Illinois State Poetry Society
Poems by ISPS Members
December 2006
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 Mariana Al.Far
Stir away from the river of flame
Fall in love with me? Insane!
I shame you

Black veils over days forgotten
Dwindle under the covers
I shame you

Strangle the chirping of birds
They speak of us: they're lovers!
I shame you

Mask your excitement like stone
Address me as rubble from your throne
I shame you

Look down when our eyes meet
Burry your heart as it skips a beat
I shame you

Get closer to your legitimate other
Stay away from me, I'm trouble
I shame you

Kiss your mistake goodbye
"I behaved well, didn't I?"
I put you to shame

Sky Diving

by G. C. Rosenquist
We are all born with parachutes
And after we jump out of the airplane
Our whole life is spent falling
All over ourselves
In love
Through the cracks
From grace

Some people have small parachutes
Fall faster
Some people refuse to open them
Some parachutes are damaged or deformed
Some are so big, touchdown is delayed
By years, even decades

But sooner or later
We all hit the ground
And when you're lying there, looking up
Will you see many people looking back down at you?
Or no one?

Jack & Jill

by John Pawlik
The rising sun
casts a red glow
through blue air

Your house
on the corner
lies still
in gray shadows

I see a lamp
come on in your attic room

On our yards a light snow
drifts down


by James L. Corcoran
where breaking relations
open giant steps striding on
into the fusion of discussion
wrapping orgiastic dreams
around precipitous flesh
and hiding in the depths
the pink engorging bliss
forever surrendered the
cosmic frequency around
our brains like tidal waves
tattooed into our hearts we
awaken breathtaking silences
with words arousing principle
glands and suffering the sweet
bondage to sweat wet dreams
forever echoing the curiosities
within us and around us none
the less abiding by the rules

Class Clown at his 50th high school reunion

by Mark Hudson
A high school reunion occured, in a rather small town,
And everybody was invited, except the class clown.
They were hoping that Lester Elroy wouldn't show,
Because he had been one to sink rather low.
Back in the day he would play lots of pranks,
He became a comedian and put money in banks.
But life moved forward, and for some it was rotten,
And for Lester Elroy, he was forgotten.
He showed up, and his age was really pushin',
But he still had to bring a whoopee cushion.
He had a sunflower that squirted some water,
He had a hand buzzer he used on someone's daughter.
It was annoying then, and it continued to be,
But Lester Elroy was a sight to see.
Still acting immature, although he was quite grown,
He made all of his behaviour quite known.
There were people there who had master's degrees,
But Lester Elroy would do what he'd please.
He cracked a lot of jokes that were quite offensive,
And people started getting defensive.
An aging quarterback with a really bad knee,
Decided to give Lester a lesson for free.
He went and clobbered him over the head,
But instead of crying, Lester laughed instead.
Said he, "Aging is not such a curse.
I love to laugh, for better or worse.
I'm laughing at you, you're laughing at me.
The jokes I tell I give away for free.
Loosen up, 'cause time grows short.
I came here without preparing a report."
And so everybody then tolerated Lester,
They knew that he was only able to pester.
And that some people are like that from birth,
They're always trying to create a little mirth.
In the old days he would've recieved a detention,
But he's old and still trying to get some attention.
And so they let him have his delusions,
That he was winning friends with all the intrusions.
But as for Lester, he was the butt of the joke,
And shortly after that, he had a stroke.
"Should we attend the funeral?" people would wonder,
And so they went, and saw him going under.
They saw his body in the coffin on display,
And none of them really knew what to say.
Just as they bent over the coffin with grief,
Lester sprang back to life, for comic relief!
"I wasn't really dead!" He said with a grin,
And the people knew he'd comitted a sin.
This man that they saw, was completely delirious,
He never knew when it was time to be serious.
He finally died, for real it was certain,
And this time around, no one was hurtin'.
Except for the Devil, who stated with terror,
"This can't be! This must be an error!
I wanted some souls to lure to my den,
But not you! You're the worst of all men!
I can deal with forever in this lake,
But having you here must be a mistake!"
Lester said, "I guess I can see your point of view!
But there's just something else I now must do!
Find anyone else who might just be here,
And make them laugh, so we all feel some cheer!"
But Lester's plan didn't seem to work,
The grin on his face was reduced to a smirk.
And so, jokes didn't work in Hell,
So Lester didn't have any left to tell.
The point is, laughter is good, once in a while,
But poking fun at others won't make them smile.
Jokes should be ones we all can enjoy,
Nothing that will just purposely annoy.
You shouldn't laugh at other people's expenses,
Otherwise they might come to their defenses.
Not to say you must be politically correct,
But being mean is a character defect.
So don't be a Lester, and it will be seen,
Life isn't always a comedy routine!

Fall from Grace

by Beth Staas
Night terrors brought visitations from Satan
to a child too young to decline the honor,
too immobilized to scream or pray
or shift from a huddled ball
knowing that like the Almighty, he was everywhere.

God the father exacted worship and reverence,
disguised as Santa or Father Time,
benevolent, yet ready to deliver with omni-everything
like the unexpected power of Dad's fist
punishing deeds that remained his secret.

Later, when hormones made it relevant,
it was assumed that Mom, like Mary, didn't do it,
but anguished cries from the bedroom
spoke of ecstasy,
and engendered a responsive rush
that had nothing to do with God.


by WilliamMarr
swaying alone in the evening wind
a little blue flower in the wilderness

a passing poet with misty eyes
suddenly turns his head
and gazes upon her

one evening centuries later
a faded blue book of poetry
stands at the corner of a dusty bookshelf

a little blue flower in the wilderness
swaying alone in the evening wind

Only Two Left

by John Quinn
The only two left are me and you,
sons of mothers who begged us stay,
we once were many, now we're two,
riding like hell to get away.

