Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

I can’t help it. Days 15 and 16 of these challenges always gets a certain song stuck in my head. You know, this song by an American rock band from New Jersey that used to be kinda cool in the ’80s. You know, that song, “bada, bada, whoooaaaahhh, we’re half-way theeeerreee; ooooooo, livin’ on a prayer; take my hand and we’ll make it I sweeaaarrrr; oooooo, livin’ on a prayer (livin’ on a prayer).” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry; it just means you’re either older or younger than me and haven’t fully enjoyed Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” yet. Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

For today’s prompt, write an elegy. An elegy doesn’t have specific formal rules. Rather, it’s a poem for someone who has died. In fact, elegies are defined as “love poems for the dead” in John Drury’s The Poetry Dictionary. Of course, we’re all poets here, which means everything can be bent. So yes, it’s perfectly fine if you take this another direction–for instance, I once wrote an elegy for card catalogs. Have at it!


Workshop your poetry!

Click here to learn more.


Here’s my attempt at an Elegy:


i began collecting things
foil and pizza boxes and
country western vhs tapes
and lighthouses and native
american figurines and i
piled them up beside your
grave that grew less fresh
every day and still i ran
out into the street asking
for donations at red lights
and bringing treasures to pile
up in the elements and then
i climbed to the top of this
massive mound to proclaim
myself king and to pray and
to sacrifice and to feel winds
weather me but i’ve come
to realize the days begin and
end the same the trees still
blossom and birds arrive and
depart and nothing i can do
will bring you back to me


Today’s guest judge is…

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

Bob is the author of several poetry collections, including This Clumsy Living, Words for Empty and Words for Full, and most recently Elegy Owed. He teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech and before teaching owned and ran a successful automotive die design business.

His poems have appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, and Best American Poetry. His collections Elegy Owed and Animal Soul have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Learn more here: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1126.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. That book includes a poem titled “betty,” which is about the same person, but it’s a different poem (or Robert’s discovered the secret of time travel and has just kick-started a complete unraveling of the time space continuum). Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Console yourselves with these poetic posts:

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585 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

  1. Yolee

    Just realized I posted this in the wrong date whe back when…

    Yolee says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:09 am
    Elegy to the Homeless Man

    I remember you sitting in a vine ripe
    tomatoes box one rainy day eating
    mashed potatoes or cauliflower from a plastic
    spoon and bowl. Raincoats and umbrellas
    were blurred by a rush too cold or shielded
    to notice. Your snowy beard was a proverb
    falling out of a worn page. The boots, jacket
    and pants seem to have been mourning
    their demise. Before you had the chance
    to finish eating, a terrier came along and
    licked the bowl clean. You let the dirty little
    stray take your last. Shadow and light
    monogrammed your face, and left signatures
    on that memory. Unspoken words roll restlessly
    in that empty space on Wilson Street.

  2. Linda Lee Sand

    Elegy to Jimmy’s Music

    Mom said “don’t do it, Jimmy, don’t drive
    Taxi, they’ll shoot you for a buck.”

    They called it Kitchen Radio, Jimmy’s band.
    Their name an homage to a plastic box with
    round gold dials that sat atop the fridge
    and every morning blitzed our bleary heads with
    “Wake up beautiful, it’s another day” the way it
    sounded to us just yadda yadda time for school,
    But they were cool and going to make it,
    Jimmy’s band, singing songs of coffee, loss and love.
    And Jim the lyric man and singer, witty guy that
    Everybody loved.

    And did you know that, street-tough kids and L.A. gang,
    did you know that they were going to make it when you
    sent that gun to shoot an innocence man, whose only
    crime was driving taxi, when no one else dared or cared to
    drive on that wrong side of town?

    Jimmy told my mom once that God was everywhere for him,
    in trees, and grass and in the eagle flying overhead,
    God was everywhere, I wonder if he would have said
    that God was in that gun? Oh Lin, Jim would have said
    (I hear him now) He wasn’t in the gun but in the hand.
    Even in the hand that holds a gun.

    Jimmy saw it

    The gunman had a baby, cradled in her mama’s arms,
    we saw her at the trial. Her daddy going to prison until
    she’d be grown and gone to prom and maybe married,
    older than her daddy now, when she would dance, first time,
    with him. But that boy never danced, I know it’s so. No one there
    to teach him how or would maybe ever know.

    And Jimmy’s music living on.

    The kitchen radio screams
    “wake up beautiful, it’s another day” and
    Jimmy’s lyrics echo in my brain.

    I’m listening and trying to sing along
    with the refrain,
    I really am.

  3. Andrea Z

    Grandpa With The Funny Voice

    (For Grandpa Levi)

    Every now and then,
    I drive to Mt. Hope Cemetery
    hoping it will be the day I finally find you.
    As I walk the winding paths,
    I think about how little I know
    about the person you were.
    To me, your were simply Grandpa Levi
    with the funny, hoarse voice,
    who would play the quarter trick
    and make me giggle.
    As I got older,
    I came to realize that the voice
    was not a funny voice at all,
    but a remnant of throat cancer.
    If you don’t mind,
    I’d like to keep the memory
    of Grandpa’s funny voice,
    and warm smile.
    One day I will find your gravestone
    and we will sit down and talk.

  4. dextrousdigits


    Some called her Bernadette,
    but most of us who really new, just called her Bernie
    At a young age she had learned
    she would be imprisoned in a misshapen body.
    As she aged, her spine rotated so severely
    she was looking over her shoulder
    then bent her spine forward at her low back
    as if God had punched her in the stomach
    and her punishment was that her chest
    would permanently hover over her thighs.

    I had seen her conversing with staff at the hospital
    many times, and in passing greeted each other.
    After we worked on a couple projects together
    her crooked body never obstructed,
    who she truly was.
    I saw only a phenomenal woman
    with compassionate blue eyes
    that made instant contact so even in the briefest encounters,
    I felt as if we had a deep conversation and a heart to heart long hug.

    She may have had a shortened misshapen body,
    but inside that body lived a tall soul
    and one of the most erect people I know.
    she had a gigantic heart
    she was fiercely independent
    she was a mountain of courage who
    never complained about any pain,
    frustration, or difficulty.

    “No” was not part of her vocabulary
    But, I often heard,
    “of course I will do that”
    “how can I help”
    “that’s a important cause, I will happily give”

    Bernie may have had a shortened body,
    but your shadow permeated
    every floor of the hospital
    where you always had a smile
    and twinkling in your eyes as you said
    “I’m so happy to see you”.
    Your hard work, dedication,
    service from a huge heart that
    never hesitated to complement another’s work
    hold a scared hand,
    or give words of encouragement
    followed by a hug are imprinted in our hearts.

    Your physical body may no longer be present,
    sitting at your microscope or walking the halls
    but Bernie, I will try to walk in your footsteps.

  5. stepstep


    A heart made of gold
    Who seldom lets anyone down
    Who’d go beyond the last mile
    Lends support, always around.

    She’d keep your every secret
    Hold it close, hold it dear
    Made all feel comfortable
    Made sure all the coasts were clear.

    A friend to the end
    Although she had a flaw or two
    She was loved by all
    A precious gem through and through


  6. j.wessier101

    Roy Polk’s Lament

    Today in state news: a re-cap of how black employees
    of Greensboro’s Woolworth store were the first
    African American’s served at the store’s lunch counter.

    Today, in the county news: a newlywed
    bi-racial couple dragged from their home
    and arrested for felony violation of the Racial Integrity Act.

    Today, in the local news Evelyna Thompson
    was buried along with her longing to marry
    the man she’d secretly loved over forty years –

    dying while waiting for the world
    to re-define obscene, indecent and offensive,
    to learn what Evelyna and me already knew.

    She was survived by two sisters folks knew of,
    Etta Thompson Hunt of Jonesboro, Georgia and
    Ada Thompson Cross of Chicago, Ill.,

    two bi-racial children they didn’t know of –
    raised by Ada and her sax playing jazzman
    in Chicago’s South Side, and

    one old white man who’d loved her
    without reservations, but within limits
    with no doubts, but without courage

    to stand by her grave, declaring my love
    my loss,
    my wife

  7. aphotic soul

    The Drifter – In loving memory of Anne and Joe Ryan
    by Paul Andrew Ryan

    It was cloud stained sky, that mid October day,
    The sun was hot and the air – dry, down amongst the Bodega Bay,
    And that’s where I met him, this drifter per say,
    He had a severed limb, and walked with a sway,
    There he stood, staring off into the sea,
    Carrying a burnt piece of drift wood, a mark of his tragedy,
    And as I gazed at him in his solitary still, he resembled a once great – chopped down tree,
    Broken of all hope and will, and further more I’m sure he’d agree,
    There he continued to stand, the ghost of a guardian specter,
    “Excuse me” I posed while my feet dipped in the scorching hot sand,
    “I don’t mean to bother nor hector…”
    Then he turned to me, his face filled with such a loss and woe,
    Of a torment I could not hope to see, of a loss I would not hope to know,
    My words froze dead in their tracks, and the world held its breath,
    ‘So this is someone for who’s soul he lacks, so this is the true meaning of death…’
    For the man who stood before me, was a man I had never met,
    A face that I can still see, but never know – to my regret,
    The portrait of a man with a unique mind, who took dull objects and made them shine,
    Giving a glimpse of beauty to the blind, while his face and heart did not align,
    “Grandpa Joe..” I sputtered, my voice a raspy chill,
    “Why hello Paul” he muttered, with a bemused smile frozen still,
    He then turned back, staring off into the sea,
    Getting back on track, waiting for his loved one to be free,
    I walked up beside him, amidst the forming chill,
    The sky darkened and the sun went dim, and there he stayed – standing still,
    “You’ve been waiting for her all this time?”, I asked with a queryless question,
    He softly spoke, “She is my sublime, without her there can be no secession,”
    “Are you able to see her out amongst the ocean, or is it the waves at which you glare?”
    “I see it all in slow motion, the past and present in which we always share,
    The smiles on her face, as well as the loneliness in her which I could not spare,
    But soon that will be gone without a trace, and we will again be a pair,
    For forever we will embrace, and past this ocean we will stare,
    Where infinity is stuck in place, and together we will be there,”
    And as if by queue, a young woman came wandering,
    The luminescence again grew, and we both stared at her pondering,
    That’s when it clicked, and Joe’s face broke into a heart warmed smile,
    He rushed to her quick, for it had been quite a while,
    And before my eyes I saw him reform, into that great man he had been,
    I watched the two of them transform, as they dove into the ocean therein,
    And there I stood staring, with my own little bemused grin,
    For I had never met a couple more caring, who could shine so deeply from within,
    I smiled at the ocean and bid my farewell, for with a new journey they begin,
    For death isn’t something wherein we should dwell, for life is not meant to win.

  8. IndiFox

    For The Love Of Death

    I miss you
    I’ve missed you so long
    It’s almost a habit
    I’ve missed you so much
    It’s almost a chore
    What was once a sharp pain
    Is now a dull ache
    I don’t want you back
    I just miss what we had
    Two long years
    Two years I gave you
    Of my life, time, and love
    Only to have it end so brutally
    Though what could I expect?
    You were thunder
    I was lightening
    Our love was a storm
    Bringing destruction wherever we went
    Now I’m picking up the pieces
    Of the mess that’s left

  9. Suzanne_Noelle

    I Loved Him Too Much

    Sometimes too much of a good thing
    Is bad
    In this case, love turned poison
    But oh, the good times we had!
    I didn’t know much
    About sorrow and such
    Until he faced his end
    Because I loved him too much.
    My hugs were abrasive
    And he became worn
    His ears, they were tattered
    His arms were all torn.
    I took him everywhere with me
    He was dirty and ragged
    He went through the wash
    And his fabric thinned and faded.
    Then one day he ripped
    And he spilled his guts
    My teddy bear died
    Because I loved him too much.

  10. ianchandler

    ten thousand years

    even a songbird
    couldn’t bring you back
    if that’s what it was trying to do

    but the lullaby
    restless in archaic forms
    rhymes its way down the brick lane,

    across the viaduct with pebbles for cells,
    lamenting with streetlights
    the lack of evening rain in the forest without mist

    stripes of red like bacon
    swimming across skin

    under your guidance
    we have become nomads
    with molted tunics

    and infinite mental regression,
    hoping for a day
    when we can propel ourselves forward

    I have forgotten
    which father
    I am writing this for

  11. RuthieShev

    I Cried

    I should have phoned her more, but didn’t know what to say.
    I should have visited her sooner, but too often let time slip away.
    I should have written her often, but never picked up the pen.
    I should have asked her forgiveness, when we argued way back when.
    When I realized it’s too late, I cried.

    I thought about sending birthday cards for the years I missed, but didn’t take the time.
    I thought about writing a poem in tribute to her kindness, but never wrote the rhyme.
    I thought about singing her a tune to show my love for her, but was silent as a mime.
    When I realized it’s too late, I cried.

    But then I understood that God took her to Heaven with Him when she died
    And through Him I can let her know everything so it’s never too late, and with joy, I cried!

  12. Amirae Garcia

    Tio Benji – Amirae Garcia

    When the angels took you way,
    was it like waking up?
    Did your eyes shoot open?
    Did your body come alive as
    you saw them standing there?
    I wonder if your guitar was next
    to you. I’d like to think it was.
    I’d like to think that as you ran
    to them, you were singing, too.
    I’d like to think that they cried,
    holding your face like it’s the
    reason they were made,
    like they will never look away again.

    When the angels took you away,
    we wept. We howled. We held each
    other as if at any moment they
    could call us away and tear us
    apart, too. I remember my mother
    and how she cried to my father.
    I remember the sound of our hearts
    all breaking at once. I could hear
    the hearts breaking in California
    and Washington and all around
    the world. The hearts of those
    that loved you. Did you know
    that I loved you?

    The miles that separated us
    did not separate my heart
    from the love it has for you,
    from the love it always has
    for you. The fragility of life
    lingers at the back of my mind
    like a glass that’s always about
    to break. The memory of you
    is always about to break my
    heart again and again. I thought
    I knew what the words “miss you”
    meant, and then there was a you
    to miss. And I do. I miss you and
    I need you to call me “kiddo” again.
    Please. Just once. At least once.

  13. bookworm0341

    “For my friend Daniel”

    A sports writer
    Like Ray Barone
    You had it all going for you-
    And what a life you would have lived.

    It was such an honor to be
    The one people ran to
    When you needed calming down-
    Especially on the basketball court.

    The way you would splash me
    Trying to pull me into the ocean
    With Promises that nothing would hurt me-
    As I let you take me in

    We walked on the boardwalk with friends
    And I was surprised when you won me a Scooby-Doo
    We had a blast, laughs and screams on the Music Express
    Life was so much fun with you

    At the campfire, on the last night of youth camp,
    Your eyes caught mine,
    As you flashed your silver dollar smile-
    I knew that I had a true forever friend in you.

    Daniel, I miss you-
    Your hair as you would flip it off your face,
    Your heart as you showered others with love,
    Your love when you looked my way.

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 16, 2014

  14. emmaisan0wl

    An Elegy For Youth
    “every click of her hollow bones
    lays hatred anew upon the saying
    “life is too short”. the stiffening
    of her arteries serves only to lend
    strength to the bitterness her heart
    holds for it. it is a defamation of her
    suffering, a deception seeking to
    lock her thinning hair and trembling
    fingers away behind closed doors.
    the ache in her tired eyelids every
    time they flutter open to the light
    of another endless morning drives
    it in like daggers; life, in all its ages,
    is quite long enough. it is youth that
    is too short, those days of freedom
    when you find it hard to imagine that
    the world could ever cease turning.
    she has found that the longer it
    stubbornly continues to do so, the
    stronger her conviction that the end
    cannot possibly come soon enough.”

  15. Liliuokalani

    Pity, the Forest Ant

    Hands over head
    and ready to dive
    I saw an ant swimming – no –
    squirming at the lake’s surface,
    tension scribbling
    six wobbly circles at her feet.
    A seagull on the floating raft
    cocked his head to watch.
    Did her thousand sisters
    wonder where she went?
    Maybe she always wandered off like that.
    Oh, Pity.
    I imagine that she sank
    into a sunfish sarcophagus
    to sway in a ribbon grass lair.
    I reached for her
    with the longest stick I could find.

  16. lily black

    He spun a magic ring
    And scared kids taking his teeth out at them
    At old A&W drive-ins with glass mugs of root beer brought by Barbie or Ken
    He knew how to tell a tall Texas tale and charmed the sales up and up
    He knew how to sell and be gone for weeks
    returning with toothbrushes
    and stories of a kid he made up
    following that long grey stretch
    He told me he wouldn’t be around
    And to get along with my mom
    And that today was the first day of the rest of my life
    I just didn’t think he meant
    The rest of my life would be without him

  17. shethra77

    Remembrance of Honey Gold

    Ah, so it goes, each golden piece falling, falling to the towel, to the floor. She sighs, and tearfully watches the strands tangle on the discard pile. Before, they’d tangled whilst on her head, so she must be bold, sheer them away, for the bleach—alas!—had stolen their charms, their silken smoothness. Hair that remains, so much darker than before, at least will grow—grow, and not tangle to fluffy knots on her poor abused head, nor bring tears to her eyes from the brushing.

  18. suddenleigh

    In Memory of Paul Martin

    By Stephanie Reardon

    Your seat was empty.

    The kitchen chair by the sliding door
    The seat where you would
    Read the paper
    Endlessly each day.
    The sound of the pages turning.
    I would watch you
    Intently scanning the print
    Over the top of your
    Thick glasses
    Your mustache would twitch
    And sometimes you would notice
    Me watching
    And clear your throat
    In a raspy sort of way and ask,
    I would giggle because I had nothing to say.

    Our families would camp
    My heart
    Awakened by the summer night
    And the stars alive and blinking
    I came to you crying
    Because your son
    And my girlish fawning
    Did not mix.
    You looked at me across the fire
    And said,
    “One day, he’ll realize
    What a mistake that was.”

    Everything about you was gruff,
    A scruff of stubble on your chin,
    Hair that stuck at sharp angles,
    Even your laugh was gruff and startling.
    But your eyes were always warm.

    When I visited the house,
    Your house,
    The cookie platter was full
    Of old toy horses
    Instead of your favorite raspberry squares.
    And your seat was empty.

  19. TuLife

    “To Love”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    Is there meaning in a name?
    You, yourself, told us there was.
    You said my name is my strength.
    You said, if nothing else explains me,
    My name does.

    So what name defines you?
    Which one encompasses your all?
    There’s so much about you to personify,
    Which name do we call?

    Do we call you DERRICK –
    Your title assigned at birth?
    It’s the original, the first.
    So how much is it worth?

    It says you are a leader –
    A gifted ruler and king,
    Which conveys that you are powerful,
    Rich, and of greatness, deserving.

    But does it capture your spirit –
    The joy you shared with us all
    When you’d act silly to make us laugh,
    When you’d hike us to the park to play ball?

    Does it show us your peace,
    The calmness of your nature?
    Despite the impact of the storm,
    You always kept your composure.

    There might be another title.
    One that will homage pay
    To your meek, yet bold persona.
    May we examine the name GABRE.

    GABRE WOLD – servant of the sun –
    Fittingly describes your light
    That emitted rays wherever you trod,
    That turned solemn moments bright.

    Though we’d hoped to captivate your excellence,
    Your brilliance and might.
    We’d intended to express your desire
    For justice, truth, and right.

    Maybe there’s some other name,
    One that is better able
    To sum up whom you are.
    Maybe we should call you GABRIEL.

    GABRIEL – Able-bodied one of God,
    Son and angel of the Most High,
    Messenger from the Father.
    Now this name may satisfy.

    You are the most spiritual man we know,
    With profound godly devotion –
    A mind always steering towards faith.
    Your heart’s expanse: wide as the ocean.

    But does it signify long-suffering?
    Because you have suffered long.
    Does it signify kindness?
    Because you gave of yourself
    To those who still did you wrong.

    Perhaps there’s something else,
    A name that will, all of this, blend.
    Perhaps it resonates with strength.
    Perhaps we’ll call you FRIEND.

    See, a FRIEND sticks close –
    Always around when we’re in need,
    Like when we’d spend hours on the phone –
    You offering council for us to heed.

    You always had our backs –
    Took on our burdens and never sighed.
    Even when we were just kids,
    When we were tired, hurting, or cranky,
    You gave us a piggyback ride.

    But does FRIEND prove your mildness?
    Does it prove your incredible self-control
    That took over when something upset you,
    Or when turbulent tides would roll?

    No, FRIEND is simply a title –
    The roll you assumed when need be.
    I think a different name is more deserving.
    Perhaps we should stick with DADDY.

    DADDY speaks of father and friend,
    Protector with unconditional affections,
    Never-ending goodness toward your children
    While steering us in the right direction.

    We just loved when Mommy sent DADDY to spank us,
    ‘Cause we knew it was time to go A-wall.
    You’d bang on our bed with your wooden brush
    And advise us to pretend to ball.

    But DADDY does no justice to your sincerity.
    Neither does it highlight your free-spiritedness.
    It doesn’t illustrate your heartfelt smile.
    It doesn’t captivate your manliness.

    No, there must be a greater name,
    One that screams more, plus the above,
    One that shadows your divinity.
    You know, I think we’ll call you LOVE.

    LOVE is long-suffering and kind,
    Pure and free, like the dove.
    The Father says we’re created in His image.
    So, like Him, you are LOVE.

    This name we find most suitable,
    Most qualified to explain you.
    This fruitage of the spirit you have demonstrated
    In everything you do.

    So, farewell ‘til we meet again,
    United by His grace from above.
    Can’t wait to see you then,
    Dear FRIEND, Our DADDY, Bless-ed LOVE.

  20. Snow Write

    last night I had a visitor
    who I have missed for a while.
    We had some laughs, shared memories,
    repainted vivid scenery…
    Upon awakening I had to smile,
    remembering good times.
    Dear friend, you’re welcome anytime
    though you’re only in my dreams.

  21. Penny Henderson


    On a still morning,
    along with the smell of coffee,
    I still hear her sweet voice.
    “There’s a land that is
    fairer than day.
    And by faith I can
    see it afar…”
    Careful hands stirring oatmeal,
    she sang serenely
    of the the home she now inhabits.

  22. horselovernat

    To the Greatest Loss by Natalie Gasper

    I always knew that this would happen one day,
    that humanity would suffer the loss of its greatest gift.
    Not that I am surprised, it happens with
    children all the time. Sadness fills the heavy air
    as others realize what has come to pass.
    We tried to stop it, save it, if that counts for anything
    in the end; everything we could do, we did do,
    but it simply wasn’t enough I guess.
    Neither the best nor brightest could find
    a solution or a cure. Right now, I’d settle
    for a simple explanation. I have to understand the why.

    Maybe our best would never have been enough,
    this loss unstoppable despite it all. As I mourn,
    I think back on its long and happy life, wondering if it died peacefully
    and painlessly. Worried it went down in pain, fighting
    to live on just one more day. In its beginning, how much simpler
    it all must have been. Peoples around the world relied on it
    and could not survive a day without it crossing their minds,
    intersecting with their deepest and most honorable truths.
    The life force of dragons, heartbeat of fairytales, backbone
    of immortal heroes, and the spirit of innocence.
    Once, it carried valiant dreams of knights to little boys and of
    unicorns and fairies to young girls. Known to inspire; for being a light
    in the darkest of nights, and the reason
    for many a laugh and a smile. Birthplace of legends, myths,
    folklores, gods, demons, witches, the Tooth Fairy,
    Father Time, Mother Earth, the Sand Man, and
    Santa Claus. Today, we grieve the loss of Magic.

    In the hearts of a few you shall always live on,
    Your absence will be thoroughly noticed; your
    joyous, simple, and selfless ways missed. Always
    I have believed in you because I don’t have to
    see something to know that it is there. I pity
    the youth of world who are told so soon
    that these things exist only in the mind, that
    magic is a thing made up once to explain that
    which we now understand through science.
    No more shall you bring fantastical stories to the lives
    of children. No longer shall you pierce the subtleties
    of an impossible scenario. You have left the threads of this world.
    Magic is gone from life.

  23. Grey_Ay

    Elegy of Youth

    There is my youth
    slipping quickly
    goodbye, I say
    standing soundlessly.
    You were never
    but a passing
    while this future
    I was asking
    There was my youth,

    -A. Ault-

  24. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    My poem depends a lot on the unsaid. I ran the version posted earlier past my workshop group, and they didn’t get all the nuances. So I’ve rejigged it slightly, hoping for greater clarity without too much loss of subtlety:


    “Guess who died?” I said. “It was on facebook.
    Oh, a week or so ago. The person who posted it
    described him as kind! And humble.” We raised
    our eyebrows at each other, remembering …

    “You know,” I said, “I kept bumping into him
    all over town, that last week before he died.
    Not to speak to, though. That is, I chose not;
    pretended I didn’t see him. Which I still don’t regret.”

    “She was a lovely woman,” said my friend.
    “She was,” I agreed, and we fell silent, recalling
    his wife, whom we loved … her death nine years ago….
    “Well — I hope he worked out his karma,” I said.

  25. Emma

    Elegy for the years I didn’t wear pink

    Now I look back, roll
    My eyes at my childish snobbery.
    I thought I was oh-so much better
    Than all the other girls,
    (“I’m not like other girls”)
    With their pretty pink dresses, and
    Sparkly tiaras and sickly sweet smiles.
    I pretended I wasn’t jealous,
    Wore purple instead, called
    Myself a ‘tomboy’ because
    It was so much better.
    (the girls my age would say
    It was fine to be a girl
    Just not a GIRLY girl)
    I wasted innocent delight
    For an air of superiority that
    Masked every shred of my self hatred.

  26. Angie5804

    Goodbye, BJ

    All through the years you served me well
    How many years I cannot tell
    How will I live without your blue?
    Faded now to a gentle hue?

    Constantly staying true to form
    Through years of heat and cold and storm
    You stretched just when you needed to
    How will I live without your blue?

    With holes and frays you stayed the course
    I say goodbye with such remorse
    Yet happy memories I will keep
    Goodbye, Blue Jeans, may well you sleep

  27. bxpoetlover

    A Confession

    I am guilty
    of murder.

    The bitch had
    to die.

    She kept yelling
    in my ear–
    your writing
    will never be good enough
    so stop trying

    Don’t dance in public
    on purpose
    your hips are too small and stiff
    for R&B and reggae rhythms

    Don’t pose for pictures–
    your kinky hair
    resists instructions
    your eyes are too small
    to register on camera
    but if you insist
    please suck in
    your stomach.

    I wrapped my hands
    around her throat
    and squeezed

    because she kept me
    in bad relationships
    on bad jobs
    or from fighting back
    whenever anyone
    told me I wasn’t

    I am guilty
    of murder.

    The bitch had
    to die.

  28. brandonspeck

    house of scowls
    (for scowling house post-eviction, r.i.p.)

    some people build walls using plaster
    and think of a room as the sum of its closets

    some people will use the same set of dishes
    for over 10 years, eating off of routines with little to say.

    some people’s skin doesn’t carry a scratch,
    absent of holes or craters. as clean as hospitals.

    some people are afraid of the darkest parts of themselves
    never casting a light into the basement
    never trying to make sense out of the shadows.

    those people do not live here.

    here, we are the darkest and the scarred.
    turning every cracked dish into a reason to celebrate.

    //brandon speck

  29. clcediting

    Elegy, of sorts

    To Shakespeare and Homer,
    Plato and Socrates,
    To dreamers and thinkers,
    inventors and philosophy.
    I want to praise you
    and raise you
    up on high.
    To thank you and mourn you
    and apologize
    for the way we’ve turned out.

    You gave us opportunity
    to grow, to live, to change.
    To be better human beings,
    to stand on the shoulders of giants,
    to reach for impossible things.

    And what have we done
    with your gifts?
    All the wisdom
    you tried to teach us?
    We let it slip away
    as our souls atrophied
    and our brains suffocated
    in ignorance.

  30. inkysolace

    to the constellations on my glasses

    you were the graveyard of my tear-stains
    the wreckage pushed past
    rings of candy corn traffic cones you swerved
    into the view of a drunk driver
    tumbled into a tangle of honeysuckle and thorns
    and I erased you with
    a few drops of liquid and careless circles
    nudged by trimmed fingernails

    you were a coded journal entry for one day
    overlapped with yesterday’s night
    and I unsmeared your work with a lapse in the scrutiny
    of two tired eyes

    you were a catalogue of DNA
    from two people who didn’t know how to love each other
    and you left with the quiet grace of ripples fading,
    dabbed into a pond by an apprentice
    of gravity you had all the answers
    and I pushed you from your home like a stain on my only white shirt

    if this is what we do to yesterday
    I don’t want to see tomorrow’s sky
    erased with the billowing apathy
    of a country’s population
    we have forgotten what clouds look like
    and I have gotten used to drowning you
    in teardrops fallen from graveyard eyelashes

  31. Aberdeen Lane

    For Katie:
    (December 30, 1979- April 15, 1999)

    we still meet
    in turquoise diamonds
    gold glitter dreams
    the broken mirror
    refracting sparkles
    upon sparkles

    I keep your things
    in a turquoise box
    the scent of the candle
    reminds me of that spring
    the birthday card
    you had bought it in advance
    Snoopy stickers
    a pen with pink smileys
    the cherub pendant

    I miss our silly talks
    escape plans and sitcoms
    all I can do is carry around the sparkles
    toss them to the spring breeze
    pollen for the bees,

  32. jclass527

    Wrapping Paper

    She holds each memory close, in the crevices of her smile –
    and at first glance it looks like she’s lived a full life.
    Her hand show each of her lovers in the imprints of her palms,
    how she held them so fiercely she ingrained their laughs
    on her fingerprints, how
    she’s got liver spots for every child and grandchild.
    It’s a talent to bare bones with a pat on the back but
    she manages this with ease, whispering in my ear
    “Don’t remember me like this. Don’t run me through your mind
    bald, with the IV pole attached like a vestigial limb.
    Keep me as I was, as I am inside, because baby
    looks are just wrapping paper for the soul, what matters
    is the though behind gift, underneath it all.”

    She’s got the graceful bearing of a gazelle, with a mane
    tracing her sharp features further than
    the tear racing down my cheeks. Her eyes are dark,
    ink-like as they slowly lose light with smiling irises. I’m
    breathing fast, fast, faster than she ever thought
    she could, I’m hoping that some of that gift slipping away
    right now can crawl into my trachea and find a home
    somewhere between alveoli sacs and lungs and gray matter and
    somehow, I let go.

    I hope that wherever she goes, she’s treated like presents
    on Christmas morning – every color and
    all at the same time, opened with the only intent
    of getting to know what’s on the inside.

    -Jessenia Class

  33. PSC in CT

    Elegy for poems dying young

    I mourn them:
    all those beautiful infant poems
    birthed in the umbra of slumber,
    offering such promise, but
    slipping away in the night;
    all the ones that cascaded
    into semi-consciousness,
    niggled at neurons, then trickled
    through the cracks of cognizance
    with nary a touch of pen to paper;
    and those poems that tickled my tongue
    at one time or another
    but never got to byte.

    I’d like to believe they still exist, somewhere
    out there, floating in the ether,
    on some other plane, perhaps,
    awaiting another opportunity;
    that I’ll awaken one morning
    to a familiar foundling on my stoop.

