Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
May, 2024
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Poems on this Page:

Thirty Years War

by Mark Hudson
1: The Windows

On May 22, 1618,
Vilem Slavata could be seen,
hanging by fingers from a windowsill,
with assassins there ready to kill.

Jaroslav Bolita had also been seized,
flung out the window, a castle besieged.
Slavata was cut off by a sword hilt,
he cracked his head, blood was spilt.

Nonetheless, they headed for the hills,
after they fell from the windowsills.
This was where it started in Prague,
by fighting the man who was the top dog.

2: The Empire

In 1618, the Roman Empire,
was too powerful a force to retire.
Natural philosophy began to explain,
the natural world in its terrain.

They began to understand planetary motions,
and all the sea creatures deep in the ocean.
This caused the Catholic Church some stress,
but modern ideas continued to progress.

The peace of Augsburg went across the land,
and it was approved by Emperor Ferdinand.
They tried to reform religion as a whole,
but once again the government took control.

3: The Turkish War

The Turkish war in 1593,
helped spread some peace in Hungary.
Yet, it still provoked anxiety,
for most European societies.

The Hapsburgs were financially bankrupt,
all this change came quite abrupt.
The Turkish war would always result in
disastrous problems for the new sultans.

4: The Spanish Monarchy

Spain's many dominions,
left history to many opinions.
In 1631, there were four million,
Spaniards who were known as Castilians.

Finding silver was something new;
and they found mercury mines in Peru.
Laborers died, about forty a day,
and the silver turned to rust and decay.

5: The Dutch Republic

The assassination of William the Silent,
told you that the times were violent.
The Spanish became allies with the Dutch,
while the English troops perhaps not much.

Boats collected Venezuelan salt,
so the spice trade was really nobody's fault.
Most shops in the European trade,
were getting goods already made.

Amsterdam made grenades and gunpowder,
everything to make war much louder.
Dealing with the Dutch in Hague,
was worse than dealing with the Black Plague.

6: Conclusion

Wars, wars! They never quite end!
There always will be countries to defend!
Peace is a dream you can only hope for,
just like the people in the thirty-years war.

Fire Eye

by Michael Escoubas
After the solar eclipse, April 8, 2024
we're given a taste
of a day
even a lifetime
in the space
of but an hour

first light
when dew is down
frosting grass

nothing is more hushed
than the way
the moon
moves toward the night

it is a slow
until the world
is barely lit
shadowed over
ensconced in dark


day emerges again
softly . . .
perfume misty air

in one unrepeatable moment
a day, a lifetime
when Man and Nature
to take a moment
and think.

This is a love poem about 1-900 numbers

by Johanna Haas
It's about staying up late to call you from another state,
because fares were lower at night, and we could talk more.
It's about how only rich people had cellphones,
and they were as big as shoeboxes and plugged into your car.
My love is as big as a cathode-ray tube inside a wooden television.
My love is as tall as the aerial needed to get a signal.
As sweet as a cake from an EZ Bake oven,
powered by the excess heat from an incandescent light bulb.
More rebellious than a candy cigarette perched on a lower lip,
ready to be eaten if an adult looks on.
You, like a Sears catalog, can fill all my needs.
Like my dearest video rental, I'm taking you home.


by Goldie Ann Farkonas
As Earth continues on her yearly journey, 'round the golden sun,
She knows, 'tis time, once more, important business, coming, must be done!

She asks her sleeping daughter, Primavera, to awaken, now,
'Tis time, once more, to bring new life and warmth, and beauty - she knows how!

The flowers, insects, leafy trees, new blades of grass, and birds, which sing,             
The humming bees around their nests, do fly around, with their sting!

We welcome you, dear Primavera, for your time - on Mother Earth,
For you bring long, awaited warmth and beauty - Springtime - love and birth!

Dear Primavera, maiden of each golden, sunlit day of Spring,
We thank you, so, for giving us - the love you bring!

From year to year, we do await the coming of your precious gifts,
For when you're near, each heart begins to softly sing, and then, it lifts!

Plastic Flowers

by jacob erin-cilberto
overly enthusiastic alliteration
succinctly spliced synonyms
the union of words
breaks up
Civil War of witless concern
linguistics lie languidly 
on a field of dazzling daisies
there are no flowers left
on either side of the poem
rigid rhyme reflects
as the reader wrests 
philandering punctuation
that dictates deliberate diction
as dead daisies
wander willfully
among aspiring minds
two-sides sadistically succumbing
as lines linger in a forgery
begging the question
as to whether or not
the flowers were ever real.

Depthless Weightless

by Mark Hammerschick
That's crazy
crazy crazy crazy
like trying to eat light
soft supple sinuous
the gnawing sound
of roses on sandpaper
how sunsets sever my heart
as if sand could see
your scent accelerating
beyond the edges between us
out into oblivion
your iris depthless weightless
gravity gone
like your touch
in the depths of night
deafening silence


by Karen Fullett-Christensen
Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words can break my spirit
words can lodge within my heart
words can spin the planet's wheel

Words can also lift me up, inspire me
give me courage, write my life
warm my soul on freezing nights
light the darkness

Broken bones will heal, leave scars
but words live on, they flame, they soar
they show the path, they mark the way
their gift is of infinity.

