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Poem-A-Day 2023

April 7, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #83

I stroll Via Dolorosa,
Tourist with pilgrim heart.
Mind on Jesus’ journey
Long, long ago.

The rocky path to Golgotha  
No longer marks the way.
Marble coats the corridor,
Steps of white and grey.

Stations are denoted
With plaques along the wall,
Sharing space with souvenirs
In shopkeepers’ stalls.

The cry of weeping women
No longer can be heard,
Instead the call of hawkers
Echoes through the halls.

Shrines are silent testimony
To the agony of Christ,
Holy spots along the way
Where the faithful pause to pray.

Reflecting on the weighty cross
He dragged along the street,
The pain of thorns and driven nails
That pierced his hands and feet.

Church of Holy Sepulcher
Holds relics of the day,
Stone that split upon his death,
Slab on which he lay.

People kneel to feel the rock,
The crucifixion site,
And wait in silent reverence  
To go inside the tomb.

The scent of incense fills the air.  
Burning candles flit and flare. 
Pilgrims stroke the burial place,
And say a quiet prayer.

Strolling Via Dolorosa
With thoughts of distant past,
Reflecting on his sacrifice,
These memories will last.

Throughout the Lenten season
And when I search my soul,
I’ll recall the way He trod,
The blessed Son of God.

© Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #84

What lies at the end of a dead end street?

The chance to turn-around,

and assess what's right in front of you,  

make note of that which you missed,
while getting a new view of what lies ahead.  
What lies at the end of a dead end street?


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

National Poetry Month Poem #85

I have always been standing 
in front of this window.

I see so many women working, 
so many children playing,
and so few men,

so many women weeping, 
so many children lonely,
and so few men,

so many women cracking,
so many children starving,
and so few men.

And beyond that window, 
just out of sight, 
is the broken-down car

where the women  
will take their children to live 
when the lean wolf,

padding towards them,
has swallowed 
everything else.

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #86

As the boss spoke of reinvention,
To meet the challenges at hand, 
I knew that my time as an employee
must soon come to an end. 

Times have changed,
as times always do. 
So, if you want to keep up,
you need to keep changing too.

This time I think not. 
The alterations as planned
might be in order.
But Boss, you have one idea
and I have another!

I’ve been at this awhile now,
and I’ve done some great stuff.
Which you have acknowledged.
Yet it is time that I recognize
that enough is enough.

I want to talk to my sweet wife.
To enjoy with her banter
when I am not in a rush,
and find my mind wandering
to customers, products, profits, and junk.

I want to relax,
read a book, go to the beach.
Spend time with my grandkids.
There are things they need to know
only an old man can teach. 

Also, it’s time to sit across a table,
with a beer or coffee in hand
and listen to my grown kids,
as they speak to me of their lives,
and about all their plans.

So, reinvent as you will.
I truly understand.
However, in the next calendar year
you will do it without this weary, 
accomplished, and happy older man.

© Kenny Charnell 
Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #87

Fear is like a drug.
Side effects affect.
Which brings me here to be analyzed
My knuckles turning white
Waiting for the first round of testing
My drug coursing through my body and mind.

“What do you see?”
She asks.
What I saw was a blob of nothing made of ink spilled on a blotter.
I knew it was supposed to have meaning
Just not to me.
“Human genitalia?” I heard myself say.
She wrote something down.  

She seemed to have a cross look on her face.

I must have given the wrong answer.

“Tell me a story about this,”
She commanded.  
What I saw was a black and white photograph.
A man was sitting behind a desk giving testimony of some sort.  
I told her the story of Roy Cohn and the McCarthy hearings.
Cohn’s ghost was in the news lately, making an appearance in court
Standing unseen behind a man who thought he was being persecuted.

She scribbled in her notepad even more furiously than before.
My guess is, it was something about persecution complexes.  

“Complete the following sentences,” she demanded:
Grandma’s hands … are shaking 
Longing is like … being short of breath. 
His forehead ... had the mark of the beast. 
Its teeth are like … talons. 
The monster … ate me. 
Determination … is highly overrated. 

The tree in winter is like ... a skeleton. 
The city in spring is like … a prison. 
The sound of the engine is like … nails on a chalk board. 
At first glance, the house is like … a home. 
But after looking more closely, the house is like … an insane asylum. 
The last box in the empty house … can stay there. 
Ambivalence … makes me shake like a grandma’s hands. 

She stopped writing in her note pad and looked at me like I was a bug.
She never did tell me why I failed the exam.  
But I knew what the tests meant.

I need a new drug.  

© B. Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #88

Some animals eat their young; they have their reasons.  I wrote this while raising teenagers.


Eat your young ... 
Before they linger in front of mirrors
Before they listen only to their peers
Before they sass back and roll their eyes
Before they tell such believable lies.

Eat your young ... 
Before they drive cars and give up their toys
Before your frustrations outweigh your joys
Before they wander beyond your protection
Before they recoil from your affection.

Eat your young ... 
Before they stay on the phone too long
Before they accuse you of raising them wrong
Before you become their embarrassment
Before your guidance becomes harassment.

Eat your young ... 
Before they judge how you choose to live
Before they ask for what you can't give
Before they long to be on their own 
And way before they are almost full grown!

© Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA       
Published 2008, Women Moving Forward Vol. III, a collection of essays edited by Judith Barr Bachay & Raul Fernandez-Calienes

National Poetry Month Poem #89
The beautiful teenaged boy with long, flowing hair
raced his bike around his dilapidated neighborhood.

Would someone shoot him?
That’s what happened there,
too often.

He was so beautiful in his carefree careening.
It would be such a shame, a waste, a shonda.

He raced the El for a block
as it sped toward the gleaming
city towers just a mile away.

Did he ever go there? 
Did many from his neighborhood ever go there?

Weren’t the city towers
bastions of another, almost alien civilization
protected from the dark-skinned boy and
his neighborhood by invisible barriers -
age-old, deeply internalized beliefs 
in the boy, his neighborhood and the 
tower dwellers?

A patrol car emblazoned with “Serve and Protect”
carrying well-armed people
sped by the beautiful boy on his bike.

Serve and protect who?
A visible extension of the invisible barrier?

If the beautiful, dark-skinned boy was
murdered, would the armed people in the
patrol car treat it as they would the murder of 
a boy from the towers?

Who would miss him?
Who would mourn?
If you cut them, do they not bleed?

His mother would grieve and
his family and friends would miss him.

They would go on
sad and wounded
making a life even
as the tower dwellers made their lives

But heroically.
The tower dwellers
blissfully unaware of the hopes
and aspirations, needs and wants
shared with
those beyond the barriers.

© Steven Liebowitz     1/16/18

National Poetry Month Poem #90

The Jaberwok woks
The shoofly shoos
And the Mockingbird laughs all day

A hoot owl hoots
And bamboo shoots shoot
While the buttercups melt and sway

Bright crocuses croak
Bumblebees mumble
And daffodils daffily play

The Mayflies may
And tiger moths roar
As Spring springs and just blooms away.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

April 8, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem # 91

(A discarded rocket stage, drifting through space since about 2015, recently collided with the moon, possibly the first unintentional case of space junk hitting the moon.)


