Submitted by David G. 

 

Ozymandias 
BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
 
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
 
The Red Wheelbarrow 
BY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
 
so much depends
upon
 
a red wheel
barrow
 
glazed with rain
water
 
beside the white
chickens
 
 
 
Submitted by Michael H.
 
I voyaged to a distant land,
I gazed upon its burning sands,
A serpentine caravan I chanced to view,
Its destination, dark mysterious Timbuktu.
 
 
 
Submitted by Jessica J.
 
won't you celebrate with me
By Lucille Clifton

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Jana C.
 
The Lamb

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee

Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb I'll tell thee!
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee

 

 

Submitted by Anonymous

 

This is the first poem that I loved …………………………………“Homework! Oh, Homework!” by Jack Prelutsky

And this one made me nod  ………………………………………….. ”Genius” by Mark Twain

This poem made me think …………………………………………..“On the Pulse of Morning” by Maya Angelou

This poem made me cry……………………………………….“The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes

And this poem reminds me

that it is important to decide…………………………………... “The Road Not Taken”   by Robert Frost

So I choose not to

 

 

Submitted by Anonymous

 

THE DASH
by Linda Ellis
 
I read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
 
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
 
For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
 
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
 
So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.
 
To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
 
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
 
So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Brenda W.
 
 
maggie and milly and molly and may
by e.e. cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
it's always ourselves we find in the sea 

 

 

Submitted by Elizabeth K.

 

Boa Constrictor

by Shel Silverstein
 
Oh, I'm being eaten
By a boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don't like it--one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It's nibblin' my toe.
Oh, gee,
It's up to my knee.
Oh my,
It's up to my thigh.
Oh, fiddle,
It's up to my middle.
Oh, heck,
It's up to my neck.
Oh, dread,
It's upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff . . . 
 

 

Submitted by Mychal T.

 

Overdues

by Shel Silverstein

What do I do?
What do I do?
The library books is 42
Years overdue.
I admit that it's mine
But I can't pay the fine-
Should I turn it in
Or hide it again?
What do I do?
What do I do?
 
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Teri S.
 
Everybody Tells Me Everything
by Ogden Nash
 
I find it very difficult to enthuse 
Over the current news. 
Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens, 
And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons. 
 
 
Introduction to Poetry
by Billy Collins
 
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
                  
or press an ear against its hive.
                
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
                  
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
                 
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
                 
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Sabine S.
 
The Thousandth Man
by Rudyard Kipling
 
One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it's worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine nundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.
 
'Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for 'ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him.
The rest of the world don't matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.
 
You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man h's worth 'em all,
Because you can show him your feelings.
 
His wrong's your wrong, and his right's your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men's sight --
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can't bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot -- and after!
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Nancy R.
 
Musee des Beaux Arts
W. H. Auden
 
About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
 
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Mark F.
 
since feeling is first
by e.e. cummings
 
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
 
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
 
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
– the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says
 
we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph
 
And death i think is no parenthesis
 
 
 
Submitted by Nikki H.
 
Still I Rise 
by Maya Angelou
 
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
 
Does my sassiness upset you? 
Why are you beset with gloom? 
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
 
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
 
Did you want to see me broken? 
Bowed head and lowered eyes? 
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
 
Does my haughtiness offend you? 
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
 
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
 
Does my sexiness upset you? 
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs? 
 
Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 
 
In and Out of Time
by Maya Angelous
 
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance...
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time.
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.
You freed your braids...
gave your hair to the breeze.
It hummed like a hive of honey bees.
I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there...
Mmmm... God how I love your hair.
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.
Lost, injured, hurt by chance.
I screamed to the heavens... loudly screamed...
Trying to change our nightmares into dreams...
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out
in and out
in and out
of time.
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Sandy S.
 
Dulce et Decorum Est 
BY WILFRED OWEN
 
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
 
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
 
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
 
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
 
 
 
Submitted by Kevin T.
 
The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
 
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
 
My God, It's Full of Stars
BY TRACY K. SMITH
          1. 
 
We like to think of it as parallel to what we know,
Only bigger. One man against the authorities.
Or one man against a city of zombies. One man
 
Who is not, in fact, a man, sent to understand
The caravan of men now chasing him like red ants
Let loose down the pants of America. Man on the run.
 
