Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
April 2011
Home Page
Poetry Competition
ISPS Member Poems
Poem Index by Poet
Poem Index by Title
Poet Bios
ISPS Member Books
Submitting Poems
About ISPS
To Join ISPS
Other Sites

Search only ISPS site
More ISPS Poems

Poems on this Page:


by John Pawlik
Vision of someone
not yet seen
or heard you moved
a sense of change
wouldn't do
as they had before
were trips
to where you lived
Briefly and then
to different schools
innumerable miles
with separate years
I still have your picture
The night is pure
I hope your life
is full of good

Full Moon

by William Vollrath
Cosmic heebie jeebies
traverse space and time
Littering frail psyches
with explosive mines
Vast internal oceans
silently ebb and flow
God's fearful creatures
crave peace from distant glow
Predators of varied shapes
and surprising size
Emerge from pregnant shadows
triggering desperate cries
Aroused mushrooms sprout
toward the mystic light
Distressed dreamers seek
quick end to disturbed night  
Ancient incandesce
fuels anxiety
Destroying for the moment
life's tranquility

Practicing the Art of Zen

by Susan B. Auld
how can I be in the present
when I need two hands to twitter and tweet
when world events are everywhere all the time

above   below   under   inside   outside
slithering through
ear buds   flat screens   cell phones

and I miss the exact second the rose
opens its red lips or the dramatic entrance
of the lilac's perfume as it catches a ride
on the back of a spring breeze
and floats through my open window

how can I listen   to my breath
move    in   move   out   move   in   move  out

through the rumbles of cement trucks   
bells and whistles of garbage trucks  
siren songs   ring tones   doorbells
computer music and twitches

how can I possibly be
in the moment
when the world is so

in my face 
in my ears 
in my rooms  
in my yard
swallowing this
moment and
the next and next and next...

how in this world do I let go
of all the cacophonous chaos

practice     practice    practice

I Know Who I Am

by Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee
When I tell you about my life and the place where I was born in this city,
Which is Cabrini Green, I'm not asking for your praise nor your pity,
When I tell you that a pen and paper got me   through some tumultuous times
in my life,
I am not expecting a gasp or a raised eyebrow,
I am not lookng for a standing ovation nor a bow,
When some people smugly state that they have the right to live,
I state boldly that I live to write.
I am not asking for a look of astonishment,
Your approval is not my plight.
When I lose my way sometimes and make bad choices,
No longer do I beat up on myself and give into the voices--that say:
Oh, her reaction is indicative of her upbringing...blazay, skippy, que sera sera...
Do you know who you are?

About Love

by Jason Sturner
We do not need thoroughfares
when love seeks the heart
Such is the way of love—
always destined, never sought
We do not need gold coins
when love comes without cost
Such is the value of love—
always priceless, never bought
We do not need a wise man
when love speaks through art
Such is the beauty of love—
always instilled, never taught
And we do not need a ruse
when love surrenders to us all
Such is the enigma of love—
always mysterious, never caught
(from his books Kairos
and 10 Love Poems)

Your Hand

by Donna Pucciani
Autumn now, and the sheets are cold,
our flesh shivering
at first encountering the night.

The trees turn a gradual gold
in long-shadowed afternoons,
and suddenly it's dark at five.

We put off bedtime,
cheering ourselves with television's
endless search for criminal intent,

and nod sadly at the nightly news—
wars, the politicians who make them,
children shot dead at school.

Overtaken by fatigue,
we clamber into bed, lie down
on cool linens, knowing that anxiety

will keep you awake. I feel
your warm hand seeking its usual place
on my thigh, and resting there.

Side by side, 
we remember your surgery a month ago
when something anesthetic

absconded with your sleep, 
and gave instead
a restless wakefulness.

There will be time enough to sleep
when we are dead, we say ironically,
and make a celebration of the night,

your hand my harvest moon, 
still bright with that best of all senses,

beyond sight and sound,
its heat tindering the nocturnal fire
of old love.

(Published in Orbis, U.K.)

Marginal Gloss

by Dr. Sarada Purna Sonty
O' my love ! How do I read thee
My desire's treatise I see
And turn pages  'out'  and  'in'
Shivering hand holding spine
Bound well done holds loops 
And circles, future read for all !
Song of lust with stats and reeds  
Scores eternal kept of life's  tunes
Small songs from 'end to end'
My love, you are my poem true  !
In script and thought, black and
White while my person hide
I beg thee!  Please don't have ' Noun'
As the pronoun 'Me' goes with me !
Carrying you  "L' affair De Coeur"
I, ' Bella donna' with lust in you ,
broken tip of cupid's arrow  stuck in me,
remaining making your eyes bleed
My purple passion sways in you
Making Black swan dance, and 
the painters brush to stroke colour
So the sculpture's dimension shines 
Love feeds my ' five' to infinite
Chaining my will and keeping me down 
With unknown paradise tongue!!