Flags fade on the face of the moon,
footprints now lost in its dust,
landers and rovers litter the landscape,
bags of Astronaut poop could bust  

Two golf balls landed somewhere
on that pristine lunar course,
with lower gravity levels 
they flew without much force

Add: the feather and hammer
which proved Galileo correct;
a photo of one astronaut’s family,
left with a note on the back 

Mars is the first of the planets
to accumulate earthborn scrap.
We figured out how to get there,
but not how to bring the junk back 

Orbiters, rovers, helicopters  
will circle, probe and hover
until the mechanical lifespans
signal their searching is over. 

Every small step for man,
each giant leap for mankind,
leaves trash where no one had gone before
for future space travelers to find

And let’s not forget our home planet,
tons of trash still orbiting Earth,
what went up, will eventually come down,
threatening our satellite networks

“Take only memories, leave only footprints,” 
Chief Seattle said long ago,
but we’re trashing the Moon and Mars,
we’ll keep trashing wherever we go

© Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem # 92

Leaves sway with divine syncopations.

Chimes sing both silent and thunderous melodies;

Pinwheels spin with dizzying splendor while

flags dance in wanton celebration.

With wind alight from Heaven,

He whispers His loving purpose for all things.

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

National Poetry Month Poem # 93

Can I find joy in the in between
The time each day that's seen
As being aware of the world?

Does the sunrise stir my soul
As I pour milk into the bowl
Of day's inauguration?

Do I start the many chores 
Leaving little time to pore
Or use my imagination?

Before I know it's afternoon.
Tasks undone abound and soon 
I've run out of ambition.

Time to pause and read a book.
Story language, that's the hook
To lift my sagging spirits.

Sunset heralds in the night.
Has joy become an oversight
Slipping into oblivion?

No, it's been present all along
In floral scent and bird's sweet song
And lively conversation.

A quiet prayer and lively tune
Intercepted afternoon 
Without my realization.

The in-between's been filled with joy.
Happiness' uplifting buoy
Has brought me satisfaction. 

© Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida,  USA

National Poetry Month Poem # 94

Sitting aloft in an old dead tree
Harassing the fauna, neighbors and me
With a dastardly disposition of a drunken sailor
Cawing and flaunting his obnoxious behavior.

He anchors his carcass on tree limbs abusively,
Spending the day screeching and cawing obtrusively.
With amplified arrogance and offensive air,
He disrupts the ambiance yet acts so debonair. 

Tree, if it could, would rid him from the hood’s, tranquility,
Enhancing forest grandeur and elegant nobility.
Ending ceaseless attacks and smaller bird torment.
Allowing them to sing their songs without lament.

What authority ordained him, lord of aerialist’s domain?
With his abusive persona, and self-import he proclaims.
Making us suffer his impudence he continuously purveys, 
Till a seductive little “she” crow comes and lures him away. 

© Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem # 95
c. 1000 A.D.

Over the earth
the carefree go,

feasting at night,
sleeping in sun,
playing with laps
and with meters.

and the abbot
are keeping me here.

I feel the horizons.
They shuffle
and turn in the night.

When I put out my hand,
they bark me away.

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem # 96

A scaffold was erected
to hold in 
an invisible thing
not prone to going anywhere, really
Yet fear compelled its admirers
to keep it
contain it
capture its essence
make it frozen
in time
leaving it untouched
never to be seen
but felt nonetheless
until one day
the thing
never to be seen

© B. Shawn Clark 

National Poetry Month Poem # 97

Talk to the guy in the next machine.
Then check my emails and Tik Tok.
Do three reps.

Strut around the bench press rack,
slam weights, till all’s adjusted right.
Maybe do a rep or two.

Two hours on the tanning bed.
Check how many bikinis are there.
A nap in the massage chair.

With my muscle Tee and water jug,
though they hide it, I’m sure all
the women are looking at me.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem # 98

Would you rather eat a Fava?
A black?
A wax?
A green?

Or How about a Lima?
A garbanzo?
A cannelloni?
Or maybe a black-eyed pea?

Forget not both kidneys;
one light red,
the other dark. 

There’s also 

Let us also remember 
endame, lentil, and 
Great Northern.
All Have passed our lips.

It kind of makes you wonder
if the legume God did not provide;
would mankind have prospered?
Could we even have survived?

© Kenny Charnell   02/28/2021

National Poetry Month Poem # 99


You were an idea 
wrapped in a fist of a palm with life lines
rusted with soil, 
screwed down into the earth
on a patient day in November
before the ground stiffened into impenetrable clay.

Before you were a daffodil,
the shutters were still lopsided
and the paint hung in shreds from the eaves
and the foreclosure sign hung crooked,
a berserk flapping in the autumn winds,
from the cape cod across the street.

Before you were a daffodil,
this place was a barren ditch
collecting water from a clogged drain.
A debris of a space, all brown leaves shredded, 
not worthy of ironing flat into a journal
or a bible.

Before you were a daffodil,
you were buried beneath clotted soil,
only to rise on this April day
emerging as a confident vibrato,
one cello string pressing long and slow
at daybreak. 

© Marianne Peel
Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA

April 9, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #100

The package was plain
light brown as usual
no special markings
except the word “danger” written all over it
in invisible ink.

There was no return address
no way to trace it back 
to its source
no lettering save for the person
to whom it was addressed

which was not me.

No hint as to the what or why of it
adorned its plain features
no postage even.
An enigma wrapped neatly in a box
no doubt filled with intrigue.

Tempting though it was to delve into its mysteries

I did not.

By law and by conscience 
The thing had to be delivered 
its contents intact
to its rightful owner
who I do not know well

but well enough.

So I gave it to you.  

© B Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #101
WILDFLOWERS, 1953      

Now that I’m eight years old,
Mom and I go on long exciting trips.

We take rides to New Jersey,
every Saturday morning in summer.

We walk ten blocks from our apartment
to the George Washington Bridge

and into the terminal where I study the signs

on the buses lined up in rows.

I can choose any place I Iike the sound of –
Fort Lee, Englewood, Lodi, Hackensack.

We get off the bus when I say, “How about here?”
and walk a long time through neat, pretty streets,

where everyone lives in houses of their own.
There’s grass out front and sometimes roses

or other flowers planted in rows,
so perfect they’re just like pictures.

We only look and keep on walking,
but sometimes we march like soldiers –

Left, right, left, right, left
because Mom did that when she was a WAC.

One day we see a grassy slope near a railroad track.
Nobody owns it, so we march across it.

A small uneven patch of flowers is growing on the slope.
They’re all in different shades of yellow.

I kneel down and touch their odd little petals.
They grow on the stem in upside-down pairs

that look like pale yellow lips with a bright yellow tongue 
sticking out between them.

I squeeze one mouth a little, and the lips part.
It’s like magic!  “What are they?” I ask Mom.

“Plants that grow wild,” she tells me.
“They’re called ‘butter-and-eggs.’”

My favorite food!  As I skip along further,
I find more ragged patches of butter-and-eggs.

The stalks are tall and skinny like me.
They bend down almost to the ground 

when I brush them with my fingers,
back and forth, this way and that way, 

before they pop back up. 
See?  I made them dance! 

“I’m going to take some home,” I say, 
but Mom tells me, “They won’t last.”

She adds, “They’ll be here next time.”
I like “next time.”  I like it a lot.