Sons of mothers who begged us stay,
bloodied by war, worried by sin
riding like hell to get away,
brothers by choice through thick and thin.

Bloodied by war, worried by sin
we fought the good fight as best as we could
brothers by choice through thick and thin,
through all wars back to back we stood

we fought the good fight as best as we could
we once were many, now we're two,
through all wars back to back we stood
the only two left are me and you


by Ruan Wright
stand firm
like a mountain
my feet planted deep
in the loam
of heather-clouded hills
my head steady
but longing
for distant home
Ben Nevis yearning
through crisp, clean air
that is brisk, mystic
like dawn in those far Scottish Isles
where Northern Lights flash
silver, lilac, lemon, blue, and rose

(First published in the British journal
Pennine Ink, Issue 27, 2006)

* commonly referred to in Yoga as
The Mountain Pose

Seasonal Painting Instructions

by Shirley Anne Leonard
Life handed me a brush and said
go paint-
I set a canvas in the winter
working in the cold
and brushed a swathe of white
across the frozen fields,
mixed diamonds with the night
and sprinkled them on sky
daubed cedar green on snowy hills
and tinseled them with light.

I painted only what I could see. . .

In spring I dipped my brush in rain
and drizzled silver on the eves
and spread its luster everywhere
mixed with pastels and violet leaves
and when the sun came out to dry,
I painted gold and blue for sky
and tulips dancing in the parks
and purple lilacs filled with larks.

I painted only what I could see. . .

In summer my palette overflowed
with every color ever known,
in giant splashes end on end,
a kaleidoscope that would send
the bees in frenzies, birds in flight
and gardens dizzy with delight
simmering in a world of light.

I painted only what I could see. . .

In fall I tiptoed through the hills
my brushes dripping orange gold
that fell in patches on the rills
as leaves turned amber fold on fold,
a purple mist, I used on trees
when twilight came without a breeze
in mystifying solemn haze
till winter swept it all away.

I painted only what I could see. . .


by Donna Pucciani
You have stolen
pirates' gold
lit tinder
star ochre

You have swallowed
spent fire
a lemon whole

You flit
across meadows
a living syllable
of yellow

(First published in International Poetry Review)

Fast Forward

by John J. Gordon
Even as a child
his gaze was forward,
always anticipating
the next step;
leaving scant time
to glance up, down
or sideways.

Parents, friends and teachers
endured the onslaught of his
future-tense questions.

Throughout life
he stalked
every problem,
opportunity and event;
pondering possibilities,
conjuring contingencies,
wrestling "what ifs."

In her eulogy
his wife reflected on
this exceptional man;
wistfully noting,
how little escaped his view,
except for anything
in the moment.

At Bethel

by Wilda Morris
I did not climb to the heavens
that stormy night of phantom dreams.
I had not earned the right
to make my own way
through the portals of God.
I was fleeing my past, my land,
a future Mother designed for me,
a future grasped from my brotherís hand.
My heart was cold and hard as the stone
on which I laid my head.

I stayed within the confines
of my earthen bed. No, I did not climb
those laddered stairs. I feared their height
and trembled at the sight of angels coming down
and going up again into the unknown
beyond the darkened clouds. And then,
despite the feeble prayers I raised,
God came to stand by me, blessed my journey
and gave me courage for the coming days.

(First published in Alive Now, Sept/Oct 2004)

Mountain, Skyscraper, Lotus, and Dam

by Larry Turner
We stand on the dam, the lake behind us,
looking down the Xin'an River:
mountain behind mountain veiled in mist
each fainter, lighter than the one before it
until the farthest could still be home
to dragon, phoenix
or the fairies of ancient stories.

In my throat words form:
Hold back the sun!
I want to keep this moment!
But though I yearn, I know
the warmth of the sun is a gift
even as it burns the mist.

Returning from the mountains,
we see billboards proclaim
that where now there is a lotus pond,
building upon building will rise
in rectangular array,
straight sides reaching towards the clouds.
One more season the lotus will bloom,
and then be seen no more.

Let lofty buildings never hide
the beauty we found among the mountains.

Perhaps the dam and lake themselves
can be our guides as they
spin power from mighty turbines,
send water to far cities,
hold floods in check,
yet revive the spirit of all
who seek renewal in mountain and lake.

Technicolor Adventure

by Mardelle Fortier
Movies sparkled with sharp, clear colors.
The whole screen glittered like silver
spurs. Daddy and I watched as the
theater exploded with pounding hooves
of unstoppable cowboys. They galloped
through unfenced land, past boulders,
down long windswept prairies stretching
to the horizon.
The wide screen swallowed me.
Our heroes chased horse thieves
under a big sky down pathless plains
untrammeled by people.

At home I existed in a narrow brown
world bound by rules.
These silent men created their own laws,
living by fast guns, upholding
the just and the right.
Movies flung me into a sphere
of wide-open spaces
where the soul could take flight.

(Bibliophilos, Vol. XII, No. 2, Summer 2006)

Healing Meditation #1

by Alan Harris
Always, alwhy, alwhere
we breathe our breaths
within the great Breath.
Gentle now, the breath,
and open, the mind.

If bothered by a grudge,
If squeezed by a fear,
faith in faith in faith.
If too many self-mirrors,
outgoing to the hurting.
If mental moneyclaws,
giving both little and big.
If outstriking rage,
surges of forgiveness.

In our jungle of errors,
out of dark unknowing
each new leaf sprouts
as a separate pain, regret,
disease, or loss of body--
but each, when assimilated,
becomes a sacred leaf
in our Book of Knowledge.

For strength, going soft.
In softness, seeing light.
In light, discerning duty.
In duty, finding joy.

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.