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The Sonnet


"Poets are all who love and feel great truths, and tell them."


Gamaliel Bailey (1802-1881)
American Journalist and Abolitionist


"Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil."


Reginald Heber (1783 - 1826),
English Bishop


APRIL FOOLING


I will admit I am an April fool,
and not in April only am I one.
Like April, I've been known to break a rule
to prove that shattered patters can be fun.
Mixing old and new to make a flower,
April teaches tricks of alchemy:
and I, her aging pupil, use the power
to change discordant doubt to harmony.
Risking ridicule, April and I
have made a game of whim and words and weather.
I juggle words; she plays with earth and sky –
age and youth linked happily together.

Some call her fickle, still this bright dissenter
will be my guide through summer, autumn, winter.


John Engle
Xenia, OH



"A feeling of sadness and longing, that is not akin to pain, and resembles sorrow only as the mist resembles the rain."


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)
American Poet


HOW THE HOURS SUCCEED


You're walking down a road slick as a throat
and dark with wetness shining like a glass
that dimly throws the night sky back. The grass
clenches and waves mad fingers. Like a boat
the moon sinks in gray billows, stupefied.
This is not the worst for you, this known
road in your veins they let you walk alone,
recovering your silence. The bound bride
of day waits, the true terror, full of need
and teasing blankness, crying to be pleased
and filled by your desires. But you can't seize
decision's instruments to paint or bleed
yourself back on the canvas of her light,
nor linger in the mouth of choking night.


Jendi Reiter
Northampton, MA



"There is nothing more universally commended than a fine day. The reason is that people can commend it without envy."


William Shenstone (1714 - 1763)
English Poet


THE PERFECT DAY


Man tends to fight the God he cannot see,
while Daniel's dreams confirm the hope of man,
exposing powers that were, with those to be,
a revelation of God's future plan.
Earlier powers crumbled in demise,
replaced by those convinced theirs would
succeed.
I search patiently to find the dates concise
that will arrive to meet my present need.
if we believe in all that Daniel spoke.
If so, the kingdom is about to come
that will relieve us of the heavy yoke
that man will finally be rescued from.
That blessed day promised since time
began
will soon be given for the love of man.


Janet Parker
Lunenburg, MA and Leesburg, FL



"One merit of poetry which few will deny: it says more, and in fewer words, than prose."


Francois Marie de Voltaire (1694-1778)
Roman Poet


AWAKENING


The day I came headfirst into the light
by bravely sliding from my mother's womb,
I ended that mysterious long night,
and squirming, saw a white hospital room.

Did I rejoice to see the world around
or did I miss the warmth I left behind?
And did I welcome all the noise and sound
or did I long for quiet peace of mind?

I had no choice of parents to relate.
I had no choice of poverty or wealth.
I did not choose my country or my state,
nor color of my skin, nor state of health.

I doubt I heard a call to live or die.
I only knew, somehow that I must cry.


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



"Nature and wisdom always say the same thing."


Juvenal (60-140)
Roman Satirical Poet


MAY


MAY IS AN EVANESCENT UNICORN
MOTHERED BY MYTH, FATHERED BY fantasy.
DREAM, THE ATTENDANT NURSE WHEN MAY
WAS BORN

DISSOLVED THE RECORDS IN A MYSTERY.
SOME SAY A CLOUD FORMED OUT OF APRIL AIR
DRIFTED TOO NEAR THE CENTER OF THE SUN
AND SUDDENLY A UNICORN WAS THERE
DRIFTING TO EARTH, HORNED AND READY TO
RUN.

SOME SAY THEY HAVE SEEN THIS UNICORN
IN MISTY WOODS WHERE WILD MAY APPLE
GROWS.
THEY INSIST THERE IS A HOLLOW IN HER HORN

FROM WHICH A FRAGRANT HONEYED INCENSE
FLOWS.

ALL AGREE SHE'S HERE AND THEN SHE'S
GONE.

