Formal & Rhyming Poetry with Vera Ignatowitsch
Have you tasted the bitterness of tears of despair?
Have you watched the sun sink through such pale, balmless air
that your soul sought its shell like a crab on a beach,
then scuttled inside to be safe, out of reach?
Might I lift you tonight from earth’s wreckage and damage
on these waves gently rising to pay the moon homage?
Or better, perhaps, let me say that I, too,
have dreamed of infinity . . . windswept and blue.
First published in Piedmont Literary Review.
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
We drove up for the game, but failed to see,
beside the two-lane road that led us straight
on through, long stretches where each hardwood tree
was thick with ragged webs. We came back late
and saw — the sun still vibrant in the west —
the woods lit up and whorled with milky light.
Unsettling words like bandaged and distressed
were not enough. We sped on through a night
of mummies come unwrapped, where everything
was choked and mired, and nothing could escape.
And yet I knew each stricken tree encased
unnumbered larvae, that would eat and scrape
the leaves, and by their hunger strive to bring
upon themselves transmogrifying grace.
First published in ShatterColors.
Jared Carter's most recent book is Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, published by the University of Nebraska Press. He lives in Indiana.
Dreaming a Better End
Behind us now, five decades gone, our war
consigned to books, museums, plaques of brass.
The man I tried to kill, did he survive,
and does he tend a garden and a shrine
infused with squalling grandkids tearing wild?
I find I hope he lived and wonder what
it would be like to share a glass of beer.
I knew his fist, the way he struck his key.
He sent the code, I snatched it from the air.
The rest I pray he managed to avoid,
the hell we caused—an end to hopes of home
for men we sent on jungle paths to clash
and scatter death like seeds upon wet ground.
No shoulder slaps, no hugs. Polite, thin smiles,
uncertain bows. His walk a painful limp
I hope was not because of me. We sit
among his garden’s tended glow; I smell
sweet earth, cool beer, and think about the war.
We rest in silence, watch our kids watch us,
until a faint, familiar tapping draws
my ear. I feign confusion, scowl as one
trimmed fingernail tap-taps his sweating glass
of beer. I frown, sip from my own, then tell
him what he said. He smiles—lines etch his face
antique as woodblock print—and pokes my arm.
Our families freeze, then turn to watch
my own cracked nail tap-tap a long reply.
He glares, then laughs; our families relax.
His grandkids stop their play and turn to bow,
then laugh and run in circles once again.
Old enemies who close their eyes and smile,
now sip warm beer and sit at last in peace
beside his shrine among the tranquil blooms.
Robert Lee Whitmire is a Vietnam veteran, a former newspaperman, fine-art photographer, and social services worker. Now retired, he is becoming reacquainted with poetry after a 50-year hiatus. When not reading and writing, he spends his time with his wife of 44 years, the motorcycle he rides along Maine's back roads, and the two grandchildren whom he dotes on shamelessly.
UP WITH AMOEBAS
If huge amoebas ruled the world, we’d be in lots of trouble.
By zillions they’d outnumber us, and that’s before they double.
But still they’re vegetarians, so even if they come,
They’re nowhere near as bad as giant paramecium.
I watch the dust accumulate,
All across my room,
And start to feel that at this rate,
I’m watching my own doom.
For dust you see, is made of skin,
At least that’s what I’m hearing,
So as it grows, to my chagrin,
I fear I’m disappearing.
My daughter’s chin tilts like a marionette
who seeks the secrets of her human maker.
Though I don’t hold her strings, I spin a net
of answers for her future; may it break her
fall, if on her newfound legs she flails
towards the sheer drop from life’s polished boards.
I braid a rope to throw her if that fails,
twine facts with love to make the strongest cords.
She asks me when I’ll let her tread the stage
alone, but she still finds it hard conceiving
time much longer than six years – her age.
(I still have double that to finish weaving.)
We need those years to tiptoe, not to fly.
I clip time’s wings; she asks if spiders cry.
Previously published in The Lyric.
Anna M. Evans’ poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of Fellowships from the MacDowell Artists' Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and winner of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Readers' Choice Award, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Rowan College at Burlington County. Her sonnet collection, Sisters & Courtesans, is available from White Violet Press. She blogs at annamevans.com/wordpress.
When I Was One and Sixteen
When I was one and sixteen,
I heard a wise man say,
"Drink tea and Coke and cocoa,
Not Schlitz and Bud, I pray.
Drink orange juice and root beer,
And let your mind be free."
But I was one and sixteen.
No use to talk to me.
When I was one and sixteen,
Again he said to me,
"The teen a sponge for liquor
Was never meant to be.
I fear one day, my youngster,
The law will come for you."
Now that I'm two and sixteen,
I say, from jail, " 'tis true."
First published in Lighten Up Online.
Janice Canerdy is a retired high-school English teacher from Potts Camp, Mississippi. She has been writing poetry since early childhood. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Lyric Magazine, Parody Magazine, Westward Quarterly, Light, Lighten Up Online, Whispering Angel Books, and Mississippi Poetry Society's Contest Journal(s). "During my long career as a teacher, I really enjoyed writing parodies of the famous poems I taught, renditions I didn't share with the kids."
IT’S YOUR FAULT
For a very long time, the primordial slime, was all that ever existed.
But then something stirred, and a life form occurred, and one day crawled out unassisted.
And I know it seems weird, but that life persevered, and eventually resulted in you.
But don’t get a big head, for I recently read, the results are under review.
Bob Lorentson is an environmental scientist, musician, and (as yet) unpublished author of many stories, poems, two and a half novels, and other miscellany. When not working, writing, or trying to reduce his carbon footprint, he battled the gypsy moth caterpillars that threaten to destroy his berry bushes and his sanity. He lives in rural Connecticut with his wife and two sons.
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