All of a sudden, a big wind is blowing. 
It blows rain clouds right over our heads.

We race for the bus, and the drops start hitting us,
but I don’t care.  

I’ve never had a flower for a friend before!  
I’m so happy I could cover New Jersey with kisses. 

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #102

They come as pebbles: 
The Foreign words! 
They come in my sleep.
The words! The captive words rebel,
Spinning, rattling and hurling
Against the wall of my skull
I hear their noisy call during slumber,
“Get up, Please release us!”
To console them I say, relax, till the sun is up!
In my preferred time of rest
I recall those nutty nocturnal guests
But I get no response to my request,
I search them, summon them, in vain,
No sign of their presence, far or near
Like a faded echo lost in the air,
Before I traced them in ink and paper
My pen lay on the wooden plank 
The white paper stares at me blank!
Though I dive deep to find those captives
But they perhaps preferred to be fugitive!

© Sipra Roy    
New York City, New York, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #103

Both mind and heart it doeth take, to create something great, and bring into existence.
Everything it seems, was first someone’s dream, that the heart pursued with persistence. 
Minds that dream the most, inspire their hosts, to create something unknown here-to-fore.
Unknown perhaps, improbable, unabashed,, ‘tis basis for creativity and folklore. 

Many new things, can be created by dreams, with the heart to bring them to fruition.
So let your mind pursue, all dreams that ensue, with due concern for perdition.
Minds can imbue, a brighter life to pursue, from glowing dreams and reflections.
Improving the chance, of lives being enhanced, with dream’s greater expectations.

Be it statesman, craftsman, healer or entrepreneur, whatever your dreams may be,
As days progress, never digress, from developing dreams, into a fait accompli. 
We should take heart, and never depart, from dreaming the greatest possible dreams.
For therein rests, best of the best, to share with loved ones and others of high esteem.

Dreams for our children when they are young, and also for the children of their own.
And pray the Lord above, for grandchildren we love, and wishes for a happy home
What parent doesn’t dream, of honor and esteem, for their prodigy they hold so dear?
They dream for the best, with hearts that never rest, and hope they will always be near.

Dream big, dream oft, good dreams be sought, relentlessly pursued with heart.
Poet’s behest, many dreams beget, moving hearts and minds, to creatively embark.
Matters not it seems, what plucks heart’s strings, be it love, music, or material things.
What history doeth ring, is we must remember all things, were first, just someone’s dream. 

© Bill Schneider 

Published by:  Council On Aging

National Poetry Month Poem #104

In March...
a ferocious lion enters,
annually experiences a change of heart, 
and exits a gentle lamb.
Then in April...
gentle rains fall according to tradition...
Do April showers really bring May flowers?
"Not so much." experts say.
"Thermal reading reigns, not the rains.
But ‘April temperatures bring May flowers'
doesn't sound right, does it?"

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

National Poetry Month Poem #105
Happy St. Patrick’s Day - Not

Leprechauns – Bah!
Nasty little creature.
Makes you think he’s got a
pot of Gold.

Drunken little rascal.
Laughs heartily as he 
plays you for a fool.
The Blarney Stone personified.

Wonder what he smokes in that pipe.
Three wishes he says.
But always has a reason when
they don’t come true.

Unfriendly and aloof.
Replaces infants with changelings.
Might kill you if you look away.
But you, you sneaky trickster.

A cobbler by trade. It’s all just
a marketing campaign to fool
folks into buying a new pair
of your boots!

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #106

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Okay. I'll give this over.

I know I'm never upset for the reason I think.

So, I loose the world

from what I think, choosing
reality instead.

Let me perceive differently.

Thank You, thank You, thank You.

I give this holy instant to You,
allowing miracles
to replace all grievances 
everywhere in my life.

You are in charge, I will
follow You, certain Your direction
gives me peace.

© Steve Liebowitz    4/7/23

National Poetry Month Poem #107

from one room to another,

excuses given for retreat,
distractions found to escape,
like fixing little broken things 

I cannot fix this

Mourning mauls my heart,
finds a place 
to lodge in my belly,
and waits

until a guitar 
strums a familiar riff, 
an old photo surfaces, 
a memory conjures the sounds 
of silenced laughter 

It rises up then,
grips the chest,
chokes out speech,
stings the eyes

Grief is timeless,
memories priceless,
sweet torture

© Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #108

Echoes within,
empty and hollow,
deep melancholy 
where my soul resides.
I wander through silent passages
alone, devoid of divine blessings,
creative imaginings.
Compassions’ peace
as a butterfly seeking nectar
from deadened stems.

Persistent emptiness,
perpetual sadness,
after a life of fulfillment, 
completion -
just marking time.

© Ruth Van Alstine
Jacksonville, Florida, USA

April 10, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #109

Mellow morning music,
mingles in the breeze.
Woodland comes to life. 
Among the pines, a pair of perching cardinals, 
red feathers touching green,
beauty on a branch. 
Bluebirds dance, 
winging toward a hidden nest.
A flutter of yellow orange,
brightly painted wings,
the monarch seeking nectar,
while all creation sings! 

©  Pat Krause
Ponte Vedra, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #110

Early morning,
looking out on the lake,
pastel hues of yellow and orange gently whisper the arrival of sunrise.

I only see what is mine to see,
a bird-feeder filled to the brim, 
calls to my many winged friends,
Come, come, feast on your favorite delights!

A lawn flag, each of its folds responding to the quiet breeze, announces
It's the first day of Spring!
Simply, a great day to be alive!

As the bride begins to lift her veil,
I wonder, Will I see love, hope, and promise in this day? 
Nooo, says a gnarly voice inside my head.

For a moment dread of day's dawning overwhelms me.
Desperately, I squint to see what's in the distance 
as if what (and Who) I know to be there have vanished.

Again I've allowed myself to disconnect from The Source.
I breathe deeply, relinquish control of the day to its Rightful Owner.
Clarity comes as quickly as the sun pierces horizon,
reminding me I live in the FOG - the Favor of God.

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

National Poetry Month Poem #111

Falling Asleep

Who are these people lining my mind?
They stand above the ditch
that runs along the roadside.

Like cypresses, solemn and dark
against a golden sky,
they lift up their arms.

Behind them are vaults and hedges.

I know them by sight.
I don’t know them.
They are older than I am
and waiting. . . .

Deep Sleep

I have dug myself down
so far below ground
not even ghosts live deeper.

Dreams happen above me.
Dark and short-sighted as they are,
I am darker and blinder.

I am my dreams’ dream.
They sift me for secrets.

Waking up 

My sleep is the sleep of beggars
dozing in front of the oldest churches.
We hold out our hands and coins turn up in them.
But mine have no dates or faces.

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA 

National Poetry Month Poem #112

I lost my cup of coffee.
I know it’s somewhere 
here within the house.
It was so nice and hot and steamy.
It tasted so delicious as it
sloshed inside my mouth.

My cellphone might be sitting next to it.
Wherever that may be.
As soon as I locate the two of them
I’m sure I’ll also find my keys.

Maybe they’re with the remote control?
It would be nice to turn the TV on.
But I’m not sure I could hear it
because my hearing aids are gone.

I do know where my glasses are
I feel them sliding down my nose.
If they should get past the end of it,
who knows where they will go?