RIDDEN B A TINY, LAUGHING
LEPRECHAUN


John Engle
Xenia, OH

SEPTEMBER


September is a hungry, buzzing bummer
whose needle-pointed beak's a soda straw
through which he sips the last sweet wine of summer
while breaking every bird land flying law.
Though flowers fade and feeders may be few,
he still retains his acrobatic glitter.
Pretending summer is forever new,
he hums and sips and practices his twitter.
until some subtle signal passes through
and says, "At last it's time for you to go,
so fill your tiny tank with stolen sweets
enough to fuel your flight to Mexico.
where you'll find other, brighter, warmer treats."

Obeying instinct without doubt or fear,
he leaves, but he'll be back again, next year.


John Engle
Xenia, OH

OCTOBER


An Indian Summer Maiden–that's October
She wears a gown of leaves sequined with frost,
And though the Weather Chief may call her sober,
She will be warm and wild at any cost.
She waltzes through the ballroom of the fall,
transforming all the drab and barren hills
to perfect prismed splendor until all
the trees are glowing bright as daffodils.
She blows away the clouds, pulls down the sun,
and tricks the birds into a summer song
Migration waits until the song is done
The Indian Summer Maiden sings along.

But she stops too soon, folds up her tent
and everybody wonders where she went.


John Engle
Xenia, OH


WHEN AN ENGLISH AUTHOR WROTE OF A JERK


"........and dies in the ill-understood reputation of harmless folly which is more injurious to society than some positive crimes."


Anna Jameson (1794 - 1860)
English Author


THE JERK


A sucking vacuum in his conscience place,
the storage bin for lies and swift increase
stayed buried in his brain. His handsome face
spoke of compassion, truthfulness and peace.
All other lives were chessmen, make-believe,
contributor, mark, audience, stage prop;
his roving eyes would brighten and conceive
brain-to-be-picked, admirer, next bus stop,
protector, wise selector, a warm lap,
the lover to discover his rare charm,
investor, poison-tester, beer on tap,
a body-guard to shield his back from harm.
He nursed no thought for any life or limb,
then puzzled when there were no cheers for him.


Mary Gribble
San Marino, CA



"Whatever comes, this, too shall pass away."


Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1855-1895)
American Poet


SPECIAL MISSIONS


Do you, dear friend, think Caesar was correct
and that the fault indeed is in our stars;
shall we, by any morbid chance collect
the spoils from any of our puny wars
and is there any way to turn about
the destiny these very stars have wrought?
I look into these stars and loudly shout,
not finding any stars that seem distraught.
I see a sky in perfect harmony,
no sign that any war is being waged,
no raging hostilities aimed at me,
nor any sign that I am being paged.
I sense the stars have something more to say
their knowledge of the ages guide our way.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL



"Style is the gossamer on which the seeds of truth float through the world."


George Bancroft (1800-1891)
American Historian


STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS


Beneath the weight of packs and fluid skies,
they trudged and slogged through paddies, mud and dung
to meet a lesser evil, rudely wrung
from farmer cloth and rabble. Realize
there was no malice there, only a size
eight boot, (one at a time) and sweat that hung
from foreheads, arms and whiskers. Much too young
to vote or drink, much younger than their eyes,
they slogged ahead, bone weary, numbed and crowned
to kill a kingdom. They trudged and slogged, then ran
from dread to death with unbelieving grins
on gasping, ragged lips that made no sound
but gurgling as they groaned and died. A man
told me they should forgive Ms. Fonda. When?


Harvey Stanbrough
Pittsboro, IN



"Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper."


Quentin Crisp


GOOD NEWS


The Pulitzer nomination came at length,
accompanied by not one ounce of fame;
the poet got a haircut, but his strength,
and worse, his weaknesses, remained the same.
His wife remarked how nice he looked and smiled;
a kitchen drawer, left open, bruised his shin;
His bitchy ex still went to court and filed;
the cat went out; another cat came in.
The doctor found a dollop on his lung
and probed as if to drive it through his back;
The coffee, freshly brewed, burned his tongue
and cigarettes went up ten cents a pack.
Sonnets eluded him like good reviews;
John Frederick Nims suggested clerihews.