Man with a ship to catch, a payload to drop,
This message going out to all of space. . . . Though
Maybe it’s more like life below the sea: silent,
 
Buoyant, bizarrely benign. Relics
Of an outmoded design. Some like to imagine
A cosmic mother watching through a spray of stars,
 
Mouthing yes, yes as we toddle toward the light,
Biting her lip if we teeter at some ledge. Longing
To sweep us to her breast, she hopes for the best
 
While the father storms through adjacent rooms
Ranting with the force of Kingdom Come,
Not caring anymore what might snap us in its jaw.
 
Sometimes,  what I see is a library in a rural community.
All the tall shelves in the big open room. And the pencils
In a cup at Circulation, gnawed on by the entire population.
 
The books have lived here all along, belonging
For weeks at a time to one or another in the brief sequence
Of family names, speaking (at night mostly) to a face,
 
A pair of eyes. The most remarkable lies.
 
 
          2.
 
Charlton Heston is waiting to be let in. He asked once politely.
A second time with force from the diaphragm. The third time,
He did it like Moses: arms raised high, face an apocryphal white.
 
Shirt crisp, suit trim, he stoops a little coming in,
Then grows tall. He scans the room. He stands until I gesture,
Then he sits. Birds commence their evening chatter. Someone fires
 
Charcoals out below. He’ll take a whiskey if I have it. Water if I don’t.
I ask him to start from the beginning, but he goes only halfway back.
That was the future once, he says. Before the world went upside down.
 
Hero, survivor, God’s right hand man, I know he sees the blank
Surface of the moon where I see a language built from brick and bone.
He sits straight in his seat, takes a long, slow high-thespian breath,
 
Then lets it go. For all I know, I was the last true man on this earth. And:
May I smoke? The voices outside soften. Planes jet past heading off or back.
Someone cries that she does not want to go to bed. Footsteps overhead.
 
A fountain in the neighbor’s yard babbles to itself, and the night air
Lifts the sound indoors. It was another time, he says, picking up again.
We were pioneers. Will you fight to stay alive here, riding the earth
 
Toward God-knows-where? I think of Atlantis buried under ice, gone
One day from sight, the shore from which it rose now glacial and stark.
Our eyes adjust to the dark.
 
 
          3.
 
Perhaps the great error is believing we’re alone,
 
That the others have come and gone—a momentary blip—
 
When all along, space might be choc-full of traffic,
 
Bursting at the seams with energy we neither feel
 
Nor see, flush against us, living, dying, deciding,
 
Setting solid feet down on planets everywhere,
 
Bowing to the great stars that command, pitching stones
 
At whatever are their moons. They live wondering
 
If they are the only ones, knowing only the wish to know,
 
And the great black distance they—we—flicker in.
 
 
Maybe the dead know, their eyes widening at last,
 
Seeing the high beams of a million galaxies flick on
 
At twilight. Hearing the engines flare, the horns
 
Not letting up, the frenzy of being. I want to be
 
One notch below bedlam, like a radio without a dial.
 
Wide open, so everything floods in at once.
 
And sealed tight, so nothing escapes. Not even time,
 
Which should curl in on itself and loop around like smoke.
 
So that I might be sitting now beside my father
 
As he raises a lit match to the bowl of his pipe
 
For the first time in the winter of 1959.
 
???          4.? 
 
In those last scenes of Kubrick’s 2001
When Dave is whisked into the center of space,
Which unfurls in an aurora of orgasmic light
Before opening wide, like a jungle orchid
For a love-struck bee, then goes liquid,
Paint-in-water, and then gauze wafting out and off,
Before, finally, the night tide, luminescent
And vague, swirls in, and on and on. . . . 
 
In those last scenes, as he floats
Above Jupiter’s vast canyons and seas,
Over the lava strewn plains and mountains
Packed in ice, that whole time, he doesn’t blink.
In his little ship, blind to what he rides, whisked
Across the wide-screen of unparcelled time,
Who knows what blazes through his mind?
Is it still his life he moves through, or does
That end at the end of what he can name?
 
On set, it’s shot after shot till Kubrick is happy,
Then the costumes go back on their racks
And the great gleaming set goes black.
 
 
          5.
 
When my father worked on the Hubble Telescope, he said
They operated like surgeons: scrubbed and sheathed
In papery green, the room a clean cold, a bright white.
 
