Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
January, 2022
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Poems on this Page:

Snow Globe

by Michael Escoubas
We look up from our chores surprised
at what we see—
snowflakes big as quarters floating

aimlessly as in a snow globe found
by curious children
reaching into some dark corner

of a bookcase while visiting Grandma's
house—a winter scene
ensconced in super slow-mo.

For one enraptured moment we dance 
in a magical world
of white fairies and crystal butterflies—

doilies intricately crocheted 
landing on collars
and cheeks and outstretched tongues.

Open the Door

by Idella Pearl Edwards
Life is filled with many doors,
Designed to open wide,
We'll never know what might have been
If we don't go inside.
Beyond each door, new life awaits
For each brand-new endeavor,
Not meant for the weak or faint of heart,
It could change your life forever.
Sometimes by habit we say, "I can't."
Or "It was never meant to be."
But how will we know unless we try
This new opportunity.
Go forth, be brave, open the door,
Adventure is found within,
And you'll never again have to worry and fret
About what might have been.

Above the Blue

by jacob erin-cilberto
mother, daughter
fire, water
ashes in an urn
the faucet one last turn
grief is the son she carried to term
at birth, overwhelmed, she tried to hold him
but the umbilical was a sorrow she could not cut
the fire a scar constricting her throat
words just fumbled
future poorly mumbled
at heaven's door a mutual expression
as two souls embrace 
mother, daughter
fire, water
it is safe now.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

by Mark Hudson
What is the meaning of life?
Only God must know.
Are people just parasites?
Are they trying to be in control?

Well, I don't want to be a boss.
Lady, you look like an albatross.
Who do you think you want to marry?
You look like you come from the ghost town of Gary.

The Pandemic leaves us all alone,
so here we press buttons on our cell phone,
If I lost my toes to frostbite,
I wouldn't have to dance under a disco strobe light.

Who cares what you think, chitter-chatter,
your opinions don't really matter.
You try to sound so intelligent,
your voice sounds belligerent.

Get a job; get married, as if it will please you,
your advice is so annoying, you disease, you.
Yes, I know you, I'm not happy to see you,
and it is a reminder I don't want to be you.

Do you really think Americans have etiquette?
Who is the modern Marie Antoinette?
Who is creating a rat race for crumbs?
I dropped out of the rat race, it's too dumb.

A gold rush for fool's treasure worth nothing,
your gold coin can buy an egg Mc muffin.
If I worked at McDonalds, and even if I could,
I'd make the rest of the employees look good!

So, coffee in the morning, to get out of bed,
outside you the sun shines above your head.
When it is cold, the sun is your friend,
the moon tells you it's time to let the day end.

The bed is a magnet, returning to rest,
sleep is the solution to being depressed.
So when you sleep, have pleasant dreams,
because you'll only be sleeping for the time being.


by Teresa Harris
Hope is a claim about ourselves 
Like a bird that has yet flown
Hope is outside of our control 
A chance to embrace the unknown

Hope is greater than our optimism 
It helps to keep us sane
Hope makes our misery more bearable 
So we are no longer prisoners of pain

Hope is a desire 
A strong feeling of trust
Hope is a way of giving our fears
Time to adjust

Hope is never giving up
A big and greater force
Hope is a thread to hold on to 
It can keep us all on course

Hope is better than some fantasy
Or simply wishing on a star
Hope is all that we have left
It is kept securely in a jar 

An Eagle at Starved Rock

by Lucia Haase
The clouds fall silent on the rock, hanging
and out of it an eagle's wings extend,
dreamlike and soaring.   I pretend
I am it and in such shadowed longing
look low beneath the boulder's finite rim.
A river courses deeply and I see
reflections flooding part, then all of me
that makes me realize I must forgive him.

Knitting the Bones

by Barbara Funke
        Forgiveness is the needle that knows
                how to mend.  —Jewel
I curse
my sloppy shoes
flagstone edge
ladder out of reach
hard ground waiting—
all an instant
that seems forever.
I curse
my purple arm
throbbing in a pasty cast
      pity balls of blue and cream
gleaming needles waiting—
christening date
that races closer.
I blame, take blame,
fencing with myself
as if two needles
parry and thrust—
cast on, cast off, cast on—
foils stitching a phantom
blanket of recrimination.
No baby's blanket grows
as passing days win
point after point
pale yarn untouched.  
Clot at the break
turns tender callus
parted bones get reacquainted
like strangers clasping hands
like close friends embracing
like family, one again.
           Mind mends.
Bone knits.
Purple yellowed and gone
I knit two gifts in one long overdue
one for baby Paul
one for me, whom I condemned
stitched up, made whole.

