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Passions in Poetry

Digital Passions
Poetry Magazine

Digital Passions #7
published December 22, 2000


Editor's Column by Balladeer
Agony of Autumn's Greet by Serenity
Interview with Mike by Meadowmuse
Seasons of the Kaw by Mike
Special HOLIDAY Poetry Section
The Final Word by Poet deVine

* Bonus Features

Poetry Slam by Nancy Ness
Even MORE Special HOLIDAY Poetry

* Bonus Poetry & Prose

Love Poetry selected by Marie66
Sad Poetry selected by Starrgazer
Teen Poetry selected by Lovebug
Spiritual Poetry selected by Doreen Peri
Poems on Life selected by Jennifer Carden
Fiction - The Sad Dance by Martie

Read It All (one big page)

Issue #6 Next Issue

Editor's Column
by Balladeer

Well, here we are Passionate Poet people, headed down the backstretch of another year and Passions in Poetry continues healthy, strong and ever growing. We have had a wealth of new poets join our ranks and wealth is an apt description because our poets ARE our wealth and resource. I would like to say hello to all that have been loyal members and send a big welcome to all new members and visitors to our home. May the VERSE be with you!

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Editor's Choice Poem

Agony of Autumn's Greet
by Serenity

It is the time to gather seed,
as winds blow brisk, from Northwest.
A garden dies beneath the weeds,
as now, my tears, replace my sweat.
I pray that it will be enough
a sorrow's flood upon the soil,
to overflow from salt-rimmed cup,
and loose this clay, 'pon which, I toil.
An agony of Autumn's greet-
a gaze upon a gray cloud sky
still, I welcome sweet reprieve,
while plucking flowers that have died.
The ground is wet with my regret.
Next spring, I'll plant the best one yet.

Interview with Mike
by Meadowmuse

The Passions forums are a gathering place for poets the world over. Poets of romance, of darkness, of humor, of philosophy, of light. Young writers, older writers and all in between, we each share that of ourselves by which we so creatively express our notions about the world and our place within it.

Mike's poetry, considered masterful and enchanting by his writing peers, gives all who read it an opportunity to step, for a magical moment, into his world.

Meadowmuse: I know you live in Kansas... are you a native? Is there anything you would feel comfortable sharing about yourself in regards to your family and heritage?

Mike: I am a native Kansan approaching the dreaded age of 50. I have been married for 29 years and have four children; one in medical school and three in college. As some are aware, I am a small town prosecutor, having been so for over twenty years.

Meadowmuse: When do you find time to write?

Mike: When I started writing, I attempted to write at least one poem every evening as I unwound from the day. I find writing poetry to be a tension reliever and it frees my mind of my daily work-life. I will often write a poem as I lay in bed before falling asleep. I will go over the poem in my mind until I feel it is right, then put it down on paper later.

Meadowmuse: How do your family, friends, and colleagues react to your poetry?

Mike: Very few people in real life are aware of my attempts at poetry. Those who read one of my poems often question whether I am the author. The persona of a prosecutor and poet seem not to be viewed in the same light by the general public.

Meadowmuse: Who were your early influences in poetry? Or in literature, in general, for that matter?

Mike: Growing up, academics and literary pursuits were not a prime interest. I read a lot, but generally science fiction, and westerns. My only contact with poetry would have been in English class in school. English was not a favorite or particularly strong subject of mine. As far as early influences, embarrassingly enough, I had minimal poetic contacts... and while I read a lot, it was not what would be considered literary classics.

Meadowmuse: Do you recall when you first became aware of your interest in poetry, and when did you begin writing it ?

Mike: My first real interest in poetry did not come about until approximately two years ago. A friend's mother passed away and I was making a card for her and wrote a short poem. That initial foray into the poetic world piqued my interest. After a few attempts, I decided to see if I was capable of writing poetry and began surfing poetry sites to read, mainly focusing on established historical poets. About the same time, we connected to the Internet and I stumbled on Passions.

Meadowmuse: Do you share what you write with folks in your "real" world, or mostly on the Internet?

Mike: I share my poetry with a few people at work, and occasionally with my family. Most of my poetry is viewed only by those in Passions.

Meadowmuse: Do you have a favorite poem that you've written?

Mike: Yes, Seasons of the Kaw.

Meadowmuse: Why is this one your favorite?

Mike: Nature has always been a reoccurring theme in my poetry. I tried to express the beauty of my home state as it transforms through the seasons, and to some degree, at least to myself, I was able to do so in "Seasons."

Meadowmuse: I've noticed that your poems concern themselves a lot with love and nature, and the parallels and relationship between the two. What do you find the most inspiring about these two entities that speaks to you poetically?

Mike: Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed being by myself out in nature, and particularly under a star-filled sky. My poetry is an attempt to experience the feeling I get when I am experiencing the grandeur of nature. The purity and soothing calm of nature lends itself to romance. How could anything be more romantic than a stroll in countryside beneath a Harvest moon?

Meadowmuse: Whose work would you say has most influenced your own style of writing?

Mike: As might be expected, I enjoy the traditional poets, and enjoy Shakespeare's sonnets. I enjoy Robert Frost, Lord Byron and Ogden Nash which might explain my nature, romance, and slightly off-beat humor poetry. I don't know that I follow any particular style. I have had several people ask me what type of poem I submitted, to which I would honestly have to reply, I do not know most of the time. I write by reading the poem out loud in my head and try to obtain a rhythm and sound that is pleasing to the ear. I do try to write sonnets occasionally and stay according to format.

Meadowmuse: You said that Passions, so far, has been the only place online that your work has been shared. Would you consider submitting work to any other online venues?

Mike: I have really never given much thought to submitting to other sites. I have been asked to on occasion but have always declined. I have allowed two people to post a poem on their personal web pages because of the personal nature of the poem. I consider myself a beginning novice and haven't had the fortitude to venture beyond Passions.

Meadowmuse: Whether a "novice" or professional, you are certainly a wonderful writer. I find your work eloquent and inspiring. There have been several times when a poem that you have written and shared at Passions has inspired me to write a poem of my own, and I would like to thank you for that. Do you agree that as writers, we can all learn from one another?

Mike: One of the strengths of Passions is the interaction of the varied poets and their writing styles. I came to Passions to attempt to learn to write poetry. Any strides I have made towards achieving that goal have been greatly assisted by reading and learning from the works of the many fine poets in Passions.

Meadowmuse: What advice or insight would you offer to a poet who wants to express himself or herself on the Internet and is just getting started?

Mike: Go for it. My suggestion, albeit a clich�, is to be true to yourself. No question that reading the works of others will be of great benefit. However, it is your poetry and an expression of your own being. Do not write to please others, but to please yourself. Try various styles and experiment and do not worry about what others think of your poetry, but listen to any advice given. Take your work seriously and write... write....write....


Seasons of the Kaw
by Mike

Comes forth the Spring in verdant glory,
Time of Lent, of Easter's story,
Greening of the Kansas plains,
Begat of Eostre's birthing rains,
Demeter unto to us does render,
Fertile plains of natural splendor,
Winter wheat from earth does waken,
As newborn fawn, first steps are taken,
Behold the vernal equinox,
Night and day of equal clocks,
Resurrection, flowers bloom,
Comes forth the Spring, from Winter's tomb.
Helios bakes the Kansas plains,
Long since void of cooling rains,
Summer's sun in cruel attack,
Beating down on farmer's back,
Cattle in the pond a cooling,
Young boys catch sun perch a schooling,
Lazy summer afternoons,
In cool of night, the bullfrog croons,
July the 4th, the big parade,
Watch from the porch, pink lemonade,
Fireflies, a wished for breeze,
Cicadas sing night's symphonies.