So, I’ll pour a different cup of coffee
to help me ponder where to search.
Are phone, aids, keys and coffee altogether?
Or does each have its own mysterious perch?

© Kenny Charnell    12-27-2022

National Poetry Month Poem #113

Add line 2 to line 12.
If it’s bigger than line 42
go to line 6.
Do Not Pass Go.

If line 18 is more than
2 times line 37
and it’s Sunday after 2 pm,
Pay Luxury Tax $75.00.

Start over.
And this is the short form?
Use form 4327 Part B Section III.
Bank Error Pay $50.00.

Do the Dividend Income Worksheet.
I can’t understand it.
Go Directly To Jail!

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #114

Listen to the sounds of New Zealand.
The chanting echoes of Maori past alive with kiwi pride.
The whistle of the wind atop an old volcano peak.
The slap of the sail in the breezy Auckland harbor.
The raucous cry of a hawk saved from extinction.
The silent slip of a boat in a twinkling glo worm grotto.
The whoosh of geyser steam erupting from the core.
The silence of steaming thermal lakes icy blue in hue.
The clang of the bell on a ship powered by coal.
The bleat of the sheep in chorus with the shears.
The loud rush of water carving chasms from the rock.
The distant drip of droplets cascading from the heights.
Kia Oro, the lilting sound of welcome and goodbye.

© Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #115

A Zuihitsu by B Shawn Clark

Today I had planned to jot down a few observations about the words jambalaya and jujitsu.  They roll off the brain, sliding down and then out from the tongue in an elegant yet jarring cacophony of sounds, clashing like symbols in an orchestra of discordant consonance with one another, two lovers drawn to each other yet alienated by their lack of cohesion, fighting an inner temptation to consume one another in a smorgasbord of blissful nonsense.

But I got side tracked along the way towards an enlightenment one might otherwise find with these juxtaposed words when my mind wandered and then wondered about how the mistaken belief prevalent among captains of industry in the western world that the Chinese symbol for the word “crisis” combines the words “danger” with “opportunity”, came to be.  As correctly understood, in true yin/yang fashion the symbol for crisis marries a symbol perceiving that a point of change has arrived, with its antecedent recognizing that danger is afoot.

In other words, the symbol suggests that one must make changes when a threat is posed, by solving the underlying problem that is cause for alarm.  This is a far cry from seizing the opportunity to exploit the situation.   

Leave it to the over-industrialized world to profit from obfuscation of the real meaning of things.  

©  B Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #116

O Solitude!
Let me be your shadow,
or shelter me in you,
so that I can cherish my own silence,
gazing at my own piece of sky 
captured like a framed picture
through my own window glass!
Let me pause or ponder
my own undefined melancholy,
or, to wallow in the luxury
of idle imagination with no boundary!

As I nurture in my own fleeting moods
my unfulfilled budding dreams 
concealed carefully from others,
that I love to treasure as precious,
to smell and harp on to make me joyous.
if I‘m shattered from my own land of creation
by sudden stormy noises out of the calm ocean.
O Solitude! Please be my lighthouse,
to anchor me in your safe Island!!

© Sipra Roy
New York City, New York, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #117

Exponential enhancement of elation, experienced on a windward tack,
Will never be known, by those timid souls, counted in that landlubber pack.

A freshening breeze, elevates the spirit, to towering heights untold.
The mind and spirit, join the wind, as they bond indelibly in the soul. 

With rigging tightening, can be a little frightening, as you continue pinching the wind. 
Still that love of nature, captivates the sailor, like the grasp of a becket’s bend.  

As wave intensities increase, it forces a brief, slight fall off to leeward. 
With mainsail reefed, sailors know well, to quarter oncoming swells from seaward. 

Ah, but let me tell, how it all casts a spell, that capturing of nature’s power, 
Enthralls the avid sailor, and elation never wavers, for hour upon wonderful hour. 

Yet within those hours, those happy hours, the sailor knows quite well, 
That sea so loved, with storm clouds above, can become a tempestuous hell. 

Enthralling and memorable, as it truly is, to enjoy that windward tack,
The sailors toast, implored by most, is: “may the wind be always at your back”. 

©  Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

Published by: Ensign Magazine 

April 11, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #118

Initial apprehensions.
"Stranger danger" alert.
Mental allegations
of how this all will work.

Ever on my guard;
days in pajamas under siege.
An eternity of deadly silence awaits.
Fears must begin to retard;
may rational thoughts rule, please.
This situation, not the subject of debate.

I put my self aside
and realize it's really not about me.
Family needs can't be denied.
An Au Pair will do nicely.
A French term meaning "at par";
domestic assistant from a different land,
working for, living with, becoming one of – us.
They make it look easy, engaging isn't bizarre.
I pray I don't thwart the plan,
my inner voice I must trust.

Each a different name, face, language, and skill.
Both curious, adventurous, and brave;
over land and sea they travel at will.
A new culture and traditions they crave.
Foreign-born gems from the world's jewelry box,
exemplify what is the best in us - 
an open heart, an open mind, and love,
sharing smiles, joys,...road blocks.
For one year their home a topic discussed;
ambassadors of goodwill, peaceful doves.

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

National Poetry Month Poem #119

A little girl sits in the dirt 
On the bank of the Yamuna River.
Dusty face, ragged dress, bare feet.
Grubby fingers toss a clod up
Dark eyes watch it fall,
Organic toy for a child of the riverbed.

A boy approaches guiding a goat,
Stick in hand, he prods it on.
A man leads a saddled camel 
Seeking rupees to feed his family.

I sit on a stonewall 
Watching the sun set
On the opulent Taj Mahal.

A wire fence and circumstances separate us

© Ann Favreau 
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #120

A victim of two competing Aunts,
You started out having to explain yourself.
Is it Zaah or is it Zay?
Quite pretty, though. 

Great in drama roles 
But nobody took you seriously
So you made your mark
Fretful, flustered, worried, trouble prone.
Constantly looking for a husband.
Would I do?

Often a comic sleuth,
outwitting criminals and the police.
They say you were the model for 
Olive Oyl. Your book is now 
collector’s item. Hardly 
worth remembering you for.

Roughly 200 movies, stage and TV shows.
The first with Mary Pikford in 1917.
A regular on the Gale Storm Show.
An appearance on Perry Mason - most special. 
Your last movie in 1963.
And your own star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame

I love you ZaSu, I do.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #121

To plummet like stone
From a mountain of cloud
And hurt nothing

To fall over everything there is,

To enter the earth without knocking

To be drunk by the mouths of trees,
Swallowed by trunks
And come out unchanged
In the leaves

To be drawn back up the mountain
On air-lifts

© Lynn Schiffhorst
Winter Park, Florida, USA 

April 11, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #122


It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday.

With regularity, the usual suspects
make their regular appearance,
like clockwork

they show up the next day
to worship what they want to believe, 
yet still,

the next morning
they have the blues,
after which

the following evening,
they pray to make it through
at least one more day

which then, in the end, 
becomes hump night,
after which,

on the next day, they realize
they are more than halfway there,
after which, they say to themselves

“alas, Friday night has come,” but
it’s not alright if they’re still fightin’ at midnight, 
when they wonder where their children are, 

but not to worry,
the next day, they find out.

Then, before you know it,

it’s nine o’clock on a Saturday.