    But, failing that,
    mayhap it might appear
    on another poet’s doorstep,


  34. mbramucci

    The Pop-Pop Table
    By: Michelle Bramucci

    There lives a little girl
    Residing under table
    Solace in warm mahogany shadow
    To peer between turned wooden legs
    To lift a vinyl cloth flap
    And discover her empty, pining heart
    Tiny fragile body scrunching
    Against the stocked, rounded carvings
    Like the way she set upon your lap
    Don’t coax-
    Let her be
    May she rest there in farce
    Never to bear the torment of longing

  35. jclenhardt

    Your Kind of Love

    And where do I begin?
    For are there enough words
    that the world might too
    sing your praises?
    For you have always been,
    since childhood,
    the song in my heart,
    the joy, and the laughter,
    but most of all – the love;
    Your kind of love,
    that was like a great
    and sheltering tree
    in a desert,
    for every weary traveler
    your branches covered,
    and your voice fell
    like the much needed
    cooling breeze
    one only finds in shadow.
    And so – how could they know?
    unless they be so fortunate
    and found you,
    and would never want
    to leave;
    such shelter you provided;
    such love you were given
    and so freely gave away,
    until they cut you down;
    and down, down, the great tree fell!
    and no longer were you with me.
    And so – how could there be?
    enough words, that I might
    order correctly to express
    the man you were;
    my brother, and too, the world’s.

  36. Jane Shlensky

    A Picker’s Elegy

    You had hard hands, cigar fingers wrapped tight,
    knuckles fight-scarred, nails like hooks, too long.
    When you raised your fist and spread your fingers,
    my hands feared that wingspread, too big and blunt
    to do me any good. And yet, when curled around
    a guitar’s neck, those hands held a gentleness,
    a delicacy, like you’d see when a huge man shrinks
    himself to love a child. I remember your voice,
    your crooked grin, the scars along your chin,
    the joker or the bastard in your eyes that made
    me quake, your clean pure tenor that gave a song
    a pulse. I remember the harmonies we made,
    even when we felt cacophony. But mostly now,
    I remember your hands, holding instruments
    with respect for the sounds they made for you,
    your fingertips moving gently as if you pet
    a sleeping cat, the music bubbling from an
    unmarred spring in you, deeper than we can go.

  37. Rolf Erickson

    Elegy for a Leaf

    You were so soft and light and tender.
    A green that could only be described as
    the true greenness hidden within green.
    Then you widened and lengthened and
    stretched your way out into this world.
    It was a short happy life lived so well
    through a summer filled with sun and
    breeze and birds and sweet sweet sap.
    You were never alone in those days
    amidst many other leaves that may have
    resembled you but never came close
    to what and who you so beautifully were.
    You were here for me and for my awakening
    to the miracles I might behold in a single leaf.
    All too soon the days came shorter
    the time for leaves like you to turn within
    to return again to where you once began.
    All too soon you gave me one last longing look
    and then released let go surrendered to the wind.
    Helplessly I watched you fall and spin to find
    a final place of rest wedged between the roots
    of a far off quivering autumn magnolia tree.
    I’m still here like before but so much richer
    for the love we shared that one summer.
    One summer one leaf I’ll never ever forget.

  38. muse60


    Romeo cocks his musket
    Fakes a prayer
    Conceals his tears
    Rears up
    Holds his beaker high
    Makes a toast to a life
    Having been lived
    As if the joy, there in
    Justifies the loss
    Creates some melody
    That reveals a truth
    A conundrum
    Of birth and death
    Like it makes sense
    That a loved person had to vanish
    Like there’s some method
    A sum to this madness
    A truth somewhere in this lie
    That we should cherish a loss
    Not grieve
    But find poetry
    In the passing
    The disappearance of a valued soul
    Or even an acquaintance
    That we want to send them off
    With doves and anecdotes
    But it’s a joke
    Loss is loss
    And loss is eternal
    And is never a comfort
    We humans are masters of denial
    Forever trying
    To numb the pain
    With some fairytale logic
    That suffices
    Suffices if we don’t question
    Or think too hard
    Or dare audience with reality
    But why would we
    Our species
    Is all about fending off hurt
    Nepenthe is what we crave
    And what we ultimately reach for
    Bur fail to grasp
    And why not?
    Why feel the dagger
    When we can cast it off as romance
    Why embrace the blade
    When the cinema paints
    A more romantic picture
    The blood pools in the mouth
    The final words are disjointed
    Yet we put a slick glaze
    On those moments
    Because those moments
    Heal us from the reality
    The agony
    Let us lick the envelope
    And seal the pain away

  39. DanielR

    Waves softly caress my sand-covered feet
    tempting me with promises of gentleness
    but majestic blue oceans are great impostors
    deceptive in their innocent shoreline whispers
    keeping their dark and secret histories
    but in open waters they roar out the truth
    prone to building into a wild raging fury
    ingesting maiden voyage topsail schooners
    leaving no headstones among the wreckage

    Daniel Roessler

  40. PKP

    Elegy for the large family table

    Elbows off
    and elbows
    on – laughter
    tinkling on
    cut cystal
    bellowing in
    bowls of passed
    mashed potatoes
    and fish-eyed looks
    of sister-in-laws and
    under the table hand
    holding as faces above
    held on the topics of
    justice – social and
    otherwise- a fork
    dropped and a call
    to the kitchen
    “Are you coming to
    sit down with us?”
    a spilled glass of
    something that will
    thankfully stain
    until all that
    remains now
    is the faded pink
    of that spill of long ago
    and the whispers
    of laughter – spilled
    and now dried and
    gone – gone – gone –
    dancing on dust

  41. Jane Shlensky

    Elegy for Home
    (for Mary Garner Craver, 1915-2003)

    The hills still roll about the same—
    such lays of land are slow to change—
    two ponds, a creek, a pasture fence,

    some trees uprooted in a storm,
    some oaks like old men at a dance
    stand hunkered, wizened, venerable.

    She talked of nothing else but home;
    her roof had slipped, as some would say,
    and she could think of nothing else

    but going home; she’d never left.
    You’re home already, we would say,
    pointing to works of her own hands.

    Remember this or that, we’d say,
    a futile act but all the same
    we hoped some tree, some slant of light

    would pull a trigger in her mind,
    and she would recognize herself
    and us and home for what it was.

    For years she disremembered time,
    bereft of homes we didn’t know.
    We argued– is it afterlife

    or someplace she can’t call by name?
    She quoted Woody Guthrie’s song,
    how in the world she was not at home,

    but said she’d go for rides if we’d
    return her to that one in mind
    she seemed to see so vividly.

    I think of all this now she’s gone
    and what was farm is strips of land.
    Her house is gone; her lush gardens

    are now reduced to lawn, ignored.
    No vineyards now or orchard trees;
    the cows are gone, the barns and sheds.

    The house where we lived long ago
    looks nothing like the new one here.
    I know we can’t go home again

    and hope to reclaim what once was.
    I don’t fight change–what’s done is done–
    but I have lost a mother tongue.

    Now everywhere I look, I see
    remnants of lives that used to be,
    who made their homes in memory.

    Can one mourn for a time and place
    and not weep for oneself that’s lost?
    Can home be redefined that way?

    I close my eyes and climb a tree;
    I dip one toe in memory,
    swimming the currents like a child.

    I walk past orchards, crystal ponds,
    and call the cows at close of day
    that dot the pastures in my mind.

  42. Anders Bylund

    For Walter White
    When everyone else called you a villain
    I still wanted you to win
    Through darkness, and murder, and despair
    I still wanted you to win
    You were always meant to self-destruct, but
    I still wanted you to win

  43. ASperryConnors

    “sister dumb”

    as if snorting cocaine wasn’t senseless
    you dodged fireballs in the night
    flicking ashes on mob bosses
    teasing them with your breasts
    the cherry on top was the night
    you chose dexter to father
    your child then he flew to montana
    to avoid your needy ass
    but his mother loved you
    she kept you and gave you a home
    so that the child could survive
    what you became
    addicted to money, to speed
    to more and more men
    kevin, nash, jo-jo, cubbie, bob
    they all tried to be a father
    but lost their lives in filling your hole
    poor souls, poor souls, poor souls
    so when you died, there was no one else to care
    and ain’t that a sorrowful way to go

  44. PatsC

    The Ribbon

    A long walk,
    With many hills,
    Some parts shaded,
    Others along more travelled roads.

    Good for the soul,
    Healthy for the body,
    The sunshine of melanin,
    The tautness of effort.

    Children at play,
    Ignore my approach,
    Chipmunks dart and hide,
    Lawn men turn and stare.

    My path is well-known,
    Neighbors wave from car windows,
    Headphoned from nature,
    Joggers smugly nod.

    My stride heard,
    My lengthening shadow spied,
    Dogs bark,
    A chase along the fence.

    Past the halfway mark,
    The sunniest spot,
    A tiring climb,
    The questioning muscles.

    The napping dog,
    Perhaps I can slip by,
    Almost past the yard,
    Then a startling frenzy.

    My old adversary,
    Turns eventually to friend,
    We greet one another,
    A welcome distraction to tedium.

    The silent wall,
    The yellow bow,
    Flowers placed on the gate,
    Missing companion.

    Just inside the gate,
    Left behind,
    Well worn ball,
    Tempting bone.

    I miss this barking dog,
    No more conversations,
    A guard that wanted company,
    I never knew his name.

  45. drnurit


    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    Because you told me
    To remember,
    I went to Auschwitz
    To look under the ashes
    For shreds of memories.

    Because you told me
    To survive,
    I have been really trying —
    Though I know
    That survival is temporary too.

    Because you told me
    To keep everyone safe,
    I still spend my days
    Weaving safety nets
    To catch falling people.

    Because you told me
    That the chain must continue,
    I still look for links and
    I lovingly put them together,
    Stretching as far as I can…

  46. De Jackson

    Mix Tape Elegy
    (a cento)

    Here comes the rain again
    falling from the stars.

    I feel
    the beating of your heart,
    the smell of hospitals
    in winter; it’s all
    a lot of oysters and no pearls.

    The miles just keep rollin’
    as the people leave,
    their way to say hello.
    I’m standing underneath
    the stars, so far away
    from where you are.

    It’s all ending, I’ve gotta
         stop pretending.

    A hundred days have made
    me older, seven years
    has gone so fast.
    Wake me up when September ends.

    But please come now, I think I’m
    (I’m thinking six feet

    woven from:
    A Long December, Counting Crows
    One Last Breath, Creed
    Wake Me Up When September Ends, by Green Day
    From Where You Are, LifeHouse
    Here Without You, Three Doors Down
    Don’t Speak, No Doubt

  47. barbara_y

    To Time, Killed

    That you passed, killed,
    sweetly, as if you’d passed in sleep

    yet never seemed to leave
    is your mystery, deep as down is,

    and twisted til its ends meet.
    Time is dead and never was.

  48. Jay Sizemore

    Elegy for the reel-to-reel I found at the Goodwill

    Someone’s hands loved you: not mine.
    Your handle frayed, your buttons worn,
    lid cloth stained with one working hinge.
    Your smell, like a wine cellar
    where dusty barrels have kept warm circuits
    and bottles labeled “Interview x or y.”
    The years have left you struggling
    to remember the function of a microphone,
    the longevity of magnetic tape,
    voices carried like hummed songs
    in plastic throats or electrostatic.
    Now, your hiss is an imperfection,
    a breath drawn through a cigarette,
    mechanics like advanced spinal stenosis,
    reducing a proud father to a cane,
    permanent bed rest until decay.
    Your weight was a conversation,
    now a novelty for the silent.

  49. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 16

    Zackery’s Elegy

    You got ready for school as usual,
    your mom kissed you goodbye,
    and you boarded the bus.
    Who could know you would not come home?
    Who could predict, after you got off at school and the bus
    pulled away, you would dart in front of it?

    You leave heartbreak and talk of heaven in your wake,
    your legacy a bucket of tears and a handful of photos and toys.
    You have no concept of how those left behind mourn,
    how even though not guilty, so many feel guilt.
    You’ll never know the pain many caused by criticism,
    of your teachers, your driver, the staff, the system.

    You, Zackery, innocent six-year-old that you are,
    walk among saints and angels, in the place where
    He reigns on the Throne, where His presence
    radiates light, shining on your little face, one without pain,
    tears, regret, sorrow, night.
    The pain is left here, with us, on this fallen earth.

  50. Evelyn Philipp


    Traffic rushes past
    out on the road
    And I am angry at the injustice
    of moving cars, when
    My world has stopped.
    Parked here, under this canopy.
    Surrounded. The smell of dirt.
    A flag-draped box.

    In quiet defense of a working man’s life:
    The long days spent
    building roads, with a little rest
    parked there, under a canopy.
    The smell of dirt. “The Rest of the Story”
    as we ate lunch packed in coolers.

    That is ended now.

    A shadow rushes past with the wind,
    and the anger
    cools and softens
    into a softly longing gratitude
    for the canopy you gave, surrounding,
    and for the smell of dirt.

  51. pamelaraw

    On a throwback Thursday, I see a photo
    of you dressed in 70’s cool–wide-legged
    jeans and Kojak shades–standing in a park
    with a stoic lean like that tower in Piza.

    I don’t know the year, I’m sure it’s well
    before the routine of a union job limited
    you to that mass transit uniform, a dark
    blue cardigan as drab as Mr. Rogers.

    If I had known you back then–before
    three children, clogged gutters, and trips
    to Pathmark made your money disappear
    faster than dandelion puffs–could you

    have taught me how to maneuver the maze
    of subways or materialize to support
    someone in need? Could I have learned to see
    the substance of a man behind his swag?

  52. LeighSpencer

    Elegy for DeAnza

    So many Summer Saturday nights
    we would pack up our lawn chairs
    load the backseat with blankets and stuffed animals
    grab the bucket of chicken

    Family size

    Grocery bag full of homemade popcorn
    Big Gulp drink refill

    Coordinate the caravan
    so we could all be parked
    in the same row
    at the DeAnza Drive-in

    Summer nights in Tucson
    are more forgiving than days
    and the kids could run around
    make noise
    as long as they didn’t go past
    our line of cars
    four or five deep

    First show was at 8
    we’d pick a kids’ feature

    Then at 10:00,
    we’d circle the lot until the kids were asleep
    and choose another screen

    Raunchy comedies or
    over the top horror movies
    were the undisputed BEST
    for the drive-in experience

    I’m still laughing over
    our brilliant commentary track
    during Drag Me to Hell
    now 5 summers ago

    We never knew that was your last year


    A beautiful life
    that brought so many happy times
    with family and friends

    It’s hard to look forward to summer the same way
    now that you’re gone

    to (another) pricey parking lot

    I’ve heard it said
    that one of your screens was saved
    and that
    just maybe
    they will try to bring you back some day

    I know

    It’s just a movie screen
    from a beat up old theatre
    from the good old days
    and not the Shroud of Turin

    But I don’t need the second coming
    just the second feature
    and for this
    I pray

  53. Kevin D Young


    I am about two hundred years too late
    I know. I know, also, you have become
    accustomed to this state in which you’ve lain
    unnoted, or so you would surmise, you

    who noted all small things. We either
    never knew or we forgot, and all the wrinkled
    world went round and round and all things green
    yellowed. Even Darwin, your brother once

    removed, never spelled your name or recognized
    his mate: you two who charged, in almost
    synchrony, the world – he by sailing round
    the sea and retiring to his garden,

    you by measuring the roundness of each pea
    and never leaving; he, pronouncing heaven
    incognitus, you, renouncing terrene
    sovereignity but holding its divine

    inception, so what you do you do
    because you love the love of knowing
    growing things. We call it all by your name
    now – Mendelian – belated penance.

    How did such love arise, and why reward
    this crinkled orb with your round wit? Why
    sit within it prizing each pod open
    to enshrine these foolish numbers?

    No matter. You have done.
    Though you left no issue – an irony
    impregnate with exuberating paradox –
    we are here, conceived of you.

    Rest well, dear Gregor,
    the seed lives on. You,
    now upon God’s knee.

  54. vjohnso1

    To my dearest father
    Words cannot express
    Laughter, tears, jumping for joy
    I have kids now dad
    A girl and a boy
    Sighing at the absence of your presence
    Recovering from my emotional convalescence
    I miss you dad
    Never knew much about who you were
    Just that you were my father and choose to leave
    Life’s funny you left me physically then spiritually you were called home
    God had a plan so I accepted it in order to believe
    Forgiveness is where it starts
    So guess what daddy
    I forgive you with all my heart
    So long………………………..

  55. Heidi

    LOTH ROLLAND an elegy

    On your eighth day Abuelita settled
    you in lamb’s skin. Red wine on your lips
    the Teacher rolled off your reproach.

    You thrived as weeds do in
    Mexico, D.F. kicking against asphalt
    cracks, soccer balls in Coyoacan, dodging

    dissident drips from Diego’s brush,
    tripping over Frida Kahlo’s clenched teeth.
    Schooled in chemistry, an engineer

    at the University you seized love,
    married your student Angeles.
    She rolled reproach off your heart.

    The secret sequestered in
    archives, your mother, escaped the
    Matchmaker’s grip to tether you

    to gold plated choirs.
    You knew never to tell.

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  56. robinamelia

    Mourning a world

    World, glimpsed only in black and white photographs
    or inchoate memories of mommies in skirts and aprons
    daddies in hats: the ties and hats
    gone now to some developing republic or dust

    World, before the flag was a fashion accessory
    where Tomorrowlands comforted us with promise
    while puppets sang joyfully of the size of the planet
    smaller now than we had thought, thanks to landing

    on the moon where we gazed back at our beauty
    like a million narcissi. Oh lovable blue and white orb,
    we wore you like a token round our necks,
    besides the stars and crosses of our faith.

    Nevermind the cardboard boxes we built into rockets
    the secret forts of desire behind the garage
    the trees carved with our desperation and greed,
    we loved you as well as we could.

    Robin Amelia Morris

  57. Misky

    To Wind

    The wind hears the water,
    Seldom a glance to land,
    And it drives past
    We small creatures,
    Standing on the sand.

    There’s famine in its throat,
    Where hunger feasts it done,
    And wind is like a desert wide,
    That leaves us far behind.

    1. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

      Ammendment – too many heres :-[

      I CRY

      The last time we fought . . .
      I cried.

      The last time I held you
      Before you died . . .
      I cried.

      I cried when you were here.
      I cry now that you’re gone.

      Like a fountain without end,

      I cry.
      I cry.
      I cry.

  58. pcm

    Gone Missin’

    For all the lost things that had a home
    and somehow took a notion to roam
    I wish you hope and I wish you well.

    To my errant pen, my favorite mug,
    that pack of lifesavers under the rug,
    and the all the things the dog would find
    —the little things that were left behind—
    like time to pause and share a hug
    or talk without devices that use a plug,

    To all the real words left unsaid
    when we thought a flash of text would do instead,
    and all the hurt and joy and folly,
    I wish we could find them again by golly.

  59. Bucky Ignatius

    Ego Trip Elegy #9

    The plutocratic coup
    came quietly somewhere
    between the great
    trickle-down hoax
    and reality TV.

    Like all human empires,
    dreams of glory fell
    crumbling in the dust
    of hubris, corruption,
    greed, and denial.
    So what else is new?

    Bucky Ignatius

  60. Jaywig

    What is Survival Anyway?

    I don’t believe in death.
    And I’m not so sure about
    “the way things change
    the more they stay the same”
    because there you were
    in a photograph exactly
    the way you always were
    and, as always, no longer
    with us but somewhere
    in your own point of view.

    And what about the hundreds
    of travellers now in the news
    and at the same time
    at the bottom of oceans?

    It would be useful to know
    one way or another
    if all the dead are elsewhere
    waiting for us to join them
    in a very pleasant country.

    Personally, I’d prefer to be
    like the third Silver Princess
    in my yard – cut to the quick
    one day, dying from borers,
    now bushy, with new tips,
    half as tall as the old lady
    of the tribe next to her, three
    tiny gumnuts budding.

    Not old or strong enough
    to support perching birds,
    yet she inspires me with
    the possibility of regeneration:
    same roots, new expression.

  61. Shennon

    It happened as I feared it would.
    Notified of your death.
    By an e-mail.
    From your wife.

    I didn’t even know you were sick.
    But neither did you.
    In your last e-mail
    You complained.
    Of a backache.

    You claimed it hurt so bad you couldn’t sleep.
    Three days later
    You fell asleep.

    My former lover
    My college crush
    We parted ways years ago.
    We married others.
    We never spoke again.

    Reconnected through e-mail
    Our friendship rekindled.
    Communication was sporadic
    But always continuous.
    You became my best friend
    Through fragmented notes.

    Although a year’s passed
    Since I learned of your death
    My heart breaks a little more each day.
    I find it so hard
    To enjoy this life
    In a world where you don’t exist.


  62. jean2dubois

    by Jean Dubois

    how do I love thee?
    let me count the ways
    I love thee to the depth..

    instead of all that blather
    I really think I’d rather
    just say I love you

    not to mention plagarism

  63. seingraham


    “Poetry – it speaks the unspeakable. It utters the unutterable sigh of the heart.” Lawrence Ferlinghetti

    How will they grieve, this brash young city in the foothills
    with the panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains…
    In the morning, they were a vibrant, wealthy oil town;
    a popular tourist destination, known for its proximity
    to those magnificent mountains
    And for their world-class university that was winding
    up another year of classes and gearing up students,
    celebrating, before tucking into weeks of exams…

    By midnight, their largest mass murder had taken place
    And the details leaking out over news outlets and
    social media were so heinous
    Even seasoned first responders: police, emergency workers –
    were shaken to the core

    One young person arrives at a party and stabs to death
    five others
    In an apparently motiveless attack by a student who was
    himself invited to the party…
    Such an out-of-the-blue tragedy
    has torn through every layer of reason and sanity
    Leaving in its wake, only questions and echoes of weeping
    As parents try to come to grips with their loss

  64. mrs.mjbauer

    Elegy for Tony
    by Mary Bauer

    I couldn’t contain your spirit
    In that fourth grade desk
    Singing “Hokey Pokey”
    During the state test
    Jumping up to yell
    At the class pet
    “Do something!”

    I’ve mourned for years
    That front page story
    Telling me you were dead
    Your blood spilled
    On the sidewalk
    Outside the library
    Where the painted goose
    Looks down from the window
    A mixture of childhood and violence

    I’ve told so many since then
    Be careful who your friends are
    I wish you had listened to me first.

  65. Michelle Murrish

    Elegy for Memories

    By Michelle Murrish

    I’ve lost so many things I’ve love
    Life’s so full of giving,
    Yet the never hesitates to take
    To count my losses
    Would be to put a name to all my tears
    A face to every pain
    I’d never be alone.

    Of all the things I’ve lost
    The one’s that haunt me most
    Are the silent moments in my head
    Where once I knew happiness lived
    But now gone, never to be remembered
    I take a silent moment
    For all the things that I’ve forgot

  66. KiManou

    Dearly Departed

    I shared a ride with the sun beside me
    your spirit beamed through
    glowing all about me
    warming my memories
    who am I to proclaim your departure was too soon
    you left to meet the king to take your place in the sky
    rest in the clouds sprinkle angel dust on me
    I wish upon you,
    you were my biggest star
    I’ve kept your old records
    your ties and your belt buckles
    neatly tucked in a suitcase in my bedroom closet
    I pretend you are coming to get them
    I pretend you’re coming to get me
    I pretend a lot of things…
    I hope I don’t disappoint you
    From birth you guided me
    and in essence you protect me
    keep all my secrets and whisper prayers to me

    I forgot to tell you I love you
    rest in paradise


  67. lsteadly


    We gathered your favorite toys
    from the basket that you
    liked to empty
    a catnip mouse
    felt fish on a string
    then a jingley ball and
    the handmade glob
    of pipe cleaners all went
    into the pile by the pillow
    you napped on in front of the wood stove
    while Mike made the box from
    golden maple planks left over from the
    tree you sat under in the yard
    until it shed its leaves for the last
    time and I placed the soft fleece
    blanket you curled up in on our bed
    and lined the box with it then
    we set the cushion in and sprinkled
    it with catnip and the toys
    and prayed they would give you
    comfort in life number ten

  68. Blaise


    Oh for that Brindle coat and Mastiff jaws
    so joyfully flinging a plush toy
    left right left right fwapping herself so fast
    I marveled at how this Boston Terrier
    did not scramble her brain.
    And now she’s gone of a brain tumor.

    How much joy do I clench in my jaws
    and shake myself silly, refusing to let go?
    Lurking damages be damned!
    Bella reflected our son for over ten years,
    from excited adventurer ready for the open road
    to basking in a patch of sun on the floor.

    So funny, so fun,
    so gone.
    No more frantic scrambling underfoot
    or balancing a toy on her head
    or burrowing under the covers
    to sleep with her favorite humans.

    Ah, her wide welcome of a tongue
    eager to lick you into a laughing tumble of love
    until you just had to say stop – enough, enough.
    Such a good dog, far beyond the cliché,
    infiltrated deeply in our lives
    and shook our hearts senseless with joy.

  69. sbpoet


    eye mask
    migraine aura
    pale bursts
    on a black field
    a woodpecker drills
    a crow barks
    1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3
    the sound machine
    pushes waves
    into my ears
    cat purr against
    my shoulder, train
    rumble & whistle
    more felt than heard

    it’s gone now

    ~ sharon brogan

  70. tbell

    Too Soon Goodbye

    It doesn’t matter what we do

    hang curtains
    make applesauce
    sit in silence

    watch GI Jane while I recite
    every other line to you across
    a bowl of popcorn

    labor through disability papers
    my frustration rising
    as your fatigue grows

    I would trade any day
    for just one more of these
    shared with you.

    Copyright © TD Bell
    All Rights Reserved

  71. elysebrownell

    A Glimpse
    Elyse Brownell

    For Jadee (1983-2011)

    Even now, after thinking about you for days,
    I am no closer to you.

    I stand in a room and summon your memory
    but come up empty handed, left with

    carbon copies of your face in photographs
    left with a still frame of us in the basement,

    the lower ceilings we resided under,
    your father in his recliner with the volume on the tv

    too loud, the walls of your bedroom covered with
    posters of our favorite bands, your carpet, matted,

    stains of make-up, nail polish, and paint chippings,
    the threshold to the back room, burgundy concrete floors,

    the full-length mirror, the lighting in your bathroom,
    the sound of the front door, the smells in the kitchen,

    and your bedroom floor, rolling cigarettes,
    drinking wine coolers, trying to decipher the day’s problems.

    did we ever talk about death (?) after we heard that statistic from
    our guidance counselor about the 1 and 4 odds of making it to our ten year reunion.

    I wore black that day.
    I said your name at least twice.
    I wished the red wine

    was actually a wine cooler and we were back in the basement
    hiding from the outside world, together.

    But the room I stand in isn’t at all a place where I can ever find you,
    even if I hold 1,000 photographs and try to talk to each one,

    I can’t hear your laugh in my ear, or the sound of you knuckles
    each one cracking louder than the next.

    I can only hope that the sound of the heater turning on,
    or the blinds against my window sill swaying for no reason,

    is the passing of our memories, a passing that can only
    be captured by the smallest glimpses of your light;

    that’s all anyone is after they’re gone.

  72. DanielAri

    “Gotta hand it to her”

    My first band was called Blasé Suave.
    My second was Bass Line Dada.
    If either had been hyper-loved
    I’d be doing fame like Gaga—
    in full-body, lace-up, Converse

    hightop shoe suits, catching ha-has
    by exploding what can happen
    on the public stage—cha, cha, cha—
    bitch-baiting the paparazzi ,
    no apology for living.

    Before my shrine to Frank Zappa
    I bow. He did nothing by halves,
    said “Rock and roll is to dress up.”
    Praise to those in it for the laughs
    from the fans to the bank, tra-la.

    Lady Gaga’s mastered her crafts:
    music and being photographed.


  73. Scribbling Sue

    The curlew calls its shrill and plaintiff cry,
    As seven swans like spirits overhead
    Sweep and wheel their way on amber sky
    While I sit here among the graves and dead.

    ‘And all the air a solemn stillness holds’,
    I recall those words by Thomas Gray
    As sunlight slowly into evening folds,
    I read the names on stones in grass and clay.

    ‘Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife’
    This headstone names a man of ninety-two
    In peace beside his ninety-year old wife,
    Fifty years of marriage, blessed to few.

    The urns and iron railings mark their wealth,
    A baby here, three months, by holly tree,
    So young, sweet lamb, but mother knew good health,
    United with her son at eighty-three.

    A family of nine lies by that wall,
    The headstones weathered rough by wind and rain,
    While moss and lichen grow an earthly pall,
    They’re free from illness, suffering and pain.

    By day, the churchyard hums with flies and bees,
    At night perhaps it echoes ghostly tears,
    And whispers of the dead float on the breeze
    Of lives and loves long lost throughout the years.

    Suzanne Lalor
    16th April 2014

  74. DanielAri

    “No business like po-business”

    Did you hear about S.E. Ingraham?
    It was all over the morning talk shows—
    what she said on Jimmy Fallon—hot damn!
    But that whole thing got preempted, of course
    by the breaking word about Taylor Graham!

    The De Jackson biopic’s making news
    (looks like Herzog is way over budget),
    but the biggest po-biz scandal now: Bruce
    Niedt’s wardrobe choices on the red carpet.
    Connie Peters’ photo shoot in Poem

    Magazine made the perfect complement
    to her new sequence set in Ketchikan.
    Now I’m going to watch The Marie and Walt
    Show from last night—which I recorded since
    I couldn’t miss the Poetic Asides

    Semi-Annual Gala—off the charts!
    There’s too much good stuff on television.


  75. Mariya Koleva

    I still look at photos
    and see you cuddle a baby,
    and you smile;
    I see you hold a small girl’s insecure trusting hand
    looking at her anxious face
    with all that love
    that now has turned to tears
    swelling up my eyes,
    to a lump blocking my voice,
    hindering my breath,
    a simple mindless ignorant lump,
    wordless tears,

  76. BezBawni

    Lullaby to a Deceased Poem

    I remember every letter,
    crooked lines and clumsy verse,
    every word that could get better,
    but no doubt kept turning worse,
    words that wouldn’t go together,
    thoughts I couldn’t tell apart,
    cups of coffee, rainy weather,
    night you chose to depart.

    Buried under piles of crumpled
    paper, shrouded in ink,
    just like that, without a grumble,
    you were dead, you poor thing.

    I’m not Dickens, I’m not Maugham,
    there was nothing I could do.
    Rest in peace, unfinished poem,
    you were……………………………
    by Lucretia Amstell

  77. Azma


    My fingers worked in desperation
    to revive you
    My eyes craved
    to see the twinkle
    that you reflect in them
    My ears yearned to hear
    at least the slightest beep
    Your silence haunts me
    I dropped you fortuitously
    Did I have to be punished this way?
    The world suddenly feels alien
    without your familiar ringing
    I’m hit by spasms of boredom
    without the feel of your rubber grip
    And worse still,
    you’ve left behind
    a broken heart
    of a thumb

    -Azma Sheikh
    (forgive me for the melodrama :D )

  78. Lori D. Laird

    Life’s Prison Sentence

    No one said life would be easy.
    The difficulties are our lessons.
    They make for growth.
    That is the reason.
    But sometimes, just sometimes
    we try to take someone else’s place.
    Be it for protection or whatever.
    It always blows up in our face.

    That’s what I did.
    That’s what put me in this cell.
    I meant no harm to those I love.
    It was my own soul I was trying to sell.
    But I screwed up.
    This price is too high.
    Even though I did what I thought was best,
    he still wants to say goodbye.

    That wasn’t supposed to happen.
    This is the way it has to be.
    I continue to be special though.
    Who better to write my elegy.
    It was me.
    In the heart.
    With my own tongue’s blade.
    And now death has done us part.

