Formal & Rhyming Poetry                                            with Vera Ignatowitsch

Recognition

 

Death is the straight-faced man who stares far off

as if his job requires a solemn look,

if you were here it’s certain you would scoff

at all our nervous chatter. We’ve no book

 

to guide us through the things that we must do.

Your wife seems ill-prepared, and wears a frown.

We know this cannot be the end of you—

one plastic box, beneath the sod, deep down.

Winter Lullaby

 

It’s always in the violet hour you call,

when dusk spreads infant-smooth across the skies,

and winter teeters on the wings of fall.

The poplars change to gold and improvise.

 

In spite of chill, the memory of you warms.

Unpunctual star, kind winter brings you near,

to break you from your listlessness—transforms

that vagrant whisper I can barely hear

 

to incandescent words; the subtle burn

of maple leaves to red, a flame of thought

that gives the seasoned birch a breathless turn,

as random dreams within its twigs are caught.

 

 

 

Karen Kelsay’s poems have appeared in various journals including Mezzo Cammin, The Raintown Review, Measure, Angle: Journal of Poetry, The Hypertexts, and String Poets. In 2012 she received the Association for Mormon Letters Award for best poetry book: Amytis Leaves Her Garden. Karen is the editor of Kelsay Books and The Orchards Poetry Journal. View her website here.

Roses for a Lover, Idealized

 

When you have become to me

as roses bloom, in memory,

exquisite, each sharp thorn forgot,

will I recall—yours made me bleed?

 

When winter makes me think of you—

whorls petrified in frozen dew,

bright promises blithe spring forsook,

will I recall your words—barbed, cruel?

 

First published in The Lyric

 

Michael R. Burch’s poems have been translated into nine languages and set to music by the composers Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. Burch’s poems, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times around the globe in publications which include TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, The Hindu, Kritya, Gostinaya, Light, The Lyric, Measure, Angle, Black Medina, The Chariton Review, Poet Lore, The Chimaera, Poem Today, Verse Weekly, ByLine, Unlikely Stories and Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing. He also edits and publishes www.thehypertexts.com

Shallow Boxes

 

Quilting pieces, stacked in shallow cardboard boxes from a grocery store

to be ready when sleep eludes, each box with choices of cut up clothes—

protection like the Maginot Line against invasions of bad dreams, a war    

fought by women with a needle to seem next day fresh as a primrose.

  

To be ready when sleep eludes, each box with choices of cut up clothes,

sandbag sewing scraps of twill, denim, wool, fleece, flannel, cotton:

fought by women with a needle to seem next day fresh as a primrose

after giving up tossing and turning—the past a jumble not forgotten.

 

Sandbag sewing scraps of twill, denim, wool, fleece, flannel, cotton:

protection like the Maginot Line against invasions of bad dreams, a war    

after giving up tossing and turning—the past a jumble not forgotten:

quilting pieces, stacked in shallow cardboard boxes from a grocery store.

 

Carol Smallwood

At a Loss (Or, How to Use Your First Atomic Weapon)

 

We have no word for the piece of land

That an island chief blesses with his ancient hand.

And we cannot name in our English tongue

All the flowers that he scatters on the graves of the young.

Or the boat that he carved, or the house that he built,

Or the feeling we no longer have but used to call guilt.

 

And he has no word for an Air Force plane,

Or for battleship or gun or bomb or nuclear rain.

Or leukemia or birth defect or vaporizing heat,

Or communist or arms-race-war or monumental feat.

And he wants to say his land was raped by smiling bureaucrats, 

But he doesn’t even speak, because he has no word for that.

 

Andrew Kuck was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan. After graduating from college, he spent a year teaching science in the Marshall Islands. He now teaches high school mathematics in the United States, but his poetry and prose continue to be influenced by the time he spent on that small collection of coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean.

On this page we publish monthly selections of metrical poetry from our contributors. Submit your blank verse, metrical rhyming poems, villanelles, sonnets, sestinas and other formal poetry to betterthanstarbucks2@gmail. We love both traditional and experimental forms and subjects, and please do submit your limericks and lighthearted verse as well!     Vera Ignatowitsch

The Hyper Texts

"some of the best poetry on the web" Vera Ignatowitsch

River X

 

This place is hard to reach. I crank the Jeep

along some logging mains and up a spur—

windfall, snow. I park and bushwhack deep

into the woods where cougars prowl. A purr

rises to a roar—a waterfall

below my vantage plunges forty feet.

