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National Poetry Month 2023

Academy of American Poets

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month is a special occasion that celebrates poets’ integral role in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and—of course—poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.

This year's 2023 poster was designed by Marc Brown, creator of the popular Arthur book and PBS television series. The artwork incorporates an excerpted line from the poem “Carrying” by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. Brown was selected by Scholastic—the global children’s publishing, education, and media company—to create the artwork for this year’s poster as part of a new National Poetry Month initiative between the publisher and the Academy of American Poets.  To learn more about the Poster and the back story, visit  

Submissions are closed ~  Due to the overwhelming response to the project we have received and posted 166 poems by the 17th of the month and have used up the allocated space.

Please take time to enjoy this great poetry!    Thank you and Happy National Poetry Month!

April 1

National Poetry Month Poem #1


On this earth, there is oneness.
A rhythmic flow, a great symphony that is life.
Trees with roots, stems and leaves
Shells, fins, furs and wings, all living things.
Each has a purpose and to each, an end
And then . . .a new beginning.

Let us recapture the imagination of a child
See once more the mystery, beauty and joy of God
Playing within and behind, beyond and above.
Unite with the intimacy of commitment.
Trust takes time
But the gift is there . . .  waiting.

© Patricia Daly-Lipe

National Poetry Month Poem #2


…But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you…

                                         -Job 12: 7-10

Blessed be Kyrylo, the Zookeeper, 
who comforts Horace, 
the seventeen-year-old Elephant, 
during Russian shelling of Kyiv-- 
sleeping next to him every night,
stroking his grey cheek, slipping him 
stolen apples from his jacket pocket.

Blessed be May the Lemur,
so terrified by the bombings
that she abandons her newborn baby.

Blessed be the worker 
who feeds the newborn lemur formula
through a syringe, who wraps this baby
in fuzzy soft cloth to mimic his mother’s warmth.

Blessed be the emus who cower together
when the air raid sirens roar.
Stressed and agitated, they move closer
to each other, a behavior seen in the wild
to protect one another from harm.   

Blessed be Ivan Rybchenko
who pedals his bike to the zoo,
who leans over a balcony enclosure
offering bananas to the seventeen-year-old giraffe.

Blessed be the giraffes and elephants
who are too massive to be moved
to underground shelters.  As they escape
their enclosures, they roam the streets
teeming with Russian tanks.

Blessed be Valentina Dykonova
who arrives with dates, bananas, 
and a Coca-Cola bottle filled with tea
for Tony, the forty-seven-year-old gorilla.

Blessed be the ostrich 
who lies dead on the ground at EcoPark,
legs in berserk angles, feathers flattened
to the asphalt.

Blessed be the keepers living at the zoo, organizing
an evacuation corridor, saddling the donkeys
and ponies with blindfolds as they are guided
onto truckbeds. 

Blessed be the animals 
used as target practice by Russian soldiers
inebriated with lethal doses of vodka.

Blessed be the zoo keepers,
amid the relentless bombardments of Ukraine,
who are compelled to euthanize with tender mercy
their fragile, frightened beloveds.

© Marianne Peel

Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #3


Egret mothers are nesting in the cypress trees.

The long white plumes of the fathers 
flash around them through the branches.

But behind their harsh cries 
I hear something else – 

the silence of the cypress trees,
the silence of the clouds in the warm spring sky.

How sociable they are  --
they invite my silence to join them.

Yes! She leaps up, ready to go.

Sitting on a bench,
I watch the three of them fly off, 

circling round and round the egrets’ nests,
playing over the lake,

and coming back 
to soar through my heart,

singing wordlessly as they go, 
and holding each other’s hands.

© Lynn Schiffhorst

Winter Park, Florida, USA 

National Poetry Month Poem #4

Sometimes I feel like a robot. Humming along, in total perfection.
High achiever. Optimistic believer. Technology has converged
in the palm of my hand: smartphone, camera, personal
connection, record collection. Technology makes me perfect, 
like a robot. You asked me to prove that I am not a robot. 
Up to sixty percent of the human adult body is water. 
Holy water. I bleed. I have been given bowls of tears
to drink. Technology converging. Society merging. 
Are we on the verge? Driving through the years
like an automaton. Travel through the 
darkness with the bright lights on. Stop
in traffic and marvel at the far away 
full moon during an early morning
drive to work. Maybe we will be 
one nation under one moon, 
soon. Under one sun. 
Maybe, someday 
we will be

© Chris Bodor

St. Augustine, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #5

(A Ghazal)

I wish his memories would stay
But they are slipping far away

There is no pill or cure in sight
To make dementia go away

Be kind and thoughtful day by day
Trust frustration will stay away

Cast aside the aggravations
Read a novel to fade away 

Watch a movie, say a prayer
Go to the park to walk away

For now, at home, I have to stay
Though I would rather fly away

Go again to favorite places
Don my sneakers and stride away

Cobblestone streets or boulevards
Different venues to stroll away

Breathing unique and special smells
Tasting cuisines, dining away  

Sculpture gardens, museum rooms
Special places to hide away

I’m tethered to the status quo
Impossible to run away

My mind can conjure many things
Helps me to stay, yet be away

I have to make the best of it
‘Cuz love won’t let me turn away

© Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #6


She wasn’t much to look at--
A scrawny thrown-away black cat.
A cat that someone had left behind,
Or that is what my vet said,
When he tended her broken leg—
Not feral just forgotten, abandoned
By someone moving out or on.
I thought I would be doing her
A favor, putting out some cat food,
A new brand my cats didn’t really like,
Which I found out one 25 lb bag too late.

But then I got cancer, was home a lot,
Felt chemo-bad even more than a lot, 
And didn’t want to eat anything
But forced down saltines and cheese.
And I waited for her to come by.
From inside the house, I’d watch her
Look around, then eat the food in big
Choking bites, and slowly, over time,
Nibbling it carefully, like she planned on it
Being there just for her. I got better and she 
Got better looking, but was never a beauty.
Over months, she let me get close, touch her, 
Even capture her to take her to the vet
When her leg came up lame.

She used to curl up on the outside 
Doormat and sleep.  It was important to me
To keep her alive, make her feel like
She deserved that.  But really, she
Made me feel like I did, and that my 
Time on earth mattered to more
Than just me when it seemed it
Might be cut short.

Years later, I still remember the day
I found her curled into her usual oval
On the doormat, but not moving.
She knew I would take care of her
Even then.

© Lyn Sedwick
Orlando Florida, USA 

National Poetry Month Poem #7


My Mother’s African violets made our southern
exposure window a suburban jungle. Deconstructing
fish, her busy hands would bury delicate cartilage
in the potting soil.

The secret’s in the bones, she’d whisper to me, her cling-on,
while we ate lunch and I had her all to myself before my sister
came home from school.

This botanic curtain framed my life through high school.
During college the African violets were gone, damn aphids, 
my mother said when I came home for Thanksgiving.

Diseased perennials, the death knell of indoor plants
for my mother. When we were old and older and lived
like gal pals in a garden apartment, I’d hold my mother’s

hand, rough as the bark of a tree. We’d walk along the paths
and admire the apartment’s hydrangeas. My mother took out
pennies from her pockets and buried them under the plants

with the toe of her sneaker and whispered to me,
there’ll be a change in color come next spring. A cane and 
then a walker then winter—

I did not tell her it is science not secrets that make things true.