  79. spacerust

    “The Secret sound of catching the big one” by Karl A.Avila

    Early mornings you would come
    have me work the yard
    while in my head I though of what I was missing
    Bugs Bunny, Coyote, and Fudd
    I know you tried to teach me lessons
    that you learned on the streets as a child
    life isn’t free and money is easy
    to spend but so hard to earn

    Days when all our work was done
    we fished out on your little boat
    stories you told of how life really is
    and the secrets of catching big trout
    You asked me to turn my head so I wouldn’t see
    you secret tricks to landing the big ones
    but the sound of your spit, spat on the bait
    was just you having some fun

    Your B-B-Q secrets, the family marinade
    that everyone seemed to love
    is only known by such quite a few
    and I feel so privileged to be one

    You were tougher than nails,, yet softer than cloth
    you wanted to make sure that I could survive
    a little of everything you taught me so much
    from plumbing to carpentry and that love…
    is never too much

    I remembered the day when you passed away
    I regret that I wasn’t there so much
    Our plans were to clean out the whole garage
    and make it fit for a king
    But that’s when you became sick and couldn’t work
    and promised me that we would finish this thing

    I didn’t cry for almost two weeks
    I couldn’t, I didn’t know how
    when I finally broke down I felt like a man
    tears were more than the gulf that we fished
    and have never stopped in my heart
    and have never stopped in my heart

    It’s been almost thirty years and I still think of you
    and all the lessons you gave
    when I go fishing and stand in the water
    I feel you around in the soft, gentle breeze
    in the tides of the waves
    and the thrill of the catch brings back your tough smiles
    I tried to be the man that you wanted me to become
    with the values you lived
    standing alone in the water
    waiting for the fish to bite
    closeness I feel that you are around
    in my solitude is when I weep

    You were tougher than any man that I have ever known
    I can see it as well in my father
    I also know that you wouldn’t think twice
    of giving the shirt off your own back
    sharing your only meal
    giving your last dollar
    or helping anyone in need

    Grandpa, I miss you and I always will
    I wish my kids could have met you
    I taught them to fish just as you taught me
    and the values of life as well
    the greatest thing you taught me of all
    was that family always come first
    and that you can’t count on anyone else
    except those that share your same blood.

    Grandpa, I know that you are around
    and fishing up there in heaven
    catching the reds and trouts till now I’ve never seen
    like the ones we used to catch back then
    from time to time you come in my dreams
    I know you are just saying “hi”
    I’m so glad that you haven’t forgotten
    what you taught me back then
    that family first is what you lived all your life…

    and in death you still keep your promise.

  80. skanet

    4/16 Elegy poem

    I sometimes wonder if we’re living in a golden age
    Today we call it the Age of Information
    But historians may one day name it
    The Age of Penicillin
    The miracle time when the population grew,
    And almost no one died
    I wonder if the discoverer was right to warn against
    Misuse and overuse
    I wonder if the factories know they’re dooming us
    To a future without miracle drugs

    If only the scientists of that time had thought:
    This will only work for so long
    They might have started looking for another answer
    A back-up miracle
    But they didn’t
    And I wonder when this day will be so long gone
    That it is a mythical golden age
    The memory of a memory
    When no one died

  81. jsmadge

    Cincinnati, 1987

    There was this apartment building, see.
    Porches behind wide arches,
    Foyer into a well of light:
    Cloudy skylight at 12 o’clock,
    Black and white tiles at 6,
    While 8:20, 9:15, and 10:10 held
    Layers of bannisters, like a torte.

    The echoes were magnificent, like scotch.
    Walking became covert, fraught
    With the almost, the absolute, the o my god
    It’s him. Or her. Never them.

    And the stairs!
    Dipped sweetly in their marble centers,
    Cradling feet going up, up, up.
    How many, o lord, did walk this way?
    Me, only once.

    Drop-by visit to a nearly friend
    Who others thought could be more, but wasn’t.
    That conversation dissolved.
    The building didn’t. And now,
    Sleepless, I sing myself backward,
    Listening for footsteps that promised so much.

    Jo Steigerwald

  82. Tracy Davidson

    Portrait of Mother

    My mother’s last photo
    sits beside her urn
    on the bookcase.

    Despite the make-up
    her face looks pinched,
    devoid of colour.

    She squints at the sun,
    her eyes more sensitive
    to light than before.

    Her wig looks natural,
    as close as could find
    to what she lost.

    A half-smile plays
    on her thin cracked lips,
    in spite of the pain.

    I wonder what she thought
    at that second
    as the shutter clicked.

    Did she know her time
    was nearly up? That this
    would be the last shot?

    Is that why a tear
    nestles in the corner
    of her eye?

    As one now does
    every single day
    in the corner of mine.

  83. BDP

    Whenever winds are moving and their breath
    Heaves at the roped-in bulwarks of this pier,
    The terns and seagulls tremble at your death
    In these home waters. Sailor, can you hear….

    –Robert Lowell

    “At Sea: Our Jim”


    Whipping snow stings willows into birches
    night through. Quicksilver climbs by dawn news,
    Heartland warm front hanging loose, let’s go with it,
    ride emails, music intermix, we’re feeling good,
    the January river mouth ice blue, unfrozen. Then
    my husband says, Jim sailed solo yesterday.


    Lamplight plaids our water two zones east,
    our typing fingers wipe out distance, string
    together techies logging on, insomniacs by
    hundreds scour the sky eye data. This we know:
    you cell-phoned while in range and painted
    dolphins for your daughter’s son, their antics
    slicing near, how perfect for the Farallons,
    a promise to your mother: spread her ashes
    there. So did you miss an undersurface
    caber surging up? No end to questions,
    break down, accident, you’re sick, or pirates,
    press our ears against computers for faint beats.


    Days conjure rip currents for our long dark:
    you’re side-saddle on an overturned hull,
    a steep cove blocks your beacon signal,
    low plane drones past, your flashlight glint
    unseen, we drown toward waking to seek

    again. Safe. We want to locate you
    far from a freighter’s blind wake. Satellites
    beam pixels we scan to pluck the odd dot
    from sameness of waves. Or does hope lie with

    one half-cup of coffee spilled and trickling
    to a stop at the chance image where your sailboat
    rocks on the Pacific lens? A photo

    found among tens of thousands—smudge,
    we think at first. But then dare: you?


    The Coast Guard grid by grid, what have we missed?
    Ground troops along the shore, strong undertows
    examined, in reality we’re now
    mad, fiercely itching for an aim and twist,
    a punch to futile’s solar plexus, fast,
    explode gut feeling “gone,” make room for “found.”
    So close—but stalled short of—getting it done,
    refusing to declare we’re at the last
    key stroke until she emails us who shared
    at meetings, work desks, homes and restaurants,
    those meals, straight talks, ideas kicked around—
    when his wife thanks us for our search, truth bared—

    we halt, suspended, always hunting for
    our Jim, fists flying, never getting there.

    –Barb Peters

  84. anneemcwilliams


    bowls and beds are empty
    lungs no longer breath
    nothing from the ashes
    water does not cleave

    chained to knowing nothing
    scattered in the sea
    all alone they spiraled
    are their spirits free?

    first draft 04/16/2014

  85. Puja

    This is an extremely personal one. I would avoid it, but it had to be this one. This elegy is to my aborted child.

    Bereaved By Abortion

    Such beautiful misery
    once claimed her womb
    Then, trustingly, bled
    it’s way to it’s tomb

    Too young to love it
    Too old to not
    It’s presence within
    she never forgot

    It received no last rites,
    No weeping kith and kin
    She now bears,
    in quiet solitude,
    it’s urn within…

  86. drwasy


    What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met ~David Levithan

    The day dawns in perfect blue,
    shocking canvas of contrast: planes
    fly black against far-flung heaven.
    Even unbelieving prayer
    muttered with quiet breaths
    cannot foretell or forestall stains

    that will gouge ground, splinter sky, stain
    steel, scuttle lives, exhale blue.
    All will implode in hydraulic breaths
    screaming through city and plain:
    common words, sacred prayers
    lip-synched by animals heaven

    sent from hell to create heaven
    marked by a golden crescent—stain
    of a singular god and prayer.
    Cloaked in polyester blue,
    costume of the West, they board planes
    inhaling, exhaling, one breath

    comingling with all breaths,
    lifting as one to make heaven
    on earth, to be done, in the plane.
    It is foretold, on pages stained
    sepia, older than time, blue
    ink and red seeping on prayer.

    Father, mother, children—pray
    ancient songs with soft breaths.
    But God cannot hear in this blue
    twilight. Sing who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy name, thy love stained
    by unseen portents. The plane

    is a steel-bound casket, the plane
    pulses with souls insistent, prey
    trembling, flesh and smoke-stained,
    metal-wrapped in dragon’s breath.
    The meek, the blessed, to heaven
    will float ashen to brilliant blue.

    Blue sky trailed by white plane flumes
    mark a heaven all pray exists;
    God’s breath stained by metal and fire.

  87. peacegirlout

    Retracted Elegy (edited some)

    Yesterday I had the blues
    About a man they call Blue and
    I wrote a poem about him
    An Elegy of sorts in anticipation
    Of his letting go or his
    Simply not wanting to
    Shuffle his feet
    Down that hospital corridor

    And I wondered if the vultures
    Had taken human form
    Squawking, peering sideways
    At the old man’s heaving chest
    But on this day a grandson came
    To come see about a man called Blue
    And like the support beams propped
    To a storm chased house
    The boy offered his back as a frame

    Back to back they both sat
    Until the roots of the man
    Got drunk from the love of the boy
    Each limb started stretching
    And every scar disappeared
    Magically healing that old blue tree

  88. SeekingSoltitude

    Holding on to what held me

    His eyes bright and green
    as he threw me into the air
    never did he tire, never did he complain
    and never did he his problems share

    As I grew up
    he grew older
    he never let me notice
    his prescriptions turned into folders

    my mother had left me long ago
    leaving me in his arms
    he never let me know pain and struggle
    protecting me in his weakening arms

    His breath is labored, his hair no more
    but the love in his eyes remained
    From a scrawny teenager to an adult became I,
    he ignored his legs, which in every step pained

    And now he sits in his chair
    the heart monitor beside him beeps
    I have my head in his lap in grief
    its been five years since I last saw him, even know he doesn’t weep

    He says he has lived his life
    looking at me growing
    I complain that he never told
    his loving daughter what he is undergoing

    he laughs and looks at my face
    and for the last time, his eyes
    are bright and green again – he throws me up in the air
    the memory fades and so does his eyes

  89. FaerieTalePoet

    To my Fiance’s Deceased Husband

    I know she loved you
    maybe in some ways
    she will never love me.
    She can’t love me the same way
    because we’re different people
    and no two loves are exactly the same.

    And though you broke promises
    I know you loved her too
    and that you didn’t choose to leave.
    She’s told me about that night
    coming home, her home a crime scene.
    Grand mal seizure…
    If only you’d been better
    about taking your medication
    I wouldn’t have her.

    She told me about how you met
    when she was role playing with
    her exes Phil and Joyce.
    how in Jim’s game, your character
    got her character pregnant
    and that intrigued her.
    Then when you married her
    you whisked her off to Florida
    that’s ok she ran off with me to Oregon,
    I think she liked Florida better.

    On the special occasions you shared
    we do things like go to pottery shops
    where she paints dragons for you
    and then we go to Olive Garden
    for spaghetti with meat sauce
    because that was your favorite
    and we end the night with a movie
    preferably Marvel.

    She still honors you in all that she does
    and though you may not be here
    to watch The Breakfast Club,
    and Doctor Who and douse your
    food with chili peppers.
    Though she will never again
    try to pry you away from
    World of Warcraft she will always
    remember you with love.

    And because
    I’m technically Jewish
    if we have a child
    we will name our child
    after you.

    Dana A. Campbell

  90. gloryia


    bones chill
    in silence,
    ears ache for sound
    to penetrate where
    only deep blackness rules,
    midst pungent smells of rancid
    earth, half-remembered endless dream:
    an eternity of nothingness
    within this dim and oh so lonely grave

  91. Jezzie

    Our Cockerel Claude

    You were one of our three bantam hens
    called Claudia, Clara and Chloe Cluck
    and you quickly became the boss
    pushing your sisters around in the muck.

    Some time later we noticed you
    stand on a rock starting to crow.
    We promptly renamed you Claude
    when your family started to grow.

    With Mama Clara and Auntie Cloe in tow,
    eight little chicks would follow you around,
    but one by one our eight chicks we found
    in our shallow pond in our garden drowned.

    Then, when we lost your sisters too,
    we wondered why or how they had done it.
    But we had witnesses to the deed
    and discovered you were the culprit.

    You had pushed them all in
    whilst trying to mount them.
    There was no point in keeping you then
    when we were living without them.

    So we had you homed in a hen house
    in the local children’s pets zoo
    but you were the one who was lost
    in the Easter floods of ‘ninety two.

    Claude, you were a handsome chap
    and I’d thought you were our friend
    looking after your chicken troop.
    But Claude, you met a fitting end!

  92. lionmother

    I wrote one elegy, by I decided to write another in a different vein.

    Elegy for My Mother 2

    You were beautiful
    but you never thought so
    thinking beauty meant thin
    and you were never that
    I remember you agonizing
    over your clothes and
    me squeezing you into
    yet another too small dress
    you needed to tailor for you
    were excellent with needle
    and thread, creating and
    making my clothes until
    embarrassment sent me
    to buy them in a real store
    A working woman before
    it became the norm you
    always made us dinner
    I learned to cook watching
    you throw this and that
    together each night
    Not always perfect you
    used your voice as a
    weapon and many times
    it attacked me and left
    me broken
    But you would swoop me
    in your arms and all would
    be okay until the day when
    your voice became a whisper
    and I leaned down to hear
    you say my favorite words
    “I love you” from your
    disease ridden body and then
    you closed your eyes forever

  93. lionmother

    An Elegy for My Mother

    When you left me I crumpled
    and days followed without any
    reason while I forgot the mail
    and remembered only the sorrow
    hanging in my heart like a new
    I grieved for you and your presence
    and found times during each day to
    share a moment with you, but
    of course you were not there to
    chat on the phone and listen to
    my complaints
    Not there to see your grandchildren
    grow to the women they are now
    Not there to exclaim with joy
    when my novel turned from
    dream to reality
    Not here for me now to
    put my arms around you
    and snuggle deep into
    your embrace
    Not here to hold me
    and tell me it’s all okay
    when the world closes in
    When all I want
    is my mommy

  94. Linda Hatton

    Your Absence Smells Like

    Cozy smells like thickened casings
    of your arms wrapped
    around the parts of me
    you left behind. Sometimes
    I sit, waiting for your appearance,
    cross-elbowed, back slumped over
    above folded legs, staring
    into mirror’s warbled reflection, irises
    shifting colors like mood rings.

    My life smells like waiting for a sign
    you haven’t left me, like you promised
    you never would, your bones hardened,
    have become cement statues decorating
    rose gardens you tended in my youth. Staked
    into ashen soil, you try hard to hang on
    to vine-y leaves before disintegration
    takes over, makes me smell the death
    I don’t ever want to face.

    -Linda G Hatton

  95. Scott Jacobson


    The problem with death
    is that there are no new problems.
    All answers are kept underground.
    All loose ends have been resolved
    until the movie comes out on video
    with a bonus fifeteen minutes of footage.
    Everyone is uneasy with this math
    assignment except the accountant
    who takes the population of the world
    and minuses it by one. The help
    you needed never arrived till morning
    after your coffee got cold. They cut
    you some roses to mark your territory
    then a mut comes along and mark’s his.
    We try to achieve a resolution, but a war
    has broken out in the concession stand
    because an orphan stole a pretzel.
    Death must be getting frustrated
    because we fight so hard to steal
    the one answer he has to give.

  96. jean

    The Composer Wrote a Musical Elegy, Unheard Until After Her Death

    How beautiful the soaring violins!
    How full the sound that rang from cellos warm;
    Violas wove a tapestry therein.
    The basses’ grounded pulse maintained the charm.
    The song they played was mournful, sweet and kind.
    It filled each player with an urgent call
    As they expressed the dead composer’s mind
    To serve each person listening in the hall.
    No words could eulogize the artist’s deeds.
    Her melody spoke volumes from her soul.
    From critics’ dismissals she was freed.
    At last, her magnum opus played out whole.
    Performance of the piece was finally* giv’n.
    We hope that she can hear it up in heav’n.


  97. Shell

    Physical long-lost to a world plugged in without a second thought to the corporeal.

    Missing thy touch, once given for happiness sake a without explanation.

    Saddened loneliness overpowers logic giving into rants of desperation.

    Does anyone care?

  98. SuziBwritin

    PAD CHALLENGE APRIL 2014 Elegy poem


    Each new day is born
    with a return of the light
    each minute goes by
    and then is out of sight
    With a set of hours
    numbering twenty-four
    the day goes by
    with a new one in store
    But the death of the day
    and the birth of the day
    only come when the clock
    hands stand straight up and say
    It’s midnight
    Hello day, goodbye day

  99. gmagrady


    Aww, Jack, we stood,
    you and me,
    in my dreams, on the road,
    whoopin’ it up in the heavens on
    where our dreams—
    tiny pebbles—
    were dropped and rippled along
    the waves,
    cast out to sea,
    real dreams, real waters,
    real like the winds on Desolation Peak
    real like the flames in your head
    that would speak
    to you,
    and through you,
    to me.

    Aww, Jack, we were free,
    you and me,
    in my dreams, on the road,
    on life’s journey where we danced
    above the clouds
    of gusting dust and
    swirling behind the tail-
    as we zipped along this sacred soil,
    our souls splashed and re-
    bare and blessed,
    fired up with every step
    when we’d meet and greet
    the beings of human-

    Aww, Jack, what a pity,
    you and me
    were only in my dreams,
    on the road,
    picking lotus flowers
    lush along the path of

    left to suffer
    with nirvana never found.
    To be true,
    on this road,
    in this God-forsaken world,
    you were holy sent
    but never in your

    Aww, Jack, I pray that you,
    not me,
    that you
    (and Sal, maybe)
    through death
    found peace
    found paradise,

    that your soul didn’t have to pay a price

    and could finally burn,

    “burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow
    roman candles exploding like spiders
    across the stars
    and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop
    and everybody goes

  100. Alaska Christina

    For Joe in Far Rockaway Queens after Hurricane Sandy

    Your features are a palette of dirt
    Layers of days smudged across your skin
    Settling in to the furrow of your brow
    Where it all rests
    Mixing with the lines of worry and fear.

    Your spirit is as damp as your house
    A heart flooded heavy with emotions you won’t express
    There’s a cold that seeps in to your bones
    Slipping in beside you, to nuzzle your neck at night
    It’s in your eyes, this grief, circling your pupils.

    Your guilt is weighing you down
    And you slowly sink, holding tight to the shovel, to the mop, to the broom
    And even more tightly to the pain of what you think is yours to carry alone
    With all that rawness slung about your shoulders, filling your pockets, cementing your boots
    Who’s holding you Joe?

  101. lionetravail

    “Seasonal Elegies”
    by David M. Hoenig

    O wherefore hast gone winter’s icy blast,
    which seemed more grudging this year than times past?
    Already birth of spring at winter’s close
    has started irritation in my nose!
    (Now once more antihistamine repast.)

    O why did cold and crisp have to have passed?
    The virgin buds orgiastic time’s at last
    come round again, and fortune favors rose
    to grow; and so, where hast gone winter’s blast?

    I’m sure my sinuses will not outlast
    the time it takes til mucus is outcast!
    And, still, as growing season fin’lly slows,
    my dreams are still exploring pristine snows
    in hopes I’ll wake to Autumn’s flag at mast!
    O wherefore hast gone winter’s icy blast?

  102. DanielAri


    who came from the old country with an Estonian name
    left behind on the boat for one that others would have
    less trouble pronouncing; who worked twelve-hour shifts
    at the candy factory and on the first day gorged his belly
    because they said it was free for workers, then to find
    the drinking fountain was a stagnant trickle, but fresh
    water could be bought a pint for an hour’s wage; who
    stocked cigarette machines and then learned to fix them
    so I could keep his job when nothing could be assumed
    between layoffs, bankruptcies and incursions of crime
    bosses; who could to sleep anywhere in New York City:
    benches, concrete sidewalks, standing erect on the train;
    who found Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians named
    Paul, Peggy and Hermie, ate cherry soup with them but
    kept his family in a family apart so his children’s children
    might never have that sense that the ground under them
    was on loan, would need to be relinquished, and might
    even have to be paid for like rent; whose name never
    disembarked, whose name get covered with new paint.


  103. utsabfly

    What I Miss Most…

    “That time don’t wait for nobody”
    You often would say
    Staring into the unseen
    With a reflective gaze

    You were a man of strong faith
    Always seeking the truth
    Sifting though pages to keep learning
    Writing and sharing what you knew

    You were strong and gentle
    At times stern, but always loving
    You referred to us kids as “mutts”
    We were “Gertrude” when your memory was buckling

    You played a mean game of checkers
    And our tennis matches were so much fun
    And, not sure how, but your ham sandwiches
    Are still the best in the world, bar none!

    I miss your garden and your golf ball collection
    I miss your spray painted high top converses
    I miss pretend face shaving with closed razors
    I miss putting bows in your hair till you looked ridiculous

    I miss so many things about you PaPa
    I could write on and on about the grandfather I knew
    Words of good memories would accrue endlessly
    But in my heart, what I miss most is you…

    ©E.D. Allee
    April, 2014

    1. cbwentworth

      Ooops. Autocorrect altered the first stanza. It should go like this:

      Rising through the ground,
      tiny miracle of life
      Leafy wings take flight

      The wind blew too fierce
      feathers singed and fell apart
      A small life, no more

  104. lionetravail

    “But The Dream Lives Yet”
    by David M. Hoenig

    No, we did not go gentle into space,
    but rather with a shrieking rocket blast
    to carry battle cry of human race!

    Were we content to take failure with grace?
    We risked and strove to reach the deepy vast;
    no, we did not go gentle into space.

    We won’t accept just one world as our place!
    Remember Mercury and missions past,
    to carry battle cry of human race?

    The spirits of our hallowed dead keep pace
    in orbit with their days of service passed;
    no, we did not go gentle into space.

    Now exploration’s dead for reasons base:
    will it be lifeless voices at the last
    to carry battle cry of human race?

    The sun will enter into its last phase;
    we know that its death we will not outlast.
    No, we did not go gentle into space,
    to carry battle cry of human race!

  105. LizMac

    An Elegy

    I prepare now to stand at the edge of my own grave
    For a second time, mourning the passing
    Of yet another lost self,
    Neither weeping nor gnashing,
    But a mere grasping at fading memories
    Of other lives that seem half real.

    I still remember that first self who died in the maternity ward.
    But her spirit, I’m sure, was never lain to rest.
    The death was sudden and unexpected
    The youth with all her expansive freedoms,
    Naive dreams and aspirations didn’t
    Realize that life for her was about to end.
    Her ghost still haunts those halls,
    Dazed and wondering where all have gone
    And why no one can now see her.

    The second death spiraled more slowly,
    Gestating quietly through the years
    Almost undetectable at the first troubling prognosis
    Yet gradually creeping deeper, one cell, one year, at a time;
    Until the inevitable moment when those around her
    Receded and moved on – not unexpected
    But still erasing the delineations that had
    Etched deeply every fiber, for so very long.

    So, here now I stand alone,
    Naked and disembodied from the past,
    Clinging to naught but shivering memories,
    Wondering whether these alone are enough
    To coalesce into some new form
    That can carry through eternity?

  106. elishevasmom

    Cohoes Falls (a casade poem)

    You’ve been standing there in all your glory
    Since the last glaciers pulled themselves north.
    So named, by the Iroquois indigenous to your banks,
    From an ancient legend, meaning “a canoe falling”.

    You drown out all conversation.
    You vibrate the very ground.
    Your mist decends like rain in the sunlight of day.
    You’ve been standing there in all your glory.

    Explorers felt awed in your presence.
    They had never seen anything like you.
    No one had witnessed such magnificance,
    Since the last glaciers pulled themselves north.

    Honoring the beautiful daughter of a tribal chief
    Who, wearied by the heat, slept in a bark by the river’s edge,
    Forever lost, claimed by the mighty falls.
    So named, by the Iroquois indigenous to your banks.

    Now, with the dam, the canals,
    the hydro-electric plant and the chain link fence,
    Your magesty stands diminished.
    From an ancient legend meaning “a canoe falling”.

    Ellen Evans

      1. elishevasmom

        Thank you. Lived neer them for years, and am visiting family. Aparently, there is now a new site just up river for unobstructed photography. But that is still downstream of the dam.

  107. starrynight3

    Eulogy for Madgie

    They lost her when she was two:
    Little Madgie, of a bellyache or the fever.
    The doctor came to the house and
    Tried to save her. Grandma still talked
    About it, about Madgie, at ninety-one.
    I never did see Little Madgie’s grave, she’d say,
    Uncle Nola took her back to Kentucky
    On a train and she was buried in McGrew Cemetery.
    Grandma was born near Leitchfield; it was her home.
    But Dad says they couldn’t find Little Madgie’s grave,
    Unless it was one of the unmarked ones.
    See if you can find Madgie’s grave, he says
    Every once in a while, near ninety himself.

    There were two babies lost before Madgie;
    Laddie and Lassie died shortly after birth.
    Grandma never seemed to get over it though,
    But who would? In those days, losing a child or two
    Seemed common. Grandma lost three then.
    They had two house fires over the years; the
    Last one in the brick bungalow on the Fletcher farm
    Forced Grandma and Pa to move into town.
    Something went wrong with the furnace they say.
    Pa died ten years later of a disease of the lung.
    Grandma woke up blind one day at ninety.
    That was why she ended up in a home.

    I’m headed to Kentucky myself in September
    McGrew cemetery bound.

  108. P.A. Beyer

    The 8 –Bit Heroine

    Your smile captured the world
    (who could resist your pretty red bow?)
    A power hungry vegetarian,
    you navigated life’s crazy maze
    like it was a game to gobble up.

    Always running –
    Left, right, up, down,
    backwards and forwards
    in one door, through the next
    appearing unstoppable

    But ghosts haunted you
    and hunted you
    and cornered you
    until, ultimately, you had
    no more lives to live.

    Was it love or addiction?
    Such a fine line but
    I’ll never forget the lady
    who pulled away from
    the rest of the Pac –

    Not with that high game smile
    and your pretty red bow.

  109. smdnyc

    Elegy to My Former Self

    You were small, so you
    didn’t know better. So much
    depended on your

    smile. If you hadn’t
    hid what you really felt, your
    father’s world would have

    collapsed. It’s okay.
    There’s so much to be made from
    scrap. Start from anywhere.

  110. GirlGriot

    Not sure if this is really an elegy. I’m still thinking about the recent family-tree discoveries I’ve made. This is for my great-grandfather who I found on an 1870 census, just five years after he’d been freed from slavery:

    man, free.
    I can never
    know him, know his face,
    of his eyes.
    An unknown man.
    But his blood still runs.
    in me.
    What other
    traces of him
    am I carrying?

    (The form is an Arun, a 15-line poem with the syllable count 1/2/3/4/5 — 3x. It may be a new thing in the world, made up by me last year. “Arun” means “five” in Yoruba.)

  111. CristinaMRNorcross

    Golden Threads

    Show me how to do those leg lifts, Cristina.
    I need to learn.

    You know –
    Tissue only likes the white cushion
    to sit on.
    Nothing but the best
    for my Tissue.

    Vera loved her cats.
    We have that in common.
    She also loved her kids.
    Her girls, by marriage,
    and the many foster children
    she raised from her soft hips.

    A voice like honey –
    hands made for cooking chili –
    Vera held the world close.
    She sewed until her hands
    were broken from arthritis.
    She mended minds.
    She mended hearts.
    Vera was the mother to all.

    On the day I found out she died,
    there was a rainbow in the sky.
    I rushed home,
    thinking my own mother had taken ill.
    We sat at the table,
    after the phone call came through.

    Mother to many –
    Vera was gone.
    We remembered her –
    the golden needle –
    the silver thread.
    Somewhere close
    she is mending fabric –
    making clothes out of bread.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  112. LuvingLife


    Little girl, oh how I love the way
    your hair smells of Just For Me.
    And when those brown eyes light up
    every time Mister Softy hits the top of the block.
    I think of you and tears swell of how you can never anticipate
    the coming of Christmas or summer day fun.
    The death of my little girl breaks my heart.

  113. Clark Buffington

    It was difficult and painful when you were dead so abruptly.
    In the beginning I didn’t want to believe you were truly gone.
    I was remembering the good times with fondness and cheer.
    I’d replay those on a loop trying not to think of the bad.

    As time has passed I find it’s not so difficult to move on.
    I think of you less and less everyday with that ache in my gut.
    Now I remember the bad times and regret your passing less.
    When you were here you were a destroying angel hiding behind fun.

    I knew you had to go and I even wanted you gone.
    This wasn’t easy but I needed to live so you had to die.
    Finally I reached out for help and that was when I finally said goodbye.
    It was a hard fought battle and it’ll never end, but today I win.
    Alcohol your death is my life and I still miss you so stay dead.

  114. TheFlawlessWord


    Like an overstuffed backpack,
    Its heft dug deep into
    My shoulders,
    Hunching me over,
    Quasimodo like,
    At the spine.
    The days and weeks and years
    After you died
    Weighed me down…
    Too hard—too heavy
    To carry.

  115. Linda Voit

    Twin of My Mother

    I got to know you after you died

    in bedtime stories of my mother’s
    happy childhood

    in construction paper
    Mother’s Day cards you glued
    in grade school in the forties
    and funny letters home
    from nursing school postmarked
    1959, all kept in a box
    under my grandma’s bed

    in warnings by my great grandma
    to stop fighting with my sister
    because someday I would miss her

    in frames on Gram’s front room wall –
    your senior picture in your
    light sweater, simple pearl necklace,
    your red lipstick and soft brown hair
    pulled back.

    You were so loved, I find comfort
    knowing my parents put your name
    in the middle of mine.

    Linda Voit

  116. arlingtonscribe

    An Elegy for Dial-up

    conversations wrapped in noise hiss,
    you whispered to me,
    then pinged that orgasmic sound,

    it rocks the foundations of my world
    in a way virtual living’s not supposed to,

    jacked in and desk-topped,
    your tower of amusement,
    whirling and warming,
    you climb inside, not leaving
    a trail of crumbs because
    the way out was always in

    the hourglass on the screen
    points the way, measures the
    ease of surf, you stretch across,
    finding your quote-unquote sea legs
    pulled taut and propelled by the
    next URL road that unfurls

    progressing, until…

    the phone rings,
    but you don’t hear it at first,
    you feel it in the tide,
    like a horror movie there’s
    something in the water

    god. no. not now. i was in the middle of…

    you answer the phone in that exasperated tone
    those in the know understood. yet they took
    the gambit because phone lines were
    meant for talking, not surfing.

    it was something to get used to.