Vicissitudes of summer's flight,
Wings of geese at frost's first bite,
Pumpkins ripened on the vine,
As hunter's moon, above does shine,
Fiery blaze of autumn's glory,
Portends Persophene's purgatory,
Cornucopias of fruited plain,
Bounties of Demeter's grain,
Verdant valleys, rising mist,
Sleeping flora by Helios kissed,
As zephyr warms a cooling land,
Last vestige of hot summer's hand.

From Kansas plains, the autumn flees,
Frost's crystal flakes kiss barren trees,
Sans summer clothes, shed weeks ago,
Before iced thrust, of winter's snow,
On garden's path, God's palette faded,
Landscape brown, and spirits jaded,
Hued petals to the earth returned,
Bright tints of life, the cold has spurned,
Persophones to depths is taken,
As mankind waits with faith unshaken,
Within her arms, the primrose flowers,
Rebirth of life, come springtime showers.

I walk along a Kansas lane,
Amidst the awe, doth gods ordain.


Special HOLIDAY Poetry Section


No Tree For Muffy
by Balladeer

The lights shone bright in Cooperstown,
Feelings of Christmas filled the air.
Bright, shiny faces lit the night
Almost, but not quite, everywhere.

Poor Muffy sat in her living room
Staring at that empty space
Where, always before on Christmas eve,
A green pine tree stood in its place.

Poor kid looked everywhere for a tree;
It wasn't that she hadn't tried
But all the stores were all sold out
And so poor Muffy sat and cried.

The townfolk, hearing of her plight,
Searched the fields for miles around.
They searched the valleys, hills and woods
But no green pine tree could be found.

Oh, they found elm and oak and birch
And chestnut trees and such,
But no Douglas fir or spreading pine -
No Christmas tree for Muff.

The mayor, in all his wisdom, said
"We are faced here with a toughie!
In all the town there seems to be
No Christmas tree for Muffy."

So off they went to the highest hill,
Two hundred people strong,
With flashlights, axes, hammers and saws
And Muffy caught up in the throng.

Till one, then two, then three then four
Those hills they all accosted,
Till, finally, two hundred strong,
Fell to the ground, exhausted.

But, as they lay there on their backs,
Staring at the winter sky,
A soft smile touched the mayor's lips;
A twinkle appeared in his eye.

"Muffy," he smiled as he spoke,
"You are such a lucky girl.
You've got the greatest Christmas tree
In all the whole, wide world!"

The crowd looked up and what they saw
Brought tears to every eye
And sighs of awe escaped their lips
At the clear December sky.

Millions and millions of blinking lights
Covered Muffy's tree.
The tinsel came from shooting stars
Dropping through the galaxy.

Leo, Venus, Aries and Mars
Provided her with ornaments
And, as the lights bounced off her face,
Muffy knew what the mayor meant.

The townfolk, happy to the man,
Drifted home to get some rest
Each knowing on this Christmas eve
That they had seen life at its best.

And, when they woke up in the morn,
Rested from fulfilling dreams,
If they had looked upon that hill
Do you know what they would have seen?

A sight that would have said of life
That God is - as He has to be.
A girl with head tilted toward the sky;
Sweet Muffy and her Christmas tree.


One Star Shines
by Irish Rose

Ladened boughs hold the snow,
and the season can begin.
for the falling shadows know,
that it's Christmas time again.

Silver bells and stockings hung,
glistening prints on windowpanes,
wishes rest on every tongue,
every child's promise reigns.

Delighted voices, frozen creeks,
all the sleds on every hill,
and upon the rosy cheeks,
burn the magic and the thrill.

Locomotives, choo choo trains,
the simplicity of giving,
Mistletoe and drawing names,
and a time to be forgiving.

In the distance, one star shines
to remind us what it means.
It's the constant of all signs,
and outlives all other scenes.

It's all wrapped within the sky,
ringing with the silver bells,
it's a presence drawing nigh,
to our hearts, where Christmas dwells.


When Jesus Met Santa
by Nancy Ness

God's Son was born on Christmas Day
To bring the world His love.
In Bethlehem a manger blessed,
The North Star shone above.

Through mortal days Son Jesus spake
The wisdom of God's Word;
And to this day around the world,
His voice mankind has heard.

But Jesus knew at traitor's hand
'He would be crucified;
And yet God's love, a gift for all
Must ever be descried.

Both far and wide then Jesus trekked,
In search of giving soul
Who'd share with all His gift of love;
Quest led to the North Pole.

He met a kindly toymaker
Who smiled and laughed a lot...
"Believe in me and share God's love,
Your soul shall perish not."

This jolly man called Santa Claus
In heed of Jesus' call,
Vowed he'd give toys each Christmas night
To children one and all.

So Jesus smiled upon this man -
That's how this story goes.
It's said His Star would light the way,
Reflecting reindeer's nose.

From that day forth each Christmas Eve
The elves have packed the sleigh
With toys and love in Jesus' name
To bless our Christmas Day.


The Gift
by Olias

Curled up round a raggy doll,
A sleeping tousled head,
Blanketed in baby dreams,
Soundly in her bed,
Stockings hung in reverence,
Hoping to be blessed,
Milk and cookies waiting,
For a special guest,
Snowflakes softly whisper,
Against her window pane,
Verdant holly heaven,
Adorned with silver rain,
Footfalls in the hallway,
Creaking bedroom door,
Shadows dance in firelight,
On her bedroom floor,
Gifts for her a plenty,
Carefully conveyed,
Then onto her sleeping head,
A hand is softly laid,
"God bless you little angel",
"May your dreams come true",
"The greatest gift I can bestow",
"Is peace and joy to you",
And In her sleep she heard the sound,
That all good children know,
Of sleigh bells song, and laughter,
Receding in the snow.


Christmas in San Diego
by Corinne

Christmas near the border,
San Diego's funky style
Wreaths of red hot chilies
Warm and sunny all the while.

The festival of lights at night
Boats glittering on the bay
A mix of many cultures
Traditions in harmony.

You won't find a single snowflake
You may be wearing summer attire
A day at the beach is called for
A campfire, the only fire.

But though tobogganing
Isn't on the agenda
I think you'll still find Christmas joy
Dining alfresco at my Hacienda!

The church is Spanish in style
We're proud of our history,
You cannot best the weather
Or unravel the mystery.

And if we happen to crave snow
Or hear the call of the desert's lure
A short drive will take us there,
For certain, spiritual cure.

� 2000 Corinne Bailey


Perfect Timing
by Doreen Peri

When the time was right,
the waters were created
and from those waters, life arose.
In darkness we were integrated
lost in waves that overflowed.
As waves of darkness overcame us,
overwhelmed by life's demand
just in time, He then became us -
resplendent, yet in form of man.
Through His eyes we now can focus -
like a bridge, He carries us o'er.
Since His coming, He awoke us.
Perfect timing, open door.
His arrival - sublime, untainted -
living waters close the plan.
A perfect painting has been painted -
supremely God, completely man.

� doreen peri


What A Night It Was
by Marge Tindal

What a night it was,
a night to behold.
Of one being born
and one growing old.
Of one life lived
and one beginning.
One looking forward,
one looking back,
one seeing light,
one seeing black.
Oh, what a night it was.
The new babe
just opening his eyes
Father Time coming
to realize,
life has its beginning
life has its end.
Between those two destinations
is living, my friend.


Final Word
by Poet deVine

This is the last issue of Digital Passions for this year. Our next issue will be a very special DOUBLE issue published in early February and will contain as much poetry about love as we can gather. A special Valentine's Day issue that you won't want to miss! Until then, have a happy holiday season filled with love, peace and poetry!

And as always, if you have any questions or comments please email me at:

Bonus Features!