L3 – 'out' an 'in' : life and living
L5- Loops and circles : lines in the palm those reveal destiny
L10- 'end to end' : from Birth to death
L13- ' Noun' : Name , limiting to name
L14- " L' affair De Coeur" : love affair between self and shadow
L15- ‘Bella Donna’ : fine lady, obsession 
L23- ' five' :  mortal body with five elements, five senses
L25- paradise tongue: unknown words

Sliding Plates

by David McKenna
quake    towers crack    shake
aftershocks      tsunami rakes
takes   casts back      forsakes
reactors break     blow     heartache      
acid snow     fate knocks    and waits


by Gail Goepfert
a specter
rises from the pavement
ascends before me
settles on a phone wire
my eyes rise
to follow its path
yet I cannot see
what spirits it upward
unveiled—a tiny sparrow
shuttling tissue
to quilt its nest
leaving me
to speculate
souls rising
on a breath of wind
leaving me
to wonder
if dying
might just be
that simple
that swift

Trade-In ?

by David LaRue Alexander
Sometimes she will,
and sometimes she won't.
Sometimes she does,
and sometimes she don't.

Truth is
I'm not sure why,
but each and every day 
I give 
the old girl a try.

Sometimes it's like 
she's gasping for air,
Coughing and wheezing,
black smoke everywhere.

Sometimes it like
she has no spark,
and she'd rather sit there
and idle in park.

Sometimes it's like
she's lost her get up and go,
we kinda get to moving 
but it's awfully slow.

Then some days 
she purrs like a cat,
and we take off flying 
like a bat;
out of  hell!

on any given day
it's hard to tell.
You've got to sit down with her,
and wait a spell.
But then
that's alright with me,
I don't need to know 
who she's gonna be.
Everyone tells me	
to trade her in,
but I can't do it
she's like my best friend.
I look forward 
to my daily chore,
life with her 
is never a bore.

Just wont be.
Just won't be no driving.
Just won't be no driving without her.

Can't do it.
No, can't do it!
Won't do it.
No, won't do it!
Can't do it.
No can do it....

Without her!

Rather walk, take a bus,
or car pool
with folks I trust...

Hey Mary Full of Love

by Rick Sadler
It occurred one early solstice morning in December
A total eclipse of the Moon shining red did render,
To me a strange passion about a lovely Lady there
Her seen and unseen inspiration in a relentless stare,
Some times she'd interrupt my sleep to write this muse
She'd say, "Wake up and take up your Ink Pen and use,
This moment in time to inspire some one who reads
A poem written from a good heart as every body needs,"
I imagine she's sitting on the edge of my bed beside me
She's smiling down at me and I feel peace as you can see,
As there atop a Cathedral in front of the full red Moon
Stood the mystical Rose for which my mind was in tune,
Then the next day in the news paper I saw the same image
Like the photographer had taken it out of my mind's page,
My thoughts run prayerfully deep for her highness love
In connecting this phenomenon to God's beautiful Dove
Fondly I design lyrical visions from the cause of my joys
Of the Lady of my good counsel like so many life Buoys,
This Rhyme may never be published for the reader's eyes
Cause of the complicated technology that only money buys,
It will be OK because when God changes my life form then
I'll be writing celestial verses about the Virgin Mary again,
You may say that my thoughts are ludicrous and absurd
Mary leads me to my Oracle Jesus with him I am reassured

Supporting Casts

by William Marr
Almost as real and exciting
as the hot-pursuit scenes
from a police story
the stairs
racing the elevators
wind themselves
down with all sorts of commotion and empty

A Prayer

by Paul J. Wolf, Ph.D
When I want to pray
and have nothing to say,
sitting in an empty room
uneasy with nowhere to go;
my thoughts wander through the
forest of my life, leaving
footprints in the snow.
As a bed of crocuses gives color
to the black and white,
so a past filled with memories
gives passion to my life.
God's blessings of special people
shaped where I should go
as I wandered though the forest
leaving footprints in the snow.
My persistence in pursuing
an education and degrees
like pine trees ever green
in that forest of memories.
The people who were there
when I needed them,
trail markers for me to follow
through the forest of my life.
When that trail was hard
causing pain and strife
I was blessed with loving people
helping me though that forest
which was my life.
Feeling God was with me
when I became the helper,
setting me on the path
that leads to a better life.
Then I know what my prayer
must be as I sit in that empty room.
Thank you God for all you've done,
without you I could never have traveled
through the forest
leaving footprints in the snow.

