Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
June 2004
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Meaning

by Michelle True
The world is filled with meaning;
each breath, step, look,
word, touch, gesture is
filled with meaning.

Every flower, plant, bird,
animal, person is
filled with meaning.

Being alive has a purpose;
the purpose of life is
to live a life of purpose.

Everything has value, purpose;
everyone wants to live, to breathe,
to be free, to learn, to grow, to love;
these simple truths are all that matter.

Life doesn't have to be so complicated;
we're the ones who make it so.

The egos behind the wars and crimes;
while diseases run rampant men,
women and children are killing each other;
such a waste of life, a lack of purpose.

True meaning is lost beneath
pain, suffering, anger, doubt,
fear and revenge.

The things we do because of
pride or passion,
low self-esteem or madness;
to be in power over the powerless;
to have riches yet starve the impoverished.

We argue over who will be saved,
should the world end;
the truth of it is,
we will all live or perish together
under one God or no God;
either all or none of us will be saved
and it's not up to God, it's up to us.

We own our destiny, yet God must
surely cry as much as He laughs
at our feeble attempts to be
worthy of being saved.

Everything we do
is meaningless
unless we are doing
what is right
for all of humanity.

For we will rise or fall together
whether by our own petty differences
or invading aliens from
the next galaxy.

Humanity has lost its purpose;
we search the words of songs,
books, poems and prayers for
The Answer.

Will we find it before
the last pen runs dry,
the last standing tree is
cut down to produce the
last piece of paper and
the last poet has died?







May

by James Conroy
All that was well
eroded in an unearthly obsession
so she lay down one gentle May afternoon
covering herself with tulip petals
and forsythia.
        Many red incidents
        are not bloody.
        There is gold that wilts
        like cut flowers a seventh day.
A garden is languishing underground.
The tears of the moon won't fall that far.







Movies

by Todd Possehl
To movies and to sport
are where the masses hide today --

the opiate of the people
since religion went away.

To spend one day in silent thought,
reflecting on the part we play --

too hard a task, too hard a role --
we can't look in, they say, they say.







Instance

by James L. Corcoran
Bristling winter flowing time
fading happily into the weeks
blending into beds of naked dirt
simply waiting for today for
the impulse to appear under
gravity's intensive muscle
fearlessly wandering open
minded thriving spring dancing
and revealing moments of the
variations between flowering plants
and awesome weather feeding
the moments together and
feeling the warmth returning
to the sky and in an instant insight
related to the vision unveils the
light in sound at appearances
of trembling atoms lighter than
air that hold the buzzing bee in
time and capture it blossom after
blossom with its serious need







Longing

by Ruth La Sure
I stared in length
at a star
in a sky of drifting clouds.

It seemed as
another house
with smoke curling above.

I swore it moved
that it had halos
and a spiral rising of flame.

Eyes play tricks
as mean as the heart
especially
in the dark.







New Eyes

by Sally Calhoun
(This poem is dedicated to John J. Moy,
ophthalmologist of Park Ridge, Illinois,
whose skill provided me with a visual rendition
of "new eyes" after cataract surgery.)



bright light gambols each and every way
rainbowed colors bloom as through a prism
crimson lemon emerald French blue violet gray
there is a sudden startled intake of breath
at phantasmagoria revealed

has there been a transformation?

depth flows deeper
outlines sharper
nuances prevail
a leaf at twenty paces
ferns no longer pale
covered bridges stretching
roses shocking red
faces clear as morning
a twisting river bed

gulls are seen above the water
leaping toward the sky
mountains stand triumphant
stars like beacons fly

has there been a transformation?

nothing is lost
        choices remain
                the future stretches into
                        a clarified visual plane







Growing Thin

by Larry Turner
This king-size, adjustable, oh-so-comfortable bed.
This shelf after shelf of books, accumulated throughout my life.
This well-built house, scarcely four years old
set in a yard of daffodils and goldfinches.
All these dollar bills, stacked in some bank vault--
actually, all these ones and zeroes stored in a computer memory.

I feel all that grow thin as canvas, thin as muslin, thin as gossamer,
unable to shield me from the realities of the newspaper,
realities beyond the newspaper.

I am like a newborn babe left exposed on a mountain cliff,
helpless and hopeless were it not
for the grace, love, and constant care of God.