Poetry Slam
by Nancy Ness

I was at my local library recently, perusing the "Happenings" board, when to my intrinsic poetic pleasure I discovered a freshly posted flyer announcing a "Poetry Slam March " - to begin at our local beach and to culminate upon the library lawn - just a few days hence.

"Whatever is a Poetry Slam March?" thought I - Oddly, there was no indication of what this march would entail. The flyer noted only the date, time, and location of this perplexing parade of poetic purveyance. Would I find gloved poets indulging in rhetorical jousts, tossing pits from fruitless words at one another? The intrigue, in itself, was sufficient reason for me to play hooky from all other obligations that day, just to sate my interminable curiosity. I conveniently disappeared from the sight of all when the "Slam March" arrived. I chose a prime piece of library lawn, and settled in with my picnic for one…

I didn't have to wait long before I heard them slamming their way toward me. There they were… lots of them… an entire parade of poets marching to the iambic beat of their own verbiage - wending their wordly way into town, having a simply grand time reciting in poetic re-spartee…

Had I ever wondered (of course I hadn't) whether poetry is "alive and well," my questions would certainly have been answered that day. This was not an open-mic or coffee-house type of poetry reading. It was a true poetic marathon. It seems they were on their way to the poetry olympics, the National Poetry Slam Championships, to be held in nearby Providence the following week.

These folks performed their own poetic works, without the benefit of props or costumes

In the national bout, poets are pitted against one another in both individual and team events, scored by randomly chosen teams of judges, receiving scores ranging from 0.0 to 10.0. Elimination matches ensue, and word champions are subsequently chosen. Here on my town's library lawn, however, I was afforded a preview of that which would ensue in Providence. These folks performed their own poetic works, without the benefit of props or costumes. They could draw upon nothing other than their own lyrics and their own enthusiasm in their performances. I was mightily impressed, I must say - Their dramatic portrayal of their poetry was simply wonderful! This was a good hooky day…

The most interesting part was that these talented folks had been touring the country for about a month previous to that day, collecting prolific poets as they proceeded to the National Poetry Slam. The troop had spent their travel time on the bus practicing with each other, they had performed numerous similar productions in various locales along the way, and they had obviously developed some wonderful friendships throughout their tour. I'm glad that this was one of their last stops, because I saw a truly fine-tuned "family" of poets at work. Of course, I HAD to know more about this "Poetry Slam" program, and went on a mission to learn about it. I wasn't a bit disappointed. It seems that they've been on the march for quite some time. I found some superb information about this program at  - It's a site worth visiting, folks.

All right - I admit it. This looks like a lot of fun to me. I'm definitely a poetry junkie. Not only that, I think I know what I'm doing NEXT summer. I'm standing on a street corner, brandishing a cardboard sign that says, "Adopt a Poor Prolific Poet". I wonder if anyone will notice when I play hooky for an entire month!!

Even MORE Special HOLIDAY Poetry


The Christmas Fairy
by Ellie leJeune

Those who believe
there is a very special
Christmas Fairy.

Once upon a time,
on Christmas Eve,
this fairy grants
her Christmas wish.
She made a magical visit
to two small children,
who asked for a most
extraordinary wish.
They asked of her,
could they please
meet Santa when he comes
to their house,
this magical night of
The fairy knew
she had to pull
a fast one,
to grant this wish!

When all was still,
this snowy Eve,
Santa slipped
quietly down the
proverbial chimney.
He quickly went about
unpacking his bag,
setting aside his
hat and pipe.
Presents he piled
under the tree,
and filled every
stocking to overflowing.
As he was ready to take
his leave, he reached for
his pipe and hat,
but they were nowhere
to be found!

For as he had set them aside,
the Christmas Fairy,
in her winsome trickery,
had sprinkled fairy dust
on hat and pipe...

Santa was beside himself,
for he could not fly
this frigid night,
bald as he was,
without his hat,
or his pipe to
blow smoke rings
that encircle his head
like a wreath!

So he told his elves,
who waited in the sled,
to please finish
delivering all the toys
to boys and girls
everywhere that they
not be disappointed
on Christmas morn.
Santa then went back
and fell asleep
in a chair,
having nothing else to do.
Christmas morning dawned,
in snowy crystal wonder,
as two little ones
bounced into the room,
with whoops of joy
only to discover Santa,
snoring loudly in the chair.
They stood in frozen
at this most unbelievable

The Christmas Fairy
was delighted
that the dear children
had their wish fulfilled.
At the fluttering of her
Santa awoke.
The moment he spied
her magical self,
he knew...
"well miss Christmas Fairy
you've done your best magic
of all this year",
and with this said,
he laughed long and loud,
to the amazement of the
who laughed a merry
Christmas laugh with Santa.

So the Fairy restored
Santa's hat and pipe,
and before he took
his leave to the
North Pole,
turned with a chuckle
and a grin,
kissed both children,
with a tickle of his beard,
and bade them a happy

To the Christmas Fairy,
he gave a wink and a nod,
and a chuckle too
"Aw, my Christmas Fairy,
you've made these little ones
so happy,
that I crown you thus...
The Queen of Christmas Magic
forever more" !!


Letter to Santa
by Sunshine

Dear Santa,
One day not too long ago, I sat down and wrote
"Dear Santa," on a piece of white paper, a note;
now, not just any note I know, but a very special one,
because I'm not of kiddy age, I've far surpassed 21!

"Dear Santa, please, allow me to explain"
I wrote before I could think back to when
I last wrote to Santa, so very, very long ago,
when asking for presents was indeed the vogue.

"I am not here asking anything just for me,
but I'd like some very special gifts, you see,
something for Peter, something for Paul,
something for the best man of them all.

"For I understand that people are seeking
the words long ago you were speaking
when you came in another one's soul
when the gifts were frankincense, and gold.

"For during this season, when want becomes need,
some people really do, do away with their greed,
and they are the ones, the Peters and Pauls,
that I would have you know, really do it all.

"So Santa, help me put Christ back in Christmas,
and instead of stuff in my stocking, let there be fuss
in homes of the needy, for I know for myself,
that the poor give plenty, they give of themselves."

And Lord, if you're reading my letter to Mr. Claus,
then grant me this prayer, and let all take pause,
to see what they have, and to allow them to share,
and in this way, they'll be richer; because they cared.

� KRJ 13 December, 1999


Once Upon a Christmas Eve
by Elizabeth Santos

Once upon a Christmas Eve, in blustery chill of night
The wind was blowing sparkling icy beads of crystal light
The powdery snow in spiral twists blew off new fallen mounds
And made a lovely wonderland across the moonlit ground

At midnight hour through howling wind, from places far or near
The sound of bells pierced through the night and touched upon my ear
The moon had passed behind a cloud alit in glowing light
And caste a shadow of a sleigh onto the misty white

I rubbed my eyes in disbelief of what I was to see
Nine reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh across a starry sea
But then it turned and sped right down upon our laden roof
Piled high with snow that muffled sound of sleigh and pausing hoof

I quickly hid myself from sight, for I had always dreamed
That some day I'd catch Santa Clause in white and puffy sleeve
And there he was, I know not how, for I had locked the door
I didn't think that Santa would come to a house so poor

For we had placed just one small toy beneath the Christmas tree
For each young child to open Christmas morning happily
But now it seemed that they would have more presents to receive
This Christmas would be happier than any I'd conceive

But Santa left his bag aside, and took no presents out
Instead he looked around and then he slowly turned about
For on a table we had placed a little stable scene
With Christ Child in the manger, as three kings bowed in esteem

Santa stood in wonder and then he said a prayer
Before the Lord and Savior, he knelt so humbly there
His words were spoken softly, and before he went away
He touched each empty stocking, not a toy did he display

So strange a scene disturbed the night, and I could sleep no more
Knowing Santa left not one small present for the poor
But then I fell into a slumber til the break of day
And laughed away my silly dream to start my Christmas Day

When morning broke, the children woke and rush downstairs to see
Each found his gift with ribbon wrapped beneath the Christmas tree
No presents in the stockings, as they could plainly see
But one boy looked in anyway, and said, "This is for me!"