Harvey Stanbrough
Pittsboro, IN



"Error tolerates. Truth condemns"


Caballero (1797 - 1877)
(pseaudeum of Caecilia de Faber)
Spanish Novelist


ENDLESS REGRETS


Regretting endlessly the days gone by
callously consumes rewards of time.
Forsaking dearest bonds that cease to tie,
rebelling you're no longer in your prime

to carry envy in a heavy heart,
refusing to accept what you have wrought,
unwilling to explore what was your part
or give unto it any sober thought.

The bullish way you handled temperament
convinced that you, and only you, were right,
your choice was firm not to experiment
but to enforce conviction with your might.

Too late now to consider others' ways;

the choice is gone with passing of the days.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL



"As we grow old, the beauty steals inward."


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1882)
American Poet and Essayist


HEPTAMETER SONNET


The moments of eternity pass in single file.
They come from out the dawn of time and march into the night.
At first the drum beats very slow, then after a short while
the moments blur and coalesce, and rapid is their flight.

In childhood, I was happy and knew the joy of life,
but now I see the journey's end and morn for my lost youth.
The pleasures of my childhood now are like an oft used knife.
They slowly lost their edge with time. Now I must face
the truth,

New pleasures that shall come must be intensified to thrill,
but when and if there's too much spice, it's hardly worth the
price
and creeping old age slowly drains my energy, but still
I'm happy in the joy of life, though life's no paradise.

I travel to the promised land; although the journey's long,
I know it will be rapid, and how pleasant is the song.


William Middleton. PhD
Chadds Ford, PA



"WE KNOW ACCURATELY ONLY WHEN WE KNOW LITTLE. WITH KNOWLEDGE, DOUBT INCREASES."


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1739 - 1832)
German Poet, Dramatist, and Philosopher


Q & A


Oh, Mama, has the world just gotten worse
from your day, when George Washington was
small?

Is mass communication our new curse,
since you and George knew nothing much at
all?

My teacher says philosophers have looked
at what is going on between the ears
and scratched their quills and heads and then
they booked
instructions with grim warnings through
their tears.

And people, through the ages, speak their
praise,
how they translated all one needs to know.
When asked what are the gems from bygone
days,
the experts claim they "don't have them in
tow".

Advantages for you and George were
slim
But, unlike me, when doubts came, you
had him.


Mary Gribble
San Marino, CA



"I have always held firmly to the thought that each of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end."


Albert Schweitzer (b.1875)
German Theologian, Musician, Missionary


Simon Wiesenthal

WAR ORPHAN


That strength of mind long years have not erased,
that soothing balm which stabilized your psyche
was there with inhumanity you faced
since you were but a starving little tike,
a hallowed state with which scant few are blessed
upon this earth. The mindlessness of days
which others spend in waiting or have messed
up royally have never been your ways.
You use your past and so outlast earth's wrong
despite the stain of memories you bear;
you wrote fate's meanest notes into a song
of justice, faith, remembrance and repair.
You speak of history with tongue and pen;
the Old World Testament says, "Watch!" again.


Mary Gribble
San Marino, CA



"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)
Indian National Leader


SHANGRI-LA


Give me a morning clear with blades of grass
still wearing diamonds from morning dew
and let an early cooling breeze drift past
that holds the fragrant scent of flowers, too.
Let waking birds be heard in joyful song,
whose joy it is to nest among the trees.
And as I walk the wooded path so long,
Let me enjoy the shelter of the leaves.
'Tis such a very pleasant place to be,
so quiet and removed from all life's pain.
I let my thoughts and spirits wander free,
not anxious to become involved again.
So very few I meet upon this walk,
and those I do seem disinclined to talk.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL



"A friend is someone who can see through you and still enjoy the show."


