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Best Poems Written by Harley White

Below are the all-time best Harley White poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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MY VILLANELLE

I want to learn to live before I die
To glimpse the light that makes my vision clear
To see the truth that lies within the lie.

I freely put the questions ‘how?’ and ‘why?’
And seek the face unknown in darkest fear.
I want to learn to live before I die.

The days and years stream swiftly swiftly by
In shimmering illusions cherished dear
Despite the truth that lies within the lie.

I found my hand in yours, so you and I
Gave each our vows, impassioned, young, sincere.
I want to learn to live before I die.

The teachers teach, the prophets prophesy
But miss the mystic rhythms of the sphere
Nor see the truth that lies within the lie;

Pure-hearted self; I sense a higher cry
To never leave the far yet love the near.
I want to learn to live before I die
To see the truth that lies within the lie.


– Harley White

(March – 1994)

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2014



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Cross That Bridge

Bridges, ridges… cliffs and ifs…
How to know which road to go?
Are there signposts apropos,
Guiding landmarks that will show
Each and every threat there?
I’ll cross that bridge when I get there…

Do I trust my eyes to see?
Where’s the gateway, what’s the key
To unlock the deepest me?
Although I’m not yet there…
I’ll cross that bridge when I get there…

All’s uncertain, dark, obscure.
Dangers always lie ahead.
But whose future’s ever sure?
I would live, before I’m dead.

Let me venture forth and dare—
Walk the walk, and climb the stair—
Seek a wisdom world aware…
Will my fate be met there?
I’ll cross that bridge when I get there…



~ Harley White

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2015

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Only a Moment


The whole of a journey still to be traveled
is much like a novel begun
with threads of the story not yet unraveled
and windings of plot to be spun.
We’ve myriad paths to meander, assess.
The hours are long till midnight’s chime.
It seems like eternity, nevertheless,
‘tis only a twinkling in time.

The wise old mysterious owl, unsurpassed
at vigilance during the dark,
in the lore of the past could events forecast,
though lacking the song of the lark.
Still future tomorrows are anyone’s guess
when we’re in existence’s prime.
It seems like eternity, nevertheless,
‘tis only a twinkling in time.

Our lives stretch before us as endless array,
neath skies bright with starry wishes,
of vast possibilities all on display
or feast of enticing dishes.
To life’s great adventuring we acquiesce.
We’ve many a mountain to climb.
It seems like eternity, nevertheless,
‘tis only a twinkling in time.

The universe also has spans of ascent
(or multiverse, as some prefer,
having ‘bubbles’ in space of dimensions bent
with heavens discretely astir),
together with cycles of cosmic regress,
midst empyrean spheres sublime.
It seems like eternity, nevertheless,
‘tis only a moment in time.

On this earthly stage where we mortals play out
our shenanigans, seldom wise,
getting backed into corners with no way out,
till at last we open our eyes,
let’s endeavor our noblest selves to express
ere we bow out of pantomime,
for while seeming eternal, nevertheless,
‘tis only a moment in time…


~ Harley White

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2019

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Starry Remainders


Remains of stars adorn the sky
with nebulae aglow on high
in stunning patterns that romance
the wondering stargazer’s glance
or simply senses mystify.

While stellar orbs are born and die,
do heavens strum a lullaby
as all around the cosmos dance
remains of stars?

Might there be heard celestial sigh
when Man seems deaf to wisdom’s cry
and Mother Nature looks askance?
Will humans waken from their trance?
For in our earthly beings lie
remains of stars.


~ Harley White


* * * * * * * * *

“We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.”
~ Carl Sagan, Cosmos

The poem is a rondeau ~ a short poem of fixed form, consisting of 13 lines (plus the phrase twice) on two rhymes and having the opening words or phrase used in two places as an unrhymed refrain.

A planetary nebula is an expanding cloud of gas ejected from a star that is nearing the end of its life. The nebula glows because of ultraviolet radiation from the hot remnant star at its center. In only a few thousand years the nebula will dissipate into space. The central star will then gradually cool down, eventually becoming a white dwarf, the final stage of evolution for nearly all stars.

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2018

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Word Songs

I wander in the wonderland of words
where sounds can rhapsodize an inner flight
and seek to sing like skylark midst the birds.

To feel a lyric line is ringing right
that rose unknowingly from secret source
can send my senses soaring with delight.

What guides the reasoned rhyme’s creative course?
the urging of an enigmatic muse?
or might it be a fundamental force?

The words may dance or promenade in twos,
at times leap forth as in a lightning flash,
or shower phrases in prismatic hues…

When glimmers come but embers turn to ash,
there are no syllables with tongues of flame
nor tones that thunder like a cymbals’ clash.

Then I despair and falter in my aim
of catching rainbows in a verse’s net
and cry I should forsake the poet’s game.

Still oft before the dying sun has set
arises hint of inspiration’s spark
albeit faintest flickering, and yet

from out of what had seemed a moonless dark
is heard the distant music of a lark…


~ Harley White

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2018



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Starry Rondeau


In stellar skies the nights bestow
our firmament’s majestic show
with portraits of creations past
that stretch into the heavens vast
surpassing Michelangelo.

We yearn this welkin world to know
through avid searching to and fro
and seek a sculpted cosmic cast
in stellar skies.