A cleft ravines the drop-off so I crawl

down, with only roots as holds, and meet

 

the headwall of being utterly alone.

The winter steelhead here swam through a canyon

no one could wade. This place will stay unknown

for I won't tell, and nor will my companion,

this river that enveils the trees and me

in spray-clouds—gray invisibility.

 

 

John Beaton writes metrical poetry and his work has been widely published in media as diverse as Able Muse and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He writes a monthly poetry page for the magazine Eyes on BC and served for four years as moderator of one of the internet's most reputable poetry workshops. He is a spoken word performer and a poet member of the band Celtic Chaos. His poetry has won numerous awards, including the 2015 String Poet Prize and the 2012 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry. He was raised in the Scottish Highlands and lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.

When the Harpy Killed a Witch

 

I saw St. Elmo's fire strike a witch up in the sky,

And saw the Pyrrhic victory of men who wondered why

Triton vented all his rage upon the Harpy's keel,

And Neptune rolled his mighty gut to knock each from his heel.

 

But Hecate felt the stitch

And jerked a violent twitch

When the Harpy killed a witch.

 

I heard the sailor sot who cried

"Minos judge me, now I've died."

With one last wail, "Oh I am dead."

Another sailor slammed his head.

To Morpheus his mind he lent,

In spasm twitching 'fore he went.

 

A pity how lives wax and wane,

I saw a sailor drown in vain.

Another sailor gave his best,

To pry red splinters from his chest,

His eyes, in vacant stare, bereft,

And still they stared when he had left.

 

Like a sledge came down the mast,

That at the witch a fire cast,

His death came quick, he didn't know,

Flattened by the hammer blow.

Another wished that he'd been sledged,

Instead of under cannon wedged.

 

Then I saw one seasoned seaman,

On the ratline, snug and dreamin'

For one moment he hung o'er the sea,

And then the next was falling free.

I saw a flare, the cook on fire,

Tongues of flame, a cackling choir.

 

The captain's dead upon the deck,

A twisted head, a broken neck.

All these souls, no coins to fix,

Their float upon the river Styx.

How angry then, will Charon be,

These sailors lack the ferry fee?

 

But Hecate felt the stitch

And jerked a violent twitch

When the Harpy killed a witch.

 

Have these sailors of the seas

Earned in full their ferry fees?

Will their bounty Plutus pay,

For the witch they killed that wretched day?

Will they sail on through the gate?

A pity not to know their fate.

 

I saw St. Elmo's fire strike a witch up in the sky,

And saw the Pyrrhic victory of men who had to die,

A tragic scene seared in my head and etched indelibly

For I escaped the dire day, but they are lost at sea.

 

 

DE Navarro is the Founder of NavWorks Press. He is an author, poet, editor, publisher, speaker, and life coach. He is the originator and owner of the We Write PoetryTM forums and the Pride in Poetry PrizeTM and Publication. He is a husband, father, mentor and friend and Banking Sr Analyst, Tech Editor/Writer. Visit DE's beautiful Website at http://www.de-navarro.com for peace and to learn more about his work. He lives in Greater Los Angeles where he writes and publishes.

Lighthearted Verse & Limericks

 

Good Enough Love Song

    

    Thank you for settling for me, darling.

    That’s just what I was hoping you would do.

    Though I know I am not God’s gift to women,

    God knows I might be good enough for you.

    

    Time was when we went looking for perfection --

    Some combination swimsuit model saint,

    But nowadays we do a lot of loving

    In spite of everything our lovers ain’t.

    

    You settled for me like it all was settled

    We both would be OK somehow, some way.

    Give me another dose of your good loving.

    Who knows, I might be good enough someday.

    

    I’m grateful you’re the one that settled for me

    When other girls had better things to do.

    Darling, you’re some kind of gift from Heaven,

    So here on Earth, I’m good enough for you.

    

Chris O’Carroll is a Light magazine featured poet whose work has also appeared in Angle, Lighten up Online, Measure, The Orchards, and The Rotary Dial, among other print and online journals, and in the collections The Best of the Barefoot Muse, New York City Haiku, Poems for a Liminal Age (published in support of Doctors Without Borders), and The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology.

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International Poetry with Tendai Rinos Mwanaka and Rameeza Nasim