© B. Shawn Clark

National Poetry Month Poem #123

Black cat purring
happy at rest
as she lay safely
snuggled across’t
a blue haired 
lady’s chest.

© Kenny Charnell

Bradenton, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #124

O sing, this wondrous sunrise,
Christ in death no longer lies.
The cold, dark grave could not contain
The loving Lord who lives to reign.

O sing this holy, divine dawn
Resurrected, Christ lives on.
He rose so that we would know
The love and mercy He bestows.

O sing this hallowed day.
God has rolled the stone away.
His name we will adore
O sing this day forevermore.

© Beverly A. Joyce
Pasco County, Florida, USA

April 12, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #125

The front of her T-shirt said:
“A Woman Without a Man
is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle”

It was 1970 and she was surfing 
a new wave of feminism

Which was confusing, because
I thought her the most liberated
a married woman with five kids 
could possibly be

Before I was born,
she rode horses, flew planes, 
joined the Marines,
rode motorcycles, became an artist

Wooed and pursued by a fellow Marine, 
she married
It was 1950

My unplanned arrival inspired a settling, 
but birthing four more within a decade 
did not keep her from her art

Perhaps the shirt was a mid-life affirmation,
announcing she had not lost herself -
she was with him because she chose to be -
not because she needed him – 
or any other man

© Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #126

Roads, streets, avenues, lanes, places and drives,
paved and properly maintained,
upon which past, present, and “what lies ahead”s flow freely.
May they always be
free of potholes (where memories are lost);
liberated from traffic jams (where names become trapped);
unfettered by congestion (where information is tangled).

May not one synapse experience gridlock,
one remembrance, “block the box”.

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

National Poetry Month Poem #127

Now you see me, now you don’t.
But was it really me.
Deception is the poet’s wont.
You feel what you can’t see.

Hidden by a verse so fair,
‘twould make a maiden cry.
You cannot see me crouching there.
Betwixt the lines I lie.

A star-crossed love or was it blessed.
I’d fain not let you know.
You’ll have to puzzle out the rest,
to see where I may go.

Relax, enjoy, I’ll do my part.
And hope to please you with my art.

© Fred Briggs
Lake Mary, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #128


Snaking down

towards the center of Mother Earth

tendrils flared out

becoming probing tributaries

sweet nectar coursing through its veins

that reach out to touch darkness.

The inky darkness flowed upward

then out and up towards the sky

like that ancient tree of old

pure and sacred at first

before its fruit became befouled

by the touch of creatures with bad intent.

Their poisonous touch

filtered back to the dark places below

from whence they were spawn

returning back up through unwholesome ventricles

back up to the surface, returning the vile venom

to the authors of its malevolence

with a vengeance.   

© B. Shawn Clark

Englewood, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #129

Two crows are on the fairway,
standing stock-still for a moment.
Then one flies away and
the other stays, like the papers—medical notices,
bill stubs, poems—
piled in our sunroom.
New stereo speakers coming this Easter week
mean that the old speakers need to go
into those sunroom niches already filled up.

I close my eyes and see that crow flying
into those corners, its wings
sweeping them clean,
triangulating new life there.
It’s Easter Wednesday, not ordinary time,
not too late to empty out and clean up
with joy still new.

New speakers indeed
and a new voice as the crow caws and
claws its way into those intersections
and calls for change
in the sunroom of my life.

(c) Patricia Barry
Palm Coast, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #130

Happy for no reason.

A ray of sunshine
breaking through heavy
gray clouds of
business as usual.

Like Dorothy going from
Kansas to Oz.

Could sunshine be 
business as usual?

But I don’t really believe it.

Black and white clouds of struggle, 
strife, lack and limitation
are business as usual.

Sure moments,
many moments, of sunshine and technicolor.

But clouds, 
not sunshine, 
are my default.

I wait for the sun to break thru.

Must I?

What about mindfulness?

If, when aware of ‘business as usual’, 
I think ‘sunshine’,
won’t sunshine eventually
become my default?

© Steve Liebowitz  7/2/16

April 13, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #131

Smooth jazz 
Slithers up my arms
Settles on my shoulders
Kneads in the notes
Rubs in the rhythm
Soothes, soothes

Ta taps, ta taps
A syncopated beat
Bounces in my lap
Leaps to my feet
Snares my toes

Keyboard melody
Chases the sax
Tags and runs
Swoops me up
Jazz is IT

© Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #132

Make kindness a two-way street,
A rule with everyone you meet,
Choose words kind and sweet.
Make kindness a two-way street.

Make kindness go both ways,
A practice that always pays
That blesses your all your days.
Make kindness go both ways.

Kindness is a part of love,
Others be thinking of,
It bless all, honors God above.
Kindness is a part of love.

© Beverly A. Joyce
Pasco County, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #133

latching on,
creeping up
the skin
of a tree I choose,
entwining every branch
on my way
to reach the sky,
smothering the canopy,
stealing sunlight
from my reluctant host

Hurricanes maul leaves
but cannot rip
my tendrils
from lofty limbs

My delicate flowers belie
resilience of seeds to
follow and spread
my kind

Storm winds
pull my pods
into fierce currents,
whirling, falling
to dark

Sprouts will
wrap around saplings
and grow together,
strong enough
to hold
the weight
of you!

(c) Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #134

The peasant approached me slowly
His clothes were ragged and torn.
And in his gnarled, sweaty hand,
Was a partial ear of corn.

Each day I look for employment
He said, as I walk these dirty streets.
My share of the crop was bleak this year,
And I haven’t much to eat.

He ate three kernels of that corn,
He had crushed beneath his teeth.
The hunger pains within his gut,
Gave him momentary relief.

How can only three kernels sustain you,
And barely keep you alive?
He looked at me, smiled and said,
Tonight, I’ll eat four or five.

And tomorrow, God willing,
Early in the morn,
Hopefully, God will help me,
Find another ear of corn.

It’s the plight of Haitian peasants
Throughout that forsaken land.
And so hard for us so fortunate,
To even understand.

So bountiful is our fortune,
In America where we were born.
Our Horn of Cornucopia,
Has unlimited ears of corn.

(c) Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

April 14, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #135

Clotheslines always made my mother sad
something about the empty, flapping shirts
already spoke to her of whistling trains
of white dawn and blue dusk
of leaving without returning
of returning without having left
of telephone poles out to the horizon
of speeding by them in the car,
like seconds on a watch.

Sometimes she would leave the clothes
on the line for days, afraid to touch them,
as if they were starlings.
When the rains came she wept
as if her children had been lost.

We bought our underwear in packs of ten,
always white, in next year’s size.
It was important to save, to be saved,
to bleach, and starch, and iron,
with steam, to sweat with the work,
of folding, of putting away, of order.
We let down hems and patched up holes.

Once a month, we cut our nails short
filed them until they burned, splaying our hands
and running them through the stockings,
our hearts beating like trapped animals.

On Sundays we sat still as owls,
only our necks moving, clean
and sinless in the front pew.
By Friday it was laundry day again.
We searched the sky for signs of storms,
held our faces up as we pinned and trembled,
trying to feel the wind,
and what was good in it.

© Celia Lisset Alvarez
Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #136

OINTMENT for the pains of a broken heart;
Elixir to face the seemingly impossible;
Tonic when your battery runs low; it’s
Relaxation for your mind and
Yoga for your soul.