It was a note from Santa Claus; it said you are so blessed
To have two parents who have given you such happiness
And so I leave for you this day a present from above
For Christ has sent for each of you a stocking full of love

And in each stocking was a note, that Christ had Santa leave
Full of love and blessings, for each child did true believe
The little ones then held the stockings to their hearts in praise
For they already understood the richness of their days


Dreaming Christmas
by Lighthousebob

Reindeer fly across a silvery sky
To the light of a candle lit room
Where an old man sits with his pipe aglow
And his eyes set upon the moon...

It is not Christmas when your lonely,
It is not Christmas unless your free,
There is much more to Christmas cheer
Than presents and a Christmas tree...

The old man sitting in his nightcap,
Spoke with a mumble and a tear in his eye
"My loved ones are all home for Christmas
And there is no place for I."

Well, the reindeer landed like thunder
With snow they came tumbling down
From the clouds, through the trees, upon the rooftop
Of the old man who was wearing a frown...

With a jingle and a jangle they clattered,
As the old fellow flew of with a nod
Through the door of his North Pole cottage,
Through the sleet, the snow, and the sod...

And he yelled, "I will be there for Christmas!"
As his sleigh loaded up to depart,
"Yes, I will be there for Christmas,
If only-- in my heart."

� Robert E. Michaud Jr.


Do Not Wonder at the Ice -
The Certainty of Christmas
by Doreen Peri

Do not wonder at the ice
clinging fast to leaves and grass -
since spring will come and ice will thaw
and all the things we see shall pass.
Encompassed by the winter bleak,
the coldness numbing hands and feet -
when then the sun, warm bright warm light
appears creating perfect heat.
The morning sun begins to melt
the crested snow upon the fence -
as we wait calmly for the spring
enraptured by the future tense.
In deepest chill, in darkest night,
and thinking there is no relief
when overcome by winter's plight -
when then the sun confirms belief.
We're certain that the sun will rise
and melt the snow and thaw the ice;
we're certain of the life of spring -
as certain as we are of Christ.

� doreen peri


Christmas in the Heart
by Ellie leJeune

I've spent too many
in a panic over
For in the past,
my brain was frantic,
at all that needed
to be done,,
Shopping, cooking,
fearful, would they
like their gifts?

My own personal
Martha Stewart hell!

Oh, the peace
that now I have
as Jesus is in
For once I surrendered
life and will,
His gifts they
never end.

Christmas now is
joy to me.
I do only what
feels right.
I know my limitations,
before all was only

Christmas now
is not in stores,
or frantic, sad

Christmas is here,
right in my heart,
where His love is,
all year round!


From the Forums
selected by Poet deVine

And now some special Holiday poetry from and for our family of friends. If you've never visited our PiPTalk Forums you may have not seen this poem written by Ron Carnell:

A home without a wall,
Our haven without ends,
A circle we all call
Our Family of Friends!

Nothing is dearer to us on the forum than our family and our family of friends. We'd like to share three special poems with you as a final Holiday treat. One, written by a mother and daughter, one by myself for the son of a Passionate Poet friend and one by the Grandmother of one of our resident poets.


WhtDove: My daughter Ashley, 8 years old, came up to me and said she was trying to write a poem. She asked for my help, and had already thought of a phrase, "Once upon a Christmas Night." So I asked her some questions on where she thought the poem might be going, how did she want it to rhyme and etc... She came up with the ideas, and I helped her put them together. I thought she came up with some catchy ideas, "once upon a Christmas night," and the angels, so we decided to write about Jesus and the meaning of Christmas. She's very pleased with this poem and was really excited and kept asking me if we could post it. She's even more excited to be able to share it with so many others. God bless and remember Jesus is the reason for Season. Keep Christ in CHRISTmas.


A Savior's Birth
by WhtDove and her daughter Ashley (age 8)

Once upon a Christmas Night
Appeared a star shining bright.
In the fields were shown to me
Two angels I could clearly see.
They told me of the Savior's birth
And how He'd come to save the Earth.
We gathered gifts that we would bring
The best of them fit for a king.
To Bethlehem we went that night
Followed the star that gave its light.
We found in manger baby boy
We praised his name and sang for joy.
The animals all gathered 'round
As each knee bent to the ground,
To worship on this Christmas Night
The KING that came to be our LIGHT.


Poet deVine: I wrote this poem for Mikey Anderson, the son of one of the resident poets at Passions in Poetry, Michael Anderson. Michael is one of my favorite poets, as we knew each other before the formation of Passions. Last year, Mikey posted some poetry with his dad and challenged the adults in the Open Forum to write a funny poem about Santa. This poem is what I wrote. I dedicate it to him and to everyone who still believes.


Santa Has a Bad Day
by Poet deVine

Santa radioed in to say
Christmas Eve wasn't going well
Two Reindeer had the flu and
Santa slid from a roof and fell

He scared a young child in Boise
Got bitten by a dog in Seattle
He got so flustered he even
Gave a teen in Chicago a rattle!

The Elves decided to give him
A welcome home surprise
They giggled as they built
A sight for poor Santa's eyes.

Mrs. Claus shook her head in wonder
At the creation she saw in the yard
The Elves worked into the evening
Thinking gift giving was really hard!

Santa warned them he was arriving
As his sleigh came in to land
So every Elf worker rushed outdoors
Greeting Santa with a marching band!

Santa looked down and saw
The welcome sign the Elves had made
Bright lights and glitter adorned it
With silver and gold inlaid

It stood twenty feet into the air
Arched like a rainbow in the sky
And as the sleigh approached the site
Suddenly the Reindeer started to shy

They swerved this way and that way
Throwing Santa to the floor of the sleigh
They bobbed and twirled, got tangled up
Til not one was going the same way.

The Elves, tumbling over each other
Grabbed a trampoline from the shop
Screaming for Santa to jump
Til they heard a horrendous pop!

Santa dove from the sleigh as it landed
On the roof of the workshop shed
And Santa, poor Santa fell
In a snow bank right on his head

Mrs. Clause ran to him quickly
To make sure he was all right
The Elves stood watching in horror
Gasping with horrible fright

Santa rose from the snow slowly
And turned to his Elfin staff
Then suddenly everyone smiled
As Santa began to laugh!

They laughed til their sides hurt
As they gathered the mess they made
Ever after this night was known
As Santa's Terrible Escapade!


Marge Tindal: This was written last year after remembering how quickly life can change the gathering of family. These were my thoughts the evening after Christmas


Polaroid These Moments
by Marge Tindal

'Twas the night after Christmas
I'm thinking to recall,
when presents were stuffed
in closets down the hall.

The merriment over,
the family and friends gone,
a return to the realm
of a now-quiet home.

The visions of memories
stir me to write
of moments like these
not lost in the night.

A daughter whose laughter
fills up the room
with caring and sharing,
no place for gloom.

Oldest son with his chosen
locked in an embrace
for the camera to see.

Middle son
sharing his delight
of the new-found love,
in his heart shining bright.

Youngest son,
grinning broadly,
at the very idea
of his two brother's folly.

The father,
the mother
and of course, the brother,
gathered together
for this Christmas with others.

Polaroid the moment
of a family of love,
reminded of family gone
to Heaven above.

