Archive for the 'Poetry' Category


The Ghost at my Side, a poem

Just a little something for Halloween.  Yes, I know it’s a retread, but I’ve simply been too busy to do much writing.  For those  who haven’t seen this before, I hope you enjoy it. –Smith

In morning hours dark and fleeting,
I hear the sound of two hearts beating.
As I lie beneath the covers
A strange visage above me hovers.
And if a mirror I chance to pass
I see two faces in the glass.
I cannot flee–though oft I’ve tried–
The ghost that hovers at my side.
Ever stalking, ever reaching
Towards me, mutely beseeching.
The two of us each draw a breath,
One in life and one in death.
As moonlight casts a baleful pall
Two shadows glide across the wall
In alleys dim. Vaguely descried,
The ghost that hovers at my side.
I know not why she follows near
Or what she wishes me to hear.
Or why she haunts my every hour
With spectral face so pale and dour.
When I sleep, her whispered screams
Into nightmares turn my dreams.
Rest eternal her denied,
The ghost that hovers at my side

–Stephen P. Smith


Hours out of Tune, a poem

Between the frightened, timeless trees
Upon the path I see her dancing
Naked breath from her entrancing
Fairy hand to me extending
From her Gemini mouth escaping
Words that never have one meaning.

East of midnight her body calls
Lays me down among the rushes
Clouds of sighing purple sullen
Oblivion rain upon me falling
Drowning in the riverbed
A darkling ghost upon the rocks
Without my mind to follow suit.

We were two hands on a timeworn clock
That chimed the hours out of tune.
Together for a dissonant minute,
Pushed apart by angry seconds
Leaving only the tired gray silence in between.

-Stephen P. Smith


The Bush by the Mill, a haiku

Sweet amber solace
Burns all the way to my soul
Sears away the pain.

-Stephen P. Smith


Donatello, a poem

Donatello sits atop a box,
A box of toys you haven’t touched in years.
He mutely wonders where you’ve gone and why
You never play with him anymore.
Donatello was always your favorite one.
He cannot know his favorite little boy
Has ripened into a man, a soldier marching
Down the blood soaked, ancient road of war.
The plastic guns exchanged for ones that kill.
The childish games replaced with grown up death.
Once you were a blond haired, blue eyed boy,
My mind still echoes with your childish laughter.
Now the black robed reaper stalks your dreams;
Twenty one black bells toll for your innocence.
And when I see your sad visage I wonder:
Do you miss your playmate Donatello
As much as I miss the happy little boy?

-Stephen P. Smith


Mary’s Lamb, a poem

The morning sunlight hits her aching eyes.
Her husband gone already, left quietly.
First she sees the empty silent crib,
The changing table smelling still of plastic,
The rubber toys and mobiles in their boxes,
The unworn little dresses hanging there.
She winds the plastic lamb, it sings to her
A song of mary and her little lamb.
Her body feels like its wading through cement.
Nothing else to do this morning. She sleeps.

And then her baby comes to her
In dreams of pink and lavender.
With laughing eyes and chubby face
And little dress of silk and lace.

She wakes again to the squealing sounds of a school bus.
The children shout but none will enter this house.
With all her will she raises her head a little.
Her red eyes assaulted by the flowered wallpaper,
The brightly colored pictures of smiling lambs.
Baby shoes that still smell like leather.
Her bladder aches. She wanders down the hall.
In the kitchen, the unused baby bottles
Keeping silent vigil on the counter
Remind her of how tired she always feels.

In sleep her baby comes to her
On little wings of gossamer.
Gentle words she softly sings
And to her mother solace brings.

Darkness. Door slams. Her husband is home.
The TV fills the house with joyless noise.
She calls to him, but no reply. She rises.
Runs her fingers along the empty crib,
The pristine changing table sterile white
The little dresses hanging in a row. She holds a toy.
Mary had a little lamb.

But at night her baby comes to her
In dreams of pink and lavender.
Wipes bitter tears from red rimmed eyes
And begs her mummy not to cry.
Face aglow with limpid light,
She promises to come each night.
Hand in hand they walk together
And mummy hopes she sleeps forever.

-Stephen P. Smith


A Single Sparrow Singing, a poem

Based on a true story. Yes, I knew her.

The dead dry leaves crunch beneath her tread.
She walks through a winter where no spring will come.
She tries to think, her mind a shattered mirror.
Thoughts kaleidoscope, just beyond her reach.
Even her own reflection warped and broken.
Frozen blistered hands carry the gasoline
Across this cold and silent field. The sun
Defiles the sky like a swollen crimson blood clot.

The stadium is full of happy stupid people.
They have long black and red scarves and rosy cheeks.
They drink hot chocolate, wave their pennants, shout and
Cheer their football team, their high school heroes.
The band parades across the fifty yard line.
The twirling batons flashing in the sun,
The saxophones and drums spew cacophony.

She walks across a field that gives no smiles.
The smell of gasoline fills her frozen nostrils,
Seduces her whirling brain with thoughts of peace.
A cloud descends upon her. She feels nothing.
Dimly aware of the cold and joyless sun
And the weight of the rusty gas can in her hands.

Calm she is now, there is no fear.
No more God, no more guilt,
No more heaven, no more hell
No more penance, no more pain
No more hope, no more loss.

She lifts the gas can high in supplication,
A high priestess on the altar of despair.
The gas cascades and soaks her clothes,
Covering her body like a mephitic sacrament,
Caressing her like a lover, drenching her clothes.
It finds her armpits, breasts, and crotch, and feet.
And still it pours, making her wet all over.
The plastic lighter is no longer in her pocket.
The flint wheel sparks.

Parents wave to sons and daughters on the field
Wishing they still wore their varsity sweaters.
Third quarter. Fourth quarter. Two minute warning.
Game over. Victory! The teams depart the field.

In a field a single vesper sparrow sings
Its lonely song to the slowly dying sunlight
And no wind moves the dead grass and dry leaves.
The swollen sinking sun is smeared with smoke.
An empty gas can lies prostrate on its side.
People are running hard across the frozen earth.
They thought they heard the sound of someone screaming.

-Stephen P. Smith


a revision

I was touched by the positive comments left on “Some Wore Green”. It may surprise some of you to learn that, in truth, I was not completely happy with it, and even considered pulling it. I have revised it quite a bit. I think it’s better now. I’d be curious to know what others think. This will teach me to publish something before it’s ready. 😦

And many thanks to my friend (and occasional cyber-therapist), Spaz–a damn good poet herself, by the way–for helping unstick me when I was stuck.


taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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