© Vicki Iorio    
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #8

I have coffee in the morning
with the vegetables that I grow,
to enjoy the calm transcendence 
in the garden before the scurry I must go.

I might squish a hornworm.
A cherry tomato I might bite.
I see the cauliflower is heading
and the pole beans are growing high.

Orange, yellow, white blossoms are 
signs of bounty the plants will bear.
As I watch the bees bathe in pollen
It makes me glad that I am there.

Most folks grow a garden
for the food they will provide.
And yes I do that too, but mostly 
for the feeling it leaves with me inside.

There is such satisfaction 
in turning of the dirt.
In spreading seed and watching 
to see what the ground will birth.

In this there’s something primal
that lets one know life must go on.
To tend a garden is a privilege 
that carries you to the beyond.

© Kenny Charnell
Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #9


Along the shores of Lake Azuei,
Little children laugh and play gleefully.
But distended bellies, and matted orange hair,
Are vivid signs, of malnutrition there.

Half-starved villagers strive to survive,
With little food or drink, to keep them alive.
Squatters they are, in their thatch-roofed huts,
Neither water to drink, nor food in their guts.

All around, the eye can see,
The depths of poverty surrounding me.
On no lofty thoughts can these folks’ dwell,
As their daily survival parallels Hell.

Sitting quietly, a nursing mother weeps,
A lifeless child at her breast, another crying at her feet.
Emaciated, and gaunt, aged beyond her years,
Doomed to a continual, life of tears.

The skeleton of a child, neither flinches nor sighs,
As an aggressive insect feasts on mucus from its eyes.
What greatness might be achieved if this child could survive?
Be a doctor, or a scientist, healing others’ lives?

No words will be written of this woman’s plight,
For like most peasants, she can neither read nor write.
The tears tell her story, so sad it must be,
Totally incomprehensible to folks like you and me.

Life’s toll on her body, insidiously derides,
No nourishment for her child, can it provide.
Her shriveled-up breasts, portend the way,
The infant will die, within a day.

As I sadly watch, I begin to cry,
For never in my life, have I seen a child die.
No words are adequate, for their anguish and pain,
And tears of sadness, shed again, and again.

© Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #10

Never underestimate the power of attention.
Plants know this.
They say you can talk to plants,
say anything you want, however cruel,
as long as you say it in a sweet and loving tone.
The plant will grow and bloom, will love you.
It is the same with dogs.

Thus when you said those things to me
I felt oxygen coursing through my cells.
I grew and bloomed. I turned to you
like a sunflower to the deadly sun.
The sun is the same.
Indiscriminately warming, heating, burning,
then disappearing, only to return again.
You forget the endless night.
You think the sun is only about you,
there because you wanted it to be,
because you spent the night shivering
and wishing for it. It is the earliest
concept of God: God has heard me,
God has sent this sun for me.

So easy to believe.

In truth the planet is spinning in a void.
The sun is an endlessly repeating
chemical reaction. It is punching
a hole in the ozone layer.
It is melting the icecaps.
It is tanning a girl in California,
growing melanoma on her neck.

© Celia Lisset Alvarez
Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #12

When everything portends, 
clings to the edge of not quite yet,
teeters on perhaps.

Just a hint of green
pokes from wilted stalks,
risking little, wary of reversal.

Nothing signals go ahead!
Nothing gestures all safe now
to a land still hovering.

I sit with my seed catalog
deep in petunia fantasies
despite its warning, sow after frost.

© Sharon Scholl
Atlantic Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #13

I inhale the sky
The essence of the stars 
Pours into me like a waterfall falls through a breeze

© Zura Moonleaf
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #14

At breakfast one morning
She said with some fuss
“You’ve not said a word
What this day means for us.”

Startled at first
He rapidly recovered,
“Just wait and see!”
But guilty, he suffered

Her front door bell rang
At ten on the dot
Two dozen red roses
In a beautiful pot

At two was another
Knock at the door
A big box of candy
From that chocolate store

Promptly at four
A man dressed in livery
Reservations for two
With smart hand delivery

At six Hubby home
Had thought himself clever
She joyfully exclaimed, 
“Best April Fool’s, ever!

© Ken Clanton 2015

National Poetry Month Poem #15

On walking, in my seventies, down a leafy street
behind two women in their early forties who 
are chatting to each other as companionably 
as birds on a limb, and having thought, with 
happy anticipation, ah, I'll be their age soon!
it occurs to me that I've lost my mind-- but 
just then the clouds evanesce and light pours 
through the oaks and ash, to form lace on 
the pavement lovely enough to be sewn 
into dresses, and I see that time is as 
random as the patterns the sun makes on 
any given day as it filters through leaves, 
and as illusory as a baby being born, and 
as strange as the years of our lives that
go by without returning, and as equal as 
the one friend's auburn hair and the red leaf 
she steps over, which the wind has abandoned 
for love of her.  And now, having finally 
seen that the world is every minute new, 
I realize that I'm only a little younger than 
those women after all, and I step between 
them, and we speak as we walk, and by 
the time we part,  each of us in her own way 
has told the others how lucky she is, 
to have been alive in such a beautiful place.

Previously published in Rattle

© Lola Haskins
Gainesville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #16

she prays every day
every night
especially on Sundays 
she prays for redemption 
she pleads for the misfortunate, the lost
the unsaved
the mislead
she follows the Word as it is written as it has been so righteously taught to her
she never questions
she is a devoted believer
her world 
her every moment of every day is decided on her beliefs 
every footstep
every utterance 
every consideration 
is because the words in her head, in her soul are guiding her
she is a proud and boastful believer 
she knows her path and where it will take her 
she knows the end and she is comforted by it 
she’s been tested and yet she never faltered 
for she is a believer 
not just a Sunday believer     
but an every day 
every moment and every hour believer 
she knows what is right and what is wrong 
she holds those beliefs steadfastly within her being
her beliefs are part of her sinew it matters not if they go against the grain
As the bark no longer bares fruit
she too will not remain stagnant 
life has taught her that nothing is either black nor white
she will move forward with God in her heart and love unconditionally for all

©️ Norma Sherry    February 19, 2023
Poet Laureate The City of St. Augustine
St Augustine, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #17

In my kitchen at midnight I’m making:
Yet another scotch on the rocks . . .
. . . as far as I can remember.

©️ B. Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #18


Fall is here again with the  
Saturday morning routine of paper and coffee.
A chance to sit and breathe,
halfway there....

Remembrances come unbidden
of mother lying on a hospital bed,
my father and I each holding a hand,
feeling the thinning pulse
as her life slipped away.

The funeral of Amazing Grace,
(her husband not there,
too broken of body and heart)
watched by empty children.

Fall is here again, remembrances unintended
of father lying down one final time
to force his broken heart to stop,
struggling, until finally
that last breath escaped his lips.

The funeral of ending rites,
his goal achieved
lying next to his wife,
watched by empty children,

Both parents gone.