    “I’m sorry,” they always say. “Were you online?”

    and then, worst than anything,
    the waiting

    to reestablish the connection
    awaiting the dial tone

    busy, searching for alternate numbers

    you must be absolutely still,
    you must hold your breath

    you glance at
    the shrink-wrapped “Try AOL for Free” packages stacked,
    shoved between magazine covers, and wonder
    why you even bothered to answer the future,

    but that sound again…soothes you

    crawling along the dark edges of a chat room,
    behind closed doors, private chatting
    and quoting Tony Montana,
    and she responds (you assume it’s a girl):
    “Who’s Tony Montana?”

    and just as suddenly,
    678girrl has left the chat room,
    all these ghosts left behind
    in an analog era dreaming of Wi-Fi before it was
    even born

    rest easy, my dear friend, you grew to be
    more than we could have hoped for

    you broke a lot of hearts on your way out,

    and ushered us into the
    beyond, with pocketed internets
    and glass of google
    a shepherd leading us
    across the digital divide

  117. Emily Cooper

    X-Why Axis

    Researchers have discovered
    an “interacting protein”

    on the surfaces
    of both sperm and egg

    that helps the two
    recognize each other
    and join.

    This protein has
    been nicknamed “Izumo”
    after a Japanese marriage shrine.

    Izumo pairs with “Juno”
    named after the Roman
    goddess of fertility

    (and who later
    reincarnated herself

    inside of Ellen Page’s character’s uterus
    when she hooked up

    with lovable athletic
    nerd Paulie Bleeker).

    Since the first meeting
    of sperm and egg
    is the progenitor of
    our beloved homo sapiens

    (well at least after
    the original Big Bang)

    and therefore
    that of our beauty and cruelty
    and mundanity and weirdness

    should we also mourn those
    who never got to live
    in the first place

    never even long enough
    to be miscarried
    or stillborn

    whose particular
    combination of cells
    never formed

    for those reasons
    which are split into dozens

    of college sociology
    and history classes?

    It sometimes seems easier
    than working with
    the people we’ve got

    including ourselves.

  118. carolecole66

    Five Stages of Grief: an Elegy

    When you answered the door to me and asked
    where my father was, expecting him at the door,
    I said “you must have been sleeping, dreamed
    him back to life.” And when a week’s worth
    of pills disappeared in a day, I blamed your eyes.
    But bad vision could not explain the blankness
    when you looked at me. And then I had to tell you,
    five times, that your parents were deceased, that
    they could not come to pick you up, and can’t
    you just say my name? Can’t you? I would
    say Hail Marys until my tongue dropped out,
    sit on tacks, eat all the worms I threatened
    when I was five if you’d return just one
    more time and know my name. But it’s no use.
    I can hardly bear to visit, watch you turn to dust
    before my eyes, spoon pureed peas into your
    uncomprehending mouth. I would rather die myself
    than watch this slow disintegration, everything gone
    but the heartbeat. Now I can only sit and hold
    your hand, talk of family, hope my voice can soothe you
    the way your skin against my fingers eases me.
    Today, I looked past the blank eyes, the mouth
    that cannot speak, remembered the love you never
    well expressed. And then, at last, I let you rest.


  119. cam45237

    Reflections on a Broken Glass

    Where have you gone my bonny girl?
    With the sunlight spinning in your curls?
    And the deep blue sea of your dream-filled eyes?
    With your open arms and your endless skies?

    When did the world tear you asunder?
    Shatter your song, scatter your wonder?
    Throw your heart to the bitter wind?
    When will I see my girl again?

    Who was it then who held you down?
    In the bottomless mud, in the hardscrabble ground?
    Did they bend you til you broke, poor child?
    Quell your spirit, was your soul defiled?

    Is there anything, anything I can do?
    To make you whole again, and to
    Sweep up the silvered shards because
    They reflect the girl that I once was?

  120. Funkomatic

    Midday heat amplifies the smell
    Of burning, being burnt, char

    The atrocities of deformation
    By fire cracker and magnifying glass

    None of these boys know about
    Atlanta, Dresden, or My Lai

    Temporary armistice called
    On account of mac and cheese

    I tremble with the task of teaching
    Them before they become Army Men.

  121. msmacs3m

    Please indulge this second posting for today’s prompt. I have been attempting a Haiku each day and did not think I could condense my longer poem into one. This is my attempt. S.

    PAD Day 16
    Elegy Haiku
    by Sandy McCulloch

    You lay there so small
    Eighty years of bitterness
    Now an empty shell

  122. flood

    No Foul Play

    Today, they confirmed it was
    definitely you, the two girls who’d gone
    missing in May of 1971.

    Your bodies stayed covered
    by water and all forensic evidence
    indicated no foul play.

    An unusually wet spring, followed by
    a South Dakota drought, finally freed you
    from the weight of absence.

  123. CathyBlogs

    Elegy for Your Blue Eyes

    I miss you in the shallow water
    where we walked in the late afternoons
    and the reflection of the pale sky
    swirled and settled and swirled and

    I miss you in the dark and deep
    beyond the place the waves break
    where we swam and floated and
    wondered what lay beneath and

    I miss you on the berm at night
    where the phosphorescence frothed
    to the shore and the water caught
    the moonlight and wouldn’t let go and

    I miss you for it’s here we found
    every shade of blue in sky and sea
    that shines and tides without surcease;
    where still I mourn for your lost

    and shipwrecked eyes.

    by Cathy Dee writing at CathyBlogs.com

  124. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    The polished granite slabs reflect
    my face between the sky and earth,
    shadowed by rows of inscribed names,
    memories frozen in their youth,
    each in its place there on the wall,
    surrounded by brothers who share the day.

    Not knowing it would be that day,
    though maybe pausing to reflect
    on what might wait beyond the wall
    of wire, sandbags, wood, and piled earth,
    or in their invincible youth
    of shells engraved with separate names.

    And what common, ordinary names:
    Anderson, Baker, Collins, Day,
    Edwards, Fielder, Givens – the youth
    of small towns with dreams that reflect
    common, ordinary things: earth
    newly plowed, engines rebuilt, stone wall

    freshly laid and true, a barn wall
    painted, a door hung; all those names
    deserving more than just raw earth –
    a diploma, a wedding day,
    aging with the chance to reflect
    on the joys of a misspent youth.

    What of those days of misspent youth?
    Those who ran till they hit the wall;
    stood still as calm waters reflect,
    knew the ways and numbers and names
    of the minute, the hour, the day,
    phase of the moon, tilt of the earth,

    the dirt, the sand, the clay, the earth;
    old age, middle age, childhood, youth;
    sunset, midnight, dawn becomes day?
    Stacking stone on stone builds a wall,
    Families bear the weight of their names,
    here pausing to pray, to reflect.

    Hold back the earth, oh cut stone wall;
    Retain their youth, preserve their names,
    Until that day we need not reflect.

  125. amaranthe

    Ode to the Eighties

    Grape kool-aid in my favorite kool-aid man cup,
    (although we all know all colors tasted the same;
    but fun to pretend the rainbow was fruity).
    Danced to the record Mom played from
    that huge magic music-in-a-box.
    (Doing the moon-walk on carpet was tough
    but I made a valiant effort).
    Back outside on bike. No helmet,
    and band-aids laughing in the breeze
    (why we even bothered putting them on in the first
    Back inside for dinner: mashed potatoes and
    pork chops with white gravy accidentally
    dribbled on my plastic floral placemat
    (it stuck to the table a little).
    Back out to the gravel and grass
    until bedtime. Hair full of dust
    nimbuses and smell of all earthly permutations.
    (no more band-aids on but too tired to care).

  126. cobanionsmith

    Elegy for Moons

    Despite its inevitable doom,
    I drew a yellow crescent
    at the top the blackboard.
    “Here’s the moon,
    his nose, an eye, and a mouth.
    Here are stars.”
    The moon-man
    smiled. “Moon,”
    said my son,
    practicing the power
    to name things. “Stars,”
    then he wiped out
    everything with the rag
    I gave him.
    “Agin agin agin agin?”
    So, we created and destroyed
    moon after happy moon
    without hesitation
    for the rest of the afternoon.

    (c) Courtney O’Banion Smith

  127. encrerouge

    An elegy to the chimeras that lived in the corner of the eye

    Oh, how the scavenger has become the farthest
    unreachable nostalgia of the ever orchard!
    today I wept in the transformation of the forest,
    the one the enchanted watered with connections
    receptions embodied a neural hidden weakness
    beneath the soil, fragments of time clustered in roots
    eating away all of the atoms that once vitalized
    an ecosystem full with the weight of love.

    Believe me, that in every weighing lantern
    carrying lost seeds, a breath of my soul embraces distance
    embraces flight without the spectacle of a pretentious wavering
    the valor precedes the factors and the actions in the existence
    to only harvest more parts of a you in the me as a gift
    you have colored parts of an I in every one of us
    in every part that bows on the behalf of colored experiences
    Oh, how can I make an echo of gratitude expand beyond the atmosphere!

    To the woods of illusions, the flowers will open again with salty waters
    your presence will never be rotten by mold or the occasional cuts
    in the bark. Tree trunks will withstand because of the ribbons
    strings of memories tied in the bodies conceptualizing permanency
    as a constant trip to many nations and unbreakable tea cups
    objects that once held the ounces per day where the heart sang
    and their nectar was drank with pleasure, truly with content
    Fair well to you, imagining of what precedes a transmutation spurt

    Of my animate existence mechanism , you had it all…

  128. peacegirlout

    Elegy Retracted

    Yesterday I had the blues
    About a man they call Blue
    I wrote a poem about him
    An Elegy of sorts in anticipation
    Of his letting go or his
    Simply not wanting to
    Shuffle his feet
    Down that hospital corridor

    I wondered if the vultures
    Had taken human form
    Squawking and peering
    Sideways at his heaving chest
    But on this day a grandson came
    To see about the man called Blue
    And like the support beams applied
    To a storm chased house
    He offered his back as a frame

    Back to back they both sat
    And the roots of the man
    They call Blue
    Got drunk from the love
    Shooting down through his spine
    Magically healing the tree

  129. Ashley Marie Egan

    Because I Love You
    by Ashley Marie Egan

    As the leaves change by the bay,
    I witness a beautiful transition to decay,
    Oh, how I wish all life could die with grace.
    There’s no dignity in death, but also no disgrace,
    It’s a natural experience only understood in the wild,
    Because our humanity makes us a chaotic child.
    You were different than the rest,
    I watched you suffer and still feel blessed.
    Your voice echoes through my head,
    Feels like talking to the dead.
    I know you’re gone,
    Still I hold on,

    Because I love you.

  130. Sara McNulty

    Passing of the Light

    I lament the passing
    of your curvaceous shape,
    and the way you turned
    on, lighting a room. You can
    still be found in dark back rooms
    of hardware stores where people
    still have a soft spot in their hearts
    for you. Your replacement does not
    hold a glow to you. It twists, wiggles–
    there is no quality of light. Personally,
    I have always favored the seventy-five.

  131. MichaelMcMonigle

    Graveyard Passing

    Single rose laid
    Pricking at marble angels
    Pathways barren
    Shaped silk tributes
    Muted color in
    Wide brush strokes
    Rarefied fog
    Creeping through
    Stone mazes
    Distinguished hauntings
    Smoking eyes
    Into waterflow
    The older the broken
    Engraved + erased
    Momento Mori
    Scattered lot
    Owned by eternity
    Rust gated
    Pinned in prayer
    Boxed large and small
    Eyes roll over
    Serenity and sorrow

  132. Sharon Ann

    On Killing Off Characters

    I cry with my characters when my keystrokes
    take the life of someone loved within the book.
    They carry on,
    they grieve,
    and always something changes.
    They move, they change, they need
    a change of scene.
    Death is like that.
    It changes how we feel and our world
    is never really quite the same.
    At times I find myself letting them live on
    because I just can’t bear to see them die.

  133. MyPoeticHeart

    I have been thinking things over all day, so many loved
    so many dead.

    I have shed tears off and on all day, for my loss of children who have never been held by this mothers hand,
    miscarried never got to know if boy or girl, except for one, James Michael, who died because he was poisoned by carbon monoxide, I lost him at 6 months along….he only had 3 months to go..3 months, and nothing.

    Missouri had a rotten law, mom’s don’t get to hold their babies even if they look like babies, the law says they are ‘garbage’ and we the mothers are not mothers to garbage…

    how could I write to him of him…. if by law he never was?

    My several family members, uncles, and grandparents, I can’t place one above another.

    George, my dear friend who taught me much about how a dad should love his daughter….
    and he did love me as if I was his daughter, I loved him back as if he was the Dad I never had.

    Yeah, I cry for all those I have loved and lost.

    I was told long ago that poetry is what is felt deep in the heart,
    expressed by the one whose heart is breaking.
    Maybe tonight I have made it, to be a poet?
    My heart is rendered broken,
    by those I have loved and those I have lost.

    Rest in peace my lovelies..
    I will never forget how much you have touched me deep deep in my heart.

  134. sharon4

    Elegy for an Abandoned Statue
    ~inspired by a photo of Christ of the Abyss in San Fruttuoso, Italy

    Christ of the Abyss, a starfish in your hand like a ninja weapon, barnacles and seaweed waves upon your frame, fans out into the dark liquid void. You are the forgotten creation, stone submerged a mile down in saltwater, a now dead artist’s nod to his zealous faith. Your hair flows back in long green strands, the ocean tides an ineffable force. Yet you remain stoic, steadfast beneath the surface, your arms spread wide as if
    to say, all of this, too, is beautiful and worthy of my sacrifice. Your hands upraised, beseeching
    for what’s beyond the underwater life. Are they held out toward starlight that will never reach the murk where you pray for all forgotten life? Oh, Christ of the Abyss, how do you bear the loneliness of water? How do you bear time’s dissolution of who you are? Your prayers are the million bubbles rising all around you. And on this day, a visitor: the diver who photographs you is ready to ascend, awash in all your longing.
    Sharon Fagan McDermott

  135. SestinaNia

    I blame this one on Robert and his decision to mention a song this morning :P And if my coding doesn’t work right, the titles should have been italicized!

    [strong]Elegy to the ‘80’s or [I]Let’s Hear it for the Boy[/I] [/strong]

    We were [I]Going Underground[/I]
    on a lonely [I]Road To Nowhere[/I]—
    [I]Time After Time[/I] I wonder, [I]Should
    I Stay Or Should I Go?[/I]

    I stop to dance, because [I]I Love
    A Rainy Night,[/I] but you beckon—
    “I’m going [I]With
    Or Without You[/I].”

    You [I]Walk Like An Egyptian[/I]
    and I [I]Blame It On The Rain[/I].
    Down here, we are [I]Livin’
    On A Prayer[/I].

    I know someday I’ll be
    the [I]Owner Of A Broken Heart[/I]
    thanks to this [I]Crazy Little Thing
    Called Love.[/I] You are the [I]Eye
    Of The Tiger[/I], and you kiss
    me [I]Like A Prayer[/I].

    [I]Every Rose Has It’s Thorn[/I],
    but [I]Don’t Worry, Be Happy[/I]—
    [I]Every Breath You Take [/I]can still
    [I]Take My Breath Away[/I]. After all,
    [I]We Are The World[/I],
    and [I]Nothing’s
    Gonna Stop Us Now[/I].

    — Sara Doyle

    1. SestinaNia

      sorry, the coding didn’t translate–here’s a clean version:

      Elegy to the ‘80’s or Let’s Hear it for the Boy

      We were Going Underground
      on a lonely Road To Nowhere—
      Time After Time I wonder, Should
      I Stay Or Should I Go?

      I stop to dance, because I Love
      A Rainy Night, but you beckon—
      “I’m going With
      Or Without You.”

      You Walk Like An Egyptian
      and I Blame It On The Rain.
      Down here, we are Livin’
      On A Prayer.

      I know someday I’ll be
      the Owner Of A Broken Heart
      thanks to this Crazy Little Thing
      Called Love. You are the Eye
      Of The Tiger, and you kiss
      me Like A Prayer.

      Every Rose Has It’s Thorn,
      but Don’t Worry, Be Happy—
      Every Breath You Take can still
      Take My Breath Away. After all,
      We Are The World,
      and Nothing’s
      Gonna Stop Us Now.

        1. SestinaNia

          thanks :) I have to admit, I don’t know ALL of these songs, but I have heard of at least most of them–and poor country didn’t come up on my lists–might have to add in a stanza :)

  136. Cameron Steele

    April Elegy

    It snowed the day after our parents paid taxes.
    The water bowl froze and the puppy
    whined by the door in the dark until
    dad or maybe mom in dad’s boots
    clomped down the back stairs to break the ice.
    We all knew spring would come again,
    maybe the next day or in time for the weekend,
    along with the Easter bunny and Jesus,
    their chocolate dopplegangers tucked in
    between marshmellow peeps and synthetic
    grass. Our sundresses hung in eager pastels
    in the closets, ready for stomachaches
    and lemonade, knee-scrapes and band-aids,
    but we dragged out the sweatshirts on April 16
    and didn’t open our mouths for grace
    or even coffee at breakfast. I’m so tired, dad said,
    or maybe it was mom in dad’s broken voice,
    and my sisters and I, we knew better than to cry
    or even ask what was wrong.
    Grief is like that sometimes. It bleeds you dry,
    washes over you in a blanket of white, and melts
    before you even have time to break through to water.

  137. shellcook

    Prompt # 16
    Write an Elegy

    I looked for you today,
    But I didn’t see you there.
    You, the girl I left behind,
    were so filled with love,
    You shone your light on me
    and I became undone.

    I let you turn and walk away
    and now you are no more.
    The wind whispers such lonely words
    Where you once sang your songs
    Their laurels fade without your touch
    Become brittle, dry, and cracked.
    The fruit withers on the vine
    where you once softly trod.

    Your words were bright
    and sound,
    and true.
    I’ve searched the world
    far and wide
    but cannot find you here.

    What happened to that sweet young girl
    who long ago was me.

  138. lidywilks


    I hunt through the beats
    for any remnants of your legacy
    and still I can’t find you.
    My heart thumps in fear, in tune
    to the heavy bass, dredging up
    the past me scoffing at your tales
    of ‘he’s just my baby daddy,’
    ‘he’s just a friend,’ your crazy Uncle Ricky’s
    children’s story and your 99 problems.
    Only to miss how you taught me to walk this way,
    with your swagger and roll breaking
    down barriers, swigging back
    some gin and juice, and declaring
    yourself as an one man army Ason,
    screaming if I ruled the world!
    Now who’s gonna show me how to make some noise
    or boogie to the rhythm of the boogie the beat?
    Or must I believe that everything was all a dream?
    Even now, your beat and melody whispers
    from across the grave, telling me keep your head up.
    Yet sometimes I despair that it’s not enough,
    to lay my hopes in the splintered version of you.
    I aint mad at you, it wasn’t your fault but
    hip hop, why did you leave us so soon?

    by Lidy Wilks

  139. Reynard

    grandfather I remember the day we all came
    and gathered around your wilting frame
    the preacher crouched by your bedside
    asking if you had met your maker and were prepared to die
    you jumped up from your death bed and let us know
    no preacher or anyone else would tell you when it was time to go
    you went out on the porch that day
    the first time in many you had felt that way
    pulling out your papers- your cigarettes you rolled
    and across the porch your weak legs strolled
    we all laughed at that – it was what we knew of you
    a man who was his own through and through
    as you set your tobacco- always stored in a coffee can-
    aside we looked to you and held your dying hand
    the hard life you had lived was coming to a close
    the cancer would take you soon- this we did know
    but on that day with the sun bathing your face
    you seemed from another time- another place
    thank you for the strength that you gave me
    and the open mind that helps me to see
    thank you for the life you carved out on your own
    and the way you made your home
    thank you most for your love of all things living
    and the way you breathed your dying blessing

  140. DCR1986

    When Heaven Calls My Name

    After your heart stopped,
    the room became ice cold—
    my insides shivered.
    The clouds pouted and cried.
    I stood underneath them,
    so no one could see my tears.

    Then, the sun woke up
    beside me and a little blue bird.
    I sat quietly. She sung.
    As I closed my eyes,
    I dreamt that I could
    Snap my fingers or clap my hands
    for you to reappear.
    No, here is when time welcomes never.

    Only in my dreams
    can I see you.
    Smell you when I walk
    by your room.
    Feel you when the
    wind speak.
    Hear your last voice mail.
    Read your thoughts
    through old greeting cards.
    Until I hold you again—
    When heaven calls my name.

    —Danielle C. Robinson

  141. laurie kolp

    What Remains

    envision clingy tendrils
    releasing from the trellis of control
    wisps of smoke, your wanton soul
    drifting skyward a balloon
    growing smaller, smaller

    oh, Mom

    I wave goodbye, relish
    memories the stains, red
    as wine on whitest sheet

    not your nit-pick eye
    or tsk-tsk click of tongue–
    no, I’ll let those memories go

    but your smile,
    always reassuring
    stamped on family photos
    etched in time, my heart

    reflected in the way I smile
    each time I think of you

    I’ll keep

  142. msings


    I dreamed that you had died
    and there would be no more from you
    but that what you had given
    we’d take and parse and continue to chew
    passing from mouth to mouth,
    as we always had done.
    But you haven’t died, it was another
    and I felt a sudden catch of the throat,
    a shocking absence after plenitude
    as if my sleeping face had flipped around
    like a mask to stare at morning,
    or a sleepwalk march from an empty room
    into a room full of diners, breathless
    after a gasp, like inhaling a morsel of food.

  143. mshall

    Elegy at the close of day

    The night breaks softly on the city
    The daylight disappears in drips and drabs
    Like dishwasher down a clogged drain
    Replaced by neon
    In seamless synchronicity

    The aching spreads slowly in my bones
    Angst radiates a dull throbbing
    Like a cavity that has gone unfilled
    An emptiness
    A gaping maw of separation

    The crowd surges here and there
    To bars, cafes and restaurants
    Like a tide pulled to human contact
    And to home
    I hear their laughs, I see their smiles
    Locked out in nocturnal loneliness

    Oh, dawn, with your rosy fingers,
    Come draw this curtain of despair
    Return the light and life
    Requiem to the night

  144. RebekahJ

    This is for the real poetic form nerds among us: it is a lipogram, a poem that avoids a letter or letters. In this case I avoid the letter “e,” which as everyone probably knows, is the most common letter in English.

    For A Posting of Banns

    What occurs, you know, occurs so slowly. At first it’s blossoms on windowsills, plums sugar-tart, silk-satin brushing skin. Not bad at all, I admit. It’s only gradually that a worry starts. And it is only that. Not anguish–not mostly, anyway, although at particular instants, that may roar forth, volcanic—but say, for now, just worry. As if from a raspy throat/aching back/minor virus. Small things of that kind. Plus, you do find a bit of conflict: not too much, mind you, just a flash now and again—which, you think, is hardly unusual. It stings, but just for an hour. And a dulling—both of touch and of insight—is obviously normal. Only natural. In fact, a common topic. So you go on. In daily traffic that is always flowing, branching, looping through a country that grows awfully familiar. You may not crash; you may hit no major disruptions. But bit by bit, you’ll start to switch things out. As if transforming a vast wall brick by brick, so that nothing falls, but nothing stays. Or moving a highway inch by inch until it points north, not south. Pick your own damn analogy. My point is that without any outward sign, your rock, your compass, your guiding light, will shift; what was most rapturously crucial to your soul will vanish from it. And what’s worst about it is how smoothly it will go, without your noticing what’s missing. How you will not think to cry, or stop to mourn what’s lost.

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  145. bethwk

    Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

    I have not named it yet, this distance,
    this door that stands between us.
    Or I have, actually, I suppose,
    but when a dragon sheds its skin
    it takes on a new name befitting its changes,
    and perhaps our story is like that,
    needing a new naming
    for each of the skins we have scratched off
    First, I called it Waiting.
    Me waiting for you to call out
    from your side of the door,
    to say you needed me now,
    to say you would be taking visitors again.

    I made forays, you cannot say I didn’t,
    and you met me, and that part
    was called Wrestling and Wrangling.
    I thought we were making progress
    at opening that heavy door.

    But it stays closed.
    And I have sat here on this side of it,
    worrying and brooding, and frustrated and sad,
    for years, perhaps, and the cobwebs are heavy
    upon me. So heavy. They weigh like shame.

    I sat here so long simply waiting,
    wondering whether I ought to just leave,
    that I didn’t hear you tiptoe
    off into the distance on your side of the door.

    I think this is an elegy.
    What comes next
    will not be part of this story anymore.
    Perhaps we’ll meet again,
    newborn and fresh,
    somewhere in Rumi’s field,
    and that will be a new thing,
    and I will bless it heartily.

    (Now I will brush the cobwebs aside.
    Now I will stand and step away from the door.)

  146. Alpha1

    (that not here)

    Old school circa 1975
    Huge boom-boxes
    Ruled the world
    Perched precariously
    On strong shoulders
    They blasted away
    A mobile party
    Crowds following behind
    This urban pied piper
    Mesmerized by the sound
    Which is now between the
    Ears of listeners in a private world
    Of ipod playlists and MP3
    Players that fit in a shirt pocket
    Where no boom-box could
    Ever go
    And so they moved on
    To that great pawn shop
    In the sky
    Collecting dust on a shelf
    Behind cassette tapes
    And stereo speakers
    Unplugged forever

  147. EbenAt

    Elegy for Scott Wannberg

    They say that
    imitation is the sincerest
    form of flattery,
    but that boat
    only floats
    when you know
    how to paddle right.

    I don’t know if I can
    channel you, Sensei,
    but I can get hold
    of Sparky
    for a bark or two.

    I don’t have the chops
    but I got rhythm;
    I can’t play that tune
    but I can tap
    my foot.

    When I miss you,
    I put on Black Flag,
    Henry screaming
    at volume ten.

    Or the Ramones, ’cause
    I don’t care about history,
    that’s not where
    I wanna be
    unless you’re along
    for the ride.

    The Voodoo Chile
    told Stevie Ray
    ‘Been waitin’ on ya brothah;
    welcome to the band.’

    I know Allan howls and
    Jack hits the road
    And Cassidy gets laid
    when you hit
    The Big Coffee House

  148. julie e.


    My naive self
    thought that if
    I loved you hard enough
    consistently enough
    elaborately enough
    you’d see that I was
    faithful enough
    funny enough
    worth enough
    to deem a
    treasure a
    and maybe even a

    Turns out
    I would always be

  149. candy

    Piano Teacher

    Side by side on that black bench, one teaching, one learning to play
    I cried.
    Did you practice for one hour yesterday?
    I lied.

    I couldn’t learn to play the left hand notes, although I tried.
    I quit
    and never felt regret until she died.
    Alone I sit

    on that black bench attempting now her lessons to transmit.
    No music sounds.
    My fingers gently, each key, black and white, do it.
    The notes resound.

    They circle upward, upward holding me spellbound
    then fade away.
    Not with joyous song but only words profound
    I pray.

  150. Daniel Paicopulos


    My past readers know of my near death experience, the one when I met my long-dead mother, but this one is not about that, not really, it’s brand new, another.
    Most prompted poets, the bards of this April, won’t write of themselves, they’ll speak of another, an old friend, a parent, a sister or brother.
    But, for me, those odes were written before, I don’t feel the need to say anymore.
    Instead, I’m inspired to think about me, about after I’m gone, how it will be.
    Some friends will cry, others will pray, but what will they write, what will they say?
    If anything’s uttered, as my life they recall, and if I’m able to hear from above,
    what I hope that I hear, now above all, will be talk of who loved me, and who I did love.

  151. Kendall A. Bell


    You grew up picking strawberries
    and raising pigs. You grew up one
    of six. You would trade farm life
    for skyscrapers and photography
    and the big city would swallow you.

    You hated rain. You could have stayed
    home that day, but a friend coaxed you
    out from a lazy day. Asking someone
    for the time shouldn’t be deadly.

    A quick shove of your shoulders and you
    were gone. Four hundred tons of metal
    sent you onto the tracks. Your name,
    on the television, in the newspapers.
    Your mother repeating, No, no, no.

    Consolation does not come in the form
    of a law bearing your name or two trials
    for the man whose head was filled with
    weird voices and violent impulses.

    It comes in the shape of your niece –
    who might one day bear your big smile
    and holds your name – Kendra Grace.

  152. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 16 Elegy poem

    Parable of the Lupines

    You didn’t see me
    walk among your lupines,
    my arms sweeping them over
    till they swayed
    without the wind.

    I came again
    and stuffed my pockets
    just before their seed pods burst
    sowing them in my garden
    waiting till they grew.

    Now I have a purple corner,
    just a small spire of earth,
    but it feels
    as if you touch it,
    and you stay
    without the wind.

  153. beale.alexis

    “This Is What It Feels Like”

    I had never touched a dead body
    until the night of your waking.
    You were trapped
    in your dark-wooden cocoon
    for roughly an hour
    before hell opened the gates
    and I saw.
    Grey hair in ocean waves, white purls
    forced to your throat,
    and your sapphire eyes sealed shut.
    Your skin looked cold.
    I was afraid that if I touched you,
    I might die too.
    I’d drop dead right there on the spot
    because your human body would cause an avalanche
    to stir inside me.
    I knew if I ever expected
    to leave you,
    I’d have to feel
    the proof for myself.
    With the room daring me
    to step closer,
    I took hold of your fingers and squeezed.
    Your body didn’t even flinch
    I was holding a dead, limp hand
    and not sure what the next step was.

    Last Monday I was at my boyfriend’s house
    and we were watching the latest
    Superman movie. His head was lying
    on my chest and my arms were wrapped
    around him.
    I could feel his chest moving,
    inhaling and exhaling.
    The only sound in the white room
    was his heartbeat. God was shining through
    the window and I was paying attention
    to everything else but the movie.
    My smile widened each time
    his fingers twitched out of nervousness
    because his skin was sending fireballs
    to my flesh, reminding me why
    feeling was so important.

  154. Mustang Sal

    This is Not an Elegy for Jesus

    I’d write you a long, sad rispetto
    if I thought you were really dead.
    I’d post it right next to a photo,
    the one with the thorns on your head.

    But I know the end of your story.
    and it’s not a tale of vainglory.
    You overcame death, condemnation
    to provide for believers’ salvation.

  155. priyajane

    He flourished
    in the corner of my cerebellum
    my first garden of roses
    He breathed in silence
    that spoke to chords of my heartstring
    filling my day with an aroma
    that seeped deeper in my poses
    and soared across the stars
    into my world of dreams
    Suddenly he was swallowed in a fire
    and sank into the darkness of light
    and as I dug his grave in red
    I scraped away his candle melt
    But somehow still, I feel his death
    breathing in my sternum
    and I sip the sweetness of that flavor
    in all my daily flowings
    I toast to this, that feels so real
    with cups of colored petals
    and butterflies, invisible in clouds
    and sunsets, rippling trebles

  156. jacq

    Aunt Z by Jacqualine A. Hart

    There it was among your things
    a sleeve of pinks and red polish
    just like the one you used that night
    as you snuggled in our golden arm chair
    I kneeled beside leaning in close
    on my elbows not wanting to miss a word
    your unrealistic musings captured my youth and
    filled the green laden living room
    with funny laughter and pink painted toes

    Though years have past our family gathers
    round your bedside capturing this Kodak
    moment trying not to disturb your unrelated
    roommate who has managed to claim
    more of the room than typical while you
    don costume jewelry as if worth thousands
    we listened to your storytelling before
    you laid to rest upon your new white bed
    of pillows with ivory crepe interior though
    not the bed you had been wanting
    this one came with angels

  157. candy

    So Long Sanity

    It was a long, slow death
    I couldn’t sleep
    Anxiety ruled my days
    Massage therapy, light therapy, aroma therapy,
    homeopathic treatments, organic food,
    supplements – nothing worked
    I could only function at work
    At home I retreated to the solitude of
    my room sitting on my alien bed made up
    with organic sheets and fretted about money,
    ageing, retirement – all the while
    ignoring those who loved me most
    I had no friends and didn’t care
    I lost weight – would only eat small amounts
    of the meals cooked for me
    Other’s illnesses became mine
    My sense of smell was heightened – the
    scent of people offended me
    Some considered me rude and self absorbed
    I couldn’t cope with the ringing doorbell
    The life I lived was not the life I choose
    So long sanity – you are sorely missed

  158. ambermarie

    The Ringing

    One time I called a dead person, not knowing that she was gone
    She must have been busy crossing over –
    A task that probably prevented her from doing a lot of other things
    I wonder how long it was after she drew her last breath
    That her phone began to flash
    Piercing the silence in that stale apartment where she hanged

    Looking into my eyes and smiling the day before
    She had worn her party hat and put on the big show
    Her plan was then executed, and I was for a time alone
    Comforted by none of those sent to cure me
    But she eventually appeared – knowing I felt forgotten
    I smelled her overwhelming softness and knew that all was well
    My messages of love and longing received after all
    Nothing empowered to disconnect our numbers

  159. beale.alexis

    “November 19th”

    Two years ago tomorrow was the first time I ever really drank with someone
    And I remember how guilty I felt
    Because I was supposed to visit you
    And I didn’t

    Then you died the very next day
    And I blamed myself,
    Because maybe it was God punishing me
    For what I had done

    And I can’t tell you how sorry I am
    For choosing him over you that day
    And that summer

    It’s almost been two years
    And I still don’t quite feel like myself sometimes
    And I’m really not sure why that is.