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

Previously Published:   North Florida Poetry Hub  2023 Poetry Scrolls  

Sixty-Seven Pages from the Heart
Why I Write POETRY, p.14
Kindle Direct Publishing  December 2019

National Poetry Month Poem #137

Marble palace of love
Floats in morning light.
A sculptor’s dream,
Framed by minarets,
Flanked by greenery.
Massive dome punctures
Cerulean sky.
Colossal arches beckon.

Behold the image
In reflecting pools.
Breeze quivers marble,
A momentary illusion.

Ascend the steps,
Approach the gate,
Step inside,
Look in awe.

Two tombs
Rest on plinths,
Caressed by marble flowers,
Lapis, garnet, jade
Set in pristine stone.

Marble lace surrounds
The vaults,
Carved panels,
Silent sentinels.

High above,
The dome echoes
A perpetual song
Of eternal love.

© Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #138

At midnight
in a rented room
on the wrong side of town
an old man
and wakes, coughing,
gets out of bed
and with a hand that trembles
lights a lamp on a table
picks up a pencil
and a piece of paper
and starts
to set down
his whole life story.

© Llewellyn McKernan
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #140

High in a tall dead tree
a committee of vultures
perched on silvery branches,
track my progress through
dew-drenched grass

Suddenly they leap
into morning sky,
the kettle circling
on warm currents
of rosy sunrise

I am not
the weak they seek,
not the dying or dead
I continue on,
below spiraling dark wings

Vulture Spirit says,
Be patient,
seize opportunity
use energy efficiently
live and work together in
cooperation and friendliness

No job is too small,
too dirty,
too unimportant

Share the feast

© Pat Bonner Milone – 
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #141

I was shocked
to find my wife was a person.

It didn't hit me all at once
but gradually.

As we lived together
and shared a house

I had many opportunities to really
notice how she sat and
walked and put her things away.

I began noticing how
she unwrapped things she'd bought
carefully, smoothing the paper,
making sure the box was empty.

Her ideas and opinions were
different from mine, not
wrong, just her own, different.

It was all gradual and cumulative.
Then, one day, she got very sick,

Her way of dealing with it
has been her own, not what
I would do, but a way that
works for her.

Clearly, she was her own self,
her own person.

I will miss her, very much.

(c) Steve Liebowitz 12/23/21

April 15, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #142

memories off and on
brutal winter toughest love
child becomes parent

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

National Poetry Month Poem #143

Stalks wither and grasses brown
as spring showers continue to stall,
gray clouds gather, thunder threatens,
but the deluge fails to fall

First rain after winter drought,
cannot quench the soil’s thirst -
like mercury, the droplets pool,
unable to slake the earth

A second storm brings relief
to poincianas, orchids, and palms,
promising resurrection of
droopy leaves and yellowing fronds

Torrential summer rains come
and the transformation unfolds;
a blossoming with fragrances
humid air can barely hold

Underneath the purple bract
of fruiting banana trees,
pale florets offer sweet nectar
to hummingbirds and bees

Fragrant frangipani unfurl
from pinwheel blooms,
jasmine waits until evening
to release its thick perfume

Mosquitos breed, hatch and bite
the whole monsoon long,
until late fall when dirt dries out,
and the simmering heat is gone

(c) Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #144

she was bred as a
fine-hothouse flower
in that deeply southern home

I can see her now
walking down the dark hallway
the tip of her cigarette
lighting the way
in a bright blue dress
a smile pasted on her lips

announcing herself to the room
and it's primly-set table
and properly chosen guests

she was ready to push the envelope

but instead just kept on walking
to her powder blue car
heels crunching
the newly mowed grass
the air swollen with salt

she pulled over in the
single stoplight town
gazing in a storefront window
and with a thread of wonderment
she watched her reflection leave
with someone else

now, she walks without a shadow
singing hot-sauced hallelujahs

(c) Tanya Young

National Poetry Month Poem #145

Tiresome task
Lifting leftover scatter
From facades,
Filmed surfaces
Coated with stuff.

Is house dust
Volcanic ash?
Skin crumbs?

I'll elevate the dull,
Pretend cleaning is collecting
Pieces of the universe.

Lemony moist,
Dabbed rag
Gathers superficial atoms
Stolen from the stars.

(c) Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #146

With celebratory proclivity, and holiday festivities, and the warmth and love you feel.
Don’t let excessive love, extend to letting, an Uncle Leroy cook the meal.

Last year Christmas was a disaster, as best that I can recall.
Copious amounts of the “Fruit of The Vine”, was the major cause of it all.

Leroy, full of laughter, vim and vigor, volunteered as chef for the day.
And as guests arrived, he drank a toast, to everything they would say.

Guests sipped their Chablis, and vociferously did plea, “bring on another carafe”
And a bodacious merlot, like a river did flow, as if each drink would be their last.

The turkey wasn’t completely thawed, when thrust into the oven to bake.
It doesn’t take Einstein, or a genius, to know, that was a big mistake.

The corn boiled, till the water was gone, then scorched to the bottom of the pot.
Stench and smoke alarms startled us all, that’s how bad things got.

Parsley and chives got co-mingled, with the icing on the cake.
And the day degraded from that point on, with nothing to celebrate.

Much to our surprise, we later realized, Leroy forgot to turn the oven on.
Confused chef’s abuse, declared wine as au jus, then drinking until it was all gone.

The inebriated cook spoiled the broth, an understatement to which we can attest.
He spoiled the food, the celebratory mood, and disappointed all our guests.

So, Ba-Humbug, to Christmas this year, I’m going to sit this one out.
Family and friends be thankful this year, there’s only COVID to complain about.

(c) Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

April 16, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #145

If I were a dog,
what kind would I be?
I’d be a Black Lab,
like doe-eyed Buffy.

Hangin’ together,
among things we do;
crestfallen lament,
getting older blues.

As one, maturing,
no wine before time
Too early? we’re juice.
Too late? we’re just brine.

Some hairs are hoary,
strands crowning glory.
Lives lived apparent,
each tells a story

Often we’re ignored,
tender words withheld.
Two senior ladies
ken unparalleled.

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

National Poetry Month Poem #146

I dream of living in a house with history,
holding well-kept secrets, a bit of mystery,
where others have lived, perhaps even died,
secret niches where treasures still hide

Solid beams beneath gabled ceilings,
arched doorways for that cottage feeling,
stone floors worn from previous footfall,
fireplace framed by a spacious mantle

A house secluded, away from the fray,
balcony view of a salt water bay,
nestled in shade of tall, ancient palms,
lulled by sounds of their rustling fronds

An old stony path leading down to sand
where others have stood, I could stand
Instead, I live in a cement-block abode
where walls and roof meet hurricane code

© Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #147

Two gals in a diner booth
Order from the menu of their lives.
Laugh over sips of soda
Wipe tears with a napkin of remembrance.
Share wedges dipped in the ketchup of time
Served on the placemat of reality.