Acts of Heroism 4-16-07

by Ina Perlmuter
Virginia Tech
Spring, spring, welcoming spring
branches, buds and blossoms
sway acrimoniously in March winds
Bow their heads to the rains of April
then rise to greet the warmth of May
But an act of utter mayhem
changed my welcome of spring that year
And a fellowship arose to share in grief
united by anguish, fright and disbelief
Students, faculty, a community united
all came together to console and reassure
and as I said  "usta lavista" to the heroes who fell with Libriscu
I realized their acts of heroism required me to remember
by welcoming with joy each new spring

Memories of a Painting

by Bakul Banerjee
On the white-washed wall I hung
framed by the mango-tree wood.
I could not tell you how long.

She painted a mountain road curling 
away beneath the tall evergreens, 
dreaming of her love to come down.

Her old mother thought of the song
lost in the trees as she looked on.
I could not tell you how long.

When the lady was gone, I moved on
to the shabby shack of her young maid
dreaming of the film star to come down.

Men came, but none did belong
like the termites nestling in my back.
She dreamt of the prince coming down.
I could not tell you how long.

Dad's Chapeaux

by Susan T. Moss
My father loved hats, especially
fedoras that he wore to the edge
of their popularity.  They had
the Humphrey Bogart look and perched

on a curved metal rack in the living room closet.
One brown prize was for train trips to the city
as a mechanical engineer and is the picture
I have of him from early fall to late spring.

Another brimmed favorite made
of soft tan suede served as casual
wear and looked jaunty 
at a slight tilt over his left brow.

The black felt with slimmer cut
served for weddings, funerals
or church when men dressed
in their finest.

A brown baseball cap was probably
Dad's favorite, but maybe it was 
mowing the grass or grilling over
the stone pit he built fifty summers ago

that made him so happy and left dark
sweat stains on the headband, not knowing
then that unlike the Mad Hatter whose
mercury-cured top hat drove him crazy,

Alzheimer's long shadow would retire
the collection we left hanging for many years.
One day my mother gave his hats
to other people.  They never quite fit.

The Raven

by Farouk Masud
I am...
Like a raven—
A bad omen.
Crafty, macabre;
Always wandering about,
Looking at what other people do.
Sharp, penetrating eyes—
No one can put down my stare.
Dark, lustrous, pitch-black feathers
Cascade my beautiful, small body
Like a priceless, sequined dress.
Mysteriously, I pop up everywhere,
Always at the wrong place, at the wrong time,
Hearing nothing but mocked curses at me.
I am...
The raven!
Everywhere I go,
People wish I would leave
As soon as I arrive.

Whispered Prayers

by E. B. Dreier

On the window seat she sat
Wrapped in the afghan her Grandmother made years ago.
Looking through the tea-stained light of morning,
She whispered prayers that no one but God could hear.
Storms had come, with thunder that reminded her
Of the drums at a symphony she had gone to once.
Like the sound of her heart beating now.
The world seemed hushed and still.
"Dear God, how will I be able to serve You,
When I cannot stand because of the pain?"
His answer came in a cooling breeze that brushed her cheek.
Then he wrapped her warmly in His love.

Those Years of Yesterday

by LeRoy Dean
Standing in the stillness, the snowflakes falling 'round;
Peaceful voices softly whisper of the memories to be found.  
Friends and families gathering, there's closeness once again;
So long ago, those times and faces: those memories creeping in.
The fleeting years have faded so much of what has been: 
Some gather now, like yesterday, as if it was back then.
It seems like not so long ago, a time when we were young:
Growing old was impossible; drifting apart just wasn't done.
Truth removes illusion with the passing of the time;
And things appear as they used to be, but only in our minds.
It will never be the same again; the way it was, the way we were;
The times have changed, life moves on; the past becomes a blur.
Standing in the stillness, the snowflakes falling 'round;
Peaceful voices softly whispering of the memories to be found.
A tear springs from my heart to kiss the newly fallen snow:
I realize that it's time to let this moment go.
I can walk along the back roads of my memories anytime:
And find so many waiting thoughts, these shadows in my mind.
The mist of once upon a time will always have its say; 
As friends and families gather in those years of yesterday.


by Barbara Robinette
for Diane
Oh mimosa sumosa cover her safe,
green ferny leaves, soft coral blossoms of a feathery
South.  Backwoods grandma city’s mama rock on
the back porch.  They watch the men in the dirt yard
look under the truck's hood.  They sip iced tea from jars
that jiggle on a wobbly bent little table as all the kids
run down the porch, then jump off as pirates to the loose
dust under the mimosa.  The girl picks a mimosa blossom
holds it to her hair...princess of the pirates...mimosa, your warm Southern shade,
she laughs and curtsies there.