He’d read Larry Niven at home, and drink scotch on the rocks,
His eyes exhausted and pink. These were the Reagan years,
When we lived with our finger on The Button and struggled
 
To view our enemies as children. My father spent whole seasons
Bowing before the oracle-eye, hungry for what it would find.
His face lit-up whenever anyone asked, and his arms would rise
 
As if he were weightless, perfectly at ease in the never-ending
Night of space. On the ground, we tied postcards to balloons
For peace. Prince Charles married Lady Di. Rock Hudson died.
 
We learned new words for things. The decade changed.
 
The first few pictures came back blurred, and I felt ashamed
For all the cheerful engineers, my father and his tribe. The second time,
The optics jibed. We saw to the edge of all there is—
 
So brutal and alive it seemed to comprehend us back.
 
 
 
Submitted by Mychal T.
 
Television
By Roald Dahl
 
The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES!
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did. 
 
 
Submitted by Nikki H.
 
 
The Battle
by Nikki Hyatt
 
A centurion brigade, the battlefield full
Familiar eyes glare at me, my secrets unearthed
Judgment and wrath are mine to drink
This cup, lined with poison, my brother’s gift.
...
Heavy beating, my heart stands still
My legs refuse to move, mouth parched
This army of defense, they scream against me,
Beckoning my allegiance, they scream my name
Fear of man, fear of God, - - the weights are set.
What must the lonely do, but to be lonely?
A world stands, mocking truth
And if our God is for us… what then?
The war ends, brigade returns to dust
“Weak” they whisper; “wrong” they mutter.
The reaping is about to begin
“Fool” they chant. This armor weighs me.
My grip slips, and my breathe leaves.
Where is my helper, mighty and strong?
His breathe, I do not hear; his whisper is lost…
Onward march…..one step, two step, three step, four…..
                                                                        7-5-11
 
 

Gray
by Nikki Hyatt
 

Falling downward, I reached for you

No one’s there, no hand to hold onto—where did it go?

                A dreary shade of gray fills my eyes as I hit the ground.

A once bright and beautiful sky I saw hidden behind a curtain of despair.

...

                                                This reluctant cry…I know you’re still there

My eyes can’t see what’s beyond that drapery

                Cold and lonely I lay, gazing at something I cannot see.

What is my faith worth if all I see is emptiness? My dreams shattered? Heart broken? Discontented?

 

My love is yours, but despair has become my only true friend….always at my side, always

greeting me, holding me tightly at night.

 

What I was, I am no more – my sorrow is too great.

                                I hear the victorious ones shout “Trust your God!” “Cling to Him”

“Seasons come and go, but He remains!”

My heart has failed me and my God – the result of a faithless root.

                                                                I am forever scarred by a scarlet A

It is better for me to have never breathed at all

                                                                        Death, nonexistence is better than blasphemy

Where has my love, my hope, my joy gone?                       Dusting myself off- -I go to search again

 

This daunting trip through the eerie blackness is now my new mark of shame.  

 

 

Submitted by Teresa L.

 


The Place Where We are Right
by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right 
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.

The place where we are right 
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.

But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined 
House once stood.

 

The Swing
by Robert Louis Stevenson
 
How do you like to go up in a swing, 
Up in the air so blue? 
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing 
Ever a child can do! 
 
Up in the air and over the wall, 
Till I can see so wide, 
Rivers and trees and cattle and all 
Over the countryside— 
 
Till I look down on the garden green, 
Down on the roof so brown— 
Up in the air I go flying again, 
Up in the air and down!
 
 
 
Submitted by Chris D.
 
Booger Love
by Brod Bagert (from his book Giant Children)
 
I love this little booger,
All shiny, green, and black.
You can hold it for a minute,
But I want my booger back.
 
It stays right where I put it,
It sure knows how to stick.
And if it gets too dry...?
It just needs a little lick.
 
I can hold it on my finger,
I can flick it in the air,
I can stick it underneath a desk,
Or underneath a chair.
 
I can make a ball and roll it
Just to see which way it goes.
I love this booger anywhere...
Except inside my nose.
 
 
 

Submitted by Jen L.

 

The Panther
by Rainer Maria Rilke 
Translated from German by Albert Ernest Flemming
 
His tired gaze — from passing endless bars —
has turned into a vacant stare which nothing holds.
To him there seem to be a thousand bars,
and out beyond these bars exists no world.
His supple gait, the smoothness of strong strides
that gently turn in ever smaller circles
perform a dance of strength, centered deep within
a will, stunned, but untamed, indomitable.
But sometimes the curtains of his eyelids part,
the pupils of his eyes dilate as images
of past encounters enter while through his limbs
a tension strains in silence
only to cease to be, to die within his heart.
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Jonathan W.
 