Fall is here again bringing with it images,
unasked for memories of the loss.
I navigate this haunting realm,
and meet them halfway there........

Previously published in "Shattered Moonbeams"

©️ Ruth Van Alstine
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #19

spring came late  and I
I slipped into sadness
pulling it over my head
it fit perfectly
from its corded straps
to its fluted hem
a soft satin of a pale peach color

spring came with peppermint rains
and nodding jonquils shooting free
of winter graveyards shouting out
we’re here we’re here
with all the delight yellow can bring
it’s spring but I
back away from the window
my slipped screen 

slashes on the diagonal
shields me from the raucousness
of this reawakened seasoning
and I remember everything
heartbeats shatter silence and
then like paper covers rock
all is quiet

©️ Nina Heiser
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

April 2, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #20

Men, how many times have you heard that phrase, echo across the room?
With haunting vibes and inflections, like the prelude of impending doom.

Men are often clueless, as to what to wear, when they go out into society.
Be it formal, informal, casual, whatever, men have no clue of clothing propriety.

First choice, old shoes and favorite shirt, though frayed at both collar and cuffs,
Been the favorite for years, still is it appears, for most occasions still good enough.

What do men know about fashion?  Not very much it seems.
The only clothes they ever buy are sweatshirts, sneakers and blue jeans. 

They never read Vogue or concern themselves as to what pleases women’s eye.
That’s why it never takes more than a few minutes to buy whatever they buy.  

Men go to places to see what is there.  Women go there to be seen.
With beautifully coiffed hair, the latest outfits to wear, as per fashion magazine.

To maintain marital bliss, you should make their wish, your ardent sincere desire.
Go back to the bedroom, don’t bask in gloom, just change your complete attire.

To do otherwise, you will soon realize, you’ll waste time in a moody doldrum.
Taking verbal abuse, saying you’re being obtuse, and other criticism, ad infinitum.  

© Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #21

drew me
out of myself
at an early age.
I stayed
at the roots 
of my being
and there
I flourished,
playing the pipes
of Pan.
My breath 
is the breathing
of Him 
Who made me.
My mind is 

© Lynn Schiffhorst 
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #22

Just beyond the threshold of my mind’s eye
I could hear the shouts (and murmurs)
now and again
percolating up from below
with that telltale smell of sulfur
trying yet again to engulf
the majestic visage of yon pine trees
failing yet again to conquer them.

They stand tall and unafraid
a limb outstretched before me
revealing another telltale sign
foretelling good tidings to come, perchance:
a lady bug, her colors all aglow
like a firefly’s lamp affixed to her bosom 
showing what will surely be the way forward
towards tonight’s adventurous dreams

after just one more nightcap.

© B. Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #23

Saint Anthony………
I don’t know where she can be.
Saint Anthony………
I’m so lonely can’t you see.
Saint Anthony………
Won’t you bring her back to me,
To oo nigh yi yi yite.     Back home to me.

Saint Anthony………
Help me find her if you can.
Saint Anthony………
Has she found another man.
Saint Anthony………
Won’t you bring her back to me,
To oo nigh yi yi yite.     Back home to me.

Saint Anthony…………
Won’t you help me just once more.
Saint Anthony……..
Wait, that’s her poodle skirt for sure.
Saint Anthony…….
Strollin’ through the malt shop door.
Thank you, Saint Antho – ny ey e.
Saint…… An…… tho.. ny……

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #24

Without the old ones, how would
we know why we’re here?

Our brain spools connect with a 
bearded gent in overalls, spaces
between his front teeth for straws.

A man who always hand-milked, wore 
faded bib overalls ‘til the holes were 
too big for decency, and read his Bible 
out loud to his family, 
by lamp light, every night.

Right now, your children don’t much 
care from where they’ve sprung. 
Time will come when their pint-size 
desks fade in the distance, and they
face the age factors.

They’ll want to know about that 
old farmer who started with 20 cows, 
built an empire, still chewed and spit, 
and spent 20 years in the State Senate.

…used by Postcards and Prose, 2013

© Gail Denham
Sunriver, Oregon, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #25

If I were a tree
I'd sing in the wind with my leaves,
make hollows and crannies for nests
I'd call to the jays and chickadees,
ask them to come and sing with me,
if I were a tree.

© Ruth Van Alstine
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #26

for Rosa and Leonardo

Even now, even as your fingertips
crawl closer and closer to the
fine gray hairs on my wrist, as
your animal static brings my
old-fashioned wind-up watch to
a trembling stop, even now
it is not too late.

When we first noticed
that the breadcrumbs led to nowhere,
that, in fact, we had got into the habit
of wolfishness ourselves,
we had the chance then.
Then we could have said:
“Ah, love, let us be true.”
But now, now the books
are packed up on a shelf we cannot reach.

No, my love, let us relent.
Let us pay this check and go,
let the credits roll. Let us
spare ourselves the indignity of passion
at this late a stage, the blushing
wrinkles, the creaking knees
and calloused elbows. Let us go,
straight-backed as we can manage,
down the widest corridor, your token
palm on the small of my small back.
Let us go, content still to be
tailored and respectable old characters,
he who worked hard and she who
loved well. Let us go, and wrap ourselves
in blankets made of wool, and
wait for snow. Let us go.

© Celia Lisset Alvarez
Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #27

My college students debate an hour
if the idea of “America” can survive 

a zombie apocalypse. Reluctantly, 
they decide, yes, but not a nuclear war. 

Contaminated ground will only grow 
contaminated food.
Each apocalypse 

gets weighed in turn. They find “America” 
is not the draw it used to be. In the front 

row, a student shakes his head. My parents 
threw their lives into the ocean for me. 

He speaks survival of the Florida straits,
of hope stowed in a borrowed boat: 

My whole life lived to pay them back.

© Michele Parker Randall
Sanford, Florida, USA

[Originally published by Moonstone Press, Dec 2022]

National Poetry Month Poem #28

Sirens sound.
Not close,
But far away.
My hope is
That is where
They plan to stay.
So I might drift off to sleep
And let with others 
The trouble keep.

© Kenny Charnell
Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #29

The wings were huge 
Covering the night sky 
Stars coming through
Part of this new.
Purging frays which don't shape in this loom 
Burning sage, clearing all rooms 
Detoxing my mind, body, & emotions too.
There's no mistakes 
Just journeys traveled through

© Zura Moonleaf
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #30

THE ENEMY CAMP                

"When fascism comes
to America, it will 
come under the sign
of the cross."

In broad daylight, with a
minority cheering and
clamoring for more, while
the majority remains quiescent.

Progress - gay rights,
women's rights, free
and fair elections, honest news,
gun safety -
all stalled and moving backwards.

Was The Handmaiden's Tale

Is it cool that what used to be
the 'silent majority' is now reversed
and has become the governing
minority? Shades of the Bolsheviks.

Dade County, which used
to be reliably blue, has turned red
like the rest of FL.

The Dems persist in emphasizing
annoying, near trivial PC,
pushing more and more people, 
who don't recognize the existential
threat, into the enemy camp.

That's what it is - the enemy camp -
make no mistake. Waco and Jonestown
show people are willing to kill
themselves for less.