Sister Shari not present
to see us this year.
We remember her love
with angelic cheer.

In Heaven, I just know
there's a Christmas tree,
decorated with the angels
of my memory.

Mother, Dad, brother Mike,
and sister Shari join in,
singing songs sweetly heard
of times that have been.

For all things we are thankful
we pause to recall,
as friends touched our lives
with a gift or a call.

I'm driven to exclaim
as they come into view,
thank God for memories !
Thank God for YOU !


Nancy Ness: Velma M. Carlson, my "Nana," was very fortunate to have been awarded the honor of "Poet Laureate," by her local community of Auburn, Massachusetts. She was very proud indeed, that they had recognized her and honored her for her talent.

Though Nana later settled in Massachusetts, she was born and raised in Aroostook County, Maine, where her family made potato farming their life's work. Much of her poetry, spanning nearly a century, was reminiscent of her early years and the special times that her family had spent together. Her later works were equally as nostalgic, but focused upon her own family… her children and grandchildren.

I had no idea what an effect she was having upon me throughout the years, or that I'd follow in her footsteps. She used to recite her work to us whenever she'd see us, "The Little Christmas Tree" being one of her personal favorites. I love this one as well, and I'm overjoyed to share it with you here - More of Nana's work can be found at


The Little Christmas Tree
Velma M. Carlson (1903-1996)

A little tree sits in the corner
...So very, very small.
It makes me think of years gone by
...Much better than none at all.
Five small candles in the window ~
...And a wreath hangs on the door.
I try to make it look like Christmas ~
...As it did so many years before.
Christmas, such a happy time ~
...Love and laughter everywhere ~
Time for loving, time for praying
...Time for giving; time to share.
Let's all have a "Merry Christmas"
...From the beginning to the end ~
Let us pray for peace on earth
...And good will toward all men.
A little tree sits in the corner
...And there are lights on every bough.
So many years have come and gone
...I remember all of them somehow.
Christmas, such a happy time, as
...we wait for it to come,
"Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas ~
...Merry Christmas, everyone"!

Love Poetry
selected by Marie66

Close Your Eyes
by Judy Burnette

I can't be with you today
but if you close your eyes and think;
I'll be beside you in the kitchen
wearing your shirt - standing by the sink.

I'll be with you in the bedroom
waiting quietly on your bed;
Just close your eyes and think of me,
relive those memories in your head.

I'll stand by you in the bathroom,
an unlikely place to meet;
I'll smile at you so playfully
as I let you brush my teeth.

I'll be your light in the darkness,
shining steady through and through;
You only have to watch it glow
to know I think of you.

I'll be the music that you listen to,
I'll be there in every song:
I'll laugh with you and sing with you,
and comfort you when your day's gone wrong.

I'll be the wind that ruffles your hair,
I'll be that warm embrace;
I'll be the hand on your shoulder,
I'll be the tender touch on your face.

I'll be the clock gently ticking,
reminding you of the times;
We've shut the rest of the world outside
we're in our own world - yours and mine.

I'll be the moon as it dances
on the water cold and still;
For I have loved you always
and I know I always will.

Though you may not see me physically
as you live your life today;
Just close your eyes and think of me
I will not be far away.


Forever Us
by Wisp

Come take my hand and walk with me
Share my likes, my wishes, my life
Don't judge me, just love me
Accept me for who I am
For if I try to change for you
Then you'll no longer know me
As I am no longer happy with whom I am
Always remember where we are going
So you don't forget where we have been
If we hold on to each other's hearts
And taste each other's rainbows
The sun will shine
The flowers will bloom
The world will dance around us
And we will remain forever us


by Kitty

Sometimes, when it's late at night,
and I'm up roaming around.
I wonder what the future holds,
in this new existence, I have found?

I reached the stars, then had them fade,
To became a memory, that's left behind.
My name, no longer lingering,
in the corners of his mind.

Will anyone be able,
to tear down the wall, he hides behind?
Will they see what I see,
a man so gentle and so kind?
His world is closed to everyone,
he just won't let me in.
He shuts out everyone he knows,
Even me, a so called friend.
I don't know about the future,
I don't even know about today.
I only hope someone can,
earn his trust someday.

I wish that I could be the one,
to give life, back to him.
To give his life a meaning,
and to help him trust again.

I want to see him free,
to really love, and to live.
I know that I can't do it.
I've given all I have to give.

Now and forever, I'll be his friend.
There's nothing more, that I can do.
From the depths, of my being,
I will be someone, loyal and true.

It's not enough, for him I know,
It will take someone, better then me.
My prayer is that he'll find her,
and dear God, please set me free.

Erase him from my dreams at night,
remove him from my mind.
Help him to find, what he really wants,
and help me to forget about all of mine!


An Engineer's Valentine
by Matthew Dalton

I was alone and all was dark
Beneath me and above
My life was full of volts and amps
But not the spark of love

But now that you are here with me
My heart is overjoyed
You've turned the square of my heart
Into a sinusoid

You load things from my memory
Onto my system bus
My life was once assembly code
It's now like C++

I love the way you solder things
My circuits you can fix
The voltage 'cross your diode is
much more than just point six

With your op-amps and resistors
You have built my integrator
I cannot survive without you
You're my function generator

You've changed my world, increased my gain
And made my math discreet
So now I'll end my poem here
Control, Alt, and Delete


Sad Poetry
selected by Starrgazer

Poetry, like life, encompasses a vast array of emotions. So, it is not all that surprising that there have been many poems written dealing with the darker side of life. In fact many of the well-known poets have became so well known because of their mournful verse. This continues today as around the world people delve into their innermost feeling and emotions and weave a tale of darkness, pain, and heartbreak expressed through poetry. The poems I have chosen to share with you in essence speak for themselves, telling the poets story in a picture they have painted with words.

I chose this to include this poem because of the story behind it. Elizabeth was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1998 and her husbands love and support never faltered. Now the tables have seemingly turned, her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. The strength of their love through all of life's ordeals is what to me makes this poem so sad. Everyone dreams of finding that perfect love, which I believe Elizabeth and her husband found. To me, it's inconceivable to imagine the pain that the fates have thrown them, but their love has stayed and endured and quite possibly made them stronger in spite of all the hardships. Tony passed away November 29, 2000. More of Elizabeth's poetry can be found on the Passions in Poetry Member Forums.


I Will Take Care of You
by Elizabeth Santos

We met upon the brink of youth
In a place so far away
The pain that then encased my heart
Still lives a bit today

He said don't ever worry
For whatever may ensue
Remember that from this day forth
I will take care of you

We walked together down life's road
For thirty years as one
And often spoke about the battles
We had lost and won

Then one more challenge faced us
As disease came into view
He said don't worry, I'll be here
To take good care of you

This illness daily takes a bit
Of strength along the way
But I was so content to know
He'd be with me each day

Now fate has turned another page
And changed our destiny
I said you promised you'd be here
To take good care of me

He said I always keep a promise
This you know as true
My spirit will be with you here
And I'll take care of you


Michael wrote this poem as a direct to Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Alone" which if you've never read before, I suggest you read. Michael says Poe has been one of the biggest influences on him as a writer; and his poems echo Poe and a style that is uniquely his own leaving hauntingly beautiful poetry. You can read more of Michael's poetry on the Passions in Poetry site and in the Passions in Poetry Member Forums.


Walking Alone
by Michael Anderson

I, too, was born of a world not the same,
Amongst white snow, a raindrop's shame.
In life's garden, a dormant seed.
A heart held of dissimilar need.

I, too, was awed by lightning's flash,
Embering in mind even after the crash.
Followed closely by silent rain,
Blood-red, falling from the sky in vain.