(First published in 2008 by Iconoclast  #100
Included in the author's book, Sea Leafs By Moon, 2010)

Fall in Illinois

by Karen H. Honnold
I've been walking in the leaves each day.
The brown, gold, red, and yellow
colors accompany me.

Some leaves land where they fell.
Some have blown to another yard,
where they lie with stems stuck up in the air 
declaring to all who look, I'm still here!

Many have been enjoyed by insects,
or mulched for other purposes.
Several are resting in a dogs' bowl of water,
a few stick to the side of a neighbors 
garbage can.

I want to take them home.
to be my friends in the cold months to come.

They would join up with the sea stones from
Bodega Bay, the shells of the Outer Beach,
some tea from China.

I know they all know each other.

I will serve as a host to their joyful party.
In turn maybe the happy fan of the ginko,
the stones of Bodega Bay worn smooth
the subtle strength of the shells,

can Mother me just a little.

Firefly Summer

by Judith Tullis
my fifth summer
was light rain
and heavy mosquitoes
cold sprinklers
and hot dogs on the grill

twilight brought fireflies
all the droopy-bottomed blinkers
my sticky fingers could capture
Nature's purpose arrested
in a glowing pickle jar

when the crickets' bedtime
signalled a new day
the lights were out
life in the jar was gone
and wonder faded to guilt

The Comfortable Man

by Marilyn Huntman Giese
The man comfortable in his own skin
leans back cap tilted between his ears
one knee bends one leg stretches
into the aisle at Dunkin Donuts
raises shoulders when puzzled arm casually
drops aside to listen
white moustache does not hide pleasantly
curved mouth.
Young laborer across the table           
sits upright ankles crossed beneath chair
intense position waves hand eye level
adding body language
draws laugh from other man
taking long draught of coffee
tiring of conversation idling away the hour
comfortable in his own skin.

Deserts Happen

by Kathy Cotton
Twenty-five degrees
either side of the equator
                and some times
                here in my soul
deserts happen.
They say the vast Sahara,
more than once, lived as a sea.
                More than once,
withered to lake and marsh
then drained dead dry,
leaving the wave and ripple
of wind-blown sand
to re-enact her vanished waters.
                And more than once
encroaching sand and baking sun
and breathless wind
have stolen my ocean of thought.
Rivers and streams of words
dry up, lose more moisture than
isolated sprinkles of inspiration
can replace. Flowery thoughts
give way to cactus or creosote.
Lizards and rattlers slither in.
                Desert happens.
While sand sifts imperceptibly
down the hourglass,
I scan the parched
three-sixty horizon
of gritty sameness
like a hump-back camel
with untapped reserves
and instincts for the next oasis.
In the distance
the fragrance of rain.

Swimming in Springtime

by Mark Hudson
On our way to Spring break
We had two airplanes to take
One from Milwaukee to Baltimore
Flying with the kids was kind of a chore
With my nephew Ryan, 6, and Ashley, 3,
They behaved as good as they could possibly be.
The kids were kind of loud on the plane
A baby crying drove me insane
We caught a van at 12 A.M.
To grandpa and grandma's to see them again.
The next day we went to see polo
But I ended up being solo
Grandpa and the kids took the golf cart
We couldn't find them at the start
By the time the kids arrived at the show
Everybody just wanted to go
So later we were going to the pool
And little Ashley lost her  cool
But we ended up finally going swimming after all
And actually we ended up having a ball
Then my sister and I went to the flea market
My sister took her car and started to park it
We went in and saw some puppies
The people in Florida aren't exactly yuppies
I also saw saw a lady with parrots
I took some pictures with some merit
Bought a few things I needed to get
Then headed home without regret
Took the kids swimming another day to bond
And then my sisters took the kids to the pond
The next day we went to church to worship the savior
The kids surprised us with good behavior
But when we got home Ashley locked a bedroom shut
We almost couldn't get in she was what
We all had been coming to fear,
A three-year old who doesn't listen with her ears.
But soon we forgave her for her mistake,
We celebrated Ryan's birthday ,he had a cupcake.
But before we received a call from my brother-in-law,
We ate hot dogs, baked beans, and cole slaw.
Monday it rained all day long
Rainy days and Mondays seemed to be the song.
My sister went to see "The company men"
And it was raining again and again.
So I went and had a mushroom and swiss
The sunshine was something I started to miss
But then the sun came on Tuesday
And we went to the swimming pool to play
Ryan was elated because he saw a blimp
And little Ashley was being an imp
She kept snorting like a pig
She made me laugh really big
Then I took them on a walk on the path
Then the kids came home and had a bath
The kids miss their dad and it's understood
I'm living in the moment before I go back to the hood
Today was a totally rainy day
The kids were bored and couldn't play
The porch was full of crawling worms
The kids were fascinated by their squirms
Tomorrow is April Fools
The kids will soon be back in school
I haven't seen a single gecko
And in my head, I hear some echoes
Cartoons, children laughing and thunder
This trip has brought a sense of wonder
Monday, I will return to town
A sunburned head will be my crown
I dreamed about this trip months ago
Now it's good to return I know.
All my good photos remind me
Of another vacation to put behind me!

