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"They are never alone who are accompanied by noble thoughts."


Sir Phillip Sidney (1554-1586)
English Soldier and Poet


FREE VERSE
WHAT HAPPENED TO LOVE?


"I love you," she said demurely,
"but I'm not in love with you!"
I grapple with this distinction
to understand the difference.
What she really means, it seems,
is I like you...I'm fond of you...
but it's not anything serious
so don't expect any commitment.

I perceive that I am a misfit,
since love means more to me
than just fondly liking someone.
It is wanting to be together,
to embrace, share dreams and plans
and bask in the warmth of closeness.
So I wonder if such relationships
can still occur in today's world?

In my few remaining seasons,
am I just a deluded fool to think
that love can still happen to people?
Ted O Badger
Houston, TX

"The wealth of a soul is measured by how much it can feel; its poverty by how little."

William R. Alger (1822 — 1905)
American Unitarian Clergyman


BLITHE SPIRIT


Her smile remains with me,
the heartfelt talks,
now, I see, too late
the wisdom in her
compassionate advice -
her hair piled high
upon her head,
a pug, she said
one curl trailed the nape
of her slender neck
sensual a bit to me,
not her; she had no vanity,
pride was what she claimed
in all her given tasks,
and oh, so warm and generous,
not waiting to be asked,
so humble reserved
one hardly knew she passed.


Janet Parker
Leesburg,FL



"How little do they see what is, who frame their hasty judgments upon that which seems."


Robert Southey (1774-1843)
English Poet Laureate


A poem written while protesting alone the prohibition of free speech
in front of Walden Pond. He watched poets crossing the street.
heading towards the reading area, totally incurious with regard to
his sign.

Ballade of the Flock Apathetic


Poets, poets, poets
how can you not see
the man in the street
shouting for liberty
accosted
by thugs of authority?

Poets, poets, poets
How you walk on by
so apathetically;
his struggle, your struggle
and this
you cannot even see.

Poets, poets, poets
Your souls sold off
as you
versify vacuously
and
add
to the mirth of good society.

Poets, poets, poets
help he begs of ye,
his eyes tearing
congealed in howl for liberty.

Poets, poets, poets
Why can you not see
at odds now,
you,
like it or not,
with the truth that be...


G Tod Slone, PhD
Concord, MA



"A healthful hunger for a great idea is the beauty and
blessedness of life"


Jean Ingelow (1828 —1897),
English Poet


APRIL CHRISTMAS


Gifts wrapped by autumn, freeze-dried
and sealed by winter,
unopened, even in December,
are finally freed by warming fingers.

song, feather-wrapped in silence, thaws to Rapture
in a thousand throats. minute packages
of bud and bulb ,marked "do not open until April"
are now revealed as jonquil, redbud, dogwood.

tadpoles, swimming a fallen sky, share the same
opening ceremonies that crack the code
of stone and tomb and let life out.

and we, interlinked on our mound of moss,
share this same rejuvenating power
which now zips open our reluctant chests,
loosens the strings of hurt around our hearts,
and lets us watch love blossom once again


John Engle
Xenia, OH


"Life is tough but if you know it's tough, it's not tough."

Mom


FOR EZRA


What were you thinking, my good man?
Poetry, after all, is a labor of love,
a hard-won privilege to practice a craft,
not a right to dabble,
a passion to juxtapose meanings and words,
not symbols,
a mime, yearning to be understood,
not obscure,
and to relay thought and plain-spoken truth,
not confusion,
and certainly was not meant
for slackers and lackeys and goldbricks and such.

It oozes laboriously into existence,
syl-la-ble-by-syl-la-ble-and-line-by-tight-ened-line,
oozing like blood,drop by precious
drop,
not hurled up and dumped in bulk,
loosely bundled and trundled in
by the Pound.


Harvey Stanbrough
Pittsboro, IN



"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The Human spirit grows strong by conflict."