Then wind chimed and the earth shook from thunder,
And my mind was but befixed to wonder...
How could I stand amidst this storm,
Seek shelter not, yet still seem warm?

But I, too, take my sorrow at a site
Other souls would nonchalantly slight.
And I, too, have felt the need for love,
But could only love that need which I dreamt of.

And as I peered deep through the skies,
The clouds grew black to shut my eyes.
The demon that came in your view,
Now's taken from me what he took from you.

In the garden the seed has sprang,
A nameless child unearths the pang.
Felt for the flower, both eyes in close.
Took twenty thorns to touch the rose.

A wondering mind looked to the sky,
So beautiful it had to die.
Laid it to rest upon the stone,
And turned away a man full grown.

Singing the same song at a different tone,
In thoughts, destined to die, unknown.
Born unto a world not of our own,
We've walked together, walking alone.


Teen Poetry
selected by Lovebug


Falling Through the Threads
by Alwye

A sojourn to a sylvan stretch
I take in breath of dreams
Where nimble winds fall through the threads
Of reality's silver seams.

Vapor blows in lacy veils
Through the still of clearing thought
And wafting through the monarch's lair
I reach for wings ne'er caught.

The path of softness I retread
Among blooms of quiet peach
Watching as rich swells of earth
Tumble to a crystal beach.

Hawthorn grows among the wood
Tranquil petals chanting
As darkness painted 'pon my eyes
Slowly begins recanting.

Reincarnated by the gentle lull
Of gently slumbering green
The twilight vivid within my soul
Is for the moment...unseen.


Long Day
by Jeremy Halstead

I awoke at 3 p.m.
Fearfully, I crept from the safety of my bed
to face inevitability.
Honestly, I wonder why I leave that place...
my slumber, my security.
Without fail, I found false hope in Saturday.
Just another time to drift.
I drifted aimlessly about the world,
hoping to share my gift.
Without fail, the world was dry of love for me. gift to share with thee.
Does the world not need my company.
That's just how it seems to be.
Now, I retreat from this battle
with nothing left to say
except that I awoke at 3 p.m.,
yet still had such a long day.


Choices (Haiku)
by Erin

Throughout our lifetime,
we make difficult choices,
that decide our fate.


by Kevin

I wish that you could read my mind
And know my love is true
For lately I have come to find
I only think of you
And maybe you can't be with me
To put my mind at ease
But you still left your memory
To bring me to my knees
I know you always meant to keep
My heart beside your own
But as I rest my eyes to sleep
I know my heart's alone

I wish that I could read your mind
And know you think of me
But still I fear that I would find
That your heart has gone free
Just know my thoughts will always be
With you and what we've been
With hopes that you still think of me
The way that you did then


Spiritual Poetry
selected by Doreen Peri

Weekly Meetings
by Wilfred Yeats

Years ago I watched
Fiddler on the Roof
Wondered at the feelings
The old father expressed
His desire to study the book
With the other men

Years ago I studied -
In college - the Gospels
Because I had to
Years ago - a wastrel
I led a life of fun
Intolerant of others
Who didn't share my views

One day I got sucked in
In time - not so long ago
A bunch of peers were to learn
As we studied together
The whole book

It is weekly now-
My faith still strong
I plod the ancient pages
We challenge, question, and wonder

And I think back
To that stripling lad
Who couldn't understand
Why that old patriarch
Loved his Talmud studies.
And why he was made
To study the gospels.


The Where or When or Why
by Doreen Peri

Some people believe in a Saviour
whether he's arrived or not.
Some people believe they've lived before
and they've got another shot.
Some people believe they're part of the trees
and part of the breeze and the sky.
Some people don't even think about
the where or when or why.

Some people are very adamant
about where they think they'll go
when they've stopped the living in this life
(they really think they know).
Some people believe in meditating
to relax their consciousness
and reach a state of euphoria
and everlasting bliss.

There are some things we all believe,
no matter who we are.
The vastness of the universe.
The brightness of a star.
The majesty of mountains.
The beauty in a rose.
The forever of an ocean.
The way a baby grows.
The love between two people
when they've found each other's eyes.
The memories of those who've gone.
A thundercloud that cries.
The colors in a sunset.
The friendships that are still.
The feeling in our bellies
when we've had our fill.
As days will close and moons arise
once again and then again
the sameness and the differences
gently settle in.
The sun comes up and then goes down
with stars illuminating.
Life in motion. Not by chance.
Forever recreating.

� doreen peri


The Next Dance
by Bonnie Church

You have shown me the red leaves of autumn,
And a rose that lives on through the frost,
You have given me sunsets on cold, crisp nights,
And You've found me when I have been lost.
You have walked with me through the meadow,
You have danced with me under the stars,
You have given me hope when hope was lost,
And You've healed so many old scars.
You have taken my hand when I was alone,
You've led me through darkness to light,
You've loved me when I was unlovable,
And You have helped me to make the wrong right.
You have gently taken my burdens,
You've sent angel's to hold and embrace,
You have given me strength when I was weak,
And You have filled my life with Your grace.
For this I humbly send up my prayer,
And I thank You for all that You give,
For showing that simply surviving,
Was really no way to live.
And for the rest of this journey,
That darkness won't have a chance,
I'll continue to walk in Your soft light,
And not miss our next moonlit dance.


by Balladeer

As years pass by on hurried wings I set myself to ponder
What lies in wait up there for me behind that starry yonder.
Some being that is all supreme is logical to me
But there must be a thousand symbols - which one can it be?

There are so many gods to choose from? How can this be done?
With each one stating that their god can be the only one.
Every church has its belief but there's one thing for certain
No one knows what happens on the far side of the curtain.

Yet every faith is sure they know what happens after death
And it will be their God there waiting at your final breath
But, should you choose another, you are doomed to die in vain
Though how they know is something they cannot seem to explain.

I've studied Buddhists, Moslems, Taoists, Christians and the Jews
Yet find there's something lacking still, no matter who I choose.
Perhaps there's just one God above with many different names
Who is the God for everyone, regardless of the claims.

I'd like to think there's someone I could pray my soul to take
But find that I have problems with the apple and the snake.
I'm told if I do not believe in faith considered blind
Then heaven will not open gates of entry for my kind.

So I will dwell on it no will be my plan
To concentrate on my life here and be a friend to man
All I can do is live my life as kind as I can be
And, if that isn't good enough, then Heaven's not for me.


Poems on Life
selected by Jennifer Carden

Hello. My name is Jennifer Carden aka Temptress. When asked to find some poetry on the subject of life, I began to wonder what kind of poetry I could include. The search led me in many different directions. I found numerous poems that could have readily helped me define or describe the different aspects and views of life. I had to narrow it down to four poems, and chose the ones below to share with you all. You can find more work by these poets at the Passionate Forums section of the Passions in Poetry website.