We mustn't allow them to
kill us, too.

© Steve Liebowitz     4/2/23

National Poetry Month Poem #31

It was the time 
before the snoring 
that she loved him 

it was before he snorted 
when he laughed 
and he chewed making 
that gamely noise 
that some men make 
she loved him 
before all that

It was before he 
would emit ghastly 
odors from places unmentionable 
and before he would 
repeat himself over 
and over and 
over again 
and before he told 
terrible jokes that 
no one but he 
thought funny 
she loved him 
before all that

It was before 
he snapped at 
her for no 
good reason 
and they stopped 
talking about 
anything or 
nothing at all 
she loved him 
before all that

It was before 
he’d sleep
with his mouth 
wide open 
and before 
he would scratch himself 
in uncomely places 
in public
It was before 
he stopped telling 
her he loved her 
and picking his nose 
and chewing on a 
toothpick for 
hours on end
she loved him 
before all that

She loved him 
before the flaws 
were exposed 
then she loved him 
in spite of the flaws 
she loved him 
when he stepped 
on her toes when 
they slow danced 
and even when 
he wasn’t sure 
where to put 
his hands 

she loved him 
when she thought 
his foibles were 
she loved him 
when he made 
her laugh...
she loved him 
before all that 
and she loves 
him still

©️ Norma Sherry
Poet Laureate The City of St. Augustine
St Augustine, Florida, USA

April 3, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #32

Our dog is sprawled on
the cool terrazzo floor 
beside his best friend,   
a high-velocity floor fan

All forms of life outside
hide from searing sun
under shade of flowers 
and lush green leaves  

Chimes clink softly on 
the warm breeze wafting 
through open doors 
and naked windows

I sit as still as possible 
under a blur of  blades
except for fingers tapping
words onto a cloud

We wait for dusk’s mercy
to move us into starlit night,
the possibility of cooler air,
and  perhaps a chance to sleep

© Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #33

She is going to fall on me, he says,
and doesn’t mean it in any cartoonish way,
although he holds her elbow when they walk—
when they used to walk—rather than
disenchant her about her unstable choice of shoes.
Certainly no woman past eighty should be wearing pumps,
no matter how square-healed. No, what he means is
on my watch, she’s going to fall. It’s an expression of 
ownership I would normally bristle at, as if his wife
is no more than his child, as if her falling would be
his responsibility, his fault, his lack of watchfulness, of care,
which it would be, her mind not being what it once was,
although perhaps she’s been the sort of woman her whole life
to make unreasonable footwear choices. A foolish woman.

This is his greatest fear on his deathbed, that,
disconnected from his ninety-year-old grip, she will fall.
He also talks about those long hours of work at the bottle factory
where they first met. It was work, he says, work, and we were grateful.
No one fell back then, although he looked after her the same,
gave up his seat on the bus to her, humored and petted her,
and she adored him for it, for more than sixty years.

Now that he is dead no one watches her, of course,
and she hasn’t stumbled even once, although she still
insists on those same flimsy heels, and she is humored
by her daughter and the nurses. She is adjusting remarkably well,
the daughter says. Surely when she dies her shoes will go
to some charity, and she will lie again next to her husband,
grave to grave, one final pair of dark gray pumps resting
comfortably on cream satin. Grandchildren will gather round,
remembering them both. They will never know
how to keep anyone from falling.

© Celia Lisset Alvarez
Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #34

A rare opportunity arises when men
run out of money and leave the beach
unguarded. The elephant seals, cool, 
slippery from hunting and flying 
under the radar of daylight, 
protected by the mirror of the air-
water barrier, herd their young 
and corral their food. And, though 
water is their living world, they 
choose to come out of the water 
now and then, a vacation from 
herding, hunting and flying. 
Like us, they lie on the sand, 
basking in the warmth, playing 
with the kids, sparring, flirting
with the opposite sex, even mating 
if they can, with eager abandon. 
Elephant seals come out to play 
and take back their beach
while men look on, amazed that 
such innocent joy can spread like 
lumpy honey on the golden sand.

© Marc Davidson 
Ormond Beach, FL USA

Published in “Notable Wonders, Vol. 2, Windows on Life”

National Poetry Month Poem #35
Sheet Blanket Comforter Laureates

He was winning the tug of war with covers she pointed
out to him as she rose in the middle of the night.

Looking up from a book of poetry he conceded she spoke truthfully
as he looked over the edge of the mattress to his right.

Sheet, blanket, comforter were dragging across the floor.
So, here pleas for bed linen parity couldn’t be ignored.

He might have been reading verses, yet he was drowsy nevertheless.
Still, he rose and stripped the coverings and remade the bed anew.

So, when she returned from her bathroom break she crawled back
beneath the sheet, blanket, comforter and quietly proceeded to snooze.

He continued reading either Smith, Collins, or Harjo, wondering
if when they lay in bed do Poet Laureates of the United States
pull the sheet, blanket, comforter off of their sleeping spouses too?

© Kenny Charnell
Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #36

Today I took the garbage out, then re-entered my abode.
And left that hefty garbage can standing by the road.
Then it finally dawned on me, today is not our day.
This COVID Virus “lock down” has me all confused that way.

Cabin fever takes its toll on me in many different ways.
Without those scheduled outings, my mind co-mingles the days.
I’d like to have some normalcy back, with some travel in my routine.
I’d like a break from 24-7, news’ about COVID nineteen. 

I have finished all the books I own, sitting on my patio,
And I watch all natures little critters, as they come and go. 
Why do lizards, on a vertical wall, hang head down like they do?
And the bees and butterflies, I counted them all, bees 19, butterflies 22.

Yes, cabin fever is taking its toll, so excuse my leap to digression,
And let me get back to that garbage, that is still in my possession.
Tomorrow, I’ll put it out again, and end the morning with a sigh,
And probably won’t remember, until after the garbage truck passes by. 

© Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

Published by:  Council On Aging

National Poetry Month Poem #37

She teaches class at tea time
and grades everyone’s paper,
explaining where and why they're wrong.

Algebra in the 6th grade and
she wants to study it
more, even on summer break.

Every other word is STEM.
She wants to be a scientist.
Not a dancer on Broadway.

Practical. Determined.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #38

Green eyes can see:

not red

not sloth

not envy

new love
not lust

a salad
not a salad bar

not a profit center.

Green thumbs:

are body parts to be proud of
without pretension.  
Green is not just the color of money.
In that case, 
I guess Green is my favorite color.

© B. Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #39

…one syllable words

Quick dark cloud of dread 
spread. a smash hit this sad
house too hard.

the porch gave way.
a chair, still on the move
broke through the rail. 

no one spoke. dust blew,
a branch flew, huge rain 
splats hit my face, my chest. 

with speed, my feet found 
the safe, dry hole
where we hid.

up top, the swift, strong
wind took porch, chair, stove, 
bed, house, pa and dog.

with a roar, our hole lid split.

hard rain pour made deep mud. 
we could not move or cry.