Mid-March, Northern Illinois

by Wilda Morris
Yesterday I drove for miles
but saw no green budding
on branches of deciduous trees,
nothing sprouting in the fields,
only tans and browns
in roadside ditches.
But this morning, from a bush
beside the house, came a twittering
not heard all winter and from brush
along the fence line, I saw a bit
of orange rise on wings of hope.

(Originally published in Seeding the
Snow, Spring-Summer 2010, p. 8)

Sole Departure

by Chris Holaves
So fragile is each broken vessel landing
in life's trauma center for repair.
So grave and delicate is in each the tear
where life oozes out all hope of mending
hopelessness. For them, loved ones weep and pray.
So terminal is each fractured vessel's pain.
Most nerves are deadened with needles in vain.
Still each vessel struggles to rise one more day.

When all is done, our care is not enough
to stop the steady flow of light pouring out.
Paleness and shallow breathing dim our hope.
All shattered senses slowly start to snuff
the body's light and burden its wings throughout.
Our "I love you's" cast the only saving rope.

So final. So forceful. But it's not death.
Alone each soul flies upward with its last breath.
In life's trauma center is each vessel's last fight
before its soul departs to join God's light.

—For EH, PH, and JN: May their memory be eternal.

(First published by The Rockford Review,
Vol. XXVII, 2008.)


by Marguerite McClelland
Clouds, like jagged boulders,
carved by a careless hand,
roll across the evening
fleeing their swath of slate.
windows whine,
boards creak,
the garden gate bangs,
bangs against the post;
the street lamp throbs in sheets of rain afire;
trees snap,
wires slap against gutters;
garbage cans batter the street,
scatter their drooling milk cartons,
and newspapers blow away in the wind.

in the first pale glow of dawn,
when all is quiet,
nature spent,
piercing the night,
between the broken limbs of fallen trees,
the bashful head of a daffodil.

Dialogue with the Man in the Moon III

D.003 by John E. Slota
I found El Luna in a foul mood.
And asked, "why the nasty face moon dude?
Is this dark side simply attitude?
Your behavior's really awfully crude!"
The moon replied (first dimming his glow)
"Melancholy? Didn't know it showed!
I thirst for aqua, yea H2O!
Earth's far-away oceans surely glow!
No mass have I, thus no gravity.
Can't hold 'nuff water to steep my tea.
That molecule's got a hold on me.
I long for what I can only see."
"Moon covet not neighbor Earth's treasure.
Search inside for your proper measure.
You will achieve the highest pleasure
As gifts from the heart last forever."

The Pneumatic Drill

by Marcia Pradzinski
Tubes snake from the holes
in your arms.
Restraints hold
your parchment hands
still on sheets, bleached white. 
At the sides of the bed
metal contraptions grow
an odd jungle
in sunlight, unrelenting.

You want to talk
but words stumble
away from you.
Shaking your head,
you say,
"There's nothing
you can do about it,"
you stop
to weigh the final words:
"That's the way,

           the base


When I leave,
a cool wind
rushes over me
and clears away
the odors
of antiseptic and urine.
I make my way
to the bus stop
where tears
at the tattoo of
a pneumatic drill
breaking concrete.

(Published in After
Hours, Winter 2011)

Easter Wish

by Alan Harris
happy so very
from under when
beyond where
through bluest maybe
above cloudy ago

in loving
quiets of

More ISPS Poems

Copyright Notice: Copyrights for all of the above poems remain with the individual authors. No work here is to be reused without permission from its author. To request permission, contact a member of the ISPS Web Committee.

Note to ISPS poets: Poetry posted on the Internet may be considered published by some publishers and agents.