Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
December 2001
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Black Man DuPage

by Richard Oberbruner
Black     Man     Du     Page
Black   Man   Du   Page
Black     Man     Du     Page
Black   Man   Du   Page
Black     Man     Du     Page
Black   Man   Du   Page
Black   Man   Du   Page
Black   Man   Du   Page
Bad   Luck   Pane   Game
Bad   Luck   Pane   Game
Bad   Luck   Pane   Game
Bad     Luck     Pane     Game
Bad    Luck   Pane    Game
Bad     Luck     Pane     Game
Bad   Luck   Pane   Game
Bad    Luck    Pane    Game

Richard Oberbruner is currently completely absorbed in Concrete poetry. "Black Man DuPage" is dedicated to his students stuck behind the windows of the DuPage County Jail, where he teaches. The letters in the top row of this poem can be reconfigured into the words "Bad Luck Pane Game," but they must first go through "the squeeze." If anyone knows of any Concrete poetry collections--other than An Anthology of Concrete Poetry (1967), or the more recent A Poke in the I, please e-mail him at Richard also recently produced a play inside the jail that was written and directed by an inmate.

Glorify God

by Bob McCarthy
the poets dream
the musicians make melody
the artists create truth

the athletes push onward
the soldiers battle

the sages enlighten

the models pose
the clowns make mirth

the prophets prophesy
the priests perform sacrifices
the ministers minister

Small Comforts

by Scott Frost
Sweet tunes blasted from a horn,
Acorns of delight,
The moon's river beam of light
Explores my inner soul.
The gentleness of the river,
Reflective thought,
Unborn desire
Are but moments of love.
Twirling leaves in fall's gentle hands,
The crisp air at night's end
Are small comfort I need.


by Tom Roby
(Paul Gauguin's "Death," 1892)
The ax cracks!

Startled blue birds
flap out of Paradise.

Palms snake off the canvas.
Rocks balloon past, disappear
into the distance behind me.

Shrubs, trees evaporate like clouds.
Earth's jungle cover slides away.

The green road flows back
to join the red sun stream
at the vanishing point.

I am drawn in.


by Pat Petros
The western sky is indigo
where long last rays of sunset glow.
From time to time there can be heard
the sleepy murmur of a bird.

Swiftly, silently stars alight
one by one in the waking night,
while by the lake tree shadows move
touched by the soft wind's velvet glove.

Now moonlit fishes quickly swim
up from the depths and down again;
flashes of silver, left and right
that swish and splash, then dart from sight.

Bushes whisper in the breeze,
dark shadows there beneath the trees
as fog ghosts swirl across the lake
deflecting sounds night creatures make.

Striped clouds obscure parts of the moon.
Is that the eerie call of loon?
Laughter shivers through the air.
Is something spectral shrouded there?

Did Merlin here his magic bring
to this enchanted darkening?
Each star shines like a fairy's light,
charming all the world tonight.

Trevi Fountain

by William Marr
I saw you in Roman Holiday years ago
but you are much thinner now
today's Monday
both you and your master have a day off
the sea-horses make no waves
nor the tritons and chariot

Wishing for a happy return
I stand with my back toward you
as done in the movie
and quickly toss
two five-hundred-lira coins
hoping they won't devalue
before they hit bottom

Illinois Route 47

by Steve Delchamps
On the steep bank the straw-flecked, undulate furrows,
Dun waves, are frozen in their downward rushing,
Seeded, abandoned, awaiting early snows,
Fertile earth files, dreaming of distant spring.

Higher up, white sails - the crowded stones and crosses
Of rural graves - ride on a sea of grasses,
Into some future, blown by wind that tosses
The stubble dust in clouds while traffic passes.

Behind, beyond, compelling the driver's eye,
The sheer extruded sides of storage towers
Rise up incongruous against the sky,
Emblems of quasi-potent preserving powers.

Somewhere beneath it all, transfiguration -
A quiet breathing, reconciliation.


by Marguerite McClelland
It's Autumn, most abundant,
and full of power,
and if not touched by early frost,
its days perhaps equally long,
and strong,
and beautiful,
more beautiful
than pale and dizzy spectacles of spring,
and kind,
kinder than hot, oppressive summer afternoons,
and happier than all of these,
though holding in itself, I know,
but so does May,
the germ of its demise.

We watch the weatherman
with keener interest now,
hoping for yet a while before first frost -
or that first frost just lightly graze,
followed by Indian summer days
uncounted, and uncountable,
leaving geraniums and chrysanthemums erect,
ever so conscious of their luck,
briefly invincible.


by Jeff Hubbard
Crushed among the stones
A boxtop marked "friendships end"
Knowledge of the world
Lies in dust-covered black valises
Too odd to pursue the solid and abiding
Once committed to the instant and transient
Retreat, take breath
Let your hands sift through the venues of the past
And connect with the bold imperfect of the day.

Leaf Dance

by Alan Harris
Breath of a little whirlwind
on a warm November day
plucked up some leaves
from the neighbor's pile
and danced them in circles.

Arrested from our walk,
we both stood amazed
at the twirly bouncing
of lively dead leaves
above a clackety street.

Invisibly obvious, our airy
ballerina pirouetted there
a full three minutes before
releasing her larger leaves
to the ground as in a tease.

But still we saw tiny wisps
of lighter leaves and dust
spinning further away
until nothing remained
but a transparent grace.

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