I chose this poem by Marge Tindal because it reminds me of the daily life and thoughts of a poet. It also makes me think of my belief that there is poetry in everything. For more of Marge's poems, check out the this link:


Poetic Sup
by Marge Tindal

The sun goes down
The moon comes up
I drink my fill
from poetic cup
A laugh ~ a smile
a tear ~ a sigh
One more heart-felt lullaby
On star wished in deepest sigh
beckoning love to come
Folding dreams in satin pillows
until the morning dawns
The moon goes down
The sun comes up
Sweetened is my morning cup
overflowing with poetic sup


This poem by wayoutwalt, spoke to me with the tired but patient voice of a father. At 24 years young, this father has a lot of responsibilities and many roles to play while trying to keep peace between the battle of optimism and frustration. Are these life trials of a father? I believed so. Check out wayoutwalt's website using this link:


Full House
by wayoutwalt

I love my first son though he's not my son
Sometimes I feel I must tell everyone
I love my daughter she's not my daughter
Sometimes I wonder where my wife got her
I love my youngest one by blood my son
We all together can have so much fun
They don't know yet the halves and the have nots
Though the day-care ladies share their own thoughts
Tim isn't like Tom and neither is Jill
There's a chance before the kids say it they will
It's true Tim were mine then I was sixteen
To become a dad would be quite obscene
So I'm quick to say I am a stepfather
But judgment is served so why do I bother
My daughter's tan does she stay in the sun
Or is it that she's a quarter Mexican
What do people say when I'm walking away?
Is he a fool that this long he has stayed
Bitterness, bitterness full of the hate
I'm a little boy with too much on his plate
Still they love me I'm the funniest dad
I could be the best brother they ever had
But I'm Walter then dad then I'm stepfather
I love them they'll change why do I bother


In this poem by Alicat I read an excellent description of the flow and change of life. To me it also describes a few of life's moments in very different way. For more about Alicat visit his website by using this link:


by Alicat

Winds of Change scour
The Sands of Time
Creating shifting vistas
Transient habitations
Where reside whirling dervishes?
And the haunts of memory's ebb
The present moment passes
Hiding all beneath the shifting
Sands of Time, still scoured
By the Winds of Change


I chose this poem because it is my own description of a young adult female and the time in her life when she ponders her journey and destination. It is an understanding of both the value of youth and the importance of adulthood. If you wish to contact me, e-mail me at


Youthful Dreams
by Temptress

I stand here on the edge of my youth,
Wanting to let go,
But willing myself the same to hold on.
The course of my thoughts are but a mystery.
The purpose for my existence,
Sometimes seems only to meet death.
Though some say I have a dear heart,
I beg to differ because I don't know the half of it.
What is going on when all I can do is nod my head,
In polite thanks as I taught myself to do.
I have not the courage to admit,
Lest I begin to take things for granted,
And seem self absorbed and arrogant.
Some say I am self-centered,
And that I may be at times,
As is everyone else in this eccentric world.
The talk and questions of myself,
Are far from the center of myself.
They are numerous thoughts and insecurities,
Of a shy woman in need of reassurance sometimes.
Self conscious, sometimes weak..
But loving, passionate, and hopeful.
I live my life and hope to be enriched day by day.
I am young still and have a long road to travel,
And I have my dreams should I get weary.
My kindness should I get thirsty.

Short Fiction

Ed. Notes: Already well known at Passions as a gifted free-verse poet who can switch over to structured poetry without batting an eyelash, MARTIE also shows her versatility by creating a short story guaranteed to touch the heart of any living being.

The Sad Dance
by Martie

They say you can't remember things that happened to you when you were an infant, but I can. I remember lying safe and warm in blankets looking up at the stars. When I asked my mother about it she said, "How could you remember that far back Janette? I used to take you out in the back when you were fussy. You would cry and cry, it drove me crazy, until I found out about the night sky. As soon as I took you out there, you stopped."

I'm still that way. I remember stars were like pretty baubles to my baby eyes. But when I was in elementary school, I learned about the solar system and I couldn't believe how such a big thing could have happened. I would go out on the front lawn and lay on the ground and watch the sky in awe.

"Janette, come in here right now," my mother would call.

"Just a minute," I'd reply, hoping for just a little more time. I whispered my wonder into the cool grass. Looking up, the big fingers of the elm tree seemed to hold up the firmament. Or she'd say, "It's time for bed, Janette, I swear, I don't know what you find so interesting out there in the dark."

When I would try to tell her, saying, "Mom, did you know that the earth rotates? Right now we're turning around," or "Mom, I saw the Milky Way." Her reply was always "hummm."

When I was in bed later, I'd sing every song I knew at the top of my lungs until she would call, "Go to sleep, Janette, stop that infernal singing."

The lace curtains on the window sent a pattern hop-scotching across my bed. In the mirror at my dressing table I would look at my face and wonder who the girl with the curly brown hair and green eyes was. The moon made my face into a beautiful orb of light, different from me as a pale daytime child. "Why doesn't my mother love me?" I asked my reflection.

I'd pretend I was a princess in a castle being held prisoner by a wicked step-mother. Later I'd dream of dancing in moonlight in a dress that moved like grasses in the wind. I could leap and twirl in the air and fly across the night sky like Tinker Belle, trailing sparklers of light.

On the windowsill my elbows were bleached bones pointing away. "I want my father," I said to the strong and sturdy truth of the Elm. "Bring me my father," I wished on the flickering promise of the stars.

"You don't have a father," my mother said, her words angry exclamation points, spoken in a staccato shrill.

"Everyone has a father," I said.

"Don't get sassy with me young lady," she said, then looked up from her magazine and right into my eyes. "Janette," she said, "don't ask me again about him. Lord, sometimes I wish you'd never been born."

My mother would have been a pretty woman if she had cared about how she looked and if happiness was somewhere in her heart. Her hair was dark brown and curly like mine, with hints of reddish gold that you could see in the sun's light. She did her best to pull the grace from the curve it sometimes made against her cheek, coming loose from clips and bobby pins in protest.

I resigned myself to the straight line of her lips and the spittle of anger that struck my hand that day. Her mouth was taunt and a crease had formed between her eyebrows. There was anger in the gray of her eyes and it frightened me. The cold and forbidding signal on her face was "stop".

I wondered constantly about my father, but after that time, I never asked again. I wished I had a mother who would dance with me like I danced in my dreams, but our dance was graceless. As I took one step forward, she took one step back. It was a sad dance.

Since I didn't know my father and my mother didn't want me, I stayed away as much as possible. As the years past and I turned fourteen I was allowed to go places by myself. I found the library. Books took me out of myself and into other lives.

Words, were also magic steps to power. I would sit for hours with the dictionary, reading the meaning of unfamiliar words. I used these words as ammunition. Each time I used a word my mother didn't understand I felt better about myself, but bad too. I could see under the stern exterior of my mother's face at those times, and what I saw was vulnerable and unsure. Her face would soften and a flush appear on the paleness of her cheeks. Something in my heart told me that I was as mean as she was. I would see her try to gain control of her feelings and when I was about to put my arms around her she would shake her head and say, "Who put all that nonsense in your head, Janette?"

I met Jake in high school. He was my good buddy before we fell in love. He listened. We became inseparable. He was the blond and sunny opposite of my darkness. He taught me about jokes and laughter. We would sing together and best of all he liked the night sky. Jake had a mother who hugged him and a father who clapped him on the back and they both had love in their eyes when they looked at him. We were married soon after we graduated. That day was the first time I ever saw a touch of pride creep from hiding and capture my mother's face for just an instant.

She lived alone in the cave. That's what Jake and I jokingly called her house because it felt so cold and empty. Later, when she got sick, I became her nurse. The physical closeness of moving her body made my skin crawl at first. I wasn't used to touch between us. I remember being surprised at how soft her skin felt as I applied lotion to her hands and face. That fragrance of Pond's cold cream became a part of her, sort of an olfactory signature.

One night she looked at me and I saw something I had never seen before. I saw compassion. "I'll come back, Janette, I promise," she said. "There's something I have to tell you. Watch for a sign." That was the night she died.

I had been watching ever since. Last night Jake and I were in the living room. The television was on the old movie channel. All around were the cushions of an ordinary life. Even after seventeen years of marriage, Jake has a way of making me feel beautiful. "Girl", he said-he always calls me girl even though I'm thirty-six, "you're so lovely and you smell so good." He took deep breaths into my hair as if he wanted to inhale the essence of me.

He is not an old movie fan like I am. I was completely absorbed in the drama and tears were beginning to dam up behind my eyes. Jake tried to distract me by breathing into my ear and whispering, "let's go to bed." When he exhaled I smelled chocolate pudding.