© Gail Denham
Sunriver, Oregon, USA

Published Sylvan challenge page,

National Poetry Month Poem #40

For Jorge Carrera Andrade

When I read “isla de soldades y campanas,”
“isla de soledades,”

I longed to break off, perfectly,
that line from your lines
and plant it in my soul,
watch it take root, throw out its shoots,
and flower, and discover how we,
in spite of our countries, our ages,
are closer than sister and brother,
are the same earth, the same mother.

Isla de soledades y campanas: island of solitudes and bells.

Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #41

Is it a robin falling
Llke a brown-red magnolia leaf,
quickly, softly?—
Don’t look away or you’ll miss it!
Spring is here
as the magnolia leaf descends,
vestige of autumn.

© Patricia Barry
Palm Coast, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #42

Slip out the back door to access
the lot adjacent to my building,
a grassy field, welcome relief 
from concrete and bustle.

Blue jay and wren songs echo,
Cicadas’ timbal buzz in rhythm,   
ants scurry on invisible highways, 
casting pheromone paths
like well-oiled mechanical toys.

Trimmed by oak trees and bushes,
vines drape as a fairy’s mantle,
fresh, earthy fragrance wafts.
Twisted tree limbs strewn about 
like torn, discarded clothing 
from Mother Earth’s wardrobe.

I still myself under cool branches, 
blue sky above,
dig toes into the earth. 
Rooted solidly.
Take a breath. 

A Moment -
This calm world. 
Viewed with clear eyes.

Muscle and tissue relax,
frayed nerves soothed.
A calmness of mind.
Exhale slowly.
Once again.
with the

© Ruth Van Alstine
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Published in (a) River Rising "Roots and Branches"

National Poetry Month Poem #43

Oh, how we danced
on the night we were wed....

The breathless swelling
of the heart....

The rich deepness of Al Jolson's voice.

The dizziness. The all consuming
flow of the music.

Swirling, trembling, quivering!

The end of one life and
birth of another.

The sweet unknown, but
certain bliss. Hope, dreams

Endless, infinite, in the 
majesty of the music

Timeless until death do us part.

©  Steve Liebowitz    3/13/23

National Poetry Month Poem #44

There are so many days that my heart feels heavy as clay.
You can see my face sagging and dragging as I wish to be in another place.
For the moment my mind will decide to go to where the grass looks greener on the other side. 
How frustration and toil teasing you of how fair it would be to go over there looking so pleasing.
Therefore, I put my back into stacking up my things to pack my bag.
As I get ready to do this so that I can go to that place of bliss.
Then for me, in a blink of an eye reality does sink in that makes me think  
There is a reason the wise apply the saying the grass is greener on the other side as their guide.
It is a reminder how warped our perspective becomes when we do not make the effort to become more effective.
How jealousy and envy give us insensitivity tricking us into living circumstantially based only.
If your grass is not so green on your side, then realize greener grass requires your effort to water and fertilize your lot.
Your plot will only become something to shout about with zealous effort not jealous pouting. 

© Edward Rundt
Jacksonville, Florida, USA 

National Poetry Month Poem #45

When he asks me why I piled the green peppers
into the side bowl
I want to tell him the truth:
That they repeat on me, make me belch. 
That my middle age gut cannot handle them anymore.  

Instead, I tell him I just don’t like them,
that I forgot to order the cashew almond chicken
minus the peppers.
I don’t tell the truth,
because he leaned in when he took my order.

Because he pointed out tasty items,
touched them on the menu, between my hands.
Because he sat down next to me.
Because he mixed just the right amount
of hot mustard in the special sauce to make it sizzle.

These college boys are well-trained
to romance the middle-aged clientele.  
They never ask Just one?  when they seat me here. 
They don’t make me feel alone and lonely on a Monday night.
Poor lady, eating all by herself. Not here.

I could sit here for hours,
sampling exotic teas
and maybe order a mai tai.  Or two.
I could practice picking up cashew pieces 
with my chopsticks. 

I know he is schooled to look at me hungrily, to whet my appetite
with the five o’clock shadow beard
that other reputable restaurants do not allow, 
to look at me with those I want to dance eyes.
Calls me “miss” not “ma’am.” 

He keeps coming back, refilling
my Passion Fruit tea. Leaning in.
He doesn’t seem to mind 
that the sauce from the lettuce wraps 
oozes down my fingers, onto my wrists.
My fortune cookie tells me
You will soon be surrounded by good friends and laughter.
Again, he returns to my table.
Lingering. Leaning in. 
Asking me if I am satisfied.

Perhaps I will stay for dessert.

© Marianne Peel
Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #46

Our hearts are like dandelions 
Blooming forth 
Then exploding into the wind 
Flying together, solo, then back again 
But our flowers choose 
Which air current to swim

© Zura Moonleaf
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

April 4, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #47

What secrets hide beneath
this chocolate coat.
Dost here lie a heart so pure.
No proof save in the tasting. 
What the texture, silk-like 
or grainy smooth as of 
golden honey crystalline. 
True happiness may be found here,
within a world of warm, sweet fragrance 
played upon the harp of Dionysus.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #48

A tribute to nature, a marvelous sight to see.
A stand-out so elegant, is that old dead tree.
Still noble and majestic, on the bounds of our yard,
Having stood for eons, as a forest guard.

Grotesque, and ugly, some say they abhor, 
How blatantly it intrudes surrounding verdant decor.
But no perfidy or angst do the songbirds hold.
For that majestic dead tree, though it be ragged and old. 

Ah! but let me tell, of that tree some abhor, 
Doves, blue jays, and cardinals, that tree they adore.
Just think of what that old tree has done.
It provides a stage for, birds lives to be sung. 

Dead arms still reach out with charm and grace.
The songsters of nature, they devotedly embrace. 
So, give that old tree some well-deserved slack.
What nature has given, continues to give back.

With reckless verve, birds sing out with glee,
Pianissimo orchestrations seem created just for me. 
Their paean creations, so vivid and pristine, 
Lift heart, mind, and spirit, to heights supreme. 

Those melodic tweets, like a harmonic lance,
Implant peace and tranquility, as our lives they enhance.
Though its life is now considered a fait-accompli, 
Let’s show a little respect for that old dead tree.  

Published in Self Reliance Magazine

© Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #49

She sends me email warnings about
toxic plants found in all homes.
The hidden germs in queso fresco.
The latest trends in assaults on women:
if someone hits the back of your car,
keep driving.

She says to pass these warnings on
to all my women friends.
She does not seem to think
my men friends keep plants
or eat foreign cheese.
Would hijackers
hit the back of a man’s car?

She also sends me
uplifting messages about
how to see the beauty in
my gray hair
(it means I’ve lived)
my sagging breasts
(it means I’ve fed a child)
my swollen feet
(it means I’ve walked).

She sends me
chain letters.
If I pass them on
to five other women
in the next 24 hours,
I could
receive an inheritance
meet the love of my life
get a promotion
relieve my lower back pain.

The emails have tails
long as litanies,
automatic signatures
brief comments
from all the women
these messages have gone through:
Pat from Melbourne (XOXO)

Linda from Albuquerque (Regional Manager)
Fatima @ (love ya).

Sometimes I pass these on.
Dear So-and-So,
do you
have this spiky plant?
need to take this vitamin?
recognize this woman,
killed by a stray bullet
while driving at night
through a strange neighborhood?