© Ann Favreau
Venice, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #148

the stars are unscrewed
from the sky tonight
dancing naked in the holy dark

shimmering like sequins on water
they twist and leap
to a church that stands nearby
in hibernation
the air is troubled above the pews
with no hymns left in it
the congregation gone
never believing the
pimp to preacher story

yet, there is a delicious stillness
in this closed-up shop
a funeral without a family

walking outside I gather the stars
in a collection plate
and toss them high into the night
like letting fireflies out of a jar
a brightness hard to camouflage

now, shuffling down the road
the dead are breathing inside me

© Tanya Young
Osprey, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #149

A blue boy

washed up on a red shore.

My home is here, family, 

Yet I feel stranded.

Must the so-called 'leaders'
be so extreme?

Do the people I meet in Publix
or the gas station share those views?

I think not. Yet who knows? 

The laws are passed. Disney
is attacked. Medical care for
trans teens denied. Open carry
without a license, legal.

Critical Race Theory banned. 
No abortion 
after six weeks. Can't
imagine what's next.

Not what I would do, nor
even think of doing.

No wonder I feel, not
just stranded, but trapped.

© Steve Liebowitz    4/16/23

National Poetry Month Poem #150

Aging is the most unsung part of life.
All over the world humans cling to vibrant youth. 
Wrinkled skin, hair gray and thin, drooping breast, pain in knee,
Short of hearing, loss of teeth, and dim eyesight,
With lots of changes in appearance, nobody invites aging.
Physical frailty and mental imbalance bring depression,
Dementia, Alzheimer, plethora of disorder: what more to mention!

But we often forget to count the positive side of aging:
Great relief from the responsibility of family raising,
Government support of food-stamps, medical insurance
And senior concession in subway train or metro-bus,
Sometimes even entertainment door is open in cheaper price!
As the body weakens, our sensitive inner self is awakened,
We dive deep to find within hidden treasures of our  own,
Not earthly treasures, but  ever eternal  creative zone,
Uncared and overlooked as fallow land for so long ……..

As “Grapes are sour” read in childhood parable story
Let  the wise accept  the bitter truth “Age comes gracefully”!!

(c) Sipra Roy
New York City, New York, USA

April 17, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #151

As a child you always took your toys apart,
unfastening the wooden screws with your fingernail,
snapping the back of the spring cavity,
spinning the wheels free.
During the war you drove fast as a German.
All of Europe a bed of wires, and you with a map.
Here, a town to detonate; and to the West,
a bride to defuse.
Later, you turned your attention to teeth—
taciturn yet pliable soldiers, jagged alps of nerves,
canals and bridges you could dig and make yourself,
Commander in Chief at last.
What mechanical aptitude has led you to erect
this house, that son, these built-in shelves?
What skeletal web of plans disassembles to reveal
a heart powered by steam?
Where will you go when the last puzzle
no longer tempts you with its reticence,
when you are sitting still contentedly,
spinning the wheels free.

© Celia Lisset Alvarez

Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #152

As we traverse life’s travails, we learn of much beauty in the sublime.
In our complex convoluted world, beauty remains consistent throughout time.
Standing out as radiant epochs, and guidance in societal sway.
Are infants, beautiful women, and baseball’s double plays.

Consider first the infants, all such beautiful sights to behold.
Future hope for all humankind, capable of towering feats untold.
Beautiful women being artistic focus, throughout all recorded history.
Enchanting, alluring, Monalisa’s smiles, with daunting subliminal mystery.

That beauty enhanced as mothers, who nourish and guide our fragile youth.
Instilling mores, cultural customs, and the value of honesty and truth.
Baseballs well executed double play, is a third beautiful sight to witness.
Combining discipline, skill, training and luck, all with physical fitness.

Things beautiful combined, provide a lens, through which all in life we view.
Beauty will enhance perspective; of all things we wish to pursue.
So let things of beauty be our focus, its radiance, our guiding light.
Happiness will prevail, and help us achieve, all the things we might.

As the beauty of motherhood, rocks the cradle, with nourishing gentle hand,
Infants will grow into leaders, protecting the beauty and bounty of our land.

(c) Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #153

Racing down the empty street, I saw nothing
was open, not even a florist where I might buy
roses for Mom, leave them on her front stoop,
stop to pray before I sped to the only open market.

Slipping on my mask, I wanted badly to smile
at the kind woman behind the counter. Next
week, I’d tape a smile on my mask’s surface.

After, I walked for hours. Then I noticed woods
behind a row of houses. I’d never gone this far
before. The woods opened to a meadow. Behind
were farms. No one was around, but I heard cows.
A farm dog raced at me, baring his teeth.

Offered him a crust from my sandwich and kept
walking. Farmland gave way to dense forest.
I crunched forward on overgrown paths. Tall tree
branches formed a canopy. I rested on a big stump.

So open here, simple and clean. I wanted to stay,
lie on a pile of leaves and rest. The last thing
I wanted to do was hike back into the city where
life had gone away, and all you could see was eyes.

Perhaps I could remain here, live off the land.
I thanked God for this quiet, un-monitored place,
this balm in a hurting country. I’d be back.

(c) Gail Denham
Sunriver, Oregon, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #154

It's a funny thing about humans
Ever since time began.
People have never been contented
With nature's ordered plan.
There are always those who wish
They were born in another time or place.
There are some who'd like
To be a different person in name and face.
There are those who long to travel
To another time gone by,
While others would speed into the future,
Upon a new discovery to espy.
Someone somewhere desires to trade
Places and circumstances with another.
It always looks better in neighbor's yard.
There is someone always jealous of brother.
If those wishes were granted,
Things might not be what they seem.
Life is only rosy and cozy
In your sweetest dream.
Blessed is the one who can bloom
In their appointed sod
And be happy to be themselves
Instead of someone else abroad.

(c) Beverly A. Joyce
Pasco County, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #155

I walk the hard packed sand
thick with rows
of blooming cat tails
fox tails we call them

breathing the stink of the bay
with wild geese flocking and calling
in the soft grey face of morning

sun bleached hair
blowing across my face
wiping away a history
too heavy to carry

now, I sit in ankle- deep weeds
on this old broken chair
that wobbles a bit
waiting for my mother
to visit as a butterfly

here, take a seat
I've made a place for you.

© Tanya Young
Osprey, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #156


Artifacts are positioned carefully as monuments,

people frozen in





inviting the living to join

long-dead rapacious mercenaries

posing as heroes

whose exploits of ravaging the land

are heralded in songs of conquest and bloodshed.

These heroes rode the back of Turtle Island

until her shell was crushed into fine powder

then used as fertilizer to better sow the seeds

of her utter annihilation – and that of her people. 

Should not the vanquished

who fought the good fight

be heralded in songs

that speak truth

unspoken in textbooks?

But, alas, how can the murdered be thought of as heroes?

Little wonder tributes to a vanquished culture

of those that lived on Turtle Island

without pulverizing her into submission

and then into a dusty death,

if they exist at all,

are consigned to dank corners

in the recesses of our shrines,

and minds,

built to honor the shameless conquest of Turtle Island,

tributes to blood and old glory

not being in their nature.   

©  B Shawn Clark

Englewood, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #157


Snaking down

towards the center of Mother Earth

tendrils flared out

becoming probing tributaries

sweet nectar coursing through its veins

that reach out to touch darkness.

The inky darkness flowed upward

then out and up towards the sky

like that ancient tree of old

pure and sacred at first

before its fruit became befouled

by the touch of creatures with bad intent.