"Stop it Jake, this is the best part," I said, trying to ignore his advances.

"Okay girl, you've had your chance," he said and kissed my cheek and headed toward the bedroom. I lay down on the couch and pulled a blanket up to my chin. It was then that the soft night fragrance of Pond's cold cream settled around me.

After Mom died, I had found a jar of Pond's behind the bottles of medicine in the bathroom-one that I had never used. When I opened it I saw the gouge her fingers had made into the cream. The fragrance and that small evidence of her life made me cry for the first time since her death three months earlier.

I took some deep breaths, thinking hazily that maybe the fragrance was the sign I had been looking for. Then, when I looked back at the television, the color movie I had been watching had been replaced by black and white and a beautiful, clear-skinned woman of about nineteen was looking directly at me from the screen with just a twitch of smile. Her hair was bobbed as was the fashion of the l920's. She looked just like the photograph I have on the piano that was taken of a nineteen year old girl, nick-named Bucky by all her friends-before she was my mother. I closed my eyes feeling dizzy and disoriented and when I opened them again she was still there. I looked over at the piano and saw the empty frame. This can't be real, I thought. I must be having some sort of crazy dream. The image still filled the television screen and now it had movement and dimension and sound. I sat up and pushed the remote control button to off. Nothing happened. My heart was racing as I watched my mother look down to adjust her silk stockings.

I could see out her window to a rose garden. I could hear the birds singing and see three girls sitting on a porch-swing, talking. From somewhere in the house music was playing. "Bucky, hurry up," one of the girls shouted. "We're going to miss the first dance."

Their laughter drifted in the open window where Bucky was getting dressed. A black Cocker Spaniel danced around her feet.

"Get down, boy," she scolded, as he attempted to climb her leg and bury his nose in her lap. She stood in front of her dressing table and closed her eyes. She was beautiful I could tell that her beauty at that moment radiated from happiness. When she opened her eyes again, she spoke. The voice was my mother's voice but not her voice. It had the lilt of youth in it. "Bucky," she said to her reflection, "you look like the cat's meow," then she pinched her cheeks and pulled at the curl that crossed her forehead like a letter "J". She lifted her arms and danced with a pretend partner, fox-trotting around the room with closed eyes singing, "If you knew Susie, like I know Susie, Oh! Oh! Oh! What a girl!" Then I watched her slip into the soft fabric of a dress, tie the sash at her hip, and admired the curve of her ankle. She dusted powder over her long neck and down over the rise of her breast, turned and moved away from her mirror. As she did this, she looked over her shoulder and frowned.

Someone knocked softly and looked in the door. "You look enchanting," said the woman I knew had to be my grandmother. I had seen pictures of her once that mom had kept in box in the closet. I had never known her and mom didn't like to talk about her. She just said that they didn't see eye to eye. Bucky twirled around in front of her. "It's impossible to dance the Charleston wearing a girdle." She complained.

"Nice girls do not go out without proper undergarments," her mother replied. "Why, when I was your
age, my mother cinched me into a corset. You're fortunate that all you have to wear is a girdle."
When her mother left, Bucky made a face, then stuck her tongue out at her reflection in the mirror and left the room. I watched the dog sniff the floor where a trace of powder lingered, sneeze, then curl up on the braided rug. The screen went blank for a moment and filled with static, then a new scene rolled for a moment then stopped.

Bucky and her friends were in front of a house where a party was obviously going on. The porch was washed with light and the sky had darkened into evening. I could hear a piano as I watched them climb the stairs. A couple sat talking on a bench, and three or four young men leaned against the porch rail, blowing smoke into the evening air. "Hi, Bucky," one of them called out to her. She waved a greeting as she opened the front door, then immediately turned down the hall and headed with her friends to the lavatory. There, they quickly discarded their girdles and giggling, stuffed them into a carpet bag.

In a large sitting room a group of people stood around the piano singing, and several couples were dancing.

Bucky went to the kitchen where there was a big glass bowl of punch. A boy in the kitchen spoke to her as she filled her cup. "Be careful," he said, "that punch has more in it then just sugar and water."

Bucky returned to the sitting room and stood sipping her drink as she watched couples dancing. One of the boys that had been standing around came up to Bucky and took her hand. "Hi, my name is Vinnie. Come on, dance with me," he said, as he pulled her out to the dance floor. As they danced around the room, I watched Bucky look up and into his eyes and smile. He was very good looking. I could tell he knew his way around. He had the unabashed confidence of someone who had been with more than one woman. His hair was dark and wavey and was combed back from his face. His slacks eased over his waist and hips and his white shirt was rolled up enough to see the muscle of his arms. I watched his hand at the back of my mother's dress, leading with the pressure of his palm and finger tips. I was drawn to the grace of his movement as he danced.

They had done the Charleston until breathless and as Bucky sat down to rest, Vinnie rushed to the kitchen to refill her cup. She finished her second drink fast as he pulled her back to the dance floor and the fox trot. I watched as she staggered a little before he steadied her with a hand around her waist. He kept his hand on her waist after the dance and lead her out onto the porch. I could hear the crickets singing as they kissed in the moon-glow.

"You have the most beautiful, soft skin," he said, touching her cheek with the palm of his hand. He pulled her to him and his hand moved down her back and curved around her un-girdled bottom.
My heart was racing. I wanted to warn her, to tell her to be careful, to remind her that she'd had too much to drink, that she was vulnerable, but the scene kept playing out and I was just an observer.

"Your hair smells like flowers," he whispered, burying his face in the soft waves. Her eyes were closed and she was holding on to Vinnie's neck as though she might fall if she let go. He put his arm around her waist again and led her down the steps and into the yard where she leaned against an oak tree. I could see the back of the tree digging into and catching at the soft material of her dress as he pushed himself against her. Then his hands were on her breasts and all I could see was the oak tree and all I could hear was their breathing and the wind. Then I heard my mother's voice, insistent, but as lost and unnoticed as the crickets hum. "Stop Vinnie," she said. I tried again to turn off the set, thinking if I turned it off I would stop the situation that I could see happening to my mother before my eyes.

I watched helplessly as he pulled her to the ground beneath the tree and the next thing I heard was the pop, pop, pop of the buttons on his trousers. They seemed as loud as cannons on that quiet summer night. "Vinnie, no, help me," came my mother's voice now, louder and full of fear.

The scene faded and a shot of the big yellow moon filled the television set. I could hear, as if from far away, the sound of the piano and many voices singing, "If you knew Susie like I know Susie, Oh! Oh! Oh! What a girl!"

Suddenly, the television switched off. All that remained of my mother was a lingering scent of Pond's and my heart trying to separate from a young girl's life, beating in a crazy kind of fear and exhilaration. I put my feet on the ground, like a drunk trying to steady the turning of the room. I fumbled into the dark, stubbing my toe on the coffee table and touched the cold glass of the television screen.

I turned to look at the photograph on the piano. "Mother," I said, as she looked at me with just the twitch of a smile.

Jake heard me crying. He found me curled up on the couch. He held me, and the warmth of his body brought me back to my own place in time.

I think about my mother all the time now and the feeling I get is no longer sad. She took a step toward me for the first time and the grace of the truth she gave me has freed me from the bitterness I felt for so long. As for my father--I had begged the Elm, wished to the night sky, insisted to the silence of my mother's knowledge, and finally got an answer--it came from somewhere beyond the complexity of the earth and stars and the turns that led me to that place in the heart of their youth, and that makes me feel really good. Yes, I still go out at night and watch the sky, and although I don't know where my mother's spirit is, I like to think of her up there near the stars looking down on me.


End Notes

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Passions In Poetry