 5 days till now, replied the owl.. 'I slept 2 days right off..Then I
awoke I got him a dish of water, WOW..' what a performance that was..' the dish for some reason
decided it did not want to co-operate, I don't know what ever could have got into it.? it
must have got into some strange company somehow..Imagine..' and him in the state he is in..'
there was nothing for It I had to pick up the iron spoon, and threaten to splinter it into a thousand
pieces...' Dumpty shivered involuntarily at this..' you didn't he gasped..' Oh I didn't wish
to do any such thing said the owl, that bowls china is far to fine; that I would wish to destroy it
anyway whoo whoo.. I mean who knows what future role in story books it has to play? well he
had a drink poor old thing (mumbled about the fiddle) and then collapsed out again, and I
have not heard a word out of him for the last three days.! He is in a catatonic state you know..)
well that's the medical term..!
is that because, well because he's a cat asked Dumpty? No considered the
owl though I had not thought about it that way..' though praps it might carry some extra stigma..?
I think it would best not to mention to him when he comes round..!
copyright joe maverick poetry 2014
Copyright © Joe Maverick | Year Posted 2014