Archive for the 'Poetry' Category


Some wore green, a poem

This Sunday, November 11th, is Veterans Day. This poem is dedicated to all those who have served in time of war, and to their families who have suffered the pain of their loss.

Two by two and four by four
The brave young men all marched to war
Some wore green and some wore blue
And each one had a job to do.
She could merely stand and wave.
She told herself she must be brave,
That surely he’d return to her
And married they would be for sure.

Her true love brave in battle died.
With his last breath her name he cried.
Buried under foreign sand,
No more to see his native land.
She swore that with her dying breath,
If not in life, then fast in death
She would be joined forever more
To her true love who died in war.

She journey’d half a world away
To find the place her love did lay
With spirit steeled and visage grim
For that was all she’d left of him.
This thought alone consumed her mind
And yet his grave she could not find.
Until one day, so near despair
She met a man with long gray hair.
Bent and lame, a soldier old
Whose eyes still glittered, blue and bold.

“No more to weep, no more to cry
I know the place your love does lie.
I say to you by heaven above:
None fought so brave as your true love.
He was gallant, loyal, brave and true;
With his last breath he cried for you.
Just beyond that rocky hill
Lies your love buried, cold and still.”

She slowly climbed the hard terrain
Beyond which her true love was lain.
And when she finally reached the top
She felt her quickened heartbeat stop.
For there as far as she could see
Were gravestones to infinity.
All bore these words upon a plate:
“This one was sacrificed to hate.”

Past countless headstones carved the same
She ran and wept and called his name.
Long she searched, and long she tried,
Not finding him whose name she cried.
Too many deaths, too many tombs,
Too many crypts that held the doomed.
Forever more she’ll search the graves
To find the love she couldn’t save.
But silent stones forevermore
Will keep her love who went to war.

Stephen P. Smith


happy face, a poem

Late afternoon, a glowing amber sunbeam
Seeps between the ivory colored curtains.
In the fading light the pictures on the wall
Are like a gallery of her lengthy life.
The dust wanders and meanders in and out
Of the dying light like mischievous children
As unpredictable as her scattered memories.
It blankets the Hummels and windowsills
and the mantlepiece and the grandfather clock
Whose hands haven‘t moved in many years.

The children’s games are still there on the shelf
In their faded, colored, cardboard boxes:
Candy Land, Happy Face, Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders.
Katie always loved Candy Land and Happy Face.
The toys are still in a box in the corner,
A random jumble of gaily colored plastic.
She saves them for the great grandchildren.
She knows they’ll want to play with them someday.

She wonders if he’ll call today.
He called last week from Albany,
Or was it Schenectady? Or was it last month?
The kids are doing really well, he said.
He couldn’t talk long, though.
He was in the car. He’s always in the car.
He had a meeting in a few minutes.
He promised he’d call again.
He’s such a good boy, I’m proud of him, she thinks.

She goes to the mailbox, waves to a neighbor
She doesn‘t recognize. Looks at the handful of mail:
Catalogs, bills, return addresses from strangers.
She eats her soup with Alex Trebec as her dinner guest.
She changes into her favorite nightgown, the pink one
With the bluebells. It was from the grandkids.
Jay Leno will visit her again tonight;
But she always liked Johnny Carson better.
She shuts the light, lies down and whispers her prayers
In the darkness that covers her like a shroud
And goes to sleep.

–Stephen P. Smith


All Hallow’s Eve, a poem

I don’t normally do reposts, but I thought it might be fun to toss this one up again for the holiday in question.   Happy Halloween, everyone.

The sun is setting, the sky is red,
and each grave mutely marks the dead.
Dead leaves on the dead grass lie.
Through the wind, you’ll hear a cry,
“As you are now, we were before.
We once lived, who live no more.”

The moon arises, smeared with clouds,
The dead arise, wrapped in shrouds.
Above each grave, where each was laid
A ghost hovers, a baleful shade.
To us the living, they do implore:
“We once lived, who live no more.”

All Hallow’s Eve, the dead arise.
From mouths long dead come voiceless cries.
Beneath the moon they walk the land.
Forever cursed, forever damned.
They hover just outside your door,
They who lived, but live no more.

What they lost in life they seek
With baleful eye and bloodless cheek.
Tormented souls, of hope denied,
Mutely haunting where they died.
They haunt the night, cold and hoar,
They who lived, and live no more.

No requiem aeternam given,
Never saved and never shriven.
They walk the night and haunt our dreams,
Crying out with voiceless screams.
Hope and peace they all forswore
They who lived, and live no more.

The dead will wait another year
To walk the earth and wander near.
Returning to their earthen graves
These tortured and despairing slaves
With dying cries their fate abhor
“We once lived, who live no more.”

–Stephen P. Smith


The Wild Swans at Coole, a poem

No, I didn’t write this, but I wish to God I had. This was written by W. B. Yeats, the great Irish poet who lived from 1865-1939. This is the poem that first got me excited about poetry in the first place, back in my teens. When I first read this poem, something came alive inside me that never died, even though it slumbered for many years. I just wanted to share this beautiful poem with everyone. I hope it moves you as much as it has always moved me.


The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

W. B. Yeats


Fate, approximately….a poem

A new born babe I cradle in my arms.
Is his future planned ahead of him?
I’ll do my best to keep this boy from harm
And guide his steps in life.  Bit if the whim

Of fate can do to him whate’er it will,
How can I change the path he walks in life?
This babe may be a murderer doomed to kill,
He may grow up a drunk who beats his wife.

Little boy, whom fate has sent to me,
How can I protect you from the world?
I cannot keep you ever on my knee,
Safe and happy in a blanket furled.

Tiny child I do not know your fate,
If you were born to love or born to hate.

–Stephen P. Smith


The Ghost at my Side, a poem

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


Entangled, a poem

She was always using my brush. I hated that.

Your hair is still entangled in my brush.
Your number’s still inside my phone.
It seems as though I’ve not been in a rush
To rid myself of these reminders of how once

Our lives were as entangled as these strands
Of hair, or that once upon a time our heads
Lay together on pillows in the same warm bed.
Or that our souls belonged to one another.

But now I clean my brush, remove your hair
Disentangle it from mine forever.
I delete your number from my phone.
I purge you from my heart and soul,

But not my memory, where you abide
Like the strands entangled in my brush.

–Stephen P. Smith

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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