Withal, the astral art aglow
o’erspread above in grand tableau
to awe wide-eyed enthusiast
shall mortal earthly life outlast,
as goes the great galactic flow
in stellar skies…


~ Harley White


Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2019

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Summer Solstice



Sunward tilts the Earth;
steals away last shade of spring–
sempiternal day…
~ Harley White
< June 20, 2014 ~ haiku >

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2015

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Dark Matter Matters

Dark matter seems to be
What isn’t there to be seen
In between
What we see.

They dub it dark since you cannot detect it
Nor can they inspect it
With telescopy.

Yet, while it can’t be descried
It cannot be denied
For equations that irk
To work.

Should dark matter matter,
Would dark matter matter
A titter or twitter,
A transmitter flitter,
A spatter or smatter—
This transparent matter—
To other than fans of the science news
Or hopefuls for lists of physics who’s whos?

Like other matters of matter that matter
A pitter or patter, a skitter or scatter,
It has to be plumbed, summed up and summed down,
Verified, clarified, ere it’s dumbed down.

One cannot spot it with unaided eyes—
Oh, may the way to explore it be wise!

Some sons and daughters of Mother Earth’s waters
And sands of the dreamlands of Father Time
Are trying to fathom celestial history,
Master its mystery, reason and rhyme.

Physicists hunt for dark matter, to move it
With particle accelerators, to prove it
Exists as suspected, from data collected
With outcome expected, eureka! projected…

But let us remember that they call it dark.
How can one discern an invisible quark?
They’re searching to learn of this strange seeming stuff,
For knowledge is power— there’s never enough…

It’s thought our universe has a whole lot of it.
Those who suppose it give info they’ve got of it…

Dark matter exerts gravitational pull.
It glues stars together, makes galaxies full.
Unlike normal matter it plays hide and seek
And so much of it’s interactively weak…

Speaking of such massiveness subatomic,
Its acronym is ironically comic…

With or without this WIMP snicker factor
There’s still a detractor or two around…
Though a gamma ray clue may have been found
In the center of our own Milky Way—
Dark matter collisions, that is to say.

A curious mind always digs and delves.
Yet, are we not getting ahead of ourselves?

High fly the dreams of the capped and gowned
To be world-renowned, laureate-crowned…
Breakthroughs in deep outer space astound…
While here on the ground, horrors abound!

Be it phantom or really elusively there,
Dark matter inferred, if ever laid bare,
When we’ve been interred, with nary a word
To mark our swift passage, might have the last laugh
With ‘what fools were mortals!’ for our cenotaph—
‘Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night:
Humans unlocked them, but all was not light.’


– Harley White  

< January 2011 >

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2014

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The Gravity of Gravity

Gravity keeps our feet on the ground,
Stops us from slapdash flying around.
This force of attraction ‘fictitious’ gives weight
And makes all fall down at equivalent rate.

(Albeit in flights of fancy it seems
That gravity follows the laws of dreams.)

Relativity caused Newton’s view to shatter,
In positing spacetime to be curved by matter.
So objects will take a particular path
That must correspond with Einsteinian math.

(The upshot is bodies have odysseys
Appropriate to their geodesies.)

Gravitons, a gravitational source
Of controversy, are seen as a horse
Of a quite different color altogether.
But then scientists aren’t birds of a feather.

(Some sit upon their a priori-based fences
And come up with theories defying the senses.)

Weak or strong, short or long, what is this thing
Called gravity?  Wide hypotheses swing.
There are those who suppose that it’s this, others that.
Maybe someday, they all just might have it down pat.

(Meanwhile gravity, though we resize and shape it,
Will still have its own way— for who can escape it?)


– Harley White  

< November, 2010 >


Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2014

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Troll Song

We are the tintinnabulating trolls
To the rock rock bottom of our nonexistent souls.
Madder than the maddest hatter,
Hear us bellow, bray, and bleat;
And we prattle pitter-patter
In our jabberwocky chatter
To a bumbulating beat.
See us zim zam zoom
As we're going bim bam boom
In an onomatopoeia that so rhythmically rolls.
We're the trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls.
We're the truly tintinnabulating trolls.

We are the tintinnabulating trolls
With our xenophobic hearts lit like black burning coals.
Hate and anger are our teachers
So we squabble, squeal, and squirm.
We are misbegotten creatures—
With the ugliest of features—
Lower than the lowest worm.
In these premises
We're unrivaled nemeses;
And we burrow furrow mindless like some misanthropic moles.
We're the trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls.
We're the truly tintinnabulating trolls.

We are the tintinnabulating trolls
From compassion and goodness we're at opposite poles—
So devoid of any scruples.
On stupidity we feed.
As our villainy quadruples
We're the most attentive pupils
To insatiable greed.
See us bash bing bang.
Hear us clatter clash cling clang
As we crash upon the shallows of malevolented shoals.
We're the trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls.
We're the truly tintinnabulating trolls.

We're the trolls trolls trolls,
The incorrigible trolls.
We're the trolls trolls trolls.
We're the horrigible trolls.
We're the irritating, aggravating, fascinating trolls.
We're the wrangulating, jangulating, strangulating trolls.
We're the trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls trolls.
We're the truly tintinnabulating trolls.


– Harley White  

< 1987 >

[From my version of “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”]

Copyright © Harley White | Year Posted 2014

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