Farmers' Almanac


FIREWORKS


I write love poems with sparklers in the air.
The after-image quickly fades away.
Unlike my steadfast love that's here to stay.
A fading love's a pain I could not bear.

Love's like a rocket star-burst in the sky.
Its sparkle-flash illuminates the night
and colors all with its reflected light.
It chills, it thrills, it makes you laugh and sigh.

But fireworks are impermanent at best.
With love, there is a chance that it will last.
Some love, like fireworks, fades into the past.
The test is time – can love withstand this test?

The answer is a yes–resounding yes!
If life is love, should love be any less?


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



"They can conquer who believe they can."


Virgil (70-19 B.C.)
Roman Poet


WHY TWO KAY


The talk that with two thousand, we'd be cursed,
that business would forget its avarice
and would not worry that the twenty-first
was made of days when love was not a kiss.

Did you believe the big guys would risk all,
allowing their computers to run out;
that our Chum, IRS, would not walk tall;
Was your bath long, your last before the drought?

From this experience, did you find fun
and satisfaction, grieving for your dime
from runs on banks and bankers on the run,
or stop and smell the coffee, just in time?

Did you prepare for hell with a cold beer?
Or get saved by the bell –? HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Mary Gribble
San Marino, CA



"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward."


Spanish Proverb


HAM AND EGOS


A poet without ego can pretend
that he creates a knife and fork appeal
in appetites of cultured tastes, who lend
a gourmet's rare approval to his zeal.

He'll double boil his cookbook to new birth,
iambic kernels on the plight of man;
with fourteen lines, pentamenate the earth,
reciting steaming couplets from the pan.

A bard knows gravy boats will never sail
into his portable. Cakes baked in June
for wedded couplets helps, but they still wail,
"The cake can keep; why can't we sleep till noon?"

When poets find they don't have time to cook,
They throw lines in a blender and don't look.


Mary Gribble
San Marino, CA



"Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits."


Anonymous


ON FINDING AN OLD BOOK WITH SEVERAL UNCUT PAGES


Poor little book of poems. Such a shame!
Eight decades on a shelf and still unread.
The poet, Paul L. Dunbar was his name—
A gifted son of former slaves, who said
Inspiring words, such as "He had his dream,"
And answered, "I know why the caged bird sings."
The yellowed pages of the book still gleam
With wisdom, love and beauty for all things.
I'll cut you free, for I am much like you
With secret, hidden places in my mind.
Like uncut pages, cannot come to view
Until by chance or circumstance I'll find
Someone who wants to know the entire me.
And at long last will cut my pages free.


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



"I can't do literary work for the rest of this year because I'm meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant."


Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
(1835 - 1910). American Humorist


IT'S NOT A SONNET IF IT DOESN'T RHYME


Most poets of the bygone yesteryear
composed their wondrous verse in metered rhyme.
These are the poems that we hold so dear --
these lovely poems of a bygone time.
Most modern poets,as they write today
Eschew the task of writing rhyming verse.
They say that pesky rhyme gets in the way
of ponderous thoughts that they wish to disperse.
I guess I am a relic of the past.
I write my simple verse in metered rhyme.
But don't expect my silly verse to last
or stand the stringent test of Father Time.
I envy poets of a yesteryear
who wrote the lasting verse we love to hear.


William J. Middleton, PhD.



"Your noblest natures are most credulous."


George Chapman (1559 - 1634)


I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN


It's strange to recognize within myself
a jealousy I did not know was there,
but when you put our interests on the shelf
I fell akin to envy and despair.
I saw the difference in our wedded style
and wondered what it was that brought the change,
the absence of your ever-present smile
convinced me that our plans were out of range.
So very callously you let me know,
that soon you would be leaving me for her;
I should have been aware which way you'd go
although you kept your actions somewhat blurred.
Somehow I shall recover from this pain
of deep regret that I've been fooled again.


Janet Parker
Leesburg, FL