© Celia Lisset Alvarez
Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #50

Trudge on into weariness.
You’ve earned yourself some sleep.
Your shoulders stoop.
Your gait is slow.
Your daily industry is complete.

Tonight, please take to resting.
Your responsibilities you have met.
Those that count on your provision
are never found in wanting.
You strive for them without regret.

Tomorrow will bring new opportunity.
At its beginning your step will spring.
You will be happy in the challenges,
and if work itself was musical
your labors could not help but sing.

Such is the price of dependability.
Accountability is the coin you pay.
Children fed. Spouse sustained.
Satisfaction in your respectability. 
Would you have it any other way?

© Kenny Charnell 
Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #51

Sometimes a line will settle itself
on the branch of a tree
and smile like the Cheshire Cat.

And sometimes a tear 
that I shed in 1960
will fall in my hand from a cloud.

And then a ray of sunlight
may lie down right before me
portentous as an effigy.

Then again, 
a blast of something enormous
will call out my name. 

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #52

Sky has eaten Moon 
down to the rind,
with dawn’s yellow glow  
overpowering its shine

Clouds fringe with gold 
from Sun’s morning light
as the gossamer sliver 
fades slowly from sight

The tides keep their rhythm,
seas ebbing and flooding,
proving Moon is still out there,
still pushing and pulling

© Pat Bonner Milone 
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #53

bride's lilac bouquet
rests among the confetti
waiting its turn

First Place Henrietta & Mark Kroah Founders Award FSPA Poetry Contests 2022    Published Cadence Anthology #40 2022

© Ruth Van Alstine
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #54

The ooohs and aaahs have started up again
after the Hubble telescope grew old
and we grew numb to its spectacle.

The Webb unfurled its golden pentagrams
and peered into the birth bed
of a million ancient galaxies.

Creation and destruction — Brahma and Kali,
the universe is seething with the noise of birth
and black holes sucking planets to oblivion.

The innocent child’s question, where do we
come from? has sent us into orbit
determined to leap fifteen billion years

past the stewpot of the firmament
back into the fireball of our origin
some call the chemistry of God.

© Sharon Scholl
Atlantic Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #55

A distant crow flaps its wings nonstop
on the fairway
drying off from deep pond plunder—
Or so I thought.
I look more closely;
it’s a tiny leaf wavering
on a tree branch much closer to me.
Silhouetted against the faraway green,
the leaf keeps twisting and turning 
in the winds of change,
suspended between seasons,
about to plunge into spring.

© Patricia Barry 
Palm Coast, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #56

We shift shapes 
and create things
Staying up all night 
and then later- daydream 
Fluidity has been a main scheme
I can dissolve, build & change themes

© Zura Moonleaf
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #58

What had at first been a faint light grew bright.

I reflexively shielded my watered eyes enough to see through their slits.
I felt sure I had made my way to that next place.
Surely a warm embrace would greet me.

I saw the faint outlines of those I had known in life but were no more.
They appeared in my mind’s eyes, barely visible amid halos that surrounded them.

“You do not belong here!” thundered a chorus of voices.

I startled violently, blinking through those same eyes of my mind at the apparitions.
Their form took on greater clarity that I began to recognize.
I now beheld them as they truly were: gowned figures haloed by a different sort of light.

That mind of mine became wracked at the tumult of it all.
What insidious force brought me to this place?
Then I stumbled upon a memory of it.

My blood had run as cold as the trail I was following.
I came to a dark, dank place, staring into a black abyss.
I was seeing nothing, but knowing that something, someone was staring back at me from the other side of the invisible obelisk that blocked my way forward.

Was fear holding me back? Fear of knowing the truth?

I had reached forward to sweep away the murkiness, like so much curtain dust. 
I have a memory of my hand touching the surface of the nothing.
My hand disappeared.

Then, so did the rest of me.

I emerged to find myself in a dark crypt.
I had passed through a solid wall of dust, dissolving to a new dream sequence.
Walking without legs through a dimly-lit hallway, I saw a faint light to which I was drawn.  
There were doorways that led somewhere.
I was afraid to pass through them. 

Who – or what – would be on the other side to greet me?

The light at the end of the tunnel that was my vision beckoned to me.
The light lured me along a path that had chosen me. 
I felt sure that the others were waiting for me there.

Oh, how I longed to embrace them.

© B. Shawn Clark

April 5, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #59

Warming under 
Everglades sun, 
fat alligator rests 
on cut grass
at water’s edge.
His drowsy eyes 
watch the nature lovers, 
Sierra Clubbers, and others
stride by on the paved path.

Two tourists,
stop to stare
within radius 
of the gator’s grasp. 

“They must feed them very well!” 
one suggests to the other.
Behind them, smiling, 
a local advises, 
“They feed themselves very well.”

Park Ranger strolls over,
warns them, 
“Alligators can move 
twenty feet, 
in two seconds.”



© Pat Bonner Milone 
Redland, Florida, USA

April 5, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #60

I thought one librarian was in charge of that.

She’s not a librarian.
They maintain the branch.

Oh, who does that?
Somebody else.
Where is that done?
Pretty much out of sight.

Our loss.

What does she do, if not that?

Outreach, reference, circulation desk,
technology, inventory, and everything else.

I date myself as I recall,
when one librarian did it all.
Seen, rarely unseen, with so much to do;
a very present help in knowledge pursuit.
She stamped your book out
and without any doubt,
was there once again
when you brought it back in.

Today the Librarian must surely be glad,
to have Guides, Associates, and a Book Drop, too.
Please forgive me for calling you, Librarian, in spite of what you do.

And among the most interesting changes I see,
is that the Librarian can now be a he.

© Suzanne S. Austin-Hill
Ruskin, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #61

In an act of gentle affection 
he reached for her hand 
in the middle of the night. 
He desired nothing more 
then the warmth of her palm
as he listened to the 
rhythms of her sleep. 

For whatever woke him 
couldn’t hold him long,
and his stirrings 
would soon fade away.
As the comfort within her 
slumbering hand would 
cradle him back to sleep.

How long does it take 
for two to become this way?
How long before
become one?

How long before 
determination and devotion 
are indistinguishable?
How long? How long?

As I recall we found us
in the throes of all
of this suddenly.
Running forward with
feet not touching the ground.

The pieces of this life 
spinning all around us
not fully gathered
assembled, or found.

I don’t recall the winds ever ebbing. 
And now it doesn’t matter
so, I don’t really care.
Because we picked 
what we needed
from the strong breezes,
kept moving forward
becoming grounded
holding hands
and so very much more.

© Kenny Charnell
Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #62

Le bel Eté finit, me dis-tu – 
C’est l’Automne, respondis-je.
Et nos mots n’étaient plus si pareils.”

Francis Jammes (1868-1938)

One day you will say to me, “I love her,”
and I will say, “I am alone.”  And we will both
mean the same, as we have always meant the same,
but we will forget that.
In the deafening jazz of the blood,
I will think, “I am jealous,”   
and you will think, “I am guilty.”  
But we will both mean the same,
“It is winter and relentless.”

Epigraph translation:
The beautiful summer is over, you say to me.
It’s autumn, I answer.
And our words are no longer the same.