William Ellery Channing (1780-1842)
American Unitarian Clergyman


The Tissue Of Artesians
sing the spectrum of the universe, we
painters
of words shape the inanimate
boulders of granite, forests, fields,
the cosmos, Oknos and seas, we
sculptors
of words mold life into our image
birds in flight, cities of human plight,
love, hatred, solitude — our tools.

sing other lands, other literatures, we
eternal apprentices learn and incorporate
modes and tongues of others past and present
engag?s, committed always, we
as individuals, never as dogmatists,
cherish the diversity of thought,
create as poets from the gut of compulsion
on the edge, by the fringes, we
where the occasional droplets of epiphany,
strive to comprehend ourselves and float,
rather than sink, upon the anomaly of being
never for the chimera of immortality
never compromising the integrity of our word
never bowing in the ephemerality of social form

we, mortal–our works dust one day–compose
to share the singularity of our visions, of our worlds.


G. Tod Slone, PhD
Concord, MA



Youth ever thinks that good whose goodness or evil he sees not.


Sir Philip Sidney (1554 – 86)
English Soldier and Poet


A CINQUAIN
THE IRONY OF WAR


Old men
instigate wars
but then expect the young
to fight, kill innocents, be maimed,
and die.


Ted O. Badger
Houston, TX



"You will find poetry nowhere, unless you bring some with you."


Joseph Joubert (1754 – 1824)
French Moralist


READING SEPTEMBER


As I sat gazing through patio door
reading the annual poetry of September
written by sun and shadow on the dappled lawn,
a glistening pen,wielded by an elf of air,
suddenly appeared and began
to draw a glowing line
that formed a tiny swinging bridge
from fading maple leaves
to withered hanging strawberries.
On that thin,bright bridge,
from maple to strawberries and back,
a spider poet ran up and down,
spinning a barely visible
flicker of poem announced
in a whispered shout of
"Now you see me; now you don't,"
playing a hide-and-seek game
with what is left of summer's light
in a mix of song and sigh
for those who can read
the invisible soul of art

and those who dare to swing

on that thin,bright bridge of faith
before the coming frost.


John Engle
Xenia, OH


STOLEN SPRING


Memorial
Tenth Anniversary - April 19, 2005

A plane from California roared its engines to forget,
over the Poconos, ancient Pennsylvania hills;
the flag which spoke of heritage was on its knees mid-pole
at schools and public buildings and traditional town squares

and McDonald's™.

In Connecticut communities, the festive stars and stripes
hung mourning everywhere, as life carried its own weight.
The little rented car saw Massachusetts weep; each tiny town
spoke its respect at the funeral of America, on the road to

Emily Dickinson's abode.

Planted daffodils, unplanted robins formed a group
of courteous outsiders, stood in silence on the gloom.
Wheels crossed the bridge to New York by mistake.
The toll man laughed, "Four dollars, please," and said,

"You cannot go back."

There, amid the businesses, sweat, fashion, noise and
haste
were the same drooping flags, as heavy as a mother's
tears.
They had reached the pole tops to salute America,
then slowly traveled to mid-staff to stop and
bow their heads.
The auto rode to Newark to turn its body in, and
watch Old Glory bless the dead, as it froze in
contemplation.
The urgency of life went on. It froze in contemplation
on green lawns and flowered vestibules; on a towering pole
at the Budweiser Brewery™.

Flags and people have been through days
which tested weave and dye

A verse knocked on each door; they searched in their
concordances. "Not there," (King Lear)," I whispered long
ago, 'how sharper than a serpent's tooth to have a thankless child.' "

We cannot go back.


Mary Gribble
San Marino



"Calamity is the perfect glass wherein we truly know and see ourselves."


Sir William Davenant (1606 – 1668)
English Poet Laureate


STOPPING BREATHING


I practice stopping breathing since that seems
the last decisive Act required of us.
Perfection is my goal; when heaven deems
it necessary that I stop for good.
perhaps the saints will say I was the best
and grant me rest.

My brother stopped one day
along a stretch of peaceful prairie road —
lay silent, numbing slowly near the rock
on which he'd spent his living, breathing cells
required for thought and life and going on.
Like all immortal youth, he spent too much
at once, he really should have paced himself.
But without practice how was he to know
how much to spend and how much to retain?
I learned from him that day —

No matter who
you are, how old or young or rich or poor
you are (or think you are), no matter how
you long for solace, peace or just relief,
Don't stop until you've practiced stopping well.


