Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
September, 2023
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Poems on this Page:

the torch passed

by jacob erin-cilberto
grandma lived with red headed
uncle Fred
in a very old apartment
in a very old city
not far from the George Washington Bridge
that crossed the Hudson
with the aroma
of sunken ships
old Jersey shores
my dad's yearbooks on the shelf
keepsakes for God sakes
the smell of age
and overs
and then so many years later
a different bridge
the same aroma
deer grazing in the yard
a pond at night
the sound of age
calling to each other
under bed sheets
cries of loneliness
mumbled calls to
Jersey in the distance
a father's father from the old country
orphaned and left at Ellis Island
as the welcoming committee 
is one statue with a torch of hope
flickering in greeting
a father's tears
a mother's passing
the old country so distant now
only photographs carefully placed in an album
to hold
those people--- now just images
the world was very close once
and it was small,
but now
continents of grief
separate us
and I wish that torch still burned
to welcome back
all of those lost in the translation
of life into the language of death.

Camping Out in Autumn Days

by Michael Escoubas
My brothers and I couldn't wait
to leave town behind;
school was out for Teacher's Institute
and autumn foliage formed rainbows
swaying in the breeze.

Dad had staked out a choice
campsite a hundred miles downstate
along the Vermilion River.
We pitched our canvas tent
with rope and iron stakes,

drug the green canoe to water's edge,
set out the Coleman stove, the Igloo
cooler with root beer and lemonade,
gathered kindling, and circled stones
for roasting marshmallows.

The best part though, was simply
being there, the three of us
and Mom and Dad, mingling with
the sounds of night, voices low,
surrounded by the lantern's soft glow.


by Mark Hudson
Chien-Shiun-Wu was an immigrant,
who did a science experiment.
In 1949, her and Irving Shaknov,
did something never dreamed of.

They made antimatter from a cyclotron,
and they bombarded copper with deuterons.
A magnetic field, to accelerate particles,
still was not discussed in magazine articles.

Wu, a woman, and an Asian,
faced a lot of discrimination.
During World War Two, Chinese weren't allowed
the patriotism that would make Chinese proud.

In China, Wu was born and excelled,
in science and physics, many degrees held.
At twenty-four, she went to the U.S.A.,
for a P.H.D, which she got right away.

The first female scientist hired at Princeton,
her family forever remained at a distance.
Her entanglement theory said particles interact,
and they are drawn together on impact.

In 1957, the physics Nobel Prize,
went to Yang and Lee, two Asian guys.
Chien-Shiung-Wu was not included,
even though she was the one who proved it.

In his Nobel lecture in December,
Yang said Wu was someone to remember.
They cited sexism as the reason existing,
that Wu's Nobel Prize was missing.

Wu was the first to receive the Comp Stock prize,
first female president of physics societies.
She even had an asteroid named after her,
and her face on a forever stamp made her endure.

In her lifetime, Wu achieved no glory,
but now she is getting credit for her story.
She helped explain why matter exists at all,
and her contribution matters, definitely not small.

September Days

by Goldie Ann Farkonas
September Days do bring the task of changing colors of the leaves, upon the branches, of
each tree,
A lovely hue, from early Spring through Summer days, bring pleasant sights, in decorating
trees, to see!

The days bring cooler air, refreshing scents, as flowers bid "Adieu" , and leaves lose greenery,
'Tis time, once more, to bid "Farewell" to lovely scenes of many gifts, through Mother Nature's

The leaves and flowers, fields of green, will leave behind their seeds of love, 'tis Nature's gifts,
and God's - Great Love!                                       
Their offspring will continue bringing love and beauty, of all nature, coming from, so high

The leaves upon the trees, now change their hue, from green, to red and orange, and yellow,
brown, to say, "Good Bye",
The trees will sleep throughout the wrath of Winter's cold, of winds and ice, and freezing rain,
but do nor die!

Farewell for now, dear Nature's beauty, for your gifts of love which gave us pleasure, filling
each with joy,
Throughout the cold and wintery months, we'll think of you, and dream of coming scented
beauty, warmth - enjoy!

The Right Now

by Karen Fullett-Christensen
I sit inside the middle space
neither here, neither there
limiting my expectations
focusing on kindness
well-being, simplified
the Universe is much too big
those around me much too small
somewhere in between must be
the right spot, the right time,
the right now.

