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Best Poems Written by L Milton Hankins

Below are the all-time best L Milton Hankins poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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Just Saying My Piece

When Poetry Soup becomes infested with partisan rubbish, 
It will be difficult for liberal, creative poets, like me to flourish 
Who seek a safe place away from the maddening ignorance 
Of those people who continually despise political difference 
For those who are angry and want to say the nastiest things 
Do you have any idea what hurt your insatiable blather brings? 

For some who don’t consider me a red-blooded American patriot, 
I fought for the U.S. of A. in uniform when you were still just a tot! 
I would rather die on the altar of honor than continually be castigated 
By followers of a “wannabe” dictator who every day prevaricated 
And sought to drag our country down into the muck and mire 
Continues, to this day, stoking his sycophants’ hatred with fire.

Selecting a political putdown of President Joseph Biden for Poem of the Day 
Was surely inappropriate if Poetry Soup administrators wish to say 
The site maintains neutrality when it comes to political discourse 
It encouraged poets, in their remarks, to choose up sides, of course 
Anger and vitriol hurled toward us who are of more left-leaning mind 
Will likely now become commonplace for those who are not so inclined. 

Frankly, I despise clicking on a poem I think will be worth reading 
Only to find, instead, an anti-American tirade of invective leading 
To put-downs against our president, the vice-president, and first lady 
Half-truths and conspiracy theories that, for the most part, are shady 
If you are unhappy with the free and fair election that turned out your man 
Then, every chance you get, go vote and change the system, if you can! 

Our country is not, I think we’d all agree, a perfect democracy 
We have lots of problems and crises – that's plain to see, but, 
We now have a leader who cares about doing what is right 
A man, who in short-order, is ready, committed, and willing to fight. 
I have travelled the world over, north and south, east and west 
Freedom to flourish in America is head and shoulders above the rest! 


Written:  April 4, 2021 (edited)

Awarded Poem of the Day on Poetry Soup
April 5, 2021

#38 on Best New Poems on Poetry Soup
April 6, 2021

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021



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Tanzanian Festival

In the bush the dancing begins early 
     Leather drums call from far and near. 
          Steady rhythms mark timed steps, and 
               Swahili is proudly spoken here; come 
          Join festive reveler from the village, 
     Flee to the running brook you see 
Asante for being here...for being alive!


Listed #51 in Top 100 Poems
on Poetry Soup
March 23, 2021
Listed #61 in Top 100 Poems
on Poetry Soup
March 7, 2021

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021

Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

April Flirts With Spring

April first drives up in a new Lamborghini,
Everyone knows it is one of her foolish tricks
She will be driving a beat-up pickup farm truck
In thirty days, when time comes to start the planting.
April, she flounces between winter and summer,
Calling herself spring but she is, frankly, confused.
By the tenth, she is tossing around snow flurries
She grins crazily; our warm coats are put away.
Next day or so her temperatures are soaring,
The snow has melted, and we are donning our shorts.
What the old folks always call "Blackberry Winter"
Strikes with vengeance, temperatures in the thirties,
April says maybe that heavy sweater will do.
She laughs by tax-filing day with strong gusty wind
Though ornamental trees are beginning to bud,
There's talk of late frost, April does not seem to care.
Another few days, and she lets the top down so
Warm breezes are embracing the faint scent of lime.
When April suggests a warm spring is here to stay
A blast of Arctic air nips buds with frosty dew
In a warm day or two, sure enough, April comes
Driving her pickup truck full of mulch and manure,
April plants the sturdy vegetables like kale.
Despite late frost, the tulips will soon burst open
Gentler rains, and April may settle down for good.

SIXTH PLACE WINNER
Written April 11, 2021
for "April Poetry Contest"
sponsored by Regina McIntosh

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021

Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

Vicissitudes of Spring

Raindrops sprinkle spent dogwood petals on the lawn 
While tiny bluebirds perch in nearby mulberry, stalling, 
Awaiting the drizzle’s end, fussing at a week-old fawn 
Who grazes unaware sharp crystal droplets are falling, 
Raining down like tiny sharp fragments of shrapnel. 
Afternoon planting, too, must wait ‘til morrow’s dawning 
Lest fragile seedlings, soaked through, hear death’s knell, 
Rotting from the roots, fall over, their life withdrawing 
The vicissitudes of spring promise both life and death: 
The mingling of joy and sorrow, reflected in nature here 
On my lawn, in my garden; mirroring life’s fragile breath, 
Proper Mother Nature making her message indelibly clear.