 
I’m Nobody! Who are you? 
by Emily Dickinson
 
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
 
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –  
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –  
To an admiring Bog!
 
Him
by Charles Wright
 
His sorrow hangs like a heart in the star-flowered boundary tree.
It mirrors the endless wind.
 
He feeds on the lunar differences and flies up at the dawn.
 
When he lies down, the waters will lie down with him,
And all that walks and all that stands still, and sleep through the thunder.
 
It’s for him that the willow bleeds.
 
Look for him high in the flat black of the northern Pacific sky,
Released in his suit of lights, 
                                                lifted and laid clear.
 
Dreams
by Langston Hughes
 
Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
 
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
 
 
 
Submitted by Jamie N.
 
 
 
Submitted by Shazia W.
 

 

 

Submitted by Dan R.

Sympathy
Paul Laurence Dunbar


I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
when the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
and the river flows like a stream of glass;
when the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
and the faint perfume from its chalice steals –
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
for he must fly back to his perch and cling
when he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
and a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
and they pulse again with a keener sting –
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
when his wing is bruised and his bosom sore – 
when he beats his bars and he would be free;
it is not a carol of joy or glee,
but a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
but a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings –
I know why the caged bird sings!

 

I Am
John Clare
I am--yet what I am, none cares or knows;
my friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes--
they rise and vanish in oblivion’s host
like shadows in love-frenzied stifled throes--
and yet I am and live—like vapors tossed

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
into the living sea of waking dreams
where there is neither sense of life or joys,
but the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I love the best 
are strange--nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath never trod,
a place where woman never smiled or wept,
there to abide with my Creator, God,
and sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
untroubling and untroubled where I lie,
the grass below--above, the vaulted sky.

 

We Wear the Mask
Paul Laurence Dunbar


We wear the mask that grins and lies,
it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
this debt we pay to human guile;
with torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
and mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
in counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us while
we wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
to Thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
beneath our feet, and long the mile;
but let the world dream otherwise--
we wear the mask.

 

Breath
Dan Rhoads
 
With our first breath we let out a cry
   With our last breath we let go and die
At birth they cheer because we’re born
   At death they cry, they weep, they mourn   
At birth we’re laid on mother’s breast            
   At death, in graves, we’re laid to rest
At birth they give us a name of our own
   At death they engrave that name on a stone
At birth they cheer, they smile, they laugh
   At death they write our epitaph
 
We’re born, we breathe, we grow, we age
   We play our part upon life’s stage
The lights go out; the curtain’s drawn
   The play is done; the life is gone
And then while in the ground we’re laid
   They eulogize the role we played  
They may speak well and may applaud--
   We’re still and silent in the sod
 
From first cry to last gasp of breath
   From the joy of birth to the jolt of death
From the rest in the womb till the rest in sod
   We breathe, we live by the grace of God
 
 

Night
Dan Rhoads


The sun sinks in the west; my heart sinks in my soul.
The day is nearly done.  The day has taken its toll.           
The moon is half full – half empty is my heart.
The dusk gives in to dark - my dark rips me apart.

The stars hide away as if loath to see my form,
safe behind thick clouds of a looming thunderstorm.
It’s darker still out there and darker still within.
The clock ticks on to midnight, but my cries drown out its din.

And in the blackest hour, in the cold and dead of night,
my black and cold and deadened soul gropes blindly for some light.
And as the world lays down and sleeps, my soul lays down to die,
and with one final fading glimpse looks up into the sky.

The sky is darkest now, and I am cold as death.
Before I lay me down to sleep and take a final breath,
before the end has come and I accept defeat,
I take one final look towards where the earth and heaven meet:

And there, just like the miracle of sight to blinded eyes,
light escapes, and beauty explodes and paints the eastern skies.
My soul escapes the darkness; a new day has begun,
shining with the beauty of the coming of the sun.

 

 

Submitted by Anonymous

 

destiny
by anonymous
 
The red thread never breaks.
It tangles. It tenses.
It constricts,
pooling at their feet
every time the two ends meet.
 
It pinches
as it sinks into flesh.
It hurts enough
to make deep cuts, 
bruises, and burns
when strained and pulled taut.
 
