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Poems by ISPS Members
May, 2023
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Poems on this Page:

The Golden Age of Spain

by Mark Hudson
In 1543 Philip was a prince,
and Spain remembered ever since.
he married Maria, his cousin,
then two years later, it wasn't.

She died in childbirth, rather morose,
giving birth to Don Carlos.
Don was disturbed, and very deformed,
in a Spanish Empire being transformed.

Emperor Charles wrote his son a letter,
on how he could rule Spain a lot better.
Philip set sail on his very first mission,
enduring dangerous weather conditions.
But a New Year's Eve party with Genoese,
was the reason they went to sail overseas.

Prince Philip crossed the dangerous water,
to dance with the duke of Italy's daughter.
At a feast, Philip saluted the host,
and to his daughter he made quite a toast.

As Philip and Charles traveled down the Rhine,
Charles thought a mosquito bite was a sign.
His arthritic knuckles had taken a bite,
a symbol of death that gave him a fright.

Charles was dying, he was almost dead,
So he had Philip and Mary Tutor wed.
The Queen of England wed Philip to try,
for an alliance with England, the reason why.

Queen Mary had a miscarriage,
that seemed to be the end of the marriage.
Philip's mother died, the Queen of Spain,
Charles retired, with nothing left to gain.
France attacked Spain, but the loss was great,
King Philip conquered them in 1558.

Charles was living in a monastery,
eating everything from bacon to cherries.
He was obese, about to face death,
and through convulsion, breathed his last breath.

Philip was in Bristol when he heard the news,
Mary Tudor died next, leaving no clues.
The ruling age of Spain had come to its demise,
kingdoms rise and fall, are any of us surprised?

Bliss Woods Walk

by Karen Fullett-Christensen
April gray reveals our lack:
there are too few words
for the color green
Celery, celadon, chartreuse, olive,
jade, avocado, khaki, lime,
even emerald is not enough
The ground cover rises
embracing spring
in search of the promise
Sun will come
warmth will envelope
what lies in wait
Just beneath
crumbled curled leaves
and fallen trees

When I Think of Oceans

by Michael Escoubas
I am on a ship
at sea
but here
in this open field
I am awash
in blue
but not of the sea
it is springtime
in Illinois—
the prairie dazzling
in blue gowns 
trimmed in green lace
a debutante's perfume
fills the open sky.

When I think of oceans
I float in puff-drifts
of bluebonnets
thankful for Nature's
timeless gift.

between the fifth and the ninth

by jacob erin-cilberto
beloved Beethoven's ear
the deaf pinnacle
of symphonic walks in the forest
a culture of music
he cannot hear the crickets sing
or the flutter of birds' wings 
in the drifting fog
finding his way into the first note
then the second, then the third
like uncovering leaves on a moonlit night
one by one
until the crescendo is something
he himself can also hear
and maybe in the recesses of his mind
he does
he knows what sounds
fly south for winter's breath
and those that fly north
to appear in movements
of creativity
now there is a quiet
the soft rustling
of the forest floor
and the trees hang sad and silent
as pallbearers
to genius
buried a thousand times
within the grooves
worn down by the needle
of time.

Primordial Stew

by Mark Hammerschick
We're on the cutting edge
sluicing slouching scrunching
hidden in rotted beams
deep rooted
gnarled onion knuckles
scents of veal calves on the hook
glistening gleaming gloaming
we hover
drones on the updrafts
beyond cloud line
above tree line
deep in a memory
of Yellowstone lodgepole pine
where the air is thin
like your moist inner thigh
as you shudder in your dreams
deep in the ambiguity of night 
where reality hovers
lightning bugs
zip and zap
hugging the cross winds
volatile incendiary
isolated embers drift
moments lost
moments gained
and it's those moments
those forgettable slices
glimmers of immortality
that bind us
cosmic dust and glue
emerging from that primordial stew
where everything is possible
and anything goes

No Time

by Jim Hanson
Time is an illusion.
— Hermann Hesse, The Seasons of the Soul
There is no time
except when made by me

	also made by you
	and by each his own

	fingers not stopping
	weaving cat's cradle.

Time came to be
when you thought 

	futures could be bought
	and some day redeemed

but futures don't exist
except when imagined
	in the stock markets of
	investor fantasy

	when gaining more value
	from aging scarcity
and pasts only respond
to demons emerging

	in your dreams of 
	rampant desires

	nourished by Electra
	punished by Oedipus.

You think time is free
in the present of choice

	transcendent pathway
	through the eternal now

	no regrets of the past
	or hopes of the future

exalting in the moment 
of having everything now

	while the arcade burns
	from fire earth and air

	leaving only ashes
	of what is then and now.

Time made must start and 
time started must end

	so you must live your
	Procrustean life

	counting down your time
	of measured days and life, yet

There is no time of mind
if no mind about time

just through mind to choose
what to do and be
	to do or not to do
	mindless as the lioness
	in the Serengeti
	stalking for prey

	to be or not to be
	mindful as the monk
	in the Hagia Sophia
	praying to god.