Ranked 54th in Poetry Soup's 100 Top Poems

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021

Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

Mama's Kodak

I hold in my hand Mama's old fold-up Kodak
In its steel-blue case shut with a tiny curved silver latch.
I carefully unlatch it, watch the worn-out flaky bellows
Extend like an unwelcome, nonfunctional erection,
Emitting a strange smell I remember from my childhood
Seventy years ago, when Mama sternly warned,
"Don't let me catch you playing with my camera! "
But I did, every chance I got; it beckoned to me
Like the epitome of enticement, the soft furry succulent
Cactus she warned us kids never to touch.
But I did, once … once, believe me, and never after!
And I said her camera was the only thing I wanted
That belonged to her when she was gone.
The cactus wrinkled and died years ago from lack of care.

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2020



Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

Kamala

Knocked down a pervasive glass ceiling 
And left the racist bigots reeling,  
Meteoric rise to Vice-Presidency 
And the praise for her ascendency 
Lets little girls know the sky is the limit 
And, in America, that is the prevailing spirit.

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021

Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

Eve

"She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man."

What shall we make of Genesis 2: 23b
As it is written, it seems preposterous to me.

Time has proven quite the opposite is true
Despite how accepted the literalist point of view.

Midwives and OB-GYNs throughout our history's span
Have never brought a woman from the womb of a man.


TOP 100 POEMS on Poetry Soup
2021

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2020

Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

Lessons I Have Learned in Eighty Years

Do the right thing even if you get criticized for doing it.  
If you are absolutely convinced you are right...reconsider! 
Setting a goal is the first step toward reaching it. 
You will never enjoy having something you stole from someone else. 
Say “no” to more things than you say “yes” to. 
The less you do the more tired you will get. 
Live each day as though it were your last. It may be!” 
You cannot outrun a bad reputation. 
Once people see you at your worst, they will always remember it, 
          no matter how much better you get. 
Be yourself, you cannot be anyone else. 
Never trust anyone who has lied to you to your face. The biggest liars 
          will tell you up front they are not lying. 
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you know what you’re talking about; 
          if you don’t know what you’re talking about... 
               for goodness sakes, keep quiet! 
Never give somebody something you want for yourself. 
You can go home again, but it won’t be like it was when you left. 
“Don’t do as I do, do as I say” is horrible advice and a worse example. 
Silence is not golden when you choose to remain silent 
          in the face of injustice, bigotry, and bullying.” 
Do not give a second thought to the enemy who speaks ill of you... 
          expect it! 
One of the best ways to judge another person is to look in the mirror. 
If you are not a better person today than you were yesterday, 
          you wasted some valuable time yesterday. 
When you lose your self-control, it is very difficult to recover. 
No matter how hard you try to change their opinion of you, 
          some people are never going to like you!

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021

Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

The Last Token

I was five years old when the war was over 
August, 1945, and my daddy sent word 
He was on his way home from Guadalcanal. 
Grandma was already preparing a feast 
For the family to celebrate his homecoming. 
Momma took her last ration token from the box 
She kept high on the kitchen counter cabinet 
And filled up the old, worn-down Chevy with gas 
So she could pick up my daddy at the bus stop. 

Everyone was super excited except for me. 
You see, I could not remember this man. 
I didn’t know this person coming into my life-- 
Why was everyone so excited? 
He had been gone to war since I was a baby. 
The only man in my life was my grandpa. 
One uncle was fighting with Patton in Italy; 
Another was somewhere in Japan, we thought. 
I tried to ignore the party goings-on, 
And I reckoned I would make the best of it. 

I was climbing the sour cherry tree next to the porch 
When this man I did not know came up the hill. 
He had a duffle bag thrown over his shoulder; 
He wore a white uniform with a strange hat-- 
“A navy man,” he later told me, and he said, “I 
Will make a navy man out of you!” 
 
Later I heard Momma saying she’d taken 
The last token to buy gas she hadn’t needed to. 

FIRST PLACE WINNER
Written 3/22/2021
for the "Last Token" contest
sponsored by Mystic Rose Rose

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021

Details | L Milton Hankins Poem

Heart Ache

Eleven months I watched you slowly fade away
Not once did I hear you complain or cry, you said
Soon you would embark on the greatest adventure
Of your life, while you laid suffering in silence,
Something inside me began to slowly die, too.
I tried hard, but could not stifle the bitter tears,
The dreadful hurting each day deep in my stomach
That would not go away no matter what I tried.
Then, they told me you had slipped away in the night
You began that splendid journey you spoke about.
I did not cry because I had no crying left,
But I can not stop the gnawing in my stomach
Which will never go away, no matter how long,
Lingering, the heart ache that will last forever.
FIRST PLACE WINNER Written April 21, 2021 For "Writing Prompt 'Ache' Contest" Sponsored by Constance La France 14 - 12 syllable lines checked with How Many Syllables

Copyright © L MILTON HANKINS | Year Posted 2021

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