Harvey Stanbrough
Pittsboro, IN



"Surely oak and threefold brass surrounded his heart who first  trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean."


Horace (65 - 8 B.C.)
Roman Poet


FEBRUARY AT OLD ORCHARD BEACH


Clamshells and gulls, plackets of ice
Surf crashing over and again
Glacial blustery wind freezing my face
Wings of a dead gull,
Old dried blood on bone stems,
The carcass gnawed into oblivion
Atlantis Motel, La Reine Motel
The American Meal: Hot Dog
And Coke $1.25
Toilettes in large rooftop letters
The pier shut down for the winter
And the fierce wind freezing my face.

Clamshells, large clamshells,
Gulls, large turkey gulls, pecking
At the sand, at each other, at seaflesh
icicles, picket fences, keep-out signs
Dog prints, my prints
La Normandie Friendship Motor Inn
Plackets of ice-like chips under my feet
For Rent 1-1/2 Baths,1 Bedroom
Winter, summer rates
Units, subunits, packed units, more units,
Bovine buildings, one after the next,
Cash cows milked and then some

Can they see the sea, the patrons of hostelry?


G. Tod Slone, PhD
Concord, MA



"The mind is but a barren soil, a soil which is soon exhausted and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilized with foreign matter."


Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
English Portrait Painter


LOVE AFFAIR


Outside the white picket fence,
close enough to touch from the front porch,
grows a large elm tree old enough
to have known several generations.
How I would love to engage this old tree
in lively, confidential conversation
about secrets never bared, successes shared.
When its leaves start to fall, I feel a strong
urge
to gather them tenderly and put them
somewhere,
anywhere, where they won't blow away.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL


THE UNITED SHEEPDOMS OF AMERICA


"I've got a house on the hill. I've got money in the bank.
I've got cars in the driveway. I've got color TVs and mobile
phones and computer programs and a house on the hill
and money in the bank and cars in the driveway and
color TVs and mobile phones and computer programs.
Baby, tell me. Tell me, baby, how come? How come?
We're still in the chain gang."
– Van Morrison


as American as apple pie ever was
the don't-make-waves dictum
perhaps
ought to be enshrined in the Constitution
or at least in its preamble
to question or criticize an American institution
and you end up in a garbage bucket
not unlike China.

the capitalist extol Jesus, who
by his very nature was wholly anti-capitalist
their humanitarian brouhahas with ulterior motives
extending leases on overseas military bases or
on overseas exploitation of human beings
leases, world prestige and saber rattling

America, the best, many would say, though
certainly not the uncounted million citizens
who have stopped looking for work
certainly not the million citizens incarcerated
in American state prisons and
certainly not the United Nations who has never
named America the best place to live.

who the hell are we, really? the best indeed? but at what?
hoarding wealth? breaking treaties? ball-room masquerading?
are we not in the very image of our presidents, senators and
representatives, rather than God's?
are we not indeed ever the Ugly Americans just like them?


G. Tod Slone, PhD
Concord,MA



"We can offer up much in the large, but to make sacrifices in little things is what we are seldom equal to."


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
German Poet, Dramatist and Philosopher


SERVING OTHERS


I watch the waitress
take an order
while the man
playfully pinches
her rump.
I watch the conductor
wait for a ticket
while the passenger
pretends he can't
find his ticket,
finally producing a
rumpled piece of cardboard.
I listen to the minister
trying to get his message across
to a distracted congregation.
I wonder why anyone chooses
to serve the public,
and what we would do
if they all quit.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL



"There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."


Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)


IN AMERICA


in America, we have
shopping days, only five left, they warn
we also have just saying no to sex
and nothing but sex, sex, sex
in America, we have
depressions as a condition of gender
acid blockers by Tegamet, Pepsid and Axid
little kids with heartburn, salad shooters, yet
children who eat nothing but beef, beef and beef
in America, we have
million dollar ball bouncers, ball hitters,
ball clubbers, ball dribblers, ball throwers and
hysterical nuts
in America, we have
million dollar face punchers
Hail Mary child molesters,
do-nothing college professors,
honorable sleaze bags and soap-opera boner boys
in America, we have
Gas-X soft gels,
embroglio'ed presidents with great smiles and gas
million dollar bodies with no minds
anchormen sandwiched between
Bayer aspirin, Imodium D and Polydent,
the California Prune Board, edible boxer shorts,
push-me-up bras, snake lights and mister moms
in America, we have
million dollar murderers making more while in jail
than out of it,
prosecuting attorneys bungling their trials yet
being offered all kinds of jobs and book offers,
negligent lawyers claiming ADS,
million dollar politician, fund raisers,
time sharers and angel spotters
in America, we have
inexhaustible rivers of taxpayer money,
corporate welfare and vast oceans of euphemism...


G. Tod Slone, PhD
Concord, MA



"Painting is silent poetry and poetry is a speaking picture."


Simonides (550 - 467 B.C.)
Greek Poet


VAN GOGH, THE ARTIST


His strokes seemed wild
a clash of brush against
relenting canvas yielding
to his current bent.
His colors strong and vibrant
a green and orange house
with yellow shadows
against a threatening sky.
Were those flowers in the yard?
His face forlorn
sad, wistful eyes, perhaps
seeing yet another picture
in his mind to paint.
I wonder his intent of
so many self-portraits
including the missing ear.
His orchard of trees
though bright,
seem restless
about to spring.
His life as restless
as his pictures seem.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL



It is no compliment to be invited to lecture before the rich Institutes and Lyceums. There is the Lowell Institute with its restrictions, requiring a certain faith in the lecturers. How can any free-thinking man accept such terms? ... They want all of a man but his truth and independence and manhood.


(Thoreau Journal 16 November 1858)
Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)
American Naturalist and Essayist


THE TRAVESTY OF THOREAU


Is it not the summum of travesty to create a "rich Institute"
"Artificial and complex," "bolstered up on many weak supports."
Staffed with "preachers and lecturers who "deal with men
Of straw, as they are men of straw themselves."
Who seek to "keep the mind within bounds"?

How Thoreau reviled gentlemen of Institutes.
Their artificial politeness and eagerness to "drill well,"
Their absence of curiosity and robotic civil obedience.
Their very lives serving not as "counter-friction,"
But as oil to keep "the machine" functioning!

Imagine Henry David Thoreau today in Concord
Walking down Main Street, gagging and coughing
As careening trucks spew exhaust in the name of enterprise.
And searching--between the ubiquitous and massive
Three-car garage boxes, fringed in blue-tinted chem lawns--
for peaceful space to wander around.

Imagine him in Concord today, sauntering by Waldon Pond
Past bronze sculpture in his very effigy, though once
He'd declared "No statue be made of me," and
past the Waldon boutique trinket shop, where
Hazarding to speak truthfully to a park ranger, who
would have him escorted dutifully from State Property
By a mounted police officer, or two or three.

Imagine Henry David Thoreau today in Concord
Proudly affirming before the Thoreau Society,
While lodging gratis at the Thoreau Institute--
Thanks to taxpayer and corporate funding--
"I will not consent to walk with my mouth muzzled,
Not until I am rabid, until there is danger
that I shall bite the unoffending."

Imagine the horror on the faces of the Executive Directors!

Is it not the summum of travesty to create a "rich Institute"
Around a man who would have despised it,
For its inevitable condemnation and censorship
Of "free thinking" ,"truth and independence"?

How Thoreau hated the "well-disposed", those
"thousand and one gentlemen with whom" he met
He met despairingly but to depart from them, for
He was "not cheered by the hope of any rudeness from them"!

Imagine the despair he would have felt today, meeting
Members and managerial functionaries
Of Thoreau Society and Thoreau Institute


G. Tod Slone, PhD 
Concord, MA



"WE HAVEN'T MONEY, SO WE'VE GOT TO THINK."