We met and missed each other

by Dr. S. V. Rama Rao
I come close to you
Only when I use words of
no real significance.
Even these bundles of noises
uttered repeatedly
again and again.
The moment they emerge
would leave me and you,
and disappear into void.
Traces of them
remain as memories.

Those too fade away - in time.
Alas! Words left us unbound
I go away alone
to become a poet
far away from you
as you refused to watch me sketching
the silent spaces and reflected lights
in the sky
even though I am the same one
whom you liked
when I painted.
The spring flowers and smiling faces.
I travelled too far and
I took too long to reach there.
Mine was a one-way ticket bought
out of life's savings.
It would take another life's earnings
to come back.
We met and
missed each other
once again.







Let's Be Friends

by Sister Meg Holden, FSP
Fear, let me take you by the hand.
We've known each other for so long,
let's be friends!
Together, we can walk through the maze
of the scary unknown.

I know that we're both afraid.
But together we can make it.
Together we're gonna be ok.







A Tribute

by Sherri Smith
In recognition of our heroes
who have fought and died for us
on foreign soil.

To those of World War I,
which has only been a
history lesson for me,
you fought to make the world
a safer place.

Soldiers of World War II,
I salute.
You fought in other countries,
for a free world.

Korean Veterans, thank you.
for fighting in a war
that is largely forgotten,
unless a loved one fell there.

Men and Women, who served in Viet Nam,
I respect and honor your contribution.
You stayed the course,
even knowing you would be spit on,
and called 'baby killer'
when you returned home.
Thank you for doing the job
you were asked to do.

To those who are serving,
and dying in the middle East,
I send you my prayers.
You are volunteers who have
largely left homes, families
and jobs to be in the midst
of a "Storm."
You are doing the right thing,
despite what the media say.
Serve with honor and dignity,
as did the ones that went before you.

Thank you to all veterans
and our current military men
and women who are serving
with pride, all over the world.







Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams

by William Marr
1
I have eaten
the donuts
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

they were indeed delicious
besides
it would be fun to watch
the way you laugh half angrily
knowing I was concerned
for your slenderness


2
I gave your new hat
with seven pretty peacock plumes
to a girl with big bright eyes

after listening to my fairy tale
she kept saying she wanted to be
the beautiful princess







At the China Chef: Szechuan Shrimp

by Wilda Morris
If you were sitting at the round table
with the rest of your quintet
what music would fashion itself
in your mind, reverberate
for the first time in your ears?
Would the drummer open
the egg roll into a cadenza,
the cellist pluck shrimp
from the Szechuan sauce,
the saxophone string out
the bamboo strips,
while your trumpet announces
the red peppers?
Would the pianist give the cookie
fortune a unique interpretation?

(Published in Prairie Light Review,
XXIV:2 (Spring/Summer 2004), p. 40)







Listening to Jazz in the Coffeehouse

by Mardelle Fortier
Piano like breaking glass
spills across my vitals,
shining glass. I thought I was safe,
here with my coffee. I thought
I was free from memory. No, the notes
crashed across my breast, opened
a long-ago remembrance.
So many high keys; tiny fragments
of glass-and my heart
breaks in pieces because it is
only the size of a vase.

(Published by Piano Press, December, 2003)







Yield

by Dr. Sarada Purna Sonty
Chloral luster drops
       To browning bark
I know how
       But can't make it !

Still learning unknown
       One's 'simple equation'
How knowing knows
       Defining 'identity'?

Glistening tears
       I can decompose
Ever can crystallize
       Molting light?

Ruler measures
       Miles unknown
Hoe may distance from
       Womb to womb!

Smile calmly makes
       A tick and a beat!
Stealer of hues holds
       Tall victory face!

Fleeting thoughts
       Abort always
Never one knows
       Nightly sleep's delight!

I know 'love' is
       Less than a bubble
Dwells on slippery sloops
       Making 'Life' humble!!







Ignorance Implicit

by Alan Harris
The flowers bloom.
The wind blows.

The president's soldiers torture
their prisoners before cameras.

The flowers bloom.
The wind blows.

Spam infests the world's e-mailboxes.

The flowers bloom.
The wind blows.

US lawyers advise that torturing is legal
as long as you mean well.

The flowers bloom.
The wind blows.

The Internet hosts vicious viruses
created by the brilliant ignorant.

The flowers bloom.
The wind blows.

Partisan hatred pours out of talk shows
and animates political seekings.

The flowers bloom.
The wind blows.







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