Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
October 2003
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Poems on this Page:


by Tim Breitzmann
Destiny is not a Dot
It's a Line

Life is not a Destination
It's a Journey

Love is not a Rock
It's a River

Was to Is
Here to There
The Wonder of it All


by Fred C. Wilson III


Relationship Recovery

by Michelle True
Everyone suffers from this disease,
no matter who ended the relationship.

There are distinct phases.

he/she will change their mind;
change their ways;
be a better partner;
love you again;
give you another chance.

thinking about him/her with others;
even if you are the one who left
it can be difficult;
you don't want to care but you can't help it.

you want to make him/her jealous;
get back at them;
say nasty things to them.

you are finally able to leave the past behind;
no longer caring what the other is doing
or when
or where
or why
or with whom.

You're cured.

Old Country Church
Beside the Road

by Barbara Cagle Ray
I saw the old church standing there,
As I walked on a tranquil country road,
Underneath the boughs of an old oak tree,
Displaying its leaves of red and gold.

It was very old, and worn with time;
The paint was faded and growing thin.
It had a rusty, cross-like spire;
I felt compelled to wander in.

A rusty gate creaked open wide,
The path of stones was bathed in shade.
A sign hung just above the door:
"Welcome all, whom God hath made."

I could almost hear "Amazing Grace,"
As in solemn stillness I did rest.
Squirrels scurried across oaken beams,
And birds were chirping in their nests.

Of all the loveliness I've seen
On God's great earth, that I recall,
The most priceless things to me are those
That cost me not a cent at all!

I walked outside the old church door,
And turned to steal a look behind.
It was then I smiled and realized
The truthfulness of that old church sign:

"Welcome all, whom God hath made,"
Most certainly that day rang true.
Those furry creatures housed inside
Must know that God hath made them, too!

A Most Patient Winter

by James Conroy
A most patient winter
Twice fooled,
I've written her first poem
and still
she's not arrived.
It concerns me
that having traveled so wearily
she may never leave.


by James L. Corcoran
pumpkins on the stairs candle hearts doorway to we are all
inside our houses with care for children where we all
know the bogeyman is alone

butterflies turn black at midnight in chrysalis they drink
up the darkness and then the bats come out and eat them

dry ice summons up the mist from the cold and it rains thunder
and lightning hour after hour of relentless press water
under stress

miniature goblins run hectic to and fro across the wet lawns
grabbing in tiny little golden paws a hershey bar

Satan lord of the porch now pitch red glowing in the opaque
night sadistically distant no crying for any one in particular
just filled with a huge hot hole

curious buy no one in particular watch the water go between the
cars don't cross the street without a monitor walk don't run

multiple reflector treaty by the man accelerates the whole process
and everyone wins winds up home with a bag of goodies and thanks
to the president and the future of economics and thank you God for
not biting me

Rain Dance

by Sister Meg Holden, FSP
Rain, splashing upon my windowpane,
dancing silver drops bring sparkle
to the gloomy day.

Falling rain beckons me out
of my cozy room.

Leaving my umbrella behind,
I join in the dance of the rain,
splashing in the puddles so cool.

A Thousand Tons of Light

for Michelle Kwan
by Mardelle Fortier
She is lighter than wind, than dancing snow;
freer than the breeze, more unstoppable;
more weightless than the intent of a cloud,
than a note of a violin.

She is weighty as whirling rain, as freezing
ice; as a grand piano telling stories
of tragedy and pain; as struggle, sacrifice
into the abyss of the unknown.

She is invisible as mist, as visible
as flight; silent as confidence,
as chilled lips of the moon;
heavy as steel of a backbone.


by Larry Turner
There is a heart-stopping thrill
to see a glitter among the sand
and gravel in your pan
or from that likely-looking rock
youíve just struck in California
of 1849, Alaska some decades later
or perhaps somewhere on earth
still unknown.

           Or so Iím told.
I donít much scramble up mountains
or wander deserts and tundra.
My taste runs more to Birkenstocks
than hiking boots.

                  But I have
that same heart-stopping thrill
at my window as gold collects
in my back yard at a tube
of thistle seed.

And Then There Is the Analyst

by Sally Calhoun
The analyst, at eighty, sits in his living room
having said goodbye to his last analysand,
then counts the books in his bookcase, and begins a summing up.

The value of his undertaken life seems immeasurable.
A few gifts remain in his office;
many memories linger, slipping like moonlight
through the shadowy corridors of his soul.

Does he have one? This particular analyst wonders about that;
he has been true to the saga of the libido,
forever obedient,
and suddenly it is as though he has awakened
from a startling dream filled with "aha's."

The doctrine seems to have disappeared;
he wonders where it is, and why it has gone,
and for one terrified moment he thinks
he may have wasted his life. The thought is so distressing

he counts the ferns on the table by his left hand,
scours the wood carving to his right with an abject gaze,
and swallows panic.

          Where did everybody go?

The seconds tick away.
There is no stopping now.


by Pat Petros
The October night buzzed with excitement,
lighted by fireflies and anticipation
of endless bonfires.
Mother and I were on one side
of the cornfield, Dad on the other
as we took burning brands
to set alight dried stalks
that Dad had harrowed
into long rows--flames roaring
from both ends to meet in the middle,
and extinguish themselves there.
With heat-caressed face and legs I walked,
spellbound by the hiss of fire
snaking along each row,
turning the moon red--
dimming stars and fireflies.
Smoke drifted, pungent, hot,
until the field,
under its nourishing
blanket of ashes
was left to rest.


by William Marr
between today

a demilitarized zone

black flags

Swing Dancing

by Barbara Eaton
Without love,
Where would you be now?

Hands clasped,
Arms out at sides,
We come together,
Then apart,
Hands clasped.

Without love,
Where would you be now?

You twirl me,
We nest like spoons,
Your arm around me
Hands together
You throw me forward
One hand held tight.
I spin under your arm,
We still hold hands.

Without love,
Where would you be now?

We come together, hands clasped
Arms out at sides
And twirl again.

Without love, love, love,
Where would you be now?


by Wilda Morris
Don't forget the smallest slight.
       Keep score of wrongs,
              made about you in the past.
Past records of ruffled feelings,
       lick your lips while licking glue
              to save up grudges.
Stamp collecting.

(Published in Alive Now, May/June 1981)

Now, Sweet Now

by Alan Harris
When quiet has its way,
a subtle glow may grow
inside the heartís heart.

Oneís furnishings reflect
a different cast of light
when silence fills the room.

Consonance with core
allows a laying down
of petty weekday will.

All cells become as servants
to a Master higher than
the calls of sense and self.

True, jostlings and lacks
and irritating chores
await the coming down.

Dark evil, multiform,
may offer up its dirt,
and errors their regret,

but in this now, sweet now,
a subtle glow is growing
inside the heartís heart.

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