  160. miaokuancha

    April 16, 2014

    Prompt: Elegy

    — To the severed limbs —

    Torn off by blast of bomb
    As you ran your marathon
    Of simple human life

    The remembered:

    U.S.S. Cole
    World Trade Center

    Lumped and
    Severed from the body common,
    Embalmed in rolling news feeds,
    then yearly memorials,
    as emblems
    for pathos
    and revenge.

    The unremembered

    Noor Aziz | 8 | male

    Noor Syed | 8 | male

    Wajid Noor | 9 | male

    Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male

    Ayeesha | 3 | female

    Shoaib | 8 | male

    Maezol Khan | 8 | female

    Sohail | 7 | male

    Asadullah | 9 | male

    Khalilullah | 9 | male

    Noor Mohammad | 8 | male

    Khalid | 12 | male

    Saifullah | 9 | male

    Mohammad Salim | 11 | male

    Luqman | 12 | male

    Ismail | 12 | male

    Alam Nabi | 11 | male

    Salman | 12 | male

    Luqman | 12 | male

    Hizbullah | 10 | male

    Kitab Gul | 12 | male

    Wilayat Khan | 11 | male

    Shehzad Gul | 11 | male

    Talha | 8 | male
    Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female

    Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female

    Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female

    Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female

    Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male

    Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male

    Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female

    Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female

    Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female

    Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female

    Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male

    Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female

    Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female

    Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female

    Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female

    Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male

    Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female

    Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female

    Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male

    Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male

    Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female

    Abedal Ghani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male

    Amputated from our human race
    lest in feeling your
    phantom pain
    we question
    the invisible hand
    that has
    us all.

    ~ miaokuancha

    (The wall of names is a partial list of civilian children killed by anti-terrorist drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.)

  161. CLShaffer

    Elegy For Your Broken Neck by C. Lynn Shaffer

    Back when your John Cougar hair
    curled a bit at the nape, the skin underneath
    a small line the sun hadn’t reached,

    your neck was sturdy as cordwood
    and as smooth as petrified wood,
    able in youth to bend

    impossibly like Frost’s birches.
    Now that poem is a town,
    population: one. You, always you,

    ride tree tops to the ground,
    neck bent back, undulating with laughter
    that would leave you in these last years.

    Your body marked what you’d carry:
    your father’s war, your own,
    a broken back and sickness of all kinds,
    heavy as a flak jacket.

    You slept with your shoes on,
    kept a gun in easy reach
    but all the while

    your bones were letting go.
    You flew out the truck window,
    chin tucked,

    already heading to the place
    we wondered about,
    finally able to be two places at once.

      1. CLShaffer

        Elegy For Your Broken Neck

        Back when your John Cougar hair
        curled a bit at the nape, the skin underneath
        a small line the sun hadn’t reached,

        your neck was sturdy as cordwood
        and as smooth as petrified wood,
        able in youth to bend

        impossibly like Frost’s birches.
        Now that poem is a town,
        population: one. You

        ride tree tops to the ground,
        neck bent back, undulating with laughter
        that would leave you in these last years.

        Your body carried: your father’s war, your own,
        a broken back and sickness of all kinds,
        heavy as a flak jacket.

        You slept with your shoes on,
        kept a gun in easy reach
        but all the while

        your bones were letting go.
        You flew out the truck window,
        chin tucked,

        already heading to the place
        we wondered about,
        finally able to be two places at once.

  162. DanielR

    You took the stage to great applause
    your grand entrance long ago
    and elegantly waltzed across time
    to rhythms and music all your own
    through world wars and The Great Depression
    raising a family and losing a husband
    all captured in black and white photographs
    resting now in albums and in frames
    you ad-libbed and improvised when needed
    there were times you tripped, stumbled and fell
    then bounced up smiling and laughing at yourself
    I was the little blonde-haired boy in the front-row
    who loved you more than you could ever know
    and I still remember well today your final pirouette
    and how gracefully you exited the stage

    Daniel Roessler

  163. Jacqueline Casey

    The Baffled Heart

    A favored image on this shelf, I keep;
    my love. I know that look upon his face.
    I learned to read his eyes though now he sleeps.
    His look does pose a question not erased.

    “Where are we, then, when all of this is past?
    I only ask, as you’re the one around…”
    “Where am I, love, behind this pane of glass?
    I’m with you, yet I’m neither near nor found!”

    I dust the mantle near his questing eyes.
    Our conversation opens many doors.
    His look does baffle me. My bold aside:
    “I cannot answer queries you implore!”

    “I know not why you’re gone so long before;
    don’t ask me such a question, anymore!”

  164. Michelle Hed

    Trips and Triggers of Memory

    Whiffs of pipe tobacco
    drift across my nose
    and into memories
    where a man
    clenches a pipe
    between his teeth
    and slings a guitar
    around his shoulder.

    He sets the pipe down
    and a boyish grin flashes
    across his face
    and a brief twinkle
    lights his eye
    just before he begins to sing.

    Old songs
    of cannonballs
    and going north to Alaska
    run their harmonies
    through my mind
    as the sound of quiet conversation
    and smacking pool balls
    can be heard in the background.

    A snippet of a joke
    lands in my ear
    as I walk by
    and suddenly
    your laughter
    is right beside me
    as you tell one joke
    after another,
    your body
    shaking with
    large laughs.

    But as I walk into the sterile office
    all triggers of the past
    are left outside
    and that is where I have to leave you,
    buried in another town
    far away
    where your footsteps echo
    but are no longer seen.

  165. msmacs3m

    For Mom
    by Sandy McCulloch

    You lie there
    So small
    So fragile
    In a fetal curl
    Cradled between bed rails,

    And I
    Can do nothing to save you.

    Seventy years of Phillip Morris have hardened
    Your lungs,
    Your heart.

    And I
    Cannot ease your pain.

    Poor life
    So wasted in bitterness,
    Because you were sent away to school,
    Because Dad died at fifty-two,
    Because I
    Can never please you.

    Laughter cuts through
    Thin walls of privacy
    In a six-bed ward.
    A celebration.
    She will recover.
    You will not.

    Your eyes flutter open
    But there’s no smile.
    You are angry because I brought you to this place.
    Had no choice.

    Standing by your bed
    I ask how you feel and chatter on fussing with your pillows,
    “Can I get you anything?”
    “Here, take a sip of this. Are you warm enough?”


    You push me away
    with a loudly whispered,
    “Sandra, be quiet!”
    “Sandra, be still!”
    And your eyes close once again.

    I turn, walk away,
    But just for a moment.

    You’re gasping,
    Trying for breath.
    “Someone ring for the nurse!” I yell.

    But it’s no use.

    The nurse wants to know
    if she
    Should try to revive you.

    “No,” I say quietly,
    “Let her go.”
    Let her go.
    Has suffered enough.

  166. creilley


    You always were a shining star
    despite what you were always told
    Stay just the way you are,
    never ever let yourself grow old.

    Though your heart was truly scarred
    by what you thought they thought
    Your exit choice was just too hard
    to win the fight that you fought.

    And how am I to simply carry on?
    I am undone by your last faithless leap.
    No flowers in fields, no manicured lawn
    Your memorial is all that is left to keep.

    You held your beauty even in death
    your style was yet quite committed,
    And with your final mint-sweet breath
    your apologies you scarcely omitted.

    How I wish I had known how to hold your heart
    With the grace and the love it deserved
    For now we are fated to forever be apart
    as the track of your life’s ending swerved.

    Would that I could undo your last deed
    And walk with you under warm summer skies.
    If only I was able to answer the cold need
    that I still see in your death-dimmed eyes.

    Evelyn McHale was a famous suicide from Life Magazine:

  167. Ravyne

    Elegy for a Daughter

    Spring had barely blossomed
    when Death claimed you —
    But you’d been dead my whole life
    Those blue pools rarely rested
    upon my face — unfocused
    clouded by the distant past

    You extended your arms
    to that drunken Nazi bastard
    anything to prove you were his
    (even as you claimed you didn’t care)
    But my arms were limp tentacles
    wrapped around your thick neck

    You pushed me away
    as if I were a leaper
    I was not the mirrored princess
    nor the long-awaited son
    I came into this world starved

    You could have fed me
    enveloped me into those arms
    and pressed me against your heart
    But it was robbed of its beat
    as was I

    O how I wanted to love you
    I did, I did!
    The only lesson that sunk in:
    keep barbs around your heart
    and never let anyone in

    You won, momma
    Congratulations! I too am dead

  168. shellaysm

    Time Well-spent

    Great-grandmother maternal
    daisy print chambray dress, sweater drape
    matching enamel pin at her nape
    modest, soft-spoken, dainty

    My creative nature she piqued
    with ever-resourceful intent
    Appreciating time well-spent
    this is what memories are made of

    Crafting something from nothing
    bits and bobs of this and that
    cleverly she would work at
    ’til turned into art worth awe

    Woven paper Easter baskets
    bird houses from milk jugs
    Samples of wallpaper and rugs
    decorated shoebox dioramas

    Right on the floor beside me
    legs folded off to the side
    Lincoln log farms built with pride
    willingly reconstructed each visit

    A mature child ready to enter
    my make believe world
    never rushing as ideas unfurled
    patient, always fully present

    Bert & Ernie’s silly antics
    coaxed her rosy cheeked giggles
    Her strawberry ashen hair squiggles
    were cotton-candy soft, precise

    Her small house was filled, every nook
    with trinkets she carefully placed
    a life’s treasures display-cased
    cozy yet never cluttered or overdone

    A tower nestled in the hill drew in my attention
    If we could walk there I asked in persistence
    with naively distorted sense of distance
    thinking it only an afternoon’s stroll away

    She’d laugh each time I asked
    but she never once said no
    only that it would take days and so
    many roads to cross to reach there

    Of all things sweet she called dear
    myself surely this included
    Whenever I see a daisy in bouquet or secluded
    I recall the wild ones I picked with her

    My only regret concerning this special lady
    is that my daughter and she never met
    they’d be such kindred souls I bet
    making memories together as we once did

    Quietly she taught that selflessly offered time
    well-spent makes lifelong memories dear
    what you desire is possible if you persevere
    and that joy is simply of your own creation

    Michele K. Smith

  169. Michelle Hed

    The Lonely Burial

    I buried you today
    under a gentle mist
    in a sea of black
    where sniffles
    and muffled hiccupping sobs
    could be heard
    like a dreadful chorus.

    I came first
    to throw a hand of dirt
    upon your final bed
    and as I stretched my arm
    the sun showed up
    just on you and me
    and for a moment
    I felt your arms
    surround me.

    The sun faded
    and so did your arms
    as my arm fell back to my side
    and I walked away
    wondering if you
    liked the service,
    the humorous bits,
    the songs,
    did you note who came?

    Random bits of conversation
    with you inside my head,
    anything other than
    the stark truth
    of leaving you in a cold bed

    So I walked
    and thought of you
    and so, so positive
    that I would never forget
    our time together
    the features of your face
    the feel of your hands.

    Finally the night came
    and all the sympathizers had gone home
    leaving a house filled with food
    and stuffed with well-meaning words
    and I crawled into our cold bed, alone
    and cried
    for you
    and for me
    because I buried you today
    and I miss you so.

  170. James Von Hendy

    Well, after seeing some of you combining the NaPoWrMo challenge of the day (a 10-line poem where each line is a lie) with the Elegy challenge here, I had to give it a try.

    Elegy for Young Love

    They said keep your hands to yourself. Boy did I listen.
    And you, the day you shamelessly shed your blouse?

    What was I to do but take my time with you?
    I hadn’t imagined the taste of your loins

    Or your mother’s wrath even before you said yes.
    It was enough that we were foolish and young,

    That you laid yourself on the rug and I wasn’t scared,
    At least not enough to go on. It was all right

    You said. You hadn’t noticed my hands on your breasts,
    My mouth on your lips. Come, nothing had happened.

  171. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Life is a joyful event
    Uplifting, never spent
    Breathing in and out is meant

    To let go of what we aren’t right now
    Taking a new positive vow
    Remaining conscious somehow,

    Embracing joy in each inhale
    Bringing in fresh life, never stale
    Keeping a healthy vitality, not pale!

    What if every bit of air
    Took away our deepest despair
    Rendering everything neutral and fair

    What if saying a constant, “Yes”
    Cleared away any internal mess
    Life would be grand, I must confess!

    Could it be?
    So very easy
    Releasing misery!

    What if we demanded it go?
    Knowing we have let it know
    We are done, it is time to grow!

    What if just after it died?
    It promised never again to hide
    I would love that, I confide

    We would never need it back
    In the morning or in the sack
    We’d forget it, not keep track!

    Imagine this is all true
    Really what would you say or do?
    Just be joyful . . .

    Yes, that will do!

  172. Zeenie

    elegy for the self

    There was a self
    before this self, a collage
    of plucked features
    and genetic puzzles,

    one that felt synonymous
    with reflection,
    memories –

    this self could prove
    she was human
    by a foot-stamp,
    a wrist-flick,
    a knuckle-crack.

    The coming apart
    was gradual,
    like a jeans hole, gaping
    wider by way of air
    wisps and knee knocks –

    but when all the seams
    fell out and two halves
    lay splintered

    like the emptiness
    of a devoured pomegranate,
    there was the brutal clarity –

    the self does not stay
    unless it believes it should.

  173. Mokosh28

    Séance of Souvenirs

    Hint of cigarette hazes the room. Since
    I have never smoked, I know you are
    here. The indelible press of a half-moon lip
    colors fabric with a red I’d never
    wear. Sometimes I sense you crying
    in a sunset, distant rain making clouds blush
    before they fade. Art bothered you, making
    you feel both apart and a part of it,
    although words could never tell me this.

    I find the butterfly pin you gave me for my
    eleventh birthday wedged under velvet
    in my/your forty-year-old jewelry
    box. We had so little money. You, teaching
    for almost nothing after your husband/
    my father died. But we both, in that shop
    window, found it beautiful with its impossible
    enamel inlay depicting and denying flight.

    -Joanne M. Clarkson

  174. David Walker

    Dead Dogs

    Here we are again. I am a writer
    and this is what I can do for you.
    I stopped asking myself if this was
    fitting for your life, and accepted
    it as ritual. Not sacred, but steadfast.
    Common. When you were lying
    on that blanket in the vet’s office
    I could have swore you were
    breathing angry at me. I was thinking
    about the smell, how I just wanted
    to wash my hands afterwards,
    and I can tell your eyes are glazing
    over when I explain that us humans
    focus on the mundane when it
    comes to grief. You would never
    understand – you wasted all your
    excitement for people walking
    through a door. That’s what was
    important for you. Do you know
    how many doors and people interact
    on a daily basis – several of these
    occurrences I witness myself.
    It’s nothing special. But I suppose
    that’s why I miss you and write
    so much. I can never feel as satisfied
    with the chase as you were.

  175. Julieann


    You were the first
    Yes, there have been others
    But you were the first
    The first is always the best
    I’ll never forget
    Your love and devotion
    Which still fills me with joy
    You provided protection
    Without being a nuisance
    I loved both your fierce loyalty
    And investigative spirit
    You’d listen intently when I
    Cried or related a funny story
    You were the first
    And now a memory I’ll
    Cherish forever
    Of all your many qualities
    You had one bad flaw
    You enjoyed chasing trains
    And chose my birthday to
    To meet your end
    I miss you, Dinky,
    With my whole heart and soul

  176. Delaina Miller

    The Death of Poverty

    Rulers have come and gone
    that worshipped the way
    you brought the poor to their knees.
    So many tears shed in your name.

    You taught us well,
    with bloated bellies
    hung on tiny brittle bones
    to look with our eyes
    and open our hearts.

    Now that you have passed
    I cannot honestly say I’m sad.
    If fact for you, I hope
    there is no resurrection day.

    {It is true poverty is not dead but wouldn’t if be grand if it were?}

  177. mzanemcclellan

    Death Of Happiness
    He was a true best friend,
    was always by my side.
    Never in a bad mood,
    but mine he would abide.
    If I ran, he’d chase me,
    If I sat he would too.
    Some called him my shadow,
    in a way that was true.
    One day when walking home,
    a neighbor came to say,
    there’s been an accident,
    I’ve hit your poodle, gray.
    Dad put him in the shed,
    covered with an old tarp.
    The memory poignant,
    the pain remains so sharp.
    Just a little boy then,
    six years old more or less.
    When I lost my best friend.
    My puppy Happiness.

    ~ M. Zane McClellan

    Copyright 2014
    M. Zane McClellan
    All rights reserved

  178. Janet Rice Carnahan


    You were just our pet
    Yet in your eyes so much more
    Sitting close with me
    On the meditation mat
    And working on my masters.

  179. Nanamaxtwo

    Elegy: They Can’t Be Dead

    I first felt the chill when I read
    the incontrovertible truth:
    William Stafford was dead, had died, would
    no longer write on clear, early mornings, nor
    his enjambment gift me common observations
    that elevated ordinary songs to complex chords.

    Kenneth Koch rattled my brain
    viewing the world succinctly, addressing
    Experience and Testosterone and Carelessness
    as if they should be everyone’s friend,
    lift everyone’s chin to laughter,
    and just when I found him, he is dead.

    Anne Porter’s prayer has hung taped
    to my wall, a Testament to forgiveness
    whenever I merge impulse to judge,
    prepared to speak, with words best
    unraveled before being said.
    I just read she died in 2011. I am bereft.

    Stanley Kunitz abandoned me in 2006: “death
    and life inextricably bound to each other in the land”.
    Unbelievably, Lucille Clifton lost her battle with cancer
    at Johns Hopkins in Maryland while I was ignorantly
    eating pizza with friends. June Jordan died in her bed
    in Berkeley, California, 2002; her marker a milestone.

    John Berryman drank whisky toasts at Dylan Thomas’ funeral
    before I knew of either poet, Milton’s syntax or Coward’s passion.
    Robert Hayden did not die gently in Ann Arbor, no more so
    than he lived to spare his verse, words single file or partnered
    concisely on the page, while I read Dr. Seuss and nursery rhymes
    forty miles away. With gratitude, I grieve your pen’s cessation.

    1. Nanamaxtwo

      Revision following my writing group’s comments.

      Elegy: They Can’t Be Dead

      I first felt the chill when I read
      the incontrovertible truth:
      William Stafford was dead, had died, would
      no longer write on clear, early mornings, nor
      his enjambment gift me common observations
      that elevated ordinary songs to complex chords.

      Kenneth Koch rattled my brain
      viewing the world succinctly, addressing
      Experience and Testosterone and Carelessness
      as if they should be everyone’s friend,
      lift everyone’s chin to laughter,
      and just when I found him, he is dead.

      Anne Porter’s prayer has hung taped
      to my wall, a Testament to forgiveness
      whenever I merge impulse to judge,
      prepared to speak, with words best
      unraveled before being said.
      I just read she died in 2011. I am bereft.

      Among others, June Jordan died in her bed
      in Berkeley, 2002; her marker a milestone.
      Stanley Kunitz abandoned me in 2006: “death
      and life inextricably bound to each other in the land”.
      Lucille Clifton lost her battle with cancer
      in 2010 while I ignorantly ate pizza with friends.

      John Berryman drank whisky toasts at Dylan Thomas’
      funeral before I knew of either poet, Milton’s syntax
      or Coward’s passion. Robert Hayden did not die gently
      in Ann Arbor, no more so than he lived to spare his verse,
      words single file or partnered concisely on the page,
      while I read Dr. Seuss and nursery rhymes forty miles away.

      With gratitude, I grieve their pen’s cessation.

  180. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Once you both
    Left this world too soon
    It was time
    To love you
    So deeply and completely
    All walls were now gone.

  181. madeline40

    Paul Sharples

    You’re still there up on the mantle
    almost fifteen years later
    Your face is turned toward the camera
    while your body looks the other way.
    You wear your usual wry
    closed mouth smile and white Gap tee
    your hair, buzzed just right,
    the color of rust.
    And you show us my favorite part
    thick brows over the ice blue
    of your eyes
    After fifteen years I’ll never forget those eyes
    The other parts: your music, your candlesticks,
    your Rubics cube, your Buddha pose
    we’ve integrated into our lives.
    But your eyes, they are gone
    along with you.
    Oh, how I miss you
    and those eyes.

  182. Bartholomew Barker

    George Heavilin (1914-2007)

    Named for his grandfather
    My mom’s dad is the grandparent
    I resemble most
    Though not physically

    He rarely spoke though we assumed
    Because Grandma was rarely quiet

    He loved walking in cemeteries
    Collecting genealogies

    He gave me my first telescope
    One he’d built years before

    He kept detail records
    Of his solitaire games

    He and Grandma ran off
    Once they had grandchildren
    To join the circus

    Of course there were differences
    He was proud to have crossed picket lines
    I would rather he had manned

    He would have disapproved of my drinking
    And strip club poetry

    My grandmother alluded to problems
    Early in their marriage
    That they worked through
    And came within a month
    Of celebrating their 70th anniversary

    Since my wives only last five years
    I would need fourteen to get that far
    And I just don’t think I’m up for it
    Without resorting to polygamy

  183. Anvanya


    Years have become decades, to my great chagrin,
    And Time for reflection grows short.
    So comes this moment to all who live
    Beyond the days given to ancestors
    – wherein thought drives new actions.
    No longer am I able to recall the days
    When I conquered the universe,
    And accepted its plaudits as my due.

    Photographs stilled on crafty pages freeze long ago triumphs:
    First Communion in a third-hand dress and veil.
    Graduation under sizzling sun on the football field.
    Waif in Momma’s re-made wedding dress.
    My first boy child wearing hand-me-down overalls.
    Our first house after their father died, palms wind-blown.
    Notes from Marias and Albertos and Ayeshias
    Saying thank you for teaching me today.
    Family Tree Coats of Arms predicting successes in life.
    The wedding of last century, then the christening
    Of this century … and suddenly the girl child is grown.

    Unchained from tears that once bedeviled each defeat,
    Nothing is the same as before – nor can it ever be again.
    We were there and we are now here:
    Feeling cheated by Time brings no solace.
    Before us, only moments in which to laugh and
    savor each touch bringing peacefulness.

  184. lshannon

    Snapshots and Granny-Squares

    I don’t crave personal
    immortality but for those I love
    I am selfish and adamant
    they should never leave me
    lonely and remembering
    Her big pearl clip on earrings
    and age-defying soft skin
    pride in an Oil of Olay routine
    taking at least a decade
    from her in the end.

    We could do no wrong
    She, our biggest fan
    pride so genuine radiated
    from baby blue eyes
    she held my hand
    In crazy crooked fingers
    kept nimble action endless
    loops of brightly colored yarn
    laid out in granny square afghans
    agaist the cold winter.

    We watched her shows
    Daytime drama as this one
    and that one outraged
    with the days of their lives
    so different than her own.
    After my bath in white porcelain
    pink bathrooms and fluorescent
    no stick flowers blooming
    Evenings spent with Lawrence Welk
    waltzes and homey melodies

    More surprisingly an adventurer
    in the last years willing
    eager to see and do.
    On a beach in the bahamas
    in her tricked out wheelchair.
    Sophisticated Onasis sun hat
    and shades that did not dim
    The excited wonder in her eyes.
    Laughter and demands
    sweet to us in treasured snapshots.

    Present in my favorite photos
    and my mother’s features
    She is still with me but I crave
    more time to hear stories
    of the young woman before.
    Grandmother of so many
    Mousey tales told at nursery cribs.
    An icon of matriarchal fierce love
    but mostly to me, she was Grammy
    and every day, I miss her.

  185. lethejerome

    “A Tomb for Tran Duc Thao”

    In France you taught yourself about your heart and left
    books: impossible dreams, implausible results
    in actions, in royalties, in expressions of
    spite your friends and students might have come to expect
    of you. In Vietnam you taught yourself to lose
    them, to learn ideas narrower than your own;
    you lost the freedom the love the hope the self, the
    stay of execution they had allowed in you
    with all that flowered floundered emerged bound you to
    us. Still, we meet you between France and Vietnam.

    Jérôme Melançon

  186. PressOn


    When Frank and Bing would sing their songs
    the whole world seemed to have no wrongs;
    their voices knew where grace belongs.

    The two, somewhere, are still beguiling;
    the saints and angels must be smiling
    as each one vies in gossamer styling.

    What a swellegant party that is.

  187. uneven steven

    elegy apology

    I am sorry I abandoned you
    my sorry string bag
    of navel oranges
    tipped and spilling
    end over rolling end to the edge
    of a slick granite counter
    that first slack then splayed then juggling
    never ever fast or good
    to catch them all moment(s)
    I thought I was helping you
    this too
    late a pungent now
    turmeric and coriander hallway
    blast furnace door
    of us
    shut tight
    but you were too young
    room temperature cold in transparent
    endless mazes
    puerile and shiny as thumb rubbed
    to be all alone

  188. Roderick Bates

    Elegy for my Youth

    by Roderick Bates

    This is the wake,
    where laughing friends
    recall my wildest sins.
    This is the sitting shiva,
    where ten somber men
    surround the cooling flesh
    and pray. This is the
    funeral procession,
    my boots turned backward
    on my Sportster, where
    sobbing women throw roses,
    clutch left-handed infants
    to their lovely breasts.

    It was the time when Miller
    and Ginsberg and Nin
    had won the right to say
    “Fuck!” even in Boston,
    a time before prudery
    found its new voice,
    when feminists burned
    their bras, not hard-core videos.

    It was the time after the pill
    and before the virus, when
    dancing long-haired men
    chased willing barefoot women
    into kaleidoscope sunsets,
    when Warhol and Mapplethorpe
    breech-birthed a new Greek
    pantheon — Lou Reed, Patti Smith,
    and odd little Truman.

    It was the time when rural boys
    like myself drove to high school
    in the Fall and brought our rifles
    into the school where they stood
    safely in a row behind the
    Principal’s desk until three,
    when we grabbed them and ran,
    headed for another hour
    in the woods before dusk.

    It was a time apart,
    a time before the gray
    and chilling now,
    when my government
    and my metal knee
    conspire to abridge
    my freedom of movement,
    before George Carlin’s
    seven words were reduced
    to one, when “Bomb!”
    will get your ass locked up
    in a cell once reserved for
    Lenny Bruce.

    It was a time of rampant beauty
    and fierce freedom, and I know
    in my aching bones,
    I will not see its like again.

  189. MaryAnn1067


    I would be sad, said he,
    were the day to come
    when your letters would
    no longer reach
    my mailbox

    sheets folded once, then
    once again, envelope
    addressed in slanting script,
    cursive, always, abhorring the
    block letters suited for
    government forms

    folding other sheets she
    follows the letter in her
    mind, his breaking the seal,
    reading her words, consigning them
    finally, to a desk drawer

    where they hum, word-thick
    above all
    the other papers, however
    finely footnoted

  190. Jane Shlensky

    Black Mountain View

    Walking the cemetery, he leans
    on his cane, crunching chestnuts
    from his jacket pocket, and tells stories,
    the wild times and tomfoolery he shared
    with names on this headstone or that.
    He sits atop their stones, calls them nicknames.
    He grows more animated as we stroll,
    sometimes pointing an index finger
    at a grave, his mouth down-turned.

    “I never did learn to like this one—too
    full of himself,” he says, making me smile
    at the expression. He might have said,
    “unfriendly sort” or “had no time for others.”
    Deceased ladies present still make him beam
    recalling old girlfriends, schoolmates, and
    good old girls with wit who liked some fun.
    He walks among them, mountains turning blue.

    Late afternoon grows chilly on this slope,
    sun gilding horizons before night drops
    like a curtain. “I’m sorry, Grandpa;
    You’ve lost all of your friends.”
    His eyes are sharp and blue, surprised
    I think he’s lost a thing. He hoots, sweeping
    his hand past all the graves where his loves lie.
    “Them? They’re okay now—they’re dead!
    No worries, aches, or mortgages—all gone.
    Be sorry for the living.” He heads home.

    I clean his grave and place fresh flowers there,
    wishing I had his pipe, chestnuts, whiskey.
    After a rugged crossing, he’s at peace
    resting among his friends from long ago,
    Black Mountain all around him keeping watch.
    Like him, my faith is not at heaven’s door;
    I’ll live while I’m a part of memory,
    a footnote in survivors’ Sunday tales.
    He’s okay now, like them; his story blends
    with mine and others who were full of friends.
    I worry for myself, so full of me.
    I think of him and worry I’m alive.

    1. Jane Shlensky

      A Picker’s Elegy

      You had hard hands, fingers like cigars
      wrapped tight, knuckles fight-scarred,
      nails a bit too long. When you held up
      your fist and spread your fingers, my
      own hand feared such wingspread, too
      big and blunt to do me any good. And
      yet, when wrapped around a guitar’s
      neck, those hands held a gentleness
      and delicacy, the way you see a huge
      man shrink himself to love a child.
      I remember your voice, your crooked
      grin, the joker or the bastard in your
      eyes that made me quake, the clean
      pure tenor that gave a song a pulse.
      I remember the harmonies we made,
      even when we felt spiritual cacophony.
      You’d let me hold an autoharp, strum
      a banjo, try my skills on a mandolin.
      I remember too much to process. But
      mostly now, I remember your hands,
      holding instruments with respect for
      the sounds they make for you, moving
      gently as if you pet a sleeping cat,
      the music bubbling from an unmarred
      spring in you, deeper than we can go.

  191. KatNalley

    An Elegy for the Still-Living

    I still can see you greeting congregants
    on the front steps of the First Baptist Church,
    shaking hands, kissing babies, pronouncing
    blessings upon each eager head. Your assertive
    navy tie teeming with Ichthys, your white
    teeth shining through thin lips.
    You saved the forked tongue for after
    the Sabbath, on nights after Mamma’d
    retreated into her room and locked us out.

    I still can see you coiled in the den, your eyes
    like burning bushes, every night bruise-
    blue, every successive morning a hymn
    of redemption. At work, you balanced
    spreadsheets, counted profits and losses.
    At school, I knelt under a tree
    and prayed for deliverance.

    It was you who taught me
    that even the most jagged of rocks,
    with enough friction and force,
    wear themselves smooth. It was you,
    not God, who trained my hands for war.
    It was you who primed my heart for exodus.