The Art of Photography

by Idella Pearl Edwards
What does it take to be a good photographer?
What masterful skills are involved?
Sometimes it's a matter of listening to your heart,
And then the problem is solved.
You must always decide if it's worth the time
And effort photography may take.
What purpose or value do you place on the outcome?
What difference will it make?
Photography is known to require much patience,
But when all is said and done,
Good things come to those who wait,
And it's a great way to have fun.
Sometimes photography is a matter of luck,
But more often than not, a skill;
A talent for taking fantastic photos 
That give to others a thrill.

The Willows

by Edward J. Herdrich
Before —

Whispering willows

speaking soft gentle breezes,

joyfully announcing the sound of

cold, clean succulent life moving in trickling steady

spills over time-washed stone and filtering sand,

a scent of green, mossy spring sprinkled with sage,

lavender and lilac, surrounded by the songs of sparrows,

finches and more, blending with the cries of the hawk as

the soft-soled feet of honest, aware and respectful ones 

move through without disturbing, make themselves a part of the harmony,

not apart from it.

After —

Weeping willows

softly crying quiet sorrows,

sadly telling the tale of

gray, murky lifeless waters moving quickly

over plastic remnants and thick frothy spills of unnatural origin,

a scent of acrid, burning metal and brick

mixed with clanging, cutting, breaking sounds,

winches and more, blending with the shouts of foremen as

thick, metal-toed boots of conquering, careless ones move

over without thought beyond self, creating their world from the

belief they are apart from it.

Not Alone

by Jim Hanson
Ever seeking 
you far away,
at speed of light
to see you then,
at space in sight
to find you there,
that you exist
in some form,
whether a god
or person be,
a face or voice
to see or hear,
in worlds out there
among the stars,
perhaps the same
with minds to join,
as children of
the universe,
bound together
in a world,
of contact found
and not alone.

A Green Grass Hill

by Kathryn P. Haydon
Tell me how many
magenta blooms
flutter in your thoughts
as you sunbathe
on gingham tea towels
in lazy grass.

Ask me to dance
with your dreams
and roll down green
slopes with scissors 
clipping peonies, 
daffodils till morning.

Quantum Entanglement in the Isles

by Mark Hammerschick
Something there is that doesn't love
quantum entanglement 
since my current state cannot
be factored as a product 
of our mutual moving states 
one cannot decompose the sum 
of our local constituents
that is to say
we are not individual particles 
but are portions of an inseparable whole
like the hole in my heart
which has lost
it's momentum, spin, polarization and position 
hurtling at the speed of light
as we make love awkwardly 
misted morning haze
in a mottled beach cottage 
along the Cayman coast
sun spotted beams of light
glinting off the cavern of your 
eyes carved like calves on the hook
Einstein described it as
spooky action at a distance 
it's more like 
a dragon fly nymph 
going through ecdysis 
following copulation
rising flowing glowing molting
into new skins
like a random pair of entangled particles 
generating our total spin 
known to be zero
me the particle 
with the clockwise spin on a first axis
and you the other particle
measured on the same axis 
anticlockwise lost in your 
Euclidean descent 
down beyond the event horizon 
of your cold dark blue eyes
hurtling relentlessly infinitely red shifting
making us just two random points in space-time
no matter how far apart we are
we are no longer entangled

Dagger's End

by Leo Gher
Born of pure white fire, and tempered by iron mold,
Mystic metal made the Dagger aged now live,
Soft pearl hands gave grace to a balance blessed,
And silver shades cooled between hues hinting rage.
At first the keen edge owned a royal rightness,
Solemn symbol of potence and piety,
But ages passed the dire stands
Into lands of poor and lives of loveless.
Idol's pawn played mate to killing king,
Icy steel warmed by drip, drip, dripping gore,
Sacrifice — dead honor and beastly horror;
But ages ended in aimless demands.
Now I lie here, a silent tarnished thing,
Grand soul soiled, pearl handles poised,
Hard stone broken from countless grindings.
And the point made was never sharper 
Resting, unwanted, waiting for warm flesh 
to gently caress another day of righteousness.

The Tango

by Teresa Harris
You pull me close
I push you away
We shift slowly
And move sharply
I wrap myself around you
You slip through my arms
But never let go
I twirl like a ribbon
Into a lasting pause
Almost a break
We suddenly move closer
With longing desire
You lift me up
You let me down
We quickly break away 
A nostalgic pause
Ends with a long embrace 

Pain and Promise

by Alan Harris
If only it
How can I
When will this
Can I ever
Is there any
Why am I
This is too

Better is later
This shall pass
Now to learn
We are loved
Never all alone
Be in being
Endure in light

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