The Next Renaissance

by Karen Fullett-Christensen
It helps to be a student of history
you can warn your neighbors about dark times
they will likely ignore you
poets and dreamers are often scorned
somewhere, out there, lie the believers
they imagine the future
they seek out the good
they strengthen their hearts
they are willing to make new paths
through the forest
I choose to expect
that humans prevail
in the meantime
I light candles and pray
hoping to summon
the next Renaissance.

Helen of Troy

by Kate Hutchinson
Time wears ever on, yet still I plead my case:
I am not to blame for my face nor the thousand ships
the bards say it launched. The gods, ever in league
with war-loving men, point to me as the nexus of chaos
in that hellish time. Pinned to their tales by Eros' bow
and Ares' sword, I still writhe, victim and prisoner of a lie.

What mother would leave her children behind for 
some pup-faced boy? Only a pawn of gods or men.
I had everything to lose: parents, kingdom, sweet daughter,
even the husband I loved enough to have settled for.

How time tormented me those ten years, locked away 
in Troy, so far from all I loved! With that skinny prince!
Were the gods' tricks strong enough to lure me into his arms,
I cannot say. I woke in his ship, feet and hands bound,
puking as I roiled in my berth. Little mercy I got from Priam,
who, with all Trojans, spat on me and declared me a witch.

I can but shriek and moan and tear out my eyes to think
of the carnage laid at my feet — thousands of limbs strewn 
on the beach, ocean red with blood, and in the end, all
the poor souls of the city rising in ashes from the flames!

Oh, how nightmares have plagued me all my days. I returned
to Sparta as a ghost. No mercy for me there, or the world over.
Mine became the face that warned a thousand wives. If you
could sit here at my side and look into these vacant eyes
or hear my tragic words, you would know my innocence.
Men must wield swords and make war. It had little to do with me.


by Sheila Elliott
(An "Old Sayings" Poem)
Somewhere in the middle of life's journey, I came to
In a dark and stormy wood somewhere, the tried and
 True neither lost nor found,  flat as a pancake, stuck—
The middle is between a rock and hard place— with 
 A splitting headache, green eyes, wanting more. 
 A money tree somewhere, house on a hill, kids, roses
In the middle of a yard. But here I was,
 Empty-handed, without two cents to rub together, 
 Robbing Peter to pay Paul.  It struck like a bolt of lightning,
 How I'd been skating on thin ice, spitting into the wind 
Without rhyme or reason,  watching the parade go by, on
The way  to somewhere where the grass was greener.
That night, I fell deep into the arms of Morpheus,
Slept like a log,  but woke bright-eyed, bushy tailed,
 Fit to be tied realizing  how I'd followed the crowd.  It was
 Became crystal clear. I'd come  to a crossroads and so

 Put one foot ahead of the other, turned over a new leaf,
 But held onto a thought:  That somewhere, there's a new day.
That darkness always comes before the dawn,  that
  somewhere,  sometimes, is  just a stone's throw away.

Beneath a Flirtation

by Alan Harris
A trembling in your hand
as you speak with it
tells me a story far deeper
than the message in your voice.

Your eyes glance to the side
then bounce back to our center,
penetrating my defenses
with a direct melt.

Clever words dance about
your acrobatic tongue,
and we laugh at their ballet
when the sentence ends.

Where is your soul hiding
inside this communication?
What messages are you
sublimating into my inner ear?

I'm hearing a cry for help and love
from deep inside your lilting voice.
I would offer to rescue you,
but I'm nowhere safe myself.

Let us just enjoy our fan dance
of foxy phrases and fencing eyes,
of flashing hands and smiles,
of gambling give and tricky take.

Quickly as our conversation may
cavort and twist and frolic,
its loving undermeaning remains
calm as Mona Lisa's smile.

(From Inward in Words)

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