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

How to love a dead rabbit

by Jenene Ravesloot
how to hold it in your arms just so how to cradle it as if it were alive   how to hold it like a baby who at any moment might wake up   how to do that   how to explain the why of this moment   how to explain it with words that will not come   how to move beyond words   how to explain this gentle light this world this room this moment that picture over there propped against a wall to a dead rabbit does it matter that he cannot see or hear or feel   the fact is the rabbit is dead and death stinks and what can you say or do to demonstrate your love when even this seems futile  and anyway what does a rabbit care about a painting any painting  propped against a wall or your love even if it could

Inspired by Joseph Beuys
performance titled How
to Explain Pictures to
a Dead Hare
First published by
cc&d magazine, 2021

Timeless Toss

by Arthur Voellinger
When a child
throws someone
a kiss, it's not 
hit or miss
From hand 
to lips and
finger tips,
Love expressed
in unique ways
never fades
from any day

Bridges to Justice

by Marie Samuel
Equality for all races, faiths, ages,
Genders, Freedom economic, job
Opportunity, Education justice
Depend on a sacred right to vote.

So we struggle each state. All
America grapples how to solve
This dilemma must be resolved By congress now or democracy Could fall, our constitution torn.
So men debate and try to agree A way to be fair for one and all A precedent set must not ruin Founders intent must be kept.
(From New Year Bridges)

Everglades, Hiding

by Donna Pucciani
Zora Neale wrote of the hurricane
in mad-dog Lake Okeechobee,
its swollen waters always
combing with cypress fingers
for crocodiles, manatees, and
alligators slithering through
swamp to reclaim wetlands
from tourists and fertilizer.

The sea level rises inches
every day, below the ozone-
layered grin, and the Caloosahatchee
River, long as its name,
goes into hiding. Once, 
flamingoes painted the shores
orange. Try to remember
their sunset magic.

First published in Post Script
(Peterborough Poetry Project, 2021)

Stay Strong

by Undra' Ware Sr.
Stay strong when things are going wrong,
    while the tides of life are rocking your boat,
    don't drown or despair, just stay afloat. 

The waves may be overwhelming or a bit to high;
    just keep the faith and look toward the Heavenly
    sky.  Stay strong when things things are going wrong. 

Keep striving forward and don't lean back, but
    always remember it's a spiritual attack.
    You can achieve if you only believe, just
    stay strong when things are going wrong. 

kitchen portrait

by Marcia Pradzinski
my mother's hands
powder the wheat-hued
breadboard and smooth
flour evenly
her wedding band
a part of her body
glints gold
on the puffy flesh
of her ring finger
she rests the dough ball
on her palm and                 
rolls it from right
hand to left as her fingers
pat its round bloom
the dough something
she can prompt
with a tender whisper
into the shape
she fashions
her floured arms lean
into the compliant mass
palms massaging
its growth
snowy dots freckle
her arms and she pushes
hard as the windows
darken around her
(Published in Pirene's
Fountain, August 2016)

Saying Goodbye to My Oak

by Marilyn Peretti
Over 400 species of oak!
My Oak takes me to visit them.

My Oak says, "you can see these
oaks as the charcoal in your drawing
or in a warming fire, so they 
may stand no more in 
the forest."

He fears that
the "tree of life", with us
for fifty-six million years
is slowly saying goodbye.

My Oak says, "Did you know
that 32 species are
critically endangered?
Lands are cleared for
farms and cattle."
(Fewer McDonalds,

Is there a doctor in the house?
My Oak tells me, "plant diseases
are killing my friends."
(I run for a bandaid.)

"Mosses, fungi, lichen
and mammals love little  
homes around me,"
says My Oak, "so even I 
don't want to say goodbye."

Once, I Wanted to be the Weatherman

by Barbara Robinette
I saw a sky that took me back to long ago.
Its coat was gray and calm its look to third grade thought.
Then I gazed into the gentle frown my teacher gave
these dreaming eyes.

My hope to be the weatherman
put on her coat to stand in line....
for outside games and empty swings
on a playground gone.

(First published by Lucidity and included in
the author's book  Sea Leafs By Moon)

I Clawed

by Rita Yager
The dirt of discouragement 
fell into my eyes
dust of dismay filled my nostrils
soot in my eyes full of tears
brought on by women who
would not "lean in"
who kicked and pushed me down
with their boots
men who scoffed
felt that I deserved only 
the ashes left from their fires
I Clawed
up over and out
pushed the rocks and stones
moved boulders
over the muddy fields, up hills
all the sand in the deserts
swirled round me, tried to blind me
I Clawed
with both hands, by myself
by immigrant parents
who arrived here with so little
I embraced my dripping sweat 
my filthy blackened calloused hands

I Clawed

More ISPS Poems | Haiga Gallery

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