    1. hojawile

      I cannot apologize for another person’s wrongs, but grieve that this was your experience. There is no excuse for how you were mistreated and betrayed, but I hope you can come to know God who is love, who is the polar opposite of this one in your life who was NOT His representative.

  192. Taylor Emily Copeland

    A goodbye for Anna

    It died twice in the midwest.
    The first time, it was eyes
    that wandered, the belief that
    I could not stay tethered to
    your side, that a man would
    inevitably steal me away, leave
    you another broken girl, alone
    in the safe house in your imagination.

    The second time, the wounds were
    too great to salvage a friendship.
    There would be no more bridge
    portraits, no headbands to hold
    back dark hair. Your shutter
    would not click and click for
    my face. Not in the midwest, not
    here and not for nostalgia.
    Your lens cap would never be
    removed for my face again.
    No teenage notebooks with our
    names entangled in BFF bonds.

    You slip away as a wisp.

  193. mfitts847@gmail.com

    An Elegy To Those Who Were There – Marie H. Fitts

    I’m not the root
    just a branch
    from a wild olive tree
    grafted in and grateful

    grateful to those
    who were there in the flesh
    that physically heard
    Jesus speak

    and through His breath
    the Holy Spirit
    passed from His lips
    to each Disciple through the generations

    I’m grateful that they took the time
    to share His word
    His message, His Life
    so that one day that breath would cover me

    and I would breathe in
    the same Holy Spirit through generations
    of conversatons told in exhaled breath

    and find His Spirit
    alive and well
    living in me
    waiting to exhale

  194. Joseph Harker


    The midmorning suicides are referred to as “incidents”
    holding up trains, and the inverse function of distance
    is love; or, humanity. Care for one’s fellow man (or
    woman), who threw everything under the sledgehammer,
    increases the closer one is to the scene of the action.
    Morning commutes are ordinarily dull: such passion
    deserves mention. A bow of the head; a bend in the sound.
    Figures in jumpers with shovels and brooms come round
    gathering blood and meat, and they, my fellow passengers,
    pray it was quick, and clean, that he was a bachelor
    with no one to receive this news. In the becalmed car,
    fans whir and nobody speaks. Train-turned-church is our
    unexpected gift to the dead, who perhaps did not expect
    our rediscovered lives to spring red from his neck–
    but it does. We test each other’s pulse, riding to Shady Grove.
    We step out and see the day. The inverse of distance is love.

  195. diedre Knight

    Ode to “Chewy”

    I loved how you willingly
    Accepted all the muck
    I ever gave you;
    Gnawing it into nothingness,
    though growling all the while,
    abolishing the messes
    I offered you each day
    Until together, we hummed.
    But now there’s only silence
    From within your gaping maw
    and I can’t bear a visit
    to my sink.

    diedre Knight

  196. intheshadowofthesoul

    I Will Win An Olympic Gold Medal For You
    Lydia Flores
    (For: Uncle Tommy)

    You left me young
    giving yourself to
    death in surrender
    to the ache of pain.
    we’re you tired?
    sometimes I’m tired too.
    I remember watching, with you,
    the Olympic girls scratch their
    presence into the ice and
    twirling in the air, as if to say:
    the cold won’t break me.

    You are my Lunar eclipse
    you were a glow and faded
    into the the shadow of sky
    But I like to believe I’ve got
    your sunburn heart scarred
    on the corner of my wrist.
    I carry you behind the lens
    of my Nikon in hopes to capture
    the life that you gave up on. All
    the possibilities that could unfold
    out of the dirt into beautiful petals.

    I love you no less for love transcends
    realms and if roots crawl out of the earth
    parts of me root out of your grave. So
    I will bloom for both of us. I will dig
    my skates into this life and have twice
    as many twirls as falls. I will make my life
    an Olympic gold medal and when I get to
    heaven you can wear around your neck.

  197. Gabrielle Freeman

    One of these statements is true
    by Gabrielle Freeman

    Your eyes are the milky blue of an uncertain winter morning.
    Once, you looked into me and saw something you wanted.
    At no point were you ever out of control.
    Your eyes are gunmetal gray when you are angry.
    I never dream about the smell of the ocean on your skin.
    Once, you brought home a nice bottle of wine just because.
    I had no doubts as I walked towards you in my mother’s veil.
    Your eyes the color of every tropical shore never gave you away.
    At no point did I ever think about how someone else’s hands would feel.
    I never saw it coming.

    Thanks for reading! Check out my website on the writing process http://www.ladyrandom.com.

  198. Zart_is

    Where You Find Her

    Light enters the room
    dust glitters gold
    in it’s path,
    that will be her.

    She will be a sound
    only nearly heard
    as wind passes, hushed.

    An unexpected brush with warmth,
    she plays with your sensation
    movement in a corner
    an abruptly lost vision.

    Her scent
    will take you to your knees
    before it dissipates
    leaving you sheltered
    between memories
    of how genuine she was, then.

    Now, a fleeting reminiscence
    insinuating vapor
    satin clinging then floating
    a persistent flurry, adrift.

    A notion of finding her
    mysteriously persistent,
    never still.

    Her enduring essence
    a poignant treasured hymn,
    ever sung.

    You will find her where,
    you will.

  199. Nabeela


    In the chasms of earth
    I found you buried
    Lost in the soil of ancestors
    that we all left behind
    But something was missing
    the gravestone piece?
    Some say the stars align at night
    to lift up the dead
    But I see stars over your body
    glowing in dim light
    breathing for the last time
    Just a little bit of inhales
    That correspond deep gasping exhales
    Until there’s nothing left but
    My counter fails
    of keeping oxygen still in that chest of your’s
    blood still rushing in a marathon of arteries
    crossing the finishing line of the heart
    That beats no more.

  200. kab

    I am still thinking of you
    in violent meteor showers that charge down
    and wreck my megalopolis home.
    There is so much wrong with the picture of me
    and my lacking hands
    and my hopeful eyes peeking from the shelter window,
    waiting for the war to end.
    But I guess the war never ends,
    and we go home with the battlefield still crumbling between
    our fingers,
    the sound of death still birthing in our ears.
    Baby, this poem is for you.
    Like the others, it is always for you.
    -Karese Burrows “Elegy”

  201. DanielAri

    The ultimate dingo king of the superhero ballet

    “I am not the chosen one. I am the only one.” —James Hellwig

    In the oil of spectacle
    you burned as the purest wick
    pitching Caliban tantrums,
    flying from the turnbuckle,
    lifting the coliseum—

    and every time you spoke, blood
    stars in the noonday sky rained
    lawnmowers, snakes, and earthquakes
    nosediving the gods’ combat
    on YOU! I have heard the call

    of your deadly masquerade,
    cheered your unfaltering war
    even when your balance failed.
    You were an ass, I heard, but
    that was just the man whose back

    you rode, whose veins pumped your fire,
    who, at last, gave you his heart.


  202. Kit Cooley

    Winter Farewell
    (An anti-elegy)

    Stones and bones the melt has left behind
    remind me that spring cleaning is soon here,
    and all the little knives of green I find,
    in woods and garden, bring to me good cheer.

    At dawn the small, more delicate birds sing,
    to add to overwintered raven’s cry,
    and roaring waters from the creek will bring
    relief, and wet the earth that once was dry.

    The wind has changed from frigid to a breeze
    of soothing warmth, and causes us to shed
    the itchy layers, like an extra skin, and sneeze
    as we shake the dusty comforter from the bed.

    The shift of seasons brings the spring event,
    I will not miss the ice and dark and snow.
    Farewell to you, oh winter of such cruel torment —
    No love lost here, I’m glad to see you go.

    ~ Kit Cooley

  203. geetakshi

    The Cold Grave

    Unmourned, unmissed,
    you lie in a grave of cold white stones,
    your absence is celebrated,
    and your tears are preserved;
    Is it a coincidence
    that you are called dark?
    Oh, dark-skinned one,
    your tears are fresh, white snow,
    untouched you are maligned for being what you are:
    In that, you are like
    those shunned for their difference;
    A resounding silence,
    soothing, quiet storms
    are friends to you,
    And are equally hated,
    Bright lights also hurt the eyes sometimes.

    ©Geetakshi Arora
    April 16, 2014

  204. ToniBee3

    “Honey Whiskey”

    I miss you.

    You would say…
    “Come on in my shotgun house!
    Close the screen! Don’t let those skeeters in!
    Do you want somethin’ to eat?
    Oh, Lawd, my pot is boiling over!”

    You would fix…
    black-eyed peas and cornbread for supper,
    broken table legs (that I broke) with super glue,
    (just as good as new)
    back-talk with a hand-pop to the mouth.

    You would wear…
    only dresses that you sewed yourself,
    your silky hair in two braids parted down the middle,
    a smile on your face when you looked at me,
    the title of Great-Grandma very well!

    You would sing…
    and dance to church hymns recorded on tape cassettes,
    praises to the one and only Almighty God!
    a prelude to a butt-whipping,
    me to sleep twitching your thumb on my back.

    You would make…
    floral-patterned blankets and hats for my doll babies,
    that “honey and whisky” concoction to fix the flu,
    (sweet and strong just like you)
    trash cans out of pastel Styrofoam egg cartons.

    You would work…
    for thirty-something years upholstering furniture,
    in your happy garden getting bit by fire ants,
    trying to find those clothespins that fell off the line,
    every first Sunday on the usher board.

    You would rest…
    for your one-hour nap on the couch at noon,
    on the swing, spittin’ tobacco from the porch,
    when thunder and lightning shut off the lights,
    at the family’s burial plot under the dogwood tree.

    I miss you.

  205. pomodoro

    Elegy to the Littleton Diner

    Bette Davis came here in 1941,
    to Eugene and Stella’s place,
    for her world premiere of The Great Lie
    and nursed a raspberry-flavored lemonade at the gleaming silver counter.

    Nostalgia hangs out by the cash register ~
    a first date,
    the malt after the school dance,
    the rumble of the glass-pack on a 57 Chevy,
    muscle shirts and polka-dot bikinis,
    ducktails and bobby-sox,
    red-ribbed seat in a hot-rod convertible.

    You can order up a North Country Burger and a slice of America,
    drop an affable one-liner,
    stay a while,
    take it easy.
    And in the back booth,
    you can almost hear Eugene and Stella having a high old time of it.

      1. pomodoro

        They seem to tucked in small towns, especially in New England. This one is still going strong but some are being reclaimed for historic uses. Michael and Jane Stern have a great book, Road Food.

  206. Eibhlin


    Eleven you bore.

    In 1879, just before the publication
    of Kickham’s “Knocknagow”,
    you buried Bridget, your third-born,
    aged three and a half years,
    in Cappoquin.

    Moving to Lismore in 1880
    your labourer husband
    entered on the trade of baker.
    Your baby Agnes died,
    six weeks old, that May.

    Sean MacDiarmada,
    a leader of the Rising in ’16,
    was born in February 1883.
    Your Patrick died that April,
    one year and nine months old.

    Michael was the next to go,
    1 month and 21 days of debility
    from birth to death in 1885.
    Jacobs opened a biscuit bakery
    in Waterford.

    Your first-born, Margaret,
    lived to be sixteen.
    “Pulmonary phthisis”, the death cert says.
    That was April 1887, while Gladstone
    spoke about “the Irish Question”.
    Seven months later
    tubercular meningitis
    took four-year-old James.

    Cruellest of all, perhaps, was Andy,
    your sixteen-year-old scholar son.
    “Phthisis” is written in the register
    of his death in 1890.
    Parnell had trouble that year too.
    Yours came again when little Ellen, four,
    succumbed to croup.

    Three were left.

    You saw to the cemetery
    four girls, four boys,
    and told the Registrar,
    who penned them in his book.
    Informant: Mother
    Qualification: Present at Death.

    No, I did not hear your tale
    transmitted with the family lore.
    I found it when the County records
    went online.

    But since I know it now,
    and since it chills me in the knowing,
    I craft for you
    a tiny monument,
    an elegy for Ellen.

  207. rachelgrace

    a song of remembrance

    Unexpected sounds drowned out the screaming in her mind
    Tales of what was to come cast doubt on her
    Leaving her memories to dust
    She sang
    The wind blew her notes away to a nether
    Crying she felt the hand of time coming closer
    Calling forth
    She sang
    Letting it go she saw her end

  208. LCaramanna

    Black Leather Boots

    Au revoir, chic friends.
    As the snow geese in flight,
    you too have passed.
    Bon voyage, my Italian leather friends.
    I shall miss our intimate mink oil caresses,
    our moments of polish and shine,
    your scent suspended genuine in the air.
    A plus tard, chic friends.
    I shall miss your elements of style,
    your classic high heels, brass buckle
    accentuation of ankles and upper calf.
    Suited up with a skirt,
    dressed down with jeans,
    oohs and aahs never failed to escape the lips
    of envious fashionistas
    whenever we were paired
    with precisely the right outfit.
    Au revoir, chic friends.
    Together we were the perfect combination of
    sophistication meets style,
    always my feet upon your soles
    warm and dry.
    Adieu, my black leather boots.
    To your original box you shall return,
    your just reward bestowed.
    May you repose peacefully
    among those who have gone before you
    to the back of my closet.
    Salut, chic friends!
    You shall be solely missed
    as I flip about in flops,
    unpainted toes at the mercy of summer madness.
    Until we meet again in winter paradise
    I say au revoir,
    Black Leather Boots.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  209. jakkels

    When he was young, it’s true,
    Many thought him somewhat cold
    And some, living like cave dwellers,
    Never got to know him at all.
    But those of us that grew to know him,
    Basked in his warmth towards all.
    Many a flower owed their very existance
    to his care and nurturing.
    In fact, when he was around
    The birds sang and the bees hummed.
    Thr beach was the place to be
    And he made the ocean seem, exciting.
    He could be a bit intense at times
    But we were all drawn to him.
    He brought out many a flush in a maidens’ cheek
    And many acknowledged his brilliance
    But then his powers began to wane
    And he seemed strangly more distent
    Less fun and inviting to be with
    And then one day he just wasn’t there
    I miss the Sun, don’t you?

    Elegy to brilliance

  210. Margot Suydam

    Your Heroics Still Haunt Me

    All I can do is walk
    on rugged coastlines

    like Connemara
    where certainly the first

    transatlantic flight
    never ended in a bog

    never got a soft landing.
    And the neighbors

    never came
    running to gaze.

    Yet, I was thinking
    time was sinking

    when your plane almost
    crashed into the nearby

    mountains, amid the tribal
    graves of kings.

    Is it not enough that I admire
    how deftly silent hands work?

  211. Gammelor

    For today’s prompt, write an elegy.

    Callimachi Manes et Coi sacra Philetae,
     in vestrum, quaeso, me sinite ire nemus.

    Caliban Dies Alone

    Deserted in old age
    by those who mastered him
    with torture and disdain,
    he lies in his strait bed.
    And remembers.

    An island all his own
    full of beauty and promise,
    fruits bright and sweet,
    shellfish and seagrass.
    And a mother’s love.

    Smashed up forever
    by storm that brought flotsam
    people with agile magic
    who turned him to Other.
    And ravaged his life.

    I would tend to Caliban,
    wipe the fever from his face,
    gently take his hand in mine,
    no matter the soil and calluses.
    And whisper a lie—“I am Sycorax.”

    Gammelor Goodenow

  212. Bruce Niedt

    NaPoWriMo’s prompt today is to write a ten-line poem in which each line is a lie. So here is my elegy:

    Elegy for Fred Phelps Consisting Entirely of Lies

    O Fred, you were a kind and tolerant man.
    Your church welcomed people from all walks of life.
    You accepted others’ differences, especially their sexuality.
    You were grateful for the service of our men and women in uniform.
    You were a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose.
    You always allowed bereaved families to mourn with dignity.
    You quietly held your beliefs and did not impose them on others.
    If you disagreed, you did it in a reasonable, intelligent manner.
    You surely are in heaven, Fred, and the world will miss you.
    May God rest your soul.

  213. Monique

    To An Old Friend

    It started at a salad bar
    And a book lying on the counter
    I knew you were friends with the book’s owner
    You promised to return it
    And waited with me while I waited for the bus

    For four years, you were the grandfather I never had
    I knew I could always sit with you
    I would laugh at your jokes
    And tell you about my day
    Thinking that things would never change

    Then you had to move away
    Around the same time I did
    We celebrated your birthday in the summer
    Then you moved north and I moved south
    Still thinking things would be okay

    It ended with a sleepless night
    I turned to my computer to find comfort
    Instead I find the worst news I could hear
    I found myself holding onto a rope
    Hanging over a deep dark pit

    I pushed my memories of you away
    Trying to hide from my sadness
    Wondering how no one else was crying
    I was in a dark tunnel
    Waiting for a train to hit me

    Finally, I found someone who would listen
    I let my tears out
    I found others who also missed you
    Embraced the hope that you were at peace
    And found happiness that pulled me from the pit

  214. derrdevil

    By Derryn Warwick Raymond

    This is the life, the song
    A story for the world to mourn
    Though it was still able
    They broke it, and left it unstable
    Pieces shown of the real scene
    Shattered dreams, they may seem
    Of a journey through torrential rain
    Extremes of the mentally insane
    Call it deranged,
    But I see it pained
    I see the strain, upon the soul
    In its twilight hours, the mortal toll
    Oh, how it hangs dear
    Clutching from fear
    For the world, that it gave
    Begged it never, for a save
    The incomprehensible life
    Of a mother,
    A sister,
    A wife.

  215. Domino

    By fate’s caprice, that awful day, and for no other
    reason we comprehend, they were at work
    when the fire started. How could they know that
    life as they knew it was about to change
    forever? It is a curious thing,
    that people replay over and over
    the day of a tragedy. They question.
    They doubt. Their minds continue to circle
    endlessly about the somehow morbid
    question: What could we have done differently?
    People say with satisfaction that no
    human lives were lost, but a family has
    been broken. The black smoke took not only
    all the things that made up their house, but a
    cherished furry friend that helped make
    it home. Broken hearts declare there is no
    healing, there’s no bringing back buried hopes.
    But at the foot of the stair to heaven,
    on the rainbow bridge, their best friend awaits,
    wagging tail, happy grin, til that distant
    day, to greet adored family once more.

    For Tina and Thomas Batt

    Diana Terrill Clark

  216. Domino

    By fate’s caprice, that awful day, and for no other
    reason we comprehend, they were at work
    when the fire started. How could they know that
    life as they knew it was about to change
    forever? It is a curious thing,
    that people replay over and over
    the day of a tragedy. They question.
    They doubt. Their minds continue to circle
    endlessly about the somehow morbid
    question: What could we have done differently?
    People say with satisfaction that no
    human lives were lost, but a family has
    been broken. The black smoke took not only
    all the things that made up their house, but a
    cherished furry friend that helped make
    it home. Broken hearts declare there is no
    healing, there’s no bringing back buried hopes.
    But at the foot of the stair to heaven,
    on the rainbow bridge, their best friend awaits,
    wagging tail, happy grin, til that distant
    day, to greet adored family once more.

    For my friends Tina and Thomas Batt

    Diana Terrill Clark

  217. Emma Hine

    Angels Do Not Live In Graves

    She was so young,
    too young to see the passing of her short years.
    I was young too…
    Too young to feel the pain of true loss tears.
    Sweet sixteen, world at her feet…
    Who could have predicted
    before a husband,
    her maker she would meet?

    She was so young,
    young enough to capture the energy of life.
    I was young too…
    Young enough to follow where mischief was rife.
    Inseparable then, two friends sharing fun…
    Who could have predicted
    that so soon,
    two would become one?

    So young, and yet
    not so young to understand that she was not in her grave.
    So young, and yet
    old enough to let her spirit, for me, a new path to pave.
    After a while, I stopped visiting…
    Who could have predicted
    that no bones in the Earth,
    would ever respite bring?

  218. derrdevil

    The Light Before The Dark
    By Derryn Warwick Raymond

    She, the marble
    Upon which thine tools fuse
    In others’ eyes, a crude rock
    Beheld by thine, a muse
    Yet no mere muse
    For passions stirred before
    Sparked the great arts
    That left those eyes in awe
    But not one knew of the muse
    That bore the artist fame
    Not one, but the artist
    That used her anonymous name
    For every pebble
    That he had chiseled out
    Left her gentle soul
    In dire distraught
    For the callous artist
    That e’er lay in he
    The price that gave
    Bore bitter immortality

  219. Amaria

    “Elegy to my inner child”

    Oh, how I weep the loss of you –
    your bright naive eyes and innocent smile.
    But one cannot be a child forever
    and everything in this life passes away.

    I remember times of you playing with dolls
    or listening to father read the Bible.
    Jumping on the bed loudly with brother
    despite your mother’s many warnings.

    Then slowly you began to fade away
    into a form with breasts and full hips.
    It was menstruation that did you in –
    no longer a child, yet not a woman.

    Thinking back now, I truly miss
    your carefree laughter filling the room.
    I should have treasured your smile
    instead of trying to rush the time.

    And now I must put you to rest for
    those childhood days are in the past.
    Looking down at you with closed eyes,
    I lean over and kiss you goodbye.

  220. Andrea Heiberg


    my left hand went for your
    inches above it,
    so did my sister’s
    and though we
    didn’t say a word
    we loved to hold our hands above you
    when you
    blew out
    your last breath.

    In that moment we knew
    that we would never be
    your little babies anymore
    and my sister

  221. k_weber

    fin: no fin and breathless

    sometimes it’s like a clothespin
    has been clamped to every nerve
    and a headache takes me down
    and i am treading water
    where there is absolutely no water
    but i could absolutely piss myself
    but i keep my chin at the surface
    so that maybe you can still see me
    and maybe you will rescue my body
    and maybe you will still want me
    even when i have days where my head
    makes no sense and i think i am able
    to take my legs off at the knees
    like i am made of tinkertoys
    and suction cups and lead weight
    where there is dead weight
    and i think this might be goodbye
    in a place where no one would say it
    or even wave from the shore
    because that would take effort
    more than a simple breath
    so i just want to tangle
    in the seaweed with my hair
    wrapped in algae and my face
    bloodied on a rock over and over
    until my arms are limp and swimming
    in a current and it’s too late
    for love and someone drags me out
    of my body so that calypso
    music can be played on my spine
    and i don’t want to even be gone
    but the ache of being alive
    and feeling so much pain that all
    i see are yellow spots in the morning
    has become exhausting and i can’t i can’t
    i can’t push off

    – k weber

    1. TomNeal

      and i think this might be goodbye
      in a place where no one would say it
      or even wave from the shore
      because that would take effort


      so i just want to tangle
      in the seaweed with my hair
      wrapped in algae and my face
      bloodied on a rock over and over
      until my arms are limp and swimming

      Compelling and sensuous images and descriptions.

  222. Pat Walsh

    An elegy for my friend, Susan Albright (aka Suze Star, lead singer of the bands Banzai Pipeline and Redstripe).

    elegy for a star
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    in memory and at first glint of morning on the pane
    she laughs yet and nods unheeding at the dark
    her bright eyes glowing, at center stage anew
    while jealous day makes off with last remnant of night

    starshine starlight trailing the dark sky along
    echo of glory etched in the beat of a distant drum

    like the flourish of a dove loosed upon the darkness
    her voice rains down the ancient room
    and through time and distant veil gentle souls extend
    to clasp as though to form a ring of Claddagh

    starshine starlight trailing the dark sky song
    echo of glory etched in the beat of a grieving soul

    it seems as though just yesterday, a moment only
    the lamp first faltered, bringing her light near dim
    and fire lit the sky to claim an empty form
    while drops of light settled quiet, abiding in each of us

    starshine starlight trailing the dark sky quiet
    echo of gold etched in the beat of a constant heart

  223. LaurelRose

    Elegy To An Office Fern

    A woman stands.
    Her head rests on
    cool glass.

    Her eyes up, as if reading
    ceiling cracks in script.

    She breathes with a new vacancy.

    the circuit streets
    make city sounds
    seem alive.

    And, in a corner
    a ficus withers
    its leaves beneath
    dark plastic.

    For the first time,
    roots up facing
    towards the lights.
    Its top becomes grass,
    all artificial.

  224. Earl Parsons

    (for my grandmother)

    She prayed for me daily
    In hopes that I would
    Come around to the place
    Where her raising left off

    For more than two decades
    Daily she lifted me up to
    The One she trusted in to
    Protect me from myself

    She never gave up
    Never once wavered
    I was her project
    She, my intercessor

    Her prayers were answered
    I returned to my roots
    Her success celebrated
    When God took her home

    Now she is my angel
    Protecting me from harm
    Always watching over me
    And I miss her so

    © 2014 Earl Parsons

  225. Mr. Take The Lead

    To a Deathful End
    Daniel R. Simmons
    We started seeing each other over one beautiful summer
    Our first dates were just a teaser to the love that would be experienced in the fall
    Yes in September we became official
    We had our high times where you would quicken my heart
    Our low times where you sadden it
    You made me cry, scream, laugh and smile
    Yes none other can give me a heart attack and joy all in the same time frame like you
    With you I spent my Sunday afternoons
    You completed my fantasy and gave a few points here and there
    60 minutes of magic we would share together sometimes even longer if you forced it
    But I wanted to know more about you so I studied you, subscribed to you as you will
    As you teased me with your fancy magazine write ups that got my hopes up
    cable channels and pics
    That one could simply not resist
    Even though you racked up some pretty large bills for me
    It was worth it I suppose
    Because what we had was real and genuine that went out for months
    Until the day came when I learned we didn’t make the playoffs
    Yes another season has come to a deathful
    Oh what a joy and agony it is to be your fan
    Goodbye for now my Detroit Lions your season (as usual) has come to an end
    Maybe next year you can win my heart again
    Until then may my Superbowl dreams rest in peace

  226. Walt Wojtanik

    ENGLYN ELEGY (Cyrch)

    Gentle soul lost to my sight,
    I pray the rest through your night
    is undisturbed. May your sleep
    in all ways keep your star bright.

    Shine in my heart my dear one,
    shadows fall when day is done.
    I will hold you dear right here
    to quell my fear when you’re gone.

    In all things life had given,
    to all things earned in heaven,
    my thoughts of you will remain,
    until again we’re living

    together, once more in bliss.
    So I will leave you this kiss,
    placed upon your sealed lips.
    Your tender sip I will miss.

  227. Hannah

    Elegy for the Always Missing Most Aggravating

    We suffer your death perpetually
    continuously you die
    you are the means to our life.

    For him departure’s an emergency,
    mysteriously missing
    lost again while we’re kissing…

    The door’s a threshold to insanity,
    profanities – scramble – search…
    truly, it makes my head hurt.

    Perched on the hope of reincarnation
    echolocation employed,
    all our expertise deployed.

    We upturn the cushions, dedicated.
    Satiated not – we search,
    even the unlikely perch…

    There’s no place escaping exploration,
    desperation won this round;
    you’re nowhere to be found.

    Solution’s given conceptually,
    eventually he’ll ply
    spare you from endless demise.

    If he’d but treat you habitually,
    continually – be nice…
    place his keys in same spot twice?

    One day there will be true accomplishment
    acknowledgment properly…
    till then – heartfelt elegy.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    Written using a variation of form called the Englyn Penfyr

  228. Hannah

    Elegy to Dying Fire

    It didn’t matter what fodder
    breath or tinder…
    all that I’ve fed you
    eagerly fanning your flames
    every effort was in vain…
    if it weren’t for all the dampening rain,
    that’s where I’ll place the blame;
    Lord knows it wasn’t for lack of caring
    believe me – I wanted you to thrive.
    I honestly truly tried to bring you to life
    but you’ve just gone ahead and abandoned me;
    you’ve released your glow and finally died –
    took your last gasp and gave up the fight.
    You’ll rest in pieces while I coldly, briefly grieve…
    guess I’ll rely upon a little box of electrical heat,
    don’t take it personally – I just had to move on.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  229. audreylatortue


    I should have been busy
    inventing new ways to piss off my mother.

    Instead I spent all of seventh grade
    breathing in the stagnant air of the room where
    books go to die or possibly live forever.

    Thank God I didn’t have Google then
    to confirm that five to seven years later
    the woman with beehive hair that ran your city’s switchboards
    would retire (to Orlando, probably) and
    all of the mail carriers would abandon their trucks
    and we’d be eating Thanksgiving dinner without you.

  230. DanielR

    Your dark eyes fluttered closed at thirty-five
    like Swallowtail wings after final flights
    and my memory circus began through tears
    when thoughts tumbled around in my head
    acrobats tossed about on trapezes
    those oversized glasses that you wore
    your fast-paced walk that caused your black hair
    to float straight out and the way you didn’t care
    when people stared because you were comfortable
    as you, which helped me to accept more of me
    and how you embraced your Asian culture
    but hungered to learn an American way of life
    you wore a locket of patience around your neck
    and I always envied you for that treasure that
    eluded me and still does, grateful for the time
    you took to teach me how to use chopsticks
    which is not a skill that came easily to
    a small town blue-eyed southern boy like me
    and though it has been ten years since you left
    just yesterday I saw someone doing
    cartwheels in the air and thought of you

    Daniel Roessler

  231. Amy

    An Elegy to You and Me

    I lit a fire with the memories you left behind
    they crawled right through the distance
    between me and you and burned wild
    down the mountainside
    they say it gets easier with time
    that you will fade like ash and dust, the stain
    on the rim of my glass
    I followed your embers to that spot on the hill
    and went to sleep wide awake, my hands
    smeared black and clasped like I could
    hold on to you there
    It’s been a long war, the days drawn cold
    with the blues of your eyes; I can’t seem
    to cry anymore
    At least I still have my voice, though it
    breaks to pieces when I sing of you
    and river blues and all that fire
    The road back home was low and slow
    I got lost in thoughts of flying
    not like birds that work so hard just to stay afloat
    but like the smoke that shifts and sways
    without a beat of its charcoal wings
    Maybe tonight, I’ll look up
    choke down the ache in my throat
    and point you out of so many stars
    Maybe tonight, I’ll wash the coal off these hands
    and let them lie empty
    sallow beneath your glow

  232. DanielAri

    “In-law Uncle Mark”

    I felt you never felt the need to talk
    just to talk. You talked about the weather,
    the food, and common sense on the slow walk
    up the boardwalk to Salty’s Seaside where
    my daughter entertained us all, gawking

    at the gulls on the railing, the lobsters
    in the tank, the sweet shop across the pier—
    your silent amusement, a comfort. Your
    sisters, wife and nieces cheerfully gabbed.
    You didn’t drink, having sold alcohol.

    You stocked the parties, worked on New Year’s Eve.
    I think you’d smile to know your wife whooped me
    in online Scrabble yesterday. The word
    PASTIME cinched her 90-point victory.
    Your grandson loved playing with my daughter.

    They hid and sought at the winery where,
    finally married, your son looked so happy.


  233. elledoubleyoo

    A Loss For Words

    I, in all my love of words, have never found
    the right string of syllables to describe you
    to anyone who didn’t know you, before.
    A wry sense of humor, a barbed wit–
    cliches cannot catch your spirit.
    “Leave a quarter,” you’d say when a friend
    asked to use our phone. “Take it back,”
    a common refrain when we showed off
    something new, be it shoes, dress or haircut.
    “Why are you such a rotten little kid?”
    you’d ask, when I leaned my head on your shoulder.
    “Bad genes,” I learned to quip back, proud
    to crack a smile from your deadpan lips.

  234. Joseph Hesch

    Combined NaPoWriMo’s 10-line/10-lie and PAD’s Elegy prompts into something that even confused me.