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #63

I never learned to fear them.
Perhaps I should have.
But they were easy to avoid,
those early, absent fathers,
rainmakers. Love was a dry matter:
stay indoors, watch the sky
for signs of storms.

Once a little grown,
they were theoretical as clouds.
All my comforts and my punishments,
all my justices, were women.
The boys were lizard-hunters,
arm-punchers, lunch-nabbers.
All our games were fair as oceans,
rivers, indefatigable and steady, mapped
and plotted on a grid of our own making.
I played and won. None of us knew better.

Late one summer,
I touched a downy upper lip—
ran my thumb over its edge like a seal,
feeling the prickle of the words
we’d no longer be allowed to speak.
That first long fall
those alien, distrustful years
the planet changed
into a solid winter.

Or so it seemed.
Beneath the skin,
an even wider river ran:
woman, man.
I learned to listen to its silent course,
and lay asleep, ashore.
Those first few sails—
the old maps failed, and we fell,
and there were dragons there.
We tamed them all,
gave them names: Lust was fiercest,
an incorrigible scorcher; Love was gentle,
quiet, easily broken.

Suddenly the old fathers became visible,
sat down long enough to speak to,
some of them worn out by the washing
into flattened disks of soap
and just as useful. There is no comfort
I can bring. No dry newspaper.
No absent talk of baseball.
Then there are the mariners,
claw-grasped, urgent-eyed
as fortune tellers. Their whole bodies
arced like questions.
All the stories must be told,
the work that clanged their bones
in the concave body bell
now still. I bend to listen to the echo,
ever fainter, and sate their need to tell.
I listen well.

The young ones lost to the long winter
are lost still, wrapped up in their skins
like snow dwellers.
They see me sideways, suspiciously;
they think I’m full of secrets.
I never was.

© Celia Lisset Alvarez
Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #64

A young man,
I went looking for Waldo
atop the Bavarian Alps.
He wasn’t there.
I tried the golden Wat
of Thailand.
If he was there,
he quite blended in.
Barcelona and the 
Mediterranean, nothing.
Perhaps just one jump
ahead of me, always.
The major continents
yielded no clue.
Florida, Texas 
the Caribbean Sea,
no trace of him 
to be seen. The only
thing I ever found 
was me.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #65

While I meditate on the crown of thorns,
My sins that pierced his blessed head,
I wonder if instead, he wants me now
To see strangers and friends 
Whose human brows
Have wreaths of invisible thorns,
Piercing their hearts with pain.

So many souls who suffer quietly
Hiding grief, betrayal, worry
It’s not enough that I am sorry
I need to pluck a thorn or two
With an offer of friendship,
And see it though.

A prayer for health, a note, a smile,
Thoughtfulness that soothes awhile. 
Replace a thorn with a rose of care,
Knowing God’s love is everywhere. 

© Ann Favreau 
Venice, Florida, USA 

National Poetry Month Poem #66

My first daughter journeyed out
of my womb wide-eyed, without tears.
Long-necked, she embodies
ET in Spielberg’s film.
All curious, surveying the world
on the axis of her neck.

Outside the ephemeral float of my womb, 
this water baby birthed and puckered 
with amniotic fluid.
Two days later, I bundle her
into a cloth carrier affixed 
to my shrinking belly.
She curls in on herself,
this coiled miniature human,
at the base of this denim pouch.

Now she maneuvers outside of me.
At the East Lansing Art Fair, a wave
undulating as we stroll the gallery.
We gravitate toward the watercolors.
Monet imitations by the locals. 

I lift her from the carrier. Hold her
in two palms.  Give her the gifts
of lily pads and gardens of lilacs.
I narrate each painting, name the colors.
I teach her marmalade orange, 
sangria red, sea serpent green, 
jellyfish purple, black-eyed susan yellow.
Introduce her to this feast of color,
wanting her to taste them
with her eyes.  

One day she will be the artist,
birthing blurred spring gardens
with watercolors, acrylics, even oils.
Circles will summon her on a full moon night:
halos, infinity rings, gears of wheels,
a khorovod Russian round dance, a wreath of bangles.
She pirouettes between heaven and earth,
navigates a labyrinth of carousels,
choreographs the geometry of the psyche.

© Marianne Peel
Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #67

One by one, 
voluptuous bits of mist
rose with a soft breeze,
from silver-swathed fields.
I heard them giggling
with the voices of songbirds
as they dropped their silky peignoirs
and floated into the sunrise.

© Janet Watson
Wesley Chapel, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #68

In one, I'm a writer
expressing and sharing 
dreams, feelings, insights

In another, I'm a reader
resonating with the thoughts,
words and images.

In one, I am a servant
humble, proud and loyal
in my servitude.

In another, I am Master
graciously accepting my
servant's ministrations.

In one, I am a worshipper
bowing down naked 
abasing myself in 
heartfelt submission to
my God.

In another, I am God
pleased with my 
worshipper's devotion.

Each of these mansions
coexist, peacefully 
in my father's house.

Tho often it seems
one or two
don't belong there.

© Steve Liebowitz         3/12/18

National Poetry Month Poem #69

Today the morning came but my eyes would not open, as if they had been sealed shut, keeping in images from my dreams that I wanted to allow to escape into the nothingness of today’s morning air.  

They would not.

They were blurry with today’s morning light unable to penetrate into their meaning save for something – what was it?  
Ah, I see it now, vague but clearer now – it is a barb.

But what do I see now?  A thin line protruding from opposite sides of that corona-like, spiked shape that looks so much like something ancient barbarians would affix to the end of their never-ending weapons.   

Later today, mine eyes could open slits that could see more clearly but still not that great, pulling back from the images of the dreams that had tormented me, now filling my field of vision.  The thin lines were wires!  They connected to poles, one wire atop another like a, a – a fence, yes that’s what it was.

But what were those blurry, oval shapes behind the barbs with two ovals glowing inside each one?  Late in the day I could see them up close, coming into focus as the barbs dissolved into a blur of their own.  

They were windows looking back at me.
Windows into my own soul.

Just like theirs.  

© B Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #70

At sixty-eight I’ve gotten bolder, while growing older.
I came back to my land of sunshine and blue skies,
after a sojourn in less temperate climes
and turbulent times.
During springtime in Florida, 
with its crisp, champagne air
that enveloped me, revived me, healed me.
Savored breaths ripe with a second chance,
dared dreams bringing long-awaited creative dance,
a shared community with artistic strains to this waltz,
pen and paper, brush, paint, and canvas blended,
woven throughout the remainder of a threaded pulse.

Published Cadence Anthology #40 2022

©  Ruth Van Alstine
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

April 6, 2023

National Poetry Day Poem #71

Originality not a requirement,

supposedly short and sweet;
I search among the best
of all the wordsmiths' treats.
Responding to a tug o’ heart, 
something sounding like a psalm;
copy ‘n paste, call it mine:
"Kindness - greatest of all balms."

© Suzanne S. Austin-Hill
Ruskin, Florida, USA

National Poetry Day Poem #72

Le soleil pur, le nom doux du petit village,
Les belles oies qui sont blanches comme le sel. . . 
Se mêlent a mon amour d’autrefois

Francis Jammes (1868-1938)

Something in me was not reborn,
but stays there, back there,
there where . . .
I let my mind wake up
and stretch itself 
under an unhurried sun.

