20 Poems an Original Compendium of Poetry

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    20 Poems

    An Original Compendium of PoetryBy Curt Smothers

    All rights reserved

    All Material contained in this collection is copyright 2010

    Permission to use all or part of this collection is given so long as the author is

    given credit.

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    Table of Contents

    1. The Bird From New Delhi ............................................................................................................... 3

    2. The American Revolution ............................................................................................................... 5

    3. Aging ....................................................................................................................................................... 6

    4. Footprints .............................................................................................................................................. 7

    5. Last Will ................................................................................................................................................. 8

    6. Losing Love ........................................................................................................................................... 9

    7. Those We Love Dont Listen........................................................................................................ 10

    8. Nights Small Deaths ...................................................................................................................... 11

    9. Insane Fire ......................................................................................................................................... 12

    10. Walking in Fog ............................................................................................................................... 13

    11. Writers Block................................................................................................................................ 14

    12. Spring in the Rockies ................................................................................................................... 15

    13. Soldiers ............................................................................................................................................. 16

    14. Civil War Soldiers ......................................................................................................................... 17

    15. Forgiveness ..................................................................................................................................... 18

    16. Tunnel Vision ................................................................................................................................. 19

    17. Life is .............................................................................................................................................. 20

    18. Love Expressed .............................................................................................................................. 21

    19. Christmas Shopping ..................................................................................................................... 22

    20. When Autumn Leaves ................................................................................................................. 23

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    1. The Bird From New Delhi

    The parrot was perched in New DelhiOn a sizzling hot summer's day.He said, "Sahib, will you please buy me?"

    I was stunned, didn't know what to say.

    Said the parrot, "I speak more than one language."Spanish and a bunch of fran-say."Italian, Hindi, Afghani"And a touch of Swahili, they say."

    "Why, certainly!" said I, offering rupees(The sale made the shopkeeper's day.)The parrot he preened and he strutted

    And accents he mimicked this way:

    "Do youse like my accent from Brooklyn"or mah drawl from down neah Savannah?Y yo puedo hablar en la lenguaDe Cuba y La Vieja Habana! *

    "But one thing I'll tell you," he confided"Please don't expect me to sing"I never took one singing lesson"I can't carry a tune, that's the thing."

    Then he started to sing some PuciniClearly the worst I have heard"Stop, please, and I promise I'll buy you!"But don't sing another harsh word."

    Undaunted I went to the FedExAnd boxed up the parrot to send it"You're going to Montana!" I told him."So say nothing 'til your journey is ended."

    "My old mother will certainly love you

    "You'll fill up her sad, empty time"So be quiet, don't chatter or flutter"Pretend you're a mute and a mime."

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    The next week I sent Mom a short e-mail."Say, Mom, did you enjoy the strange bird?""Why, yes, it was simply delicious!"Came back her answer (absurd!).

    "Say what?" I wrote back most insulted"You ate that one-of-a-kind bird?"Did you know that it spoke more than one language?"A more shocking thing I never heard!

    "Calm down," wrote my mother, "Don't sweat it."The bird arrived practically dead."You shouldn't have shipped it by FedEx"And besides, there was nothing he said

    "...to let me know he was so clever

    "He never said one single thing!""But it seemed to like mimicking accents"But I cooked it when I heard it sing."

    ______________________________ _________* And I can speak in the languageOf Cuba and old Havana

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    2. The American Revolution

    We were those winter soldiers

    Who stood in Britain's way"Disperse, ye rebels!" cried the King"You're in the empire's way!"

    We stood our ground at LexingtonWho fired that fateful shot?But the lobsterbacks retreatedA battle not forgot!

    Defeated at Long IslandWe fought another day

    We surprised the Hessian soldiersOn that Trenton Christmas day

    We froze in camps at Valley ForgeTwo thousand of us diedBut winter thawed, von Steuben cameHe drilled us 'till we cried.

    And then the Brits outflanked usTook Phil-a-del-faye-ayBut we chased them back to old New York

    And that is where they'd stay.

    Up in SaratogaWe thrashed the British stillThey surrendered all their armyAt the foot of Bemis Hill

    And when the Frenchies finally cameWe marched south to old YorktownAnd bottled up CornwallisAnd he threw his weapons down

    We Continental soldiersThrew out the British CrownWe gave the gift of libertyAnd rest on freedom's ground

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    3. Aging

    My stallion days

    Are but a hazeReflections of the flesh

    Where women knewMy prowess grewRejuvenated, fresh

    Alas, with ageBereft, but sageI cannot but remember

    Those ladies thinkWith age I shrinkAnd June becomes December

    My one-eyed pacedIs now replacedWith longing memories

    Of days gone byWhen pleasures, ISometimes returned to rue

    My sea-borne daysAnd racy waysAnd women I did sport

    Are memories nowMy ship did prowTo life's once-beckoned port

    My lusty stallionAnd sea-borne galleon

    Now tethered to the dock

    Time's rule obeyedI'm now stayedBy the crowing of the clock

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    4. Footprints

    Tyrannosaurus, mastodon,

    You left the stuff that we move on.Fossil fuels of giant truckOur good commerce, your bad luck.

    Rubber trees in jungles growYou give your sap so we can goO'er asphalt roads that stretch our sightWith Vulcan's work to commerce bright.

    The diesel fumes are memories.The blown tire shards are rubber trees.

    The smells and sights of modern timesAre dinosaurs in jungle climes.

    18-wheelers come and go.You roll our goods so we can knowThat tyrannosaurus, mastodonLived not in vain but now live on.

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    5. Last Will

    When I come to die

    Don't bury meBut throw my ashTo the ocean sea

    Where the wind blows wavesAnd the sea birds screech.And both greetings fallOn some far off beach

    Where my daughter sailsAs the white surf churns

    From the Gulf Stream flowTo where the monsoon turns

    As the ships burn byTo where she wants to beAnd their dark ash throwsTo the ocean sea

    Where my daughter looksThat's where I'll beWaving up to her

    From the ocean sea.

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    6. Losing Love

    Losing love

    Comes on the backOf time-wrought changeLife's windward tack

    To sail the pathOf comforts knownAnd run and hideFrom changes blown

    Into our livesThe struggle sneaks