    The End of an Error

    I’m not surprised you came today.
    Sharing was supposed to be so easy.
    You said all I had to do was bleed.

    Just speak without a conscience, without care.
    So I promised I’d never lie to you.
    Then I just went and made everything up.

    See, I never wanted to trust everything you told me.
    After all, my heart couldn’t be damaged anymore than it was.
    And so today we say goodbye to a life of words.

    You win, I’m all bled out.

  235. taylor graham


    The coffee maker brewed half
    its pot and stopped. The sound of its
    drip – the house was too quiet.
    The kitchen didn’t curl around my
    ankles, or get in the way, crying for
    morning, an open door, kibble
    in the bowl. The cat. Blink. How he
    inhabited our dark spaces –
    pantry, cupboard – gave them eyes.
    His electric purr
    at night against the nape of my neck
    so my dreams were heavy
    machinery at work. His fine
    black hairs against my face so I
    pushed him away in my sleep
    so I could breathe, and wake again
    before dawn in the black of morning,
    coffee. That machinery stopped
    working. He was only a cat.

      1. Lori DeSanti

        I also love the turns in this poem… A stream-of-consciousness feel, but very thoughtfully contrived. I love the line “the kitchen didn’t curl around my ankles.”

  236. elledoubleyoo

    Forever Fourteen

    The horses smell death, bucking in protest,
    refusing to continue their gait
    on the canyon trail where they find her

    broken body in the same clothes
    (pink shirts, pink pants, LA Gear shoes)
    as the day she went missing

    is her smile, a sweet, slow thing
    that would bloom on her face in a way
    her body will never know

    the pains that come with age
    just as I can’t, despite autopsy reports,
    what she felt in those hours before he killed her.

  237. rlmatt7

    Elegy To Someone Irreplaceable

    Hard hearted I am, haircuts,
    manicures, pizzas, supplements, tv shows,
    e-reader, e-books, black car, new shoes
    while you lie unaffected, disinterested, cold
    anger burns, pain sears ,guilt waits
    to catch me unawares, but the cold, the cold,
    why you, what right, why me, how wrong,
    jealous gods, if only you were not happiness,
    the trees we circled, my arms can’t encircle
    anymore, your favourite food gets stuck in my throat,
    your birth-day lasts longer than the summer solstice
    you have made dying easy and life,
    a search for irreplaceable replacement.

  238. Lori DeSanti

    Ode to a Plum Tree

    Just last week, I walked through my yard
    and smiled at the life running through your
    magenta flowers, pulsing like tiny hearts in
    the breeze. I sat, shaded by your branches,

    I read aloud and leaned against the divot in
    your trunk and you listened, quietly. The
    rain poured heavy all week; I watched your
    limbs bend, your flowers drowning under

    the weight of water. I thought all would be
    right after the rain; but you could not run to
    save yourself. I watched you swallow a bolt
    of lightning as if you were Zeus, cried when

    your limbs were torn apart before me and I
    waited for the blood to run— it took all night
    for the smoke to stop billowing, so I could see
    what was left of you. The sun beat hot against

    your split bark, the charred edges like a half-
    burned pyre. I found the last of your flowers
    scattered and hiding in the grass. Their petals
    must have opened once the rain had stopped;

    they were damp and drooping,
    as if they were weeping for you.

      1. Lori DeSanti

        Oh my gosh, Linda. You are more than welcome. I had to cut down two dead trees in my yard last month and I had no idea the attachment I had to them. I watched a tree get struck by lightning when I was 10, and I’ve never been able to write about it until today!

        1. Linda Goin

          Isn’t that amazing? I didn’t see lightning hit the tree next door when I was ten, but the aftermath was fun — lots of firetrucks. I couldn’t fathom the loss at that age — probably because I didn’t see that actual event occur. Now, however…I’m glad I was away from home when I lost the Bradford, because watching it happen would have been too much. My husband took care of it all, along with some friends. I’m eternally grateful, because I’ll come home to a stumpy monument, rather than a mess. I’m sorry you had to clean up two. =(

          1. Lori DeSanti

            I think it would have been more upsetting if it was my tree… but just a tree dying in general makes me so sad… I don’t understand it! I’m glad you weren’t home to have to witness it :( I also kept the stumps in my yard!

  239. Walt Wojtanik


    Oh, how you have grown silent,
    and your smile less bright. I sit here
    listening for the sound of you tonight
    but you do not answer. Shall I sit here longer?

    Darkness has befallen you, your shadow
    is misty mem’ry, you have left me
    far too long ago. My mind knows
    you have departed, but my heart is numb,

    it has gone dumb and unbelieving.
    I will be leaving you in peace someday,
    the way it must so be. And yet,
    I get the urge to repeat this dirge at each sight

    of your name ingrained in granite and stone.
    I am alone where I sit and I sense a hand,
    gentility and frigidity are its markers. Starkness
    of reality is what I must face. This place of night

    persistent and eternal, this infernal field
    where death rests. My chest tightens
    and my heart seizes as it releases you,
    a memory true and loyal, spoiled

    by your sad circumstance. No macabre dance
    can placate my soul. This evening has control
    of all my senses. Within these iron fences, I sit
    my own shadow in this endless night. My fright

    is that we will head in different directions;
    with me going not where my angel is allowed.
    Covered by this shroud of my indiscretions,
    errors and terrors inflicted upon my honor.

    I am hidden in this forbidden place. My face
    in remorseful charade shielded by the mask
    I assume. I resume my lament, I curse your cancer.
    You do not answer. Shall I sit here longer?

  240. Nancy Posey

    Elegy to Old Loves

    Ubi sunt…

    Where are they now,
    those daring, lovely boys,
    ready with promises and kisses
    in fast cars, tops down,
    rock and roll in the tape deck?

    Do they remember me
    as just one more broken heart
    in that long trail, in their wake
    as they careen into the future?

    Have they grown old,
    with fat paunches, bald pates,
    balancing mortgages with
    club dues, counting out pills
    and vitamins each morning?

    Have they left wives and children,
    trading them in for younger
    models, or have they instead
    bought fast red Corvettes,
    safer, shinier small rebellions?

    Would I know them if we met
    on the street, grandchildren
    strapped into our back seats,
    talk radio playing instead
    of music, those golden oldies,
    evoking memories so painful
    we can help prodding them?

  241. acele


    Elegy of a Dream

    Dreams are conceived in myelin wrapped synapses, birthed in
    whispered wonderings made ever
    more audible.

    They grow in sweat seeping
    from pores and step
    by step

    Until at last they are seen
    heard in the hearts
    of others
    who take shared joy in their subtle

    Why, then do I suppose that just
    because I possessed
    the synapses of your conception,
    the pores through which the sweat seeped,
    the feet which walked each step,
    why do I suppose I can hold
    onto you, oh teetering Dream?

    Death is not the opposite of life,
    simply the opposite of birth.
    So it is with you, my biggest little dream of late.

    shhh…I hear you whispering new wonderings in the ears of many little hearts as you fall ever more silent in mine!

    A. Cele

  242. Lady S Poetic Thickness

    Unanswered Questions

    I visit your grave
    Bringing your favorite flowers
    Removing weeds
    Making sure everything is

    But it is not
    I am so angry
    How could you?
    A parent is supposed to protect
    Not inflict

    God knows I love you
    As much as I hate to say that
    I do
    I miss you
    I really do

    I want to understand
    I have prayed
    I have cried
    I have written letters to you
    Nothing erases the confusion

    You have been gone twenty-one years
    But my heart says you left today
    While my mind says
    It was long before your physical death
    I was abandoned

    Mama, I cannot grasp it
    How could you let me be hurt?
    Why did you allow them to touch me?
    When did you stop
    Loving me?

    ©Sheila Moseley
    Lady S-Poetic Thickness

    1. hojawile

      I pray for this child often. So many I’ve never met, couldn’t rescue, but I pray to the God who sees and can bring beauty from ashes, as the bittersweet beauty in this poem offers others a voice.

  243. Linda Goin

    Writing Around Life’s Edges

    A woman who holds a pen is not a grave digger.
    A woman who holds a pen is not a savior.

    I’m not interested in writing images
    that illustrate how my ass was similar
    to my mother’s ass as we bent side by side
    to pick weeds from her deer-ravaged garden.
    Instead, I want to remember my father’s
    mirth as he compared us, two broad, flat
    fruits from the same vine, tangled
    in this inept framework.

    When I write laments, my words appear white
    on white, like the blocks that cement bodies
    to the hill behind the church. My hands
    are darker than a grave digger’s grip,
    but I have nothing to say about the shift.

    Right now, loss is a cliche, where ashes
    and dusty wombs reject a worm’s juice.

    My mother offers two boxes of shoes.
    She says she’s lending them to me.
    I don’t need them. I need for her
    to tell me what she wants to wear
    when she won’t remember what she had.
    She says I can have the shoes after
    she’s gone, but I reject that image.

    Enumerating words that explain change
    can conjure soil eroding around life’s edges,
    but they can’t explain the pith and pivot,
    the nitty gritty bright turns that bring
    root foods to light. All my senses are leaves
    withering on that awkward framework.

    1. TomNeal

      You are setting a high standard. Some of the imagery is difficult, but I think that is the point.

      Right now, loss is a cliche, where ashes
      and dusty wombs reject a worm’s juice.

      1. Linda Goin

        Thanks, Tom. This effort was difficult, as I’m caretaking my mom, who has stage IV cancer and who can’t take chemo because it affects her heart. In the interim, my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I’m numb. Writing an elegy is like writing nothing, because nothing is there yet. This experience has totally altered by perspective on loss, and it’s still in process.

  244. nmbell

    Grampa P

    I was young when you left us
    But I remember still your quiet ways
    The way you bore the scars of the Great War
    That stole your health and your youth
    Not to mention your brother, Joe

    I have the pencil written letter on crumpled paper
    From his captain telling you of his death
    You never spoke of it or the war
    I can still see you picking shrapnel from your cheek
    As you stood at the sink shaving

    You taught me by example
    That all life is sacred
    From you I learned to nurse the sick and wounded
    Animal, plant and human
    And how to catch a bee in a cloth against the window pane
    Carry it to the door and let it fly free again

    I was only young when you left us
    But thirteen is old enough to remember you
    And your ways and your lessons that weren’t meant as lessons
    It was just you going about your life
    You walk with me still

    Nancy Bell 2014

  245. Lindy™

    Ashes Never Spread Around
    (an elegy for Mother)

    In the eerie depths of the Knight’s white shadow,
    Momma you melted away in ghostly hollow –
    lonely in your wisdom and trepid for your fate,
    while no one knew you’d been struck down in blinding grace.

    Your voice and face still a constant earthly presence,
    love and guidance amass in hindsight mind segments.
    A challenged intellect comprises nothing new –
    except this grief: I blame the snow for killing you,

    not God nor Nature nor the way things just happen.
    Still human in my need to grudge a bleeding pen –
    I cannot bridge the gaps of wrath with platitudes
    nor string my acceptance to somber gratitude,

    but yield to knowing your essence has not ended.
    The life and breath of all you are floats descended,
    though your deathly form still lies frozen underground –
    you are forever, ashes never spread around.

  246. alana sherman

    Day 16 Elegy

    I thought that we were trying
    to be a better family
    I am outraged
    because no one tells me anything
    OH truly NOT COOL.
    I am really tired
    and it seems that no one listens
    Am I wasting my breath, talking to a wall?

    When situations like these happen I wish
    you would speak to me, speak to me
    so that ALL of us could be HAPPIER.

    I am tired of fighting
    everything makes me angry
    The old things are broken.
    It is time to go.
    Maybe we should just stop talking
    and do what we want
    I would like us to be on good terms
    but you will not come now

    WE love you. I know that there will be issues
    and there is so much I cannot do
    I can’t keep singing my petty sorrows.

    Words are replaced by a fervent prayer
    And a whispered “I miss you too.”
    Miss my little girl
    Your doodlebug memory lives in me
    I’m holding your hand
    your voice rises over the night
    meadow sprinkled with fireflies
    But it gets tiresome to hear what others wish

    I tell myself I just need to keep trying,
    but there’s nothing left to try. I’ll be left behind.
    What I am is going to unravel now.


  247. writinglife16

    Two perfect ladies

    They died within days of each other.
    My mother and Maui.
    I used to tell her that Maui
    was her grand cat.
    They were both perfect ladies.
    They took care of their households
    and their humans.
    They doted on the men in their lives.
    Days went by and nothing seemed to ease my pain.
    The numbness blanketed my heart.
    The nights were endless.
    One night I dreamed.
    I saw them walking together, free of pain.
    I woke up.
    And cried.

  248. beachanny

    Elegy for a Poet

    He wrote ideas fresh, succinct, vital.
    His poems delved the vast expanse of life
    He knew the soul’s injudicious hurdles
    He captured each man’s inner heights and strife.

    We will miss his gentle words both wise and helpful.
    We will miss his presence in our midst
    We will grieve with his many friends and loved ones
    And yet find comfort that his works persist.

    © Gay Reiser Cannon

  249. KS20x1

    Hold On I’m Coming Home

    by Kelley Stephens

    A single tear shattered
    there is smoke in a graveyard once more
    the next year vision
    driving in a black German car
    my head is salted and I am scared
    I wont survive preserve this moment
    oh please don’t go
    take the brilliant bit of your star
    take winter, I can’t be in freezing temperatures
    I will shatter stand with my insides
    gushing onto new soil
    while life was hazy I never thought
    things can become so clear
    I held on tight and now all I do is cry
    maybe I should have bent instead
    no backseat, peddle to the floor
    and you look so beautiful
    laying in the glow of 51 billboard signs

    Silence broke and shattered
    the windshield gave up
    let the best parts of me go
    this time G-d had follow through
    walked me across the hall in slices
    watched all of the monitors in ICU
    prayed silently curled up beside you
    who will protect me from monsters now

    Darling, I wish you knew how much I love you
    I’m telling you now with the slivers of my soul
    shooting in the dark when there’s a hush
    trying to get the rush of a wanted voice
    until then, I’ll watch out listen to your hold music
    on never crying Sundays spent by your side-
    will be what saves my soul without my dad
    without you here, focus on the whole
    rely on the undefined- I need you now
    cause I shiver mornings I had a full life-
    mercy closed it’s eyes, burden held me tight
    sorry you couldn’t see me before this day
    but I couldn’t go with you here
    no more threat, tonight a promise
    absolute commitment is all yours
    I miss you
    didn’t you know that
    tell me it’s green and I can go now

    He never drove drunk

    -(I’m on my way) an (E)legy

  250. Debbie


    As we walk through the years
    With family hand in hand
    We take things for granted
    But the bond is what we planned

    I shout with joy
    That I feel blessed
    To walk with my brother
    I, too, am at rest

    With thoughts of him
    I am fulfilled
    Knowing his heart
    Had mine instilled

    We played, we fought
    We laughed, we cried
    We cared for each other
    When hurt was inside

    Though our time was not daily
    Our love was so
    I will never forget him
    His hand I let go.

  251. Shennon

    I I could say,
    A thousand words,
    To ease this aching pain.

    If I could die,
    A hundred deaths,
    That you might live again.

    If I could spin,
    The web of fate,
    ‘Twould not be at your door.

    If I could have,
    The chance again,
    I’d love you even more.

    If I could live,
    Without this thought,
    Of knowing I’d done you wrong.

    If I could escape,
    From your memories,
    Perhaps I’d again be strong.


  252. Mark Danowsky

    Availability Heuristic

    Where is the elegy
    for past lives led? Gone
    nowhere, rather carried low
    until needed, if ever
    needed, like an impulse
    purchase at checkout—
    or the sudden need to treat
    ourselves to a $5 latte
    after we have worn ourselves
    down. Before we check out
    we can only hope to know
    the fate of our old selves—
    the lies we tell
    ourselves, unknowingly
    meet the known
    left behind in memories
    of those we used
    to know, who cannot help
    but call to mind
    a shared experience
    every now and then.

  253. De Jackson


    I still set tables for two,
    forks slightly askew, just
    the way you like them.

    I still bend toward the moon
    in her golden gown, drown
    myself in stars, reach for
           Orion’s belt
        if you’ve yet
    taken up residence
      at its center.

    I still make reservations
    for both of us, and pretend
    you’re running late, got
    called in to work, had to visit
    your sick grandmother. I think
    the waiter is starting to get

    I still buy you ties
    in various shades of blue
        to match your eyes.

    The world turns, still,
    the waves still spill
             their salt
    along this rocky coast.

    And here I am, still living
              with your ghost.


      1. hojawile

        Thank you much, Jacqueline, for answering my unasked question. I try to relocate even my own submissions to see if anyone has left some constructive criticism from which I might grow. I did not know about F5, so did a search and hope it’s okay if I leave this link as a resource for others who don’t know about F5…

        1. hojawile

          Meant to say F3…I just used it and found this again so easily. What a great help you’ve been!

          I definitely see why you Control F DeJackson’s writing!

  254. PressOn


    Many, many years ago,
    when I was twenty-three,
    I knew this older man, who spoke
    defining words to me.

    My friend, the bishop, sang his Mass
    with candles gleaming low;
    in robes of red or green or gold,
    he was a holy show

    and yet, despite the glittering gloss
    that captivates the eyes,
    the man inside knew how to laugh,
    and so the man was wise.

    I asked him, once, to share with me
    the essence of his faith.
    He chuckled merrily and said,
    “Mostly, it’s a wraith.”

    He then went on to tell me this:
    “The Church is like a salad.
    You toss a slew of chants and smoke
    together with a ballad;

    you blend the Bible, then you add
    the proper of the saints
    and serve them to the people,
    to ameliorate complaints.”

    I laughed at that. He laughed with me,
    but then his grin declined,
    and thereupon he spoke the words
    that ever guide my mind:

    “Remember me when I am gone,
    and think on this, my blessing:
    Faith is doubt; doubt is faith;
    all the rest is dressing.”

    William Preston

  255. Erynn

    Eulogy to my Grandparents

    The sun rises on another day
    But you’ve already gone away
    You never got to see me grow
    This little girl you used to know
    Though I was young and unsure
    Your love for me was pure
    Memories of us fill my head
    The games we played, the things we said
    I wish you could’ve stayed to see
    The woman I’ve grown up to be
    Though regrets I’ve had a few
    I never stopped missing you
    I pray that you have found your peace
    Since your souls found release
    You hated ever being apart
    For you were pieces of the same heart
    Not you’re reunited again
    All a part of some divine plan
    Though we mourn your loss still
    The hole in our hearts slowly fill
    You wouldn’t want us to despair
    Even though life isn’t fair
    You were taken too soon
    And now you hear the heavenly tune
    I’ll keep your memories in my heart
    And I know you’ll never depart
    For as long as I feel your love
    I know you’ll be watching from above

  256. kldsanders

    She Would Be Nine

    There is always a day in March
    when the world goes dark for me.
    It shocks me, and I wonder
    where this shadow comes from.
    Then I remember.
    It is March.

    March should have been
    her birthday.
    I should have held her in my arms.
    I should have watched her crawl.
    I should have heard her speak.
    I should have watched her walk.
    I should have enrolled her in school.
    I should have bought her presents.

    all I’m left with is what ifs
    and should haves.
    What if she had lived
    and I had given birth?
    What if she hadn’t died
    Inside of me?
    What if she wasn’t lost?

    She would be nine this year.

    -Karen Sanders

  257. James Von Hendy


    When it comes to it it’s hard to imagine,
    Knowing this is the last darkness, endless
    And nothing at once. My mother struggled
    Toward death like a boat tacking against
    The wind to gain harbor, and afterward
    I dreamt I dropped her into the grave alive,
    Upright in her wheelchair, propped against pillows
    To save one of us from pain. The ground clapped
    Over her like cellar gates, and I sank
    Into the soft, wet hillside earth, aghast.

  258. putpentopaper

    curling into corners: an elegy to lost energy

    as we sit here I think I can

    close my eyes and inhabit

    that moment, that feeling, to be all kinetic energy again, bellowing

    wailing, the sounds from our small lungs

    filling every corner of the room

    running through the house, we drank air in big gulps

    “I’m not tired!”

    our faces clenched like fists

    into a million wrinkles

    we made a stand in our footie pajamas

    tiny enough to curl into corners

    to hide from sleep under the couch’s retractable foot-rest

    a whole world under my grandmother’s dining room table

    if only we would be permitted to stay awake and meet it.

    under the warm orange lights of her house at night,

    heavy-lidded eyes yielding to gravity, fighting all the way.

    As we sit here

    watching my grandmother die

    three longer-limbed grandchildren

    Our bodies filling up the spaces in this room

    that we used to dash across, hide under

    And she curled up

    in her chair

    in the corner of the room

    drifting in and out

    of sleep

    Conversations hang in the air


    The brain a perfect time machine
    The body a perfect betrayal.

  259. break_of_day

    “The Old”

    It is time to go.
    This is the moment when
    enough is enough, when
    it is time to live again,
    to reclaim promises forgotten and
    This is an awakening,
    life rending the
    stone tomb
    that had grown around it
    like a rotting tree.
    This is the dividing place
    where living separates from merely
    suffocating slowly,
    and I have turned
    onto the narrow path.
    The old things are broken.
    It is time to go.

  260. Deri

    My Company of Ghosts

    My first run as an EMT
    was to pick up a woman
    out in the country
    who “wasn’t feeling well.”
    Half way into town
    she “coded” —
    no pulse no breaths —
    and I pumped life
    into her wasted lungs
    until my forearms screamed
    along with my brain
    that I shouldn’t be seeing this.

    Then there was a carload
    of older ladies, six of them
    in their finest clothes,
    their perfume still in the air,
    on their way home from
    a Good Friday brunch outing
    cut short by a teenager
    with a new truck and a cellphone
    and I held the hand of one
    in the back of the ambulance
    as helicopters swooped down
    like raptors from the sky
    onto our war zone.
    She told me “I can’t breath”
    but there was no one to help me
    and not enough birds to take her away
    and she died
    with tubes in her chest
    trying to drain away
    the suffocation.

    Christmas Eve, a woman
    died at the end of the driveway
    leading to our station
    as I kneeled in snow and ice
    and told her “It will be ok,”
    watched her eyes widen
    at my lies.
    A man with cancer
    took his own life
    one hot July night
    and we smoked cigarettes
    on the back of the rig
    trying to talk of anything else.

    Man vs. Train
    Man vs. Truck
    Man vs. Man
    The children
    The elderly
    The too young
    Too old
    Too fragile
    Too much to live for
    The prisoners
    who know their only freedom
    was coming in a long, black bag
    but would tell me I had a pretty smile

    I carry them with me, always,
    Like friends in my heart
    until the very end
    when someone else will
    pick me up,
    carry me forward,
    and on we will all go.

      1. Deri

        I just re-read the poem and burst into tears. It is a tough, tough job, and life changing, but I’m grateful for what it taught me. Thank you for your kind words about it.

    1. mzanemcclellan

      Masterful use of immediate scene. I was drawn in and riding your rig with you, felt the adrenaline surge and the feelings of despair, futility. Wonderful dark poem. Peace. ~ Michael

  261. Clae

    Elegy for a Cat

    Long will I miss your swaying walk,
    how your steps would thud, like a shrunken bear.
    I miss my small space heater, but
    I will never miss all your shedding hair.

    T.S. Gray

  262. break_of_day

    “the man I knew”

    I suppose you were real,
    that the man I knew
    was true at the time
    it’s been ten years
    and then some
    but I think I remember well enough

    you are so wholly different now
    that you cast the past
    into uncertainty
    perhaps you were never the man
    I thought I knew
    but I will not say it with conviction

    to know that you were real
    if only superficially,
    or only temporarily the man
    you could have been
    should have been
    the better man than you’ve become

  263. Mark Conroy

    “Our Hereafter”

    It’s all I have that’s left of you
    And that’s really only who you were before
    Alone in my head
    You passed away I guess And now I’m here
    Stuck inside with only me
    You can’t get up and go
    I have to think
    You can never wake me up again
    How long will it take
    Where will I be when I come to an end
    I can’t die any more than I already am
    No one talks back to me
    I can’t say anything out loud
    You come and stand before me
    It’s real, because—now I can cry
    From the smallest chance I never gave you to get closer to me
    To all the times I walked away I’m sorry I was scared too
    I left you be without me
    The words repeat themselves
    When I get to the end of everyone including you

    Who was I when I was then?

    Mark Conroy

  264. RJ Clarken

    Elegy for a Forgotten Diary

    “Nothing is as new as something which has been long forgotten.” –German Proverb

    For no apparent reason, I
    suddenly thought of you: you held
    all my girlish secrets within.

    ‘Though it’s been years since junior high,
    a lifetime since I felt compelled
    to share what teenaged dreams had been,

    of boys and cliques and love and why
    I never truly had rebelled
    against my parents or their spin,

    instead, I wrote some poems, by
    which I sought to have self-doubts quelled.
    You were the safe place to begin.

    I felt the need to hide each word.
    Now you’re long gone; our ink unheard.


  265. Jenn Todd Lavanish

    Oh Papa

    I miss you everyday
    How I wish I could hear your voice
    Hold your hand
    Feel your embrace
    Rest my head upon your shoulder
    Even sit in silence with you there

    How I wish you’d call me “Charlie Brown”
    Just to stop my frown
    My grief runs deep
    And tears wet my hands
    As I pray you have not forgotten me in heaven

    I am lonely without you here
    No one gets me like you did
    I tried not to take you for granted
    But I am selfish and want you back for myself
    I talk to you but I hurt in the silence returned

    I am lost without your encouragement
    No one compares in friendship to your kindness
    My dreams fall flat without your help
    Forced movements do not make shadows in my mind dance

    I am truly relieved you have no more pain
    But your legacy just doesn’t feel the same
    My heart broke upon your death

    And I still can’t catch my breath.

  266. hojawile


    Hair of pristine snow
    Eyes of azure skies
    Heaven in your sights
    Yet feet planted here below
    Wanting the rapture ride
    So death you dared defy.

    Chocolate was your medicine
    Grandkids, accomplices in confectionary crime
    Your children chuckled (and maybe lost some sleep)
    at your spunk
    Sisters five who love you so
    One peaceful on the other side
    As you join her there,
    Hug her for us, won’t you please?
    And try not to exasperate the angels too much.

  267. Taylor Mali

    Dear Jack: This will likely be the first of many postcards you will receive. Let me start again. I know this will be the first postcard you receive because I made all of them, 80, multicolored, printed on cardstock here at my home, stamped them all and addressed them all to you, but I have yet to give a single postcard to anyone else who knows and loves you.

    Dear Jack: Thank you for letting me do this, distribute 80 postcards prestamped and addressed to you. I have no idea how many you will receive. Actually, I do. If I don’t give any of these postcards to anyone else you will receive all 80 from me.

    Dear Jack: I passed out a few blank postcards at Urbana last night to the regulars who miss you. It was hard for me to let them go, but I know there are people who would love to say hello to you (not goodbye), and all they need is a little bit of help. Fucking poets.

    Dear Jack: My own father died when we was only 58 so I’ve been on the lookout for father figures ever since. PS—You’ve always been one.

    Dear Jack: I gave a stack of postcards to Simone Beaubien, slammaster of The Cantab Lounge, your old home venue, where she says your name is still spoken with a sense of reverence. You may have started receiving postcards from other people now. Let this be new evidence, against all odds, of how much you are loved.

    Dear Jack: Thanks for your advice about how I should stay single for five years. That’s not going to happen. I’ve met a woman named Rachel, and I love her.

    Dear Jack: Rachel said she wrote you one of my postcards because she could tell how much you mean to me. What did she say? Never mind. That’s none of my business. PS—We’re getting married!

    Dear Jack: Without being too morbid, let me just say that I will miss you when you’re gone. I love you, and 80 postcards could not begin to explain how much. How many have you received? Not from me, I mean?

    Dear Jack: Today I heard the news that you are gone, but I’m writing you this postcard anyway because I’ve always been able to say things here I cannot elsewhere. Rest in peace. PS—I thought I made these postcards to help other people deal with their grief, but Rachel says it was to deal with my own.

  268. Gwyvian


    I raise my glass to toast with an elegy: an end
    to picking myself up off the floor to stagger on,
    and of trying to get passed thoughts that haunt me;
    because I choose to drown now into senselessness,
    where feelings unravel and the shackles come off—
    I want to forget the failure and the pain,
    I just want to drown right now and stop trying…

    I drain my glass and keep singing my petty sorrows,
    of the little yellow blossom of hope trampled so often
    that it’s become an unrecognizable stain in the mud:
    where I keep pushing on, though strength abandons me—
    I want to stop feeling now, stop thinking there’s a point,
    I think caring is no longer something I want—
    because if I care too much, I’ll have to accept the blame…

    My shame is that trying is beyond me now, though
    I secretly rejoice its absence; I didn’t want to forget,
    but caring turns its back in disgust as soon as
    I hit the bottom of the glass – I want to let go and start
    letting the feelings drain out, because if I keep them
    bottled up, I know it’ll all consume me one day, and then
    care as I might, try as I will, nothing will erase the weight…

    Tonight I tried to forget, to curl up to lick my wounds
    and convince myself that I can do it, when I know
    that I cannot – I want to tell myself that I just need
    to keep trying, but I know there’s nothing left to try:
    either what I am is going to unravel now, or
    I’ll be left behind in a blissful haze…

    I just wish I could care for a little longer,
    so that I can say that all I’ve done was not in vain.

    April 16, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  269. mzanemcclellan

    Emptiness Of Tomorrow
    When I was told, this world of ours,
    you had all too abruptly left,
    the emptiness of tomorrow
    leaves me feeling simply bereft.
    No arms of yours to hold me tight
    your kisses, no longer my joy
    Your understanding, empathy,
    their loss to me leaves such a void
    You were the source of my laughter,
    the comfort when I was in need.
    You always left me wanting more.
    Your loss I had hoped to precede.
    You smiled from the inside out,
    embodied the word compassion.
    Of all of the people on this earth
    you were one perfectly fashioned.
    I will cherish the memory
    of the time we spent together.
    I close my eyes and see you there,
    immortal souls last forever.

    ~ M. Zane McClellan

    Copyright 2014
    M. Zane McClellan
    All rights reserved

    1. dhaivid3

      Everey verse is touching – but I find especially so are the last two and of these, these two lines:

      “Of all of the people on this earth
      you were one perfectly fashioned.”

      Such a sad poem.

      1. dhaivid3

        Oops! Sorry, error.

        Every verse is touching – but I find especially so are the last two and of these, these two lines:

        “Of all of the people on this earth
        you were one perfectly fashioned.”

        Such a sad poem.