Lord Rutherford (1871 - 1937)


PRIVATE PARTY


Tonight I'm gong out with a friend
We'll go early
Attend a party
Enjoy the conversation
Then OUR evening will begin
Small talk put aside
In privacy, we'll get into the nitty gritty
Of our psyche
What makes us tick
Does God exist
How we left small annoyances behind
How good life is
How lucky we've been
Now our early party
Has turned into mid-night plus
So we'll say good-night
Because as close as we are
Years have gone by
Since the last one.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL



"He only is happy as well as great who needs neither to obey nor command in order to be something."


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)


HENRY HELP US


Though we cannot be
thoroughly Thoreau,
Henry, we need you now
Our plea
is: "Teach us how
to see,
how to be
a part of society,
yet still maintain
the heart
the art
the wit
to remain apart
from it."


John Engle
Xenia, OH



"The secret of success is constancy of purpose."


Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)
English Author and Statesman


UNNAMED METER AND RHYME
CRAZY QUILT


Crazy life. To weave a rug or sew a quilt
Is creation from your finger tips
In colors loud and colors bold
The story of your life is told.

No scheme, no theme, no pattern or plan
Grab a scrap, put it anywhere you can
Hit or miss or match
In games of life who tells the facts.

If by chance, you wind up with design
That's all right if will work out fine
If color runs riot so much the better
Nobody tries to live by the letter.

In the warp and woof of society's anxieties
Forget your misplaced pieties
For a job well done, your ego replenished
If you do nothing, how will you know
when you are finished?


R. Neoma Kemper Reed
Clovis, NM



"Excuse me, I have to use the toilet. Actually, I have to use the telephone, but I'm too embarrassed to say so."


Dorothy Parker
American Writer (b. 1893)


THE LIMERICK

(Each of the following limericks is by William J. Middleton, PhD)


WHAT MILTON LOST

When Milton was searching for vice,
He found it, but oh! at what price.
Our life is a scramble.
If you like to gamble,
It's just like a Lost Pair o'Dice.

DOUBLE NEGATIVE

You may have seen his kind before
Though he thinks he's Don Juan, he's a bore.
When he takes a girl out,
She is tempted to shout,
"I Don Juan to see you no more!"

NO COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEF

The Italian cook's not very kind
I'm mad at him; therefore I find
That I'm not in the mood
For Italian-like food,
So I gave him a pizza my mind.

SKINNY

There once was a typical teen
Though he gorged, he was skinny and mean
His head was quite large,
He had feet like a barge,
But there wasn't that much in between.

SHOULD SUE SUE?

Samson sold Sue a small swimming suit.
Sue thought that it made her look cute.
But her father says "Sue,
Too much 'you' still shows through!
You should sue to recover ...your loot."

JUDGE MITT

Old Judge Mitt always managed to take
His time eating sirloin. To make
Ample time for his joy,
He told his house boy
To greet guests with, "His honor's at steak."

BACH TO LUNCH

Bach was hungry when he worked away
From home, I have heard people say,
So he packed a huge lunch
With good things to munch.
This is known as "Bach's Lunch" still today.

A SCHOLARLY WORK

Though he scowls all the time, he's polite
His manners are always just right.
He wrote a thick thesis
On ducks and on geeses,
He's a gentleman and scowler alright.

JANE SMITH

When she registered at Hotel Champaign,
Her I.D. was not very plain.
The clerk said with a stare,
"Is that really your hair?"
Or is it just an assumed mane?"

MISSING THE MARX

Groucho Marx noted he is quite glad
His safari didn't turn out too bad
But their luck surely sucks ---
Said that "We shot two bucks,
But that's all the money we had."


William J. Middleton, Ph.D.
Chadds Ford, PA


"Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow." I'm sorry that I wrote it. But I can tell you anyhow, I'll kill you if you quote it."


Gelette Burgess (1855 - 1961)


"God Bless You, Every One" - Who? Adam Smith?
Commerciali-zed Christmas?
Reverend, call a spade a spade.
How many me-firsters
would be righteousness-thirsters
were it not for the wonder of trade?


Mary Gribble
San Marino,CA


LITTLE POEMS


(All Little Poems are by Janet Parker, Leesburg, FL )

New millennium
new friend
or foe


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL

Black of night
all still
an owl hoots.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL