Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
April 2004
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Strides

by Dr. Sarada Purna Sonty
Two blooming leaves
     With green and sheen

What an owning
     Attitude indeed!

Graceful stem
     It stands in between

Can't stretch or fetch
     Holds the yielding self!

It shoulders now
     Silent strides of life

Constant changing echoes
     Moving mosaic patterns!

Wondering nature voices
     Smoky breathing clay

Hulling leaves come down
     With howling reeling speed

Stem stands alone
     Facing sinking Sun!







Air

by James L. Corcoran
I breathe in I breathe out
I have one pair of lungs to
move the blood that lives
within my cells and I work
at it with my heart the
isometric yoga the dancing
chi beckoning from within
churning the actions of daily
living infused into flesh with
vigor and vitality the plant
life refreshing the sounds the
animal kingdom makes for
the hominids and all the cells
reaching continuously reaching
for better quality for a better
understanding of the way things
are breathe the cool spring winds
on the top of old starved rock
and you will surely find the
moment you breathe pure air







Self Destruction

by Sherri Smith
Do all have a button of self-destruction?
   One that is there for us to use
At our lowest point?

For when we find ourselves
   Full of despair, darkness overwhelming,
Lacking hope, no light to be found.

Is the decision made because
   We think that our family and
Friends' time of mourning

Is much shorter then watching
   A loved one spiraling down, slowly,
Falling apart in body and soul.

I grieve for those who have lost
   The battle and are…gone
Rejoice for those who came through it.

It seems a solution to the sufferer,
   But to family and friends, it isn't the end,
Only the beginning.







Weightless

(for Helen)
by James Conroy
Preponderance is myth,
so too center of gravity.
The things meaningful to me
scatter easily;
feathers and hair,
or have no center
like smiles and good-byes.

Nothing I seek is grounded:
music, poetry, aromas,
but reveal themselves in contrast
and reflection;
snow on glass, a kite between two clouds...

and the lusty smoke,
dim light cast through a butterfly wing,
your lingerie floating at my touch.







Boomers

by Todd Possehl
Ah, the 50's --
when men were men,
women were women,
and children

were in basements
gaping at dubious magazines,
miming Elvis, playing
dangerously with chemistry

sets, or in tree houses
deciding who gets to be doctor
in an examination of an
all-too-human anatomy.

These were the children
who brought in the 60's --
burning their bras, crossing
borders, dropping acid --

the ones who have now
put their kids through college
without confession, without principle
for that powerful piece

of parchment which allows them
to see how many garage doors
can be affixed to
a large suburban dwelling --

the ones who frequent
pharmacies and rent video
after video to escape the shock
of a dead squirrel

raked from an auburn sea
of a million fallen leaves
which line the cul-de-sac now
like a giant useless hula-hoop.

(previously published in Zillah)







Dream Weaver

by Barbara Eaton
I spin fantasies
Jasmine dreams
Water lily fictions

All about you, my love
All about you.

My daydreams
Climb snowy Himalayan mountains

My nightdreams
Rest in warm California pools.

All about you, my love
All about you.

I spin fantasies
Water lily fictions
Jasmine dreams

Because the truth
is too cruel
to be real.







Word Hunger

by Sally Calhoun
The poet begins his effort with the stillness of a pond,
seeing where the beavers built a dam
and left it in the gloaming,
silent as the twigs that feel like toothpicks beyond the postured trees.
The fallen leaves, rusted brown and gold in autumn,
float on the ground as waves upon a lake. None are falling now,
but play at statues where they lie; the child, residing deep within the poet,
recalls how. There is no breeze, no wind tipping muddy scraps of blackened
bark,
no dogs straggling for a lark, sniffing this and that and there,
in the lake of flattened, floating leaves.
No moving here; no jumping where.
The poet calls upon the stillness of a pond.

The poet feels a tickle in his thumb.
It makes him think of treacle,
chewing gum,
a lovely piece of muffin, or a cake,
or even the aroma of a steak, thick,
grilled with mushrooms, a trout beside a lake
fried in butter on a plate. The poet's now awake.

There must be more than picture to a poem.
The poet thinks of Greek Mythology
of gods and goddesses sending all amok
and classic poetry that, with any luck,
will be seen as something special
and will serve to elevate his nose.
Not in repose, but to smell the strong aroma of the steak,
now that he's awake.
The poet thinks of gods who send amok.

The poet thinks of metamorphosis,
the shifting of a camel's haunches on the sands,
the moving of the glands,
the presence of a flaw, quite tragic, now,
(and how!);
the poet things of transformation
as far as one can logically allow
within the limits of a verse
to nurse
the parameters of metamorphosis
or worse.

Half the day is gone. The poet's imaginings now take a lively turn;
they compromise at least, and yearn,
more simply for an egg,
poached, or fried, or scrambled,
with a little catsup. At last the poet ambles
down the street
to eat
upon the proceeds of his latest poem
at Alfie's Diner
full of rash plebeians
sipping coffee, munching jelly with a scone.







Wind Friend

by Gwen Ames
Your lips pursed
       as I watched
             you ride
                    the currents
                                of warm breath
                                          across the room
                    you came to be
             caught
       in the palms
of my hands

I carried you home
and everywhere
in my pocket

I have not forgotten

Show me again
     how
                 you will blow a part of yourself to me

Let me hear, again
     how
                 I will have you there, always nearby

When I need you
When you cannot be there
When I need you

Whisper again
     how
                 this part of you will be with me always







While I Paint

by Dr. S. V. Rama Rao
Painting asks me
My reason for painting.
"Why do I have children?
To Love.
Why does anyone breathe?
To live.
Why do I paint?
To breathe."

"How do you define your painting?"
Again painting asks.
"You should ask
Rembrandt, Rubens,
Grandma Moses, and Grant Wood,
who have had predetermined goals, and
defined opinions on life and art.
How can you ask me
a non-conformist thinker
And an abstract painter.
I am the wrong person to answer,"
I said.

I can only offer Picasso's answer
to these trivial questions.
His ambition was to retain
the same pristine pure and beautiful color
of the unpainted canvas
after he finished the painting.
"When a bird sings," he said,
"we should enjoy the music,
but it is futile to search for a meaning."

"What type of a painting do you want me to be?"
it asks.
"My dear painting,
As I do not allow
my very life to contain me,
How can I
with clear conscience,
control, direct and shape you
as I like?
In what form, manner, or style
would you like to appear
on my canvas?
It is your decision,
I am simply an audience.
Your longevity is greater than my life.
"The Mona Lisa is in existence even today,
but not Leonardo Da Vinci.

When I stand in front of you,
beloved painting of mine,
I have the unexplainable
Holy feelings and emotions,
Like that of an expectant mother.
I, too, watch and eagerly await
with a thousand unblinking eyes,
to see what kind
of a wondrous and mysterious painting
you will emerge."







Open Mike

by Michelle True
We gather here monthly to share
the company of other poets;

we seek acceptance and
find it's given easily;

we proudly share our latest works
over lattes and with a nice cozy
fire on the coldest nights;

the air is filled with anticipation
words struggle to be heard over
the espresso machines;

ears strain to hear those whose
voices do not project adequately,
even with the microphone;

we share the joy, the wonder of creation,
the magic of the word;
we accept each other as kindred souls;

we are inspired by and
supportive of each other;

we don't have to like
each other's work
but we do need to
respect each other;

we don't abuse each other,
either with foul, offensive
or derogatory language;

we try and read only
poems short enough
to ensure we all have
equal time;

we give our undivided attention
to the speaker,
expecting the same
courtesy in return;

afterwards, on the way home,
the readings echo
hauntingly in our minds;







The Cuckold

by John Quinn
I left.
"A lesser man",
an aging alpha,
challenged by newer male.
Snarling,
snapping,
blind with fear,
not of death
but living
with a stigma
of being
"A lesser man."
The butt of smirks
and pities,
manly nudges
"A lesser man",
womanly whispers
"A lesser man".
Licking wounds
beneath a bush,
a million scenes
of what might-have-been
had I not been
"A lesser man".







Seeking until Found

by Alan Harris
There is a footless path,
a carless road,
a planeless flight
to a placeless mountain
within.

When focused on our outer joys
we seek after things that weigh or thrill,
we dignify the use of force,
we laud coarse lucre with our hopes.
Seeking without, we remain without.

If we but listen quietly
for the call to an inner mountain state,
we find that our souls are known and loved
by a subtle shepherd grooming us
to serve and build, to sow and reap.

Knowing our knownness,
we may find our foundness.







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