Their poisonous touch

filtered back to the dark places below

from whence they were spawn

returning back up through unwholesome ventricles

back up to the surface, returning the vile venom

to the authors of its malevolence

with a vengeance.

©  B Shawn Clark

Englewood, Florida, USA

April 19, 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #158

Where is the gratitude for the word?
I am no prophet, but I speak,
and I speak truth. What does it matter
if it is a truth you know?
In the fields
the strawberries ripen into teardrops
plump and true as babies’ anguish.
No hand makes them sweet.
They draw their tartness from the root.
How long will you consider my appeal?
When the leaves envine,
they will follow the code sent by the root.
They will search to grow, to multiply,
to take over, if possible.
Here is the truth in triplicate:
the name, the date, the place of birth—
the facts the same in any language.
The seed bursts on the tongue.
From the West, expected frost.

© Celia Lisset Alvarez
Miami, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #159

“There’s a great future in plastics,” Mr. McGuire says to Ben in “The Graduate” - 1967

Single-use beverage bottles,
tossed from littering hands,
left behind with knives and sporks
to nestle in dirt and sand

Helium balloons and grocery bags
swirl into the air, then plummet
where whales and turtles feed,
clogging their seafaring stomachs

Plastics floating in ocean gyres
join the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,
wash up on islands everywhere
beside birds caught in old nylon nets

Micro-bead toxins in fish flesh
from products washed down drains
Their origins can now be traced
with the use of Nile Red stains

Micro-plastics and micro-fibers
became an urgent health issue
when scientists discovered them
inside raindrops and seafood tissue

We know how to forge a future,
with non-toxic biodegradables!
To prevent another extinction
we must make this world more stabile

“Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle” they say
and some people are doing just that
but supply and demand must change,
before it’s too late to turn back.

(c) Pat Bonner Milone
Redland, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #160

Form: Viator

The big picture
is really quite simple and small.
A tall order of kindness
and love for all.

Seems we’ve lost sight of
the big picture.
All our conversations are
fraught with stricture.

If I were an artist,
without restraint,
the big picture
I would paint.

The colors of kindness and love
would stand out in my depicture
like thousands of harmonious chords in
the big picture.

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

National Poetry Month Poem #161

Nickel and dimed to suicide.

My body aches all over.

The computer is slow.

My scalp itches.

The broken leg is not healing
quick enough.

I can't decide what to
have for lunch; what to
read; or what to watch
on cable.

I can't get the dog groomers
on the phone.

The deodorant isn't working
and I stink, but just took
a shower yesterday.

The COPD is worse.
I'm coughing all the time.

My wife of 52 years died
almost a year ago to the day.

My brother's been great.
But I won't be missed, terribly.

It's a good thing I'm
writing this poem. At least
I've got something to do.

(c)  Steve Liebowitz

National Poetry Month Poem #162

His daily trek down our street, portrays a pensive old man deep in thought.
Pondering the world around us, finding little solace, and answers naught.
One day as we passed, I stopped and asked, “how are you this beautiful day”?
He paused for a moment, leaned on his stick, “do you really want me to say”?

In his hand, a gnarled limb of a tree, varnished and polished walking stick.
I realized it wasn’t to aid his gait, but more importantly his walking shtick.
Sections adjoined at varying angles, with knots spaced intermittently.
Raising it gently for me to see, ‘tis for use metaphorically, not intimidatingly.

Without hesitation began a dissertation on great world wonders of our time.
How throughout history, never has humankind enjoyed a life so sublime.
“Love and beauty, can be perceived in all of life we hear and see.
As mockingbirds, cardinals, jays and doves, love an old dead tree.

I use my stick to remind me of how life presents the world to me.
To maintain perspective and ever reflective, as to how it truly should be.
The lower portions reflect the good life, of love and grace entwined.
Smooth, polished and glowing, a continuum of peace and solace enshrined.

The knots represent tribulations, causing discord and societal strife.
To remind us of what we must overcome, to improve our daily life.
But let not those knots trouble you, and take them in noble stride.
With fortitude, aplomb and disdain, for-stalling the peril they deride.

The thin limb on the upper end, portrays how a frail life’s euphoria can be shattered.
To remind us to protect even the smallest of things in life, as they too still matter.
So, you see my friend, this lowly stick instils perspective in all we say and do.
Helping refine heart-felt glow in all the lavish dreams our heart doth pursue”.

Wisdom shared by that old man, so saliant and profound, never should we forget.
And hold our hate, and bias at bay, sheathing our vitriol into holstered self-respect.

(c)  Bill Schneider
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #163
“I Love You’s” Necessary

Another week, another funeral.
This time a young boy, perched
on the edge of life. Grief grew
personal, remembering our sons
at home, grubby from ball practice,
squabbling over the last donut,
impatient for dinner to hit the table.

Dinner could wait. Like a mama bear,
I gathered sons, one by one, in my
arms, shuffled their hair, my eyes
brimful. Told them how much I loved
them, appreciated them. There were
squirms, “aw moms!” and grins.

More than my life, more than the smell
of meatloaf burning. Dinner could wait.
Hugs couldn’t. We’d fix mac and cheese
from a box if necessary. At the rate
they devoured food, it didn’t matter.
“Wash up, guys. Reggie, lose that
filthy shirt. Sit, let me see you.”

(c) Gail Denham
Sunriver, Oregon, USA

Previously Published: “Mother’s Always Write” 2015;
Distilled Lives, 2015

National Poetry Month Poem #164
The Double Life of The Night

The night is a beauty
Wearing a starry crown
Inspiring romantic poets,
Charming lovers all around.
A friend to fireworks,
A mate to moonbeams,
A servant to sleepers
Sending sweet dreams.

The night is a traitor with
Sinister secrets to hide,
Harboring stealing hands
And lips that have lied.
It shades the sin of
Cold, crooked crime,
The clandestine cloaker
In the hours of its time.

(c) Beverly A. Joyce
Pasco County, Florida, USA

National Poetry Month Poem #165

Breezes bend in and around my screen-porch

Acorns click on the concrete or roll silently on the grass

Accompanied by the occasional closing of a car door —

No voices

I will sing words into this silence

Standing here on my screen-porch

Alone with my guitar

Stories of love and despair

Ballads of war and healing

Songs of response and humor

Loudly but distanced from others

Car doors open and close

People come and go —

No voices

But I keep singing

A single squirrel gathers for winter 

At the base of the tree that shades my porch

He stops and scurries up the trunk

To hang suspended by his hind feet

Head up, eyes watching me

Hands outstretched to catch my words

Even in the loneliest of moments

Someone will hear you

(c) Chris Kastle
St Augustine, Florida, USA

Previously Published  Fruition 2023

National Poetry Month Poem #166

What do the sightless see?
A world without light
fills their field of vision
with nothing.

Feelings of emptiness are displaced
by hard felt surfaces.
They are guideposts
to the next room.

Soundness of reason calls out
in muffled whispers
beckoning in muted tones
towards a door.

Essence of fragrant imaginings
fill nostrils with air made fresh
by native winds blowing through
an open door.

Open wide and drink in
the sweet nectar of the universe
so thick you can almost taste it.

Then you do.

©  B Shawn Clark
Englewood, Florida, USA

Copyright is held by the individual author(s). Copy and distribution of poems/written word is strictly prohibited without gaining express permission directly from the author(s). 

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