  270. Espen Stenersrod

    Day 16

    the old lady on the bench

    Lady with a view
    In the middle of a park
    She throws small glances at people
    As they either pass by
    Or explore the four cornered paradise
    They now call peace and quiet

    The lady holds a firm grip on her heart
    As she witness what she herself calls
    She is mesmerized by the others
    The joy, the playfulness
    That she once wore on her sleeves

    Suddenly she sees someone she knows
    Running around with the same smile
    He had 70 years ago
    A young boy beaten into adulthood too fast, but that never hindered him to smile
    Oh how he smiles,
    she thought to herself
    He taught me everything I know about love
    Even though I had to let him go eventually

    The lady looks to her left
    Riding in on a pale horse
    Comes all her shattered hopes and dreams, and small glimpses of life long lessons in between.
    But she refuse to regret any of them

    Dancing on the sky now
    Is the image of all her opportunities
    Almost perfectly placed on a string
    So she plucks them down
    To wear them proud around her neck
    She is almost glowing
    Her aura is purple and green
    The rest of her is everything in between

    A tear falls from the corner of her eyes
    Running down her cheek
    Kissing her lips
    Salty dreams
    It mixes with her newborn necklace
    She is free
    She fell asleep

    And woke no more
    From her dreams

  271. Gwyvian

    After Earth

    I found a box in the wasteland, a dream come true
    and I opened it gingerly, the squeal of its hinges
    vibrating through my fingers soundlessly; inside,
    the harsh sunlight caught up and played with the dust
    from crumbling pages that tore from my indelicate touch
    but I read enough before closing it once more to ponder:
    the point of beginning, a place that felt the caress of time
    a wasteland where all is buried in the final embrace
    where thousands of dreams came to die… my lips
    formed the words in its strange dialect,
    an elegy of what the ancients used to be: they were
    a proud race of beings that got lost in a thicket of nuance
    they had droves of the intangible at their fingertips,
    and in the end, I suppose, they died for it:
    it spoke of cities of grandeur riddled with squalor,
    defiance and submission equally dispersed
    a people connected by lore forgotten, and many sent into
    graves of intrigue, words now worthless; there was indefinable
    power, and inexorable decay – they were a people of love,
    so they claimed, yet what I read between the lines spoke
    of a vast hatred… loathing of disagreements, fear of
    their paragon: the unknown – and fear of change; they
    sought the stars and exchanged understanding for knowledge
    and garnered ignorance instead… yet, there was such
    intricacy, this lost civilization continues to fascinate me…
    it is such a pity they lost their meaning, their substance
    to a myriad of petty dreams.

    April 16, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  272. JanetRuth

    Stained-glass Elegy

    They sit like stained-glass spectacles
    Tucked in rural burgs and vales
    Steeple-postcards; red, brown, gray
    Where fore-fathers came to pray
    As Amazing Grace rang strong
    Before progress stole its song

    Here Miss Betty sang off-key
    Baby bounced on mother’s knee
    Johnny scribbled on the pew
    Mary blushed and peeked at Lou
    Daddies paused from six-day test
    Sabbath was a day of rest

    Once upon a simpler Time
    Sunday morning bore the chime
    Of the tolling steeple-bell
    …’Come to church or go to hell’
    Now when Sunday rolls around
    Silence is its only sound

    Here they sit; each village square
    Has a little church somewhere
    Mr. Brown still mows the lawn
    Pausing to reflect upon
    Friends and neighbors lying where
    No one comes to pray a prayer

    …and those doors that never locked
    Never open; is God shocked
    As He sees His house of prayer
    Empty? Hallmarks of despair
    Like a grave among the graves
    Echoing ‘come, Jesus saves’

    1. TomNeal

      Here Miss Betty sang off-key
      Baby bounced on mother’s knee

      I hope you don’t mind a suggestion, but a near rhyme that falls flat would fit in nicely with “off-key”.

  273. Phil Boiarski


    There is a blessing in
    the rise and fall
    of every breath.

    The gathering in
    and the releasing is
    like the waters
    of the ocean surf,
    repeating the name
    of the ineffable.

    We struggle to say
    what we fear the most,
    to speak words
    when there are none.

    Why do our memories
    mean so much to us?
    Like love, we hold
    the time before we knew
    our fate, before
    we understood our loss,
    when all of us
    would live

  274. Rosemary Nissen-Wade


    “Guess who died?” I said. “It was on facebook.
    Oh, a week or so ago. The person who posted it
    described him as kind and humble.” We raised
    our eyebrows at each other, remembering.

    “You know,” I said, “I kept bumping into him
    all over town, that last week before he died.
    Not to speak to, though. That is, I chose not;
    pretended I didn’t see him. Which I don’t regret.”

    “She was a lovely woman,” said my friend.
    She was,” I agreed, and we fell silent, recalling
    his wife, who died nine years ago, whom we loved.
    “Well — I hope he worked out his karma,” I said.

  275. Kimmy Sophia

    After so many years
    I miss you,
    I want to tell you about my day,
    I want to explain myself.
    It’s weird how thoughts of your death
    become about me.
    Your absence makes me feel thus.
    How does it feel for you?
    Where are you — a location?
    Inadequate explanations
    burn the mind.
    You were kind
    and funny
    and loving
    and wise
    and I miss that from my life.
    Are you with Dad?
    I only ever wanted to make you proud.
    I hope our timelines intersect.
    I want my mommy.

  276. break_of_day

    “for my friend Mara, who is well”

    rise up and live
    as was your way
    with a radiant spirit
    raise the children
    you never had
    love the husband
    who would have cherished
    your loyalty, your triumph of joy
    speak to me
    of the birds in the trees
    that cannot contain
    their thrill for spring
    remind me to live
    without worry of embarrassment
    not perfect, but

    rise up and live again
    and be my friend and
    squeeze my arm and
    make me laugh
    walk with me
    through this journey
    on dusty earth,
    where your countenance
    would pierce the gloom
    of darker days

    rise up and live
    except, you have
    you breathe in
    triumphant joy
    in a place with no more tears
    you live beyond the death
    of a terminally sick world
    you have departed but
    are not truly dead
    I want you here,
    but you are well
    and I will be there too
    some day
    never more to speak goodbyes
    or weep for death
    but to thrill at
    the everlasting Spring
    perfectly whole, at peace,

  277. gus

    Day 15: Mourning the Loss of the Intellectual

    These last few years marked
    the death of the average intellectual.

    Although once abundant,
    Reading nonfiction on spare time,
    Engaging in intelligent discussion,
    Few are left remaining.

    Now a rarity,
    Common sense has lost
    All meaning in its name.
    No longer common is the sense we once had.

    In the rising age of technology,
    Is also an age of distraction;
    Keeping the mind null
    From one meal to the next.

    I am one of few left
    Who have not yet evolved,
    Who still believe in chivalry
    And respect for figures of authority.

    I mourn the loss of my people,
    Whose presence I often enjoyed.
    But now I wander among the mindless,
    Constantly being annoyed.

    -Gus Gonzalez

  278. grcran

    Fetching Memories
    By gpr crane

    Gypsy would fetch at the drop of a hat
    Retrieving a hair-tie in three seconds flat
    You probably think her a dog for all that
    But this feline whiz was a calico cat

    At animal rescue we found her that day
    The mom and two kittens, we took them away
    Already had grown cats back at the chalet
    High hoping this venture would work out okay

    Poor Gypsy was tortured by great big fat Ben
    She’d purr in my lap every now and again
    Unfortunately Ben would never give in
    One morning I found her dead body and then

    I buried her in the backyard ‘neath a tree
    red oak, red for blood, and oak because she
    stays strong in my heart, her spirit now free.
    That Gypsy cat fetches fond mem’ries for me.

  279. Brian Slusher


    This black and white photo preserves it all:
    A flock of dresses bolting across the blacktop
    Their sweaters and coats tell it’s early fall
    These swift girls don’t want to get caught

    A flight of fine dresses zigzag the blacktop
    We boys can’t decide how best to proceed
    These light-limbed girls aren’t easily caught
    And we were chumps to give them a lead

    Marty, Ross, Jay, and all proceed
    Willy and nilly and wildly we race
    Dumb beasts running to cut the fair lead
    Of the fairer quarry screaming away

    Hurly and burly and breathless we race
    The playground a jungle of Jims in pursuit
    While the screaming Jills keep slipping away
    As I take a flash picture to offer proof

    These lightning girls will never be caught
    Just as bright leaves in season must fall
    And blow like pale dresses across the blacktop
    While black and white memory clings to it all.

    1. k_weber

      while i am curious to see the photo, you have re-written and re-taken the photo in your own words so vividly. you’ve selected a very unique subject here. i love words like “hurly” and “burly” and “screaming Jills” and “lightning girls” as they are fresh but also hearken back to the time when the photo was taken place and different slang was used. an enjoyable read and a stand-out spin on the theme for today’s challenge.

  280. Andrew Kreider

    Everyone’s favorite aunt

    In the end it was probably fitting
    that Fannie went as she did. All my
    best memories of this blue rinse saint
    revolve around her avocado green
    kitchen and the candy jar she kept there.

    Fannie’s chocolate obsession made her
    everyone’s favorite aunt. They said she
    was not the marrying kind. I think she
    was just totally devoted to her outlandish
    creative art. What man could compete?

    Consider the door handles coated in milk
    chocolate. The mint crisp dog bed.
    Truffle lipstick. The Hershey’s kiss magazine
    caddy. The peanut butter cup bowling ball.
    The chocolate shower. We loved it – and her.

    I know the activities coordinators at
    Greenview are feeling some remorse,
    but really how were they to know
    just how seriously Fanny took every
    Easter egg hunt? This was life or death.

    And for her to be trapped at the bottom of
    a scrum of screaming residents all fighting
    for the foil covered egg, I’m sure she was pleased
    to go out like that. When they pulled her free,
    she was clutching the prize. And she was smiling.

  281. DanielR

    A simple smile and dimples
    your fingers drummed your temples
    like you had just been caught
    in the depths of a great thought
    then you would offer sage advice
    about how I ought to think twice
    before you chewed on your glasses

    I realize as more time passes
    how much you really knew
    and how much I miss you
    the last words you said to me
    were “no man is ever free
    until his eternal rest”

    my hand patted your chest
    and we said our goodbyes
    then you closed your eyes

    Daniel Roessler

  282. Jezzie

    Goodbye my faithful friend

    My beautiful girl, you’ve gone to sleep today
    and never more will we ever get to play.
    For twelve years you have been my constant friend
    and stayed by my side right to the very end.

    You were a madam right from the start
    but your winning ways just melted my heart.
    You were always the belle of any doggie ball,
    and you were big and brave with no fear at all.

    The runt of the litter, you always knew how to survive
    and bossed your litter sister all the time you were alive,
    but we both miss you more than you will ever know
    and are so sorry that you now have had to go.

    So sleep well, my beautiful girl, your heart has been stilled,
    but you’ve left a hole in my heart that will never be filled.
    I will always think of you with a heart full of pride
    and will dream of you still running by my side.

    I cannot bring myself to write an elegy today as my second dog is nearing the end of her time here, but this is what I wrote just over a year ago when I lost my first dog (the one in my photo).

  283. Walt Wojtanik


    Days must end, as all days do.
    Amidst the shadowy shroud of darkness,
    hearts plunder under the guise of love.
    I have lived, eventually as I had pleased,
    eased into the comfort of words and thoughts
    wrought with emotion. Every notion of giving
    up the ghost gets lost in a pyre of sacrificed
    ideas. I pray when death calls he comes softly
    like an old friend and ne’er as a raucous thief
    in the lonely night. I wish it to find his peace
    in the peace he offers. A tender hand to guide
    on journeys yet imagined; be not sad.
    I have lived. I have loved. I have given all
    that has been required long before I will
    have expired. And when my new adventure begins,
    I will harbor no fear. It is here where my voice
    will speak of many wondrous things
    to those who choose to listen.
    Into the glistening sun I will walk seeing
    finally all that I had believed. No harm will come
    when I am done, for I have lived.

  284. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Elegy – Lament

    June 15, 2010
    We lost you then,

    You were so sick and mean,
    In our eyes, a King,

    When you left this world,
    Your Son cried out,

    Your Sister and I held hands,
    she wouldn’t leave without your wedding band,

    that was the start,
    when everything fell apart,

    It only took five short years,
    she brought us to tears,

    Robbing us, your second wife,
    she took your life,

    Away from us,
    and all your worldly possessions.

    Happy Father’s Day, Dad
    June 15, 2014

  285. EeLas6678

    Understanding Life in Death

    Life and death,
    So different in sense,
    Puzzles so similarly connected.
    Valued dearly, but yet so dense,
    Not one has perfected.
    Without life, how could we perish?
    Crossing the finish line must first begin with one step,
    Every breath of gold, cherished,
    Until the last breath, in the mouth is kept.
    One moment existing,
    The next second…
    Leaving others reminiscing.
    Is death the black crow as we all assume,
    Or is it the white dove, a resurrection that invisibly blooms?
    Some things are difficult to comprehend,
    The meaning of life is one,
    Our lives are spent envisioning the end,
    Blurry eyes until is it done.

    -Emily Lasinsky

  286. DamonZ

    “In an Empty Heart”

    The great melancholy seizes us all.
    The emotion drawn when death comes to call.

    Helpless we wrestle its acute detraction.
    Our memories longing their image in reflection.

    An emptiness fissured by a love’s departure.
    Pain, so searing, some would weigh it as torture.

    Behind swollen eyes,
    Ones worn from cries.

    We envision our empty days ahead.
    Dwell on the things that never were said.

    The misty memory of a promising day.
    Those feelings now a dull, sully grey.

    In an empty heart where love once stood.
    Happiness is sacredly and dolefully interred.
    And loneliness hopelessly inferred.

    By: Damon Zallar

  287. JadeWr1tes

    Washed Out Elegy (4/16)

    Our romance was never
    perfect, just barely grazed
    over the idea of bliss,
    even now years later
    your laughter and sweet
    face, I never thought
    I’d miss, the only
    positive memory I have
    is a washed out, blurry
    kiss between you and me,
    there’s no sympathy from the
    world for me breaking down
    like this, shattering glass
    hit the floor, your only
    goodbye was repetition
    of your name going over
    and over in my mind;
    to you this is all a game,
    I haven’t been to your grave,
    I don’t know what it would say,
    I only want to remember
    how we love unfettered that day.

    Jada Lopez

  288. JadeWr1tes

    Washed Out Elegy (4/16)

    Our romance was never
    perfect, just barely grazed
    over the idea of bliss,
    even now years later
    your laughter and sweet
    face, I never thought
    I’d miss, the only
    positive memory I have
    is a washed out, blurry
    kiss between you and me,
    there’s no sympathy from the
    world for me breaking down
    like this, shattering glass
    hit the floor, your only
    goodbye was repetition
    of your name going over
    and over in my mind;
    to you this is all a game,
    I haven’t been to your grave,
    I don’t know what it would say,
    I only want to remember
    how we love unfettered that day.

  289. Walt Wojtanik


    Asleep in silent repose,
    slumber suspended
    in the belief that death
    is the final act in life’s
    dramatic performance.
    The dance of expression
    lives in the static motion
    adrift o’er shifting sands.
    Death commands a hand
    in the finality of living.
    But the soul is giving no quarter.
    Water is the medium that
    suspends and maintains life,
    it is rife with every good thing
    from the first quench of a
    consuming thirst, to the requiem
    of a sailor’s dying gasp.
    Hanging in the balance of
    life and death, suspended.

  290. kelly letky

    willy loman’s last grand gesture

    a tulip
    refuses to rage
    or go gentle

    blown out
    blowsed up
    blundering on


    no tears
    no fear
    all clear

    silent growth
    tender reach
    purple hope

    eating sunshine
    like spun
    cotton candy

    by beauty’s
    last song

    ~Kelly Letky

  291. DamonZ

    “For Mom and Dad”

    They say, “Better to have loved and lost.”
    And yet they say nothing of the cost.
    To what end do we owe its demise?
    We say goodbye with our solemn cries.
    Across a river of tears, we commit them forth.
    The heaviest of hearts bridges their course.
    By God’s grace they enter his kingdom,
    Life eternal with consummate freedom.
    And so they live in our memory evermore.
    Their earthly suffering ours to endure.

    By: Damon Zallar

  292. Walt Wojtanik


    Nothing to do now, but placidly stand
    along the river shore that I thought hard to leave.
    Weep not, weep not, let them bury your big eyes
    in the secret earth securely.
    Rivers are damp; she’s only just gone home.

    Cento/Elegy with lines taken from: Sarett, Houseman, Johnson, Millay, Parker

  293. AleathiaD

    Elegy for a Forgotten Time

    “It’s 3 am I must be lonely….”

    Years ago my mother called me
    in the middle of the night
    telling me this song reminded her of me.
    I was younger and reckless then,
    never as wild as her, but enough
    that she saw some of herself in me.

    At the time, I told her it was a cool song
    just to get her off the phone.
    Over the years the song pops on the radio
    and I recognize the music, but never
    bothered with the words other than the chorus.

    She’s gone now and I am sitting in my car crying
    over the lyrics, over how much they remind me of her.
    I want to call her and tell her I get it, I understand
    she was scared that night and came to me for some solace
    and I turned her away. I will never get that moment back,
    never be able to tell her it will all be ok in the morning.

    If she would have had a funeral
    I would have played that song.

    I would have sang it as loud as I could
    choking on my own tears.

    “Well, I can’t help
    but be scared of it all sometimes”

    Aleathia Drehmer 2014
    April 16 Elegy

  294. TomNeal


    You have always been an absent presence,
    Your name spoken only in hushed whispers,
    And only then when he was not around
    The house to hear it said, to misconstrue
    Our interest in the man we never knew.

    Our meeting prohibited-disallowed,
    It was never a possibility,
    We exist in an incontingency
    That permits only you or only us
    To be; and once Gavrilo Princip shot
    Franz Ferdinand, your contingency flamed
    Out- not that you could have known at the time,
    I didn’t, but a causal chain commenced,
    That destined the event of October
    Twenty-one eighteen eighty-six
    To cease on six October nineteen eighteen,
    Cancelled by the flu and a random shell.

    She never forgot you. Your ring hidden
    In a drawer along with your pocket watch,
    A Rockford cased in gold I am holding.
    It is part of your legacy to me,
    A watch that has stopped marking the time.

    She burned your letters before she died,
    She told me they were too sacred to share
    With anyone, even with me, her eldest
    Grandchild, but she did tell me about your
    Last day- she was nursing in a ward when
    You came to say goodbye, but you know that.
    Were you being cruel? kind? I can’t decide:
    You must have known she would never forget.
    What did you think when she looked up and smiled,
    And said, ‘Wait just a second while I dress
    His wound,’ but you didn’t stay did you? NO,
    You left her with that telegram instead.

    Nonetheless, I must accept your death blessed
    Me, and Pat and Dan and Susannah too,
    That you left us, and left us a place, and
    I am sorry for your loss.

    1. k_weber

      Great last line. It stings, actually. There is a duality throughout the poem that is handled quite well: alternating between the main character being a hero and kind of a jerk. The things left behind.

  295. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Elegy to the Unnamed

    Throughout the epoch journey there have been those
    who fell along the wayside – broken, desolate, crushed
    by the weight of actuality so cruel that it struck blindly –
    out of rancor so bitter it poisoned those who sipped the cup.
    These disremembered souls lay were they fell –
    anonymous monuments to antagonism, anxiety and avarice.
    Yet, far along the twist and turns of time and space
    Truth, the tenacious seeker of the unidentified,
    skillfully uncovers the layers of lies and falsehoods
    uncovering the bare bones of lives, once treasured,
    to expose the essence of phantom figures that,
    while unnamed are once again remembered.

    1. Linda Rhinehart Neas

      Hit reply before I edited…silly me! Here it is corrected.

      Elegy to the Unnamed

      Throughout the epoch journey, there have been those
      who fell along the wayside – broken, desolate, crushed
      by the weight of actuality so cruel that it struck blindly –
      out of rancor so bitter it poisoned those who sipped the cup.
      These disremembered souls lay were they fell –
      anonymous monuments to antagonism, anxiety and avarice.
      Yet, far along the twist and turns of time and space
      Truth, the tenacious seeker of the unidentified,
      skillfully denudes the layers of lies and falsehoods
      uncovering the bare bones of lives, once treasured,
      to expose the essence of phantom figures that,
      while unnamed, are once again remembered.

      1. mzanemcclellan

        “anonymous monuments to antagonism, anxiety and avarice.”
        ” Truth, the tenacious seeker of the unidentified,”

        The whole poem is superb, but those lines are absolutely magnificent. Bravo Linda, Bravo!

  296. Elizabeth C.

    This Ageless Thing Called War

    Live in a world
    seemingly incapable
    of knowing harmony.
    Where most men
    see women as less sacred
    than themselves.

    Prefer to see her as damaged,
    even punishable,
    for being born
    to a female form.

    Will only allow her
    the ragged, jagged path
    they have created
    through written
    and spoken words
    they choose to define
    as God’s Will,

    but never just their own.

    Elizabeth Crawford 4/16/14

  297. jasonlmartin


    As far as psychologists go,
    you were as crazy as they come.
    You kept a severe autistic in your back seat
    like a parakeet that repeated his name over
    and over until you shoved Big Macs in his mouth.
    You swerved over the double-yellow lines
    as if your tires were Kandinsky’s paint brushes
    accompanied by horns and rubber squeals.
    You hummed along as if you on the Carnegie Hall stage,
    with pastrami-on-ryes balanced on your dashboard
    as if you had a frequent buyer card at the Carnegie Deli.
    I was your second-cousin, but more like a pawn
    in a game to trick your mind to believe you not insane
    and not just a chauffeur for the parakeet, but with greater
    purpose: To mentor your father-less relative to believe
    he, too, was not as insane as he felt. Gary, you did
    your job. There’s always someone out there more insane.

  298. poetrycurator

    Here is my Elegy for day 16
    (for Emily Dickinson)

    Elegy for Emily

    Your Secret is
    Safe with me—
    I Won’t tell!
    Your Divine Visitor—
    held a Spark of
    Your Pain was
    Words Constrained you—
    Your Bulbous Brain—
    Billowed with
    Your Sisters—
    Safeguarded you
    in their Loving
    and Circle—
    of Protection.
    The Angels—
    Welcome you.
    Your Light—
    still Shines.

    By Denise Fletcher
    Copyright © 2012-2014
    All Rights Reserved

  299. donaldillich

    Elegy for an Excuse

    At first everyone was sympathetic:
    “Your grandma died. I’m really sorry
    for you.” They fed you muffins,
    asked if they could take on some
    of your work during this hard period.
    They asked where to send flowers,
    and apologetically, you said she asked
    for no flowers, just donations to a cause
    you made up. When you tried it on friends,
    saying you couldn’t make it to their reading
    because of your distress, they stopped
    making a fuss, told you to take care
    of yourself, wanted to know if you
    needed anything. You started using it
    whenever you had an obnoxious task,
    like helping a buddy move out of
    a fourth floor apartment, no elevator.
    They acted as if you were the one
    with the hard problem, the furniture
    that needed to be assembled
    from very difficult instructions.
    Soon, though, you got mixed up
    about who you told the excuse.
    Your friends turned it into a cruel joke,
    the guy whose grandma was dying.
    Or they refused to speak to you again,
    no matter how many times you promised
    to drive them to the airport. At work
    your boss threatened you with a firing,
    wondered where those donations went.
    You had to quit and scramble to find
    work in the same city where you lived.
    The excuse was interred in your mind,
    where you imagined the real grandma
    leaping in with it, dressed in a frilly
    swimming suit, the excuse dapper
    with his mustache, muscular arms,
    both of them diving deep into a hole,
    no sound of a splash, no sound at all.

  300. cindikenn

    I Didn’t Mean to Kill You

    I’d undressed you in the dark
    Like a hungry newlywed.
    Moon shining through the window,
    Midnight gleaming overhead.

    Your skin was smooth and creamy,
    Sweetness lingered on my tongue.
    I didn’t mean to kill you
    When our time had just begun.

    Oh chocolate I’ll miss you.
    You cannot know the sorrow.
    Wish I’d eaten slower since
    My diet starts tomorrow.

    I drowned my bitter sadness
    At your untimely demise
    With goodies from mini mart
    More chocolate, super sized.

    I undressed you in the dark…

  301. antoniabryanblue


    Caught out on the speed of a melody
    This martini remains shaken on a possibility
    Twirling from one hand to another
    It’s got nothing on the wheel of fortune
    A million coloured lips open up in suspense
    While eyes wonder with an extra shine
    Hidden inside the disco lights
    Softening the great descent into the step above nothing
    Down and down, it all goes
    Kissing fear on its merry way
    The plaster on the walls melts
    Turning all star-like with pixies
    Dressed up in green while they dance around heads
    In order to yank down the leech of death’s call
    Basking away the need to worry
    All in one fell swoop of relief
    So you ask for another
    But fantasy and reality starts to stir
    It’s okay to drink this depth of misery
    Underneath hazy disco lights
    Again, alright to laugh in madness
    But not for much longer…
    Sooner or later you start to hate it
    This need to feel alright in-between strange bodies
    You learn to love to hate it
    Dancing along to a shaken martini that makes you sick
    Feeling content while a man is found hanging by his neck
    He was one of the million
    Who drank too many Martinis
    Shaken on a spinning view
    Of drunken madness
    That ended his life

  302. RamblinRose

    Elegy of Existence

    There was a vibrancy about you
    A devil-may-care-but-I-don’t attitude
    Like a happy drunk, your joy spilled out on
    Those fortunate enough to be in your presence

    This offended some
    What makes you so happy?
    Incredulous, they couldn’t believe someone
    Could be so content with life

    And not a perfect life
    Not one without its own share of troubles
    But always filled with hope
    For a better tomorrow

    There were early warning signs
    But not ones you could read
    By the time the diagnosis was made
    You were already disappearing

    Anxiety and fear replace your
    peace and contentment
    You became a shadow of yourself
    No longer spilling joy wherever you went

    I miss who you were
    And know you’ll never be the same
    That happy go lucky girl
    Replaced by a phantom of her former self

  303. Quaker

    When I heard the news you died
    on April 1, I thought it was a joke.
    You were the kind that would think
    it was funny. I waited for the punchline
    that never arrived with a drum roll, cymbal.
    Even when I saw you in the casket,
    I expected you’d sit up like a jack-in-the-box
    and scare the bejesus out of me.
    I guess the joke’s on both of us.
    I keep waiting, years later, for a revelation
    this was the longest running gag,
    or else you wanted me that much out of your life.
    Either way, death is not a cosmic anecdote.
    There is no laughter in the stars.
    Here it is forty years later and I still eulogize
    like a baptism of rain.

  304. Michele Brenton

    Teach me, Father, how to let go. *

    “No! No! No!” he kicked his chubby little legs,
    face scrunched up in angry scowl
    I picked him up to calm him down
    but he would not be subdued.
    In the report it said, ”Does not take well to saying goodbye.”

    I think he gets that inclination from me
    I tend to cling on well past the moment
    when it would have been dignified.

    You hardly ever showed fear or anguish,
    but once when you got news your father
    had died you cried in a darkened room
    and I think you thought I hadn’t seen
    and your crying was so quiet
    it frightened me because
    noise means it’s only a fuss about nothing.

    The way you died was magnificent
    Were you really not afraid or were you being brave
    and protecting us the way you always had?
    Maybe you had spent so many years
    behind your defences even this last
    onslaught was repelled.
    You made the moment beautiful
    and set the bar so high
    and it’s time I was brave as you
    and quietly said, “Goodbye.”

    Michele Brenton April 16th 2014

    * title slightly altered from first line of A Prayer by Edwin Markham

  305. Cin5456

    I knew for several years hope was useless,
    and my heart ached for your faded beauty.
    Not for my sake do I mourn your loss.
    I lament for those to come who it seems
    will never know your glory, your potential.
    You had the world at your feet. Dare I say it –
    they pulled your pillars down without knowing
    the cost of sacrificing truth. And now
    you shining cities have lost their glow.
    Your journey through decline hastened by neglect,
    your health and vigor drained away by greed.
    My love and loyalty never fades for
    I believe you can be resurrected from your tomb
    if believers have the heart for the struggle
    against politics and partisan pandering
    and elitists’ avarice. My passion for our future
    endures. There is a mantra we can use
    to call you from your grave, and hurdles
    we must overcome – mere grass blades underfoot.
    If loyal people believe in you, if everyone does,
    this mantra cannot fail to change the future.
    For all who hear or see my words, take heart
    and repeat this mantra often, until
    the end of hope has come and gone.

    Ask not what my country does for me.
    Ask what I can do for my country.*

    I will not give in to political apathy.
    My country needs me now and forever
    and I will answer its call.
    I will vote in every election –
    local, state, and national.
    I will not settle for the status quo.
    I demand of my congress
    honesty, forthrightness
    and loyalty to the people,
    and any who refuse reform
    will not get my vote.

    Truth and justice must prevail if all do their part.
    The United States of America must not perish from this Earth.

    Cynthia Page

    1. Cin5456

      * Rephrased from President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.

      I’ve left this untitled. I could not decide. Any suggestions?
      I thought of calling it “Ask Not” but wasn’t sure if that works, or if it takes too much from its origin.

  306. Connie Peters

    Mom and Dad

    It’s true, you died two months apart
    You broke our heart
    Our Mom and Dad
    Best to be had

    All your five daughters miss you much
    Your loving touch
    Your tender care
    Your constant prayer

    As time flies by, we all still grieve
    And we perceive
    That you both taught
    More than we thought

  307. stellapierides

    PAD #16 prompt: elegy
    end of spring
    the river song grows
    Today Haiku poetry communities around the world mourn the highly gifted poet, and founder/editor of the highly respected British Magazine ‘Presence’, Martin Lucas.

  308. Jerry Walraven


    The small family
    I knew as a child
    is mostly planted.
    So far gone that
    some days memories
    have trouble finding me.
    those which make the journey
    have shaken off their bitterness
    and stand before me welcome and invited.
    And I see that what was truly lost
    in death
    was the chance to say
    I understand.

  309. A.A. Palmer (a.k.a. The Happy Amateur)

    Happy Hump Day! Sixteen prompts, sixteen haiku.

    beyond the welkin
    a sleepy angel awakes
    off to work wings brushed

    the commute is quick
    one giant leap for mankind
    for angel one step

    the task is simple
    persuade men to be happy
    that’s what angels do

    since the creation
    happiness has been men’s foe
    men prefer ruin

    men long for passion
    harmony unsettles them
    men would rather burn

    men inhale cities
    drink beneath the rural moon
    on the airplane wings

    ever amateur
    created in God’s image
    hopelessly human

    torment their lovers
    dance themselves to destruction
    ever lonely men

    finding no refuge
    men cry when they see the Pope
    vagabond pilgrims

    empires rise and fall
    look back foresee the future
    humans do not change

    men bend their beliefs
    divide sex and sentiment
    still believe in love

    strolls through central park
    wild quarrels starting over
    beautiful and damned

    men battle their beasts
    walk along the precipice
    all the sad young men

    if i were God i
    dancers and storytellers
    always reasoning

    love is all there is
    still men crave bitter in sweet
    never satisfied

    men beat on borne back
    ceaselessly into the past
    silent tombstones speak

  310. dhaivid3

    Poem Title: My pride is dead

    I’ve given up my pride,
    Cast my ego aside.
    There’s just one thing I need
    So please come back to me.
    The monster you once knew
    Is tamed as was the Shrew;
    He’s dead and I am new –
    Not the man you once knew.
    I now live just for you
    I hope you love me too.

  311. dsborden

    An Elegy to my Childhood
    by D. S. Borden

    Dear child,
    let me spin you a tale
    of a bygone era
    when children were allowed to run free
    to climb trees
    and rooftops
    and play with frogs and snakes
    in the drainage ditch

    Parents said things, such as
    “Get out of the house and don’t come back ’til dinner.”
    “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
    “Shake it off.”

    Oh, child, we used to eat gluten
    and fat
    and real sugar
    Yes, real, sugar, pure and fine and syrupy
    on our full-fat,
    steaming home-cooked gluten things
    at the dinner table,
    which was used for family dinners
    instead of homework

    We used to talk
    and tell stories
    and laugh together
    When the house had one phone,
    hard-wired into the wall
    and the remote control on the TV was you

    This was the time before soccer moms
    and books on parenting advice
    when we played football in the street
    and the games only ended when
    someone got hurt