Lions stalk to do 
and monks pray to be

and what it all means
for you and me is

to live to be real
in mind of no time.


by Goldie Ann Farkonas
Aesthetic, lovely May, you bring a scented, warmth, so fine, to Nature, year by year,
Arriving softly, quietly, you touch and breathe upon each sleeping life, so dear.

The empty branches of the trees, now blossom lovely, green and silky, shady leaves,
The dormant flower beds, upon your touch, will now awaken, by your Maytime deeds.

The atmosphere of fresh new life, brings fragrances, so sweet, which linger on, so well.
The Mother birds do make their nests on leafy trees where they, and newborn birds will dwell.

Sweet, lovely May of warmth and growth, your coming brings great beauty, scent, and joyful sound, 
Dear graceful May, upon arrival, you bring joy, to all of Nature, once more, found,
Soon, blossoming appears, the grass turns green, and birds in nests bring music, as they sing,
All this because you come each year, and wake all sleeping Nature, as great love, you bring.

Enchanting May, you do bring music flowing through the now, all love filled atmosphere,
jFor you, sweet May, bring dreams  of gladness, cheer, and love, to all of life, so very dear,

All nature now, does sing and play to music which is flowing through the flowered air,
For life, once more is heard by one and all, and brings a happiness of love and care.

Your coming, yearly, Queen of May, gives Nature, life, your love and beauty, bringing cheer,
All giving May,  we thank you for the perfumed beauty which you bring to us, each year!

My Father Feels the Sun on His Face Again

by Kate Hutchinson
Today's sky unlocks him
	after four months of Covid confinement
	in his small room at the window —	
	my father — teacher, jokester — filling with fresh air.

In his wheelchair under vast blue,
	his mind goes back to an O'Keeffe painting
	he once saw in a museum. Though her sky had more clouds,
	he says. Probably just to make it more interesting.

We circle the park, watch a gull dive for bugs
	over the field, likely chasing dragonflies, I say,
	confessing I'd always thought they only ate fish.
	They'll eat your ham sandwich if you're not careful, he warns.

Another go-round as the sun warms his pasty arms.
	His pink scalp glows under fine wisps of white,
	and his hunched shoulders, bone thin, straighten  
	as he greets passers-by and scans the trees for birds.

Months of forced routine have grounded him 
	after a year of falls and fuzziness. On Zoom last week,
	he told us he's taking history quizzes on his iPad.
	I even got 100 once, he announced. Though mainly B's.

Now, I marvel as the sun pulls forth the man I feared was lost.
	They're re-opening the museums and zoos this week, 
	I tell him as we head back. Not missing a beat, he notes, 
	It's going to be a real problem getting masks onto those elephants.

The God/dess's True Holy Book

by Marcia Gutiérrez
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."*

Science says with a Big Bang so our universe began

"So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them."*

Science says with Stardust we were made from

Stardust that came from an astronomical bang

Made by a God/dess whose image we hold?

Scientific Knowledge vrs Biblical Wisdom

But why?

For if the God/dess made heaven, earth, mankind

For if the God/dess made the Universe

Well then...

Would not s/he have also created science?

Science that we strive to understand

Science that we use to help our world 

Help ourselves?

As the knowledge of our beginnings

The knowledge of our being

Is understood

So too is the Wisdom of our creator


*Oxford Study Bible


by M. E. Hope
My neighbor's cat rolls under the car eyeing me
like I should join her. I scoff, the days of rolling
under cars are long over, though I consider it, she
looks so comfortable in the shade her golden eyes
half closed. Around her like snowflakes the petals
of the dogwood flutter, drifting against her copper
body before flying away. I try to coax her out,
but she is not interested in me. I don't blame her,
often I am not that interested in me either. But I like
the cat and I like the confetti from the dogwood
and the sun that cuts through the lime-colored
leaves and the fact that the breeze is carrying
the whole day minute by minute and it all
feels good.

Mother's Prayer

by Marilyn Huntman Giese
Teach me to walk slowly
      with my children, Lord,
To talk quietly and with
Let me give them hope not fear.

Help me to listen to their
      voices, Lord,
So I may know when the sound
      is idle chatter,
And when it is the cry
      of a lonely heart.

Teach me to share my joys
      and restrain my disappointments.
Precious Lord, light my way,
      let me be a good example
Of a loving spirit. 


by Alan Harris
How potent is the silent voice within the heart—
like roses screaming quietly
     at the top of their scents.
Our inner self turns a valve here,
     flips a switch there,
rechannels a thought, all undetected,
guiding the mind with commands never heard by ears.

We inhale a vital force sent up from the sun,
full of planetary power, star strength,
     universal unity.
We exhale such love as we can muster from our
     little microverse,
radiating peace into nearest air
     and farthest galaxies.

We breathe our relentless ripples
     onto shimmering oceans of spirit.
Each star hears our silence.
Our mental voice imprints itself
     on a forgetless tablet of inner space,
indelible as a baby's first cry.

When we listen, the cold wind carries
     the moan of mother earth
and the rising moon reflects
     the sighs of setting sun.
Those who hear the universe
     humming its silent symphony
learn to love each lento chord.

Strum my heart, you silent waves of love,
with your tuneful touch,
and help me sing the song of space
in the sanctum of my skull.

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