I stroll to town 
through an avenue of oak trees
while mist burns off
from the fields beyond them.
I join my slow, unhurried neighbors
who open their grandfathers’ shops
after going to Mass at dawn
on weekdays.

In an office flavored with sun-warmed ink
and heavy with oaken desks,
I write out wills and deeds and contracts.
Great changes are born
from my right hand.

I eat my déjeuner at Chez Suzanne,
which takes its name from the church
with its stained glass window
showing Susanna shaming the elders. 

At night in the parlors of farmers,
whose business letters my father wrote,
I drink a few glasses of home-made marc,
and listen to old, old men and women
telling their older stories,
all of them dressers of sycamores
and bakers of hearth cakes.

Part of me,
the larger, greater part of me,
is there.
I comfort the part that isn’t 
by remembering these five things,

“The trees you walk under now 
grew up from those ancient trees,
roads are essentially ageless,
no engineer can hurry the sun,
old men and women still hold fast
to wisdom they want to deposit
in welcoming soil,

and God, Who dwelled in the old dim churches,
is waiting here still
to lift you up
on the pure gold paten
of His timelessness.”

Title translation:  Life Existed
Translation from Francis Jammes:  The pure sun, the sweet name of the little village, the beautiful geese

that are as white as salt. . . mingle with my love of the old days.
déjeuner (line 20):  lunch
line 29, Dressers of sycamores, Amos 7:14
line 30, Bakers of hearth cakes, 1 Kings 19:6 

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Day Poem #73

Foam froths at the shore
Like the kiss of a man with
A white curly beard

© Mary McAllister
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Day Poem #74

The toasted bagel cries out
in the night. You can’t wait 
till breakfast! With butter
and jam and a nice cup of tea.

It calls to you in your sleepy
abode, pleading, crying your name.
Must I leave my sacred nest,
you think. Why don’t we have a butler.

You try to ignore it. But
it calls ever louder. And you are forced 
to yield to the compelling power 
of the midnight snack.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Day Poem #75
4:45 PM 


4:45 PM, Wed afternoon
In eight lanes of traffic

Bob Seeger CD, "You're Still the Same"
I love it!

There's something about Bob Seeger's
gravelly voice, piano, and the whole
thing, that really resonates with me,
especially when I'm waiting to drive on.

The traffic's tolerable, orderly,
the way it’s supposed to be at this
place and time.

Got the windows down, not raining
will be home soon. Life's good.

Then it hits me that my dead wife's
Birthday is in a few days.

This is the first time in 53 years
I haven't celebrated it with her.

I feel deep sorrow, regret
even fear.

The light changes and I drive on.

© Steve Liebowitz      4/5/23

National Poetry Day Poem #76

 I have to be careful, 
You know…
Because when I catch a glimpse 
Of a tall young blond woman 
I want to turn my head and look.

Not to leer, 
You know.
But to savor in the reminder 
That forty-some years ago
It was tall blond you who turned my head
Never to look back.

It was with you,
You know..
Whom with I gathered a life.
Gathered three children,
And grandchildren.
Found a way with 
When we didn’t know how.

It was you,
You know.
That nursed me when I was sick.
Encouraged me when I was down.
Suffered me when I was a fool.
And, I the same with you.

Young and beautiful,
You know
I don’t want that now,
I just marvel in the catalyst of it all. 
Oh, I love the reflection.

That turn of our heads.
What we began.
Where we have been.
What we’ve accumulated
in each other.

You know…
You know..
You know.

© Kenny Charnell
Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #77

Abecedaria is a form of hysteria that
Begins with a
Call to action to make a form of
Duck soup that
Erects a
Going up to the
Highest point of
Inspiration that
Jogs the memory so as to
On a path of
Perfection in a
Rudimentary and
Timing pattern
Words that can be
Xeroxed so many times that people reading it are induced to
Yawn so many times and so often that eventually they begin to

© B. Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #78

Fake news
Deep state blues

Smoke screens
Political memes

State-controlled radio
Deep fake video

Face recognition
Info you’ve given

Algorithms track
No going back

Can’t undo 
the Internet You

© Pat Bonner Milone 
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #79

With no water to drink, little food to eat, 
Miles to traverse, with no shoes on their feet.
Through life’s tempestuous broken gate of toil.
Extracting meager existence from infertile soil.

With no lofty thoughts, or days filled with mirth,
Downtrodden and forlorn, the most forsaken on earth.
What debt have they paid in sweat and tears,
With lives that have been wasted over the years. 

What to them is glistening of the morning dew,
Or the blooming flowers and their radiant hue?
Stooped and enslaved around the handle of a hoe
An immedicable existence, this life has bestowed.    

Half-starved peasants can neither read nor write. 
With a lifetime of toil, their preordained plight. 
Tilling gravel-laced soil, is all they know.
 Unirrigated and infertile where precious little will grow.

The horizon holds no hope, for relief of their fate.
Generations it will take, to fix that broken gate.
History will be unkind, to the peasant and his kind,
As their menial existence just disappears with time.

© Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #80

April opens the Spring season like a magnificent king
Waving grassland wading in the warmth of sunshine;
Nature pours in abundance all the hidden treasures:
Primrose, daffodil, cherry blossom - all beauty of colors,
With cuckoo, robin, honeybee, and choir of chirping birds;
The new red leaves in plants symbolize "renewal of life",
Full of fun and festivals April is Nature’s beloved child,
Throughout ages stirring up imagination in poet’s mind!

With joy of life, beauty of colors, melody of sounds seem
A banquet of celestial feast, nothing is left from its list!
Both old and young, busy in merry-making under the sun.
April declares the triumph of weather over the climate;
Though off and on, snow and chill wind reminds us 
The harsh whip of jealous winter, waiting nearby for chance.

© Sipra Roy
New York City, New York, USA

National Poetry Day Poem #81

I'm a paintbrush that dances 
through life's ever-changing canvas. 
I throw on vivid robes
wearing new forms 
as each note 
backstrokes in prose 
becoming a song that flows.

© Zura Moonleaf
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

National Poetry Day Poem #82

Your words speak to me
Flow through me
Make me remember me
The me I used to be

That’s the worth of a verse

When you speak
Your bass makes chairs squeak
They laugh and guffaw
On their nails they gnaw

That’s the worth of a verse

Your words entice me!
Inspire me!
Make me remember who I long to be
Make me remember who I can be

That’s the worth of a verse

Your youth is painted upon you
Much like mine is upon me
But, your words speak beyond you
Much like mine speak past me

You don’t just inspire me
With your words or your stance
Nor your bass, or cadence

That’s the worth of a verse

To tell us who you are
But still leave us in awe
Still connecting
Still wanting

That’s the worth of a verse

To tell us our tales
From your lens,
To hear our wails
Our glee
Our sobs
Our fury
From a brother
A sister
A mother
A father
A lover
A hater…

To feel the unity
Wondering on the mystery
Weighing the worth
Behind the verse

© Myk Gall
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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