Nature Presents...

by Judith Stern Friedman
Nature's planned an IMAX show
Of cicadas birthed en masse,
Secret life from down below,
Short-lived presence, impact fast.

Big-screen sirens drown the air,
Carcasses covering ground,
Flying insects everywhere—
Best live-drama film around!


by Jim Hanson
There is a crack in everything, that's
how the spirit gets out from the 
shell of self and swell of ego

    from the edges of the vise
    closing in upon the mind
    and transcending them 
    to free consciousness.

Black holes leak bits of energy
a photon at a time running
into space to save itself

    information not lost as
    photons unite with protons
    combined afar to light darkness
    and fused to give birth to a star.

Martin Luther King shines new light
on caste of mind made black by white
to see blind justice had by all

    God's children free at last, free at last
    marching together on the rainbow
    of colors seen in a natural world.

The Seed ascends from earth
through the black grime of death
and up to the blue of the sky

    of the Phoenix arising from
    the ashes of the burning earth
    to regenerate life thought lost.

The Avatar descends 
to save humanity from its greed
for empire and dominion of nature

    for one chance left to a species
    to save itself from itself 
and the world of its making.

Such is the opening of openings
for everlasting freedom and renewal

as energy of spirit
breaks through the cracks of matter

radiating in all ten directions
where possibilities are infinite.

Waiting on the Cicadas

by Colleen McManus Hein
I think of shells from past hatches;
Slipped skins cracked underfoot
Satisfying as bubble wrap. 

There were bugs everywhere. 
They didn't bite, didn't sting. 
Who cared if they fouled the windshield? 

They say the males' mating calls 
Will be loud as an airplane. 
An airplane in the distance? 
Or in the yard?

Mine, with trees packed tight
Maples, a few white oaks,
Roots undisturbed
This is where they'll rise.

Step right up, shrug your carapace, 
Make yourself at home. 
You were here before me.

Carapace — Does it roll from the tongue 
Like a deli meat 
on a charcuterie board?

I want novelty. 
I've read enough 
of war and death and plagues.
Give me this multitudinous birthing. 
I want distraction from life 
By life.

Ina Maka and Others

by Edward J. Herdrich
Ina Maka, the mother to us all, Spring, Summer, Winter Fall
giving from deep within, ignoring the pain and new world din
a name given by the first people, all her beauty a steeple
they took care to walk softly on the land, one day to make stand
for their mother they knew needed care too
with Dakota Access, Sun Dance no longer enough to do.
Ina Maka and others, take care of sisters, brothers
partners, wives and more they can be
but the strongest of all I see
with Ina Maka and others — 

Coming north to work the land, all their life held in hand
Some brought children one and all, others here to help them all
On farms and ranches, working hard, though owners treat with disregard
Dolores rose up and shouted loud, our work makes us proud
but we need more, for my sister, brother and another 
better wages, better care, the same as others who live here.
Ina Maka and others, take care of sisters, brothers
partners, wives and more they can be
but the strongest of all I see
with Ina Maka and others —

Tending to Winter

by Kathryn P. Haydon
After George Henry Boughton,
"Winter Twilight Near Albany," 1858
Yellow seam of sunset
	reflects in the strip of ice
on which the boy pulls
a sled piled with kindling.

Prairie grass stems press 
through snow, dormant, 
	foreshadow life beyond
this frozen hour.

Like the scene
	framed by my window,
bare tree branches silhouette 
the horizon, sculpted growth a standstill.

Twilight is silver and gray
	brushstrokes, darkening snow.
The boy trudges towards warmth.
His sled load of wood is survival. 

Breakfast Breakdown

by Teresa Harris
Sunny-side eggs have broken
Becoming a scrambled mess
A basic sense of security
Is starting to regress

Abrasive ways are tough
As grits are hard outside
Many stripped of dignity
Losing a sense of pride

Like a slice of burnt toast
Rough edges hard to scrape away
Things keep going wrong
Everything is not okay

Weeping over spilled milk
Tears of regret making it too salty
Realizing the broken machine
Has always been faulty

Bitter coffee is hard to swallow
When expecting it to be sweet
Time to rise up and shout
Humanity is becoming obsolete

Thanking the Sweet Silence

by Alan Harris
An exquisite calm has set in
after weeks of chaos in my being.
That thunder, formerly so rockingly loud,
is now a muted murmuring in the distance.

My new peace is no more explainable
than the prior violence of vibrations
that was ripping my heart out by the roots
and leaving me to decay on an uncaring roadside.

Would that there were someone to thank,
even myself, if I somehow caused my own release
from those taut janglings and knifelike fear
into a timely if startling serenity.

The planets and stars are so hushed, so calm
that there seems little reason
for any iota of human stress and strain.
To emulate our silent orblike brothers

would seem enough to find peace of soul and mind.
Yet every orb endures earthquakes, storms, and seething fires.
Its quiet, beaming benevolence through clear skies
may be a billion cataclysms deep.

Thank you, silence, from the depth
of my tumult as well as the pinnacle of my euphoria,
and may you permeate my porous existence
with a tempered bliss from deeper down than death.

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