It frays.
It unfurls, unendingly
knotted with shared memories,
coiling along distances as large as galaxies, 
between the stars,
across time and circumstance,
as far away as the two ends will stray.
But it still
doesn’t break.
 
And the red thread remains,
decorating the path
so one end can find the other again.
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Andrea K.
 
Untitled
by unknown poet.
 
I wanted to kiss
the hell out of you.
Literally.
I could see your body
subtly writhing in pain.
I knew there were demons
that you so stubbornly
kept locked inside of you.
I saw how your willpower
veiled your battered soul
& somehow made you
self-destructive.
And so, I silently begged
to kiss the hell out of you,
in hopes that it just
might possibly
save you.
 
 
 
 
25 Lives
by Tongari/Hwei Lim
 
The very first time I remember you, you are blonde,
and you don’t love me back.
The next time you are brunette, and you do.
After a while I give up trying to guess
if the color of your hair means anything,
because even when you don’t exist,
I’m always in love with you.
 
I remember most fondly
those lifetimes where we get to grow up together,
when you share your secrets and sorrows
and hiding places with me.
 
I love how you play along with my bad ideas,
before you grow up and realize they’re bad ideas.
(And in our times together I have many, many bad ideas.)
 
When we meet as adults you’re always much more discerning.
I don’t blame you.
Yet, always, you forgive me.
As if you understand what’s going on 
and you’re making up for
all the lifetimes in which one of us doesn’t exist.
and the ones where we just, barely, never meet.
I hate those. 
I prefer the ones in which you kill me.
But when all’s said and done,
I’d rather surrender to you in other ways.
 
Even though each time, I know I’ll see you again,
I always wonder
is this the last time?
Is that really you?
And what if you’re already perfectly happy
without me?
 
Ah, but I don’t blame you;
I’ll never burn as brilliantly as you.
It’s only fair
that I should be the one
to chase you across ten,
twenty-five,
a hundred lifetimes
until I find the one where you’ll return to me.
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Laura S.
 
From the book I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats
by Francesco Marciuliano
 
We’re All in This Together
 
I cleaned the floor
With your sweater back and forth
I cleared the table
With a few whips of my tail
I dusted your shelves
Of all the knickknacks you kept
I made your bed
Smell a lot more like me
I’m here to help
I want to do my part
After all, we’re all in this together
 
 
Call Me
 
You can
Call me
“Muffins”
All you want
But ‘til
You add
“Sir”
At the start
I’m not turning my head
 
 
 
Submitted by Laurie H.
 
Life is Fine
Langston Hughes
 
I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn’t,
So I jumped in and sank.
 
I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn’t a-been so cold
I might’ve sunk and died.
 
     But it was      Cold in that water!      It was cold!
 
I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.
 
I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn’t a-been so high
I might’ve jumped and died.
 
     But it was      High up there!      It was high!
 
So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.
I could’ve died for love—
But for livin’ I was born
 
Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry—
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.
 
     Life is fine!      Fine as wine!      Life is fine!
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Diane S.
 
 
The Worm
by Ralph Bergengren
 
When the earth is turned in spring
The worms are fat as anything.
 
And birds come flying all around 
To eat the worms right of the ground.
 
They like worms just as much as I
Like bread and milk and apple pie.
 
And once, when I was very young,
I put a worm right on my tongue.
 
I didn’t like the taste a bit 
And so I didn’t swallow it.
 
But oh,  it makes my mother squirm
Because she thinks I ate that worm.
 
 
 
 
 
Submitted by Natasha N.
 
 
Still I Rise
by Maya Angelous
 
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
 
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
 
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
 
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
 
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
 
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
 
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
 
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
 
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
 
 
The Dragons Are Singing Tonight
By Jack Prelutsky
 
Tonight is the night all the dragons
Awake in their lairs underground,
To sing in cacophonous chorus
And fill the whole world with their sound.
 
They sing of the days of their glory,
They sing of their exploits of old,
Of maidens and knights, and of fiery fights,
And guarding vast caches of gold.
 
Some of their voices are treble,
And some of their voices are deep,
But all of their voices are thunderous,
And no one can get any sleep.
 
I lie in my bed and I listen,
Enchanted and filled with delight,
To songs I can hear only one night a year--
 
The dragons are singing tonight.
 
 
Submitted by Jennifer M.
 
 
Antigonish [I met a man who wasn’t there]
Hughes Mearns 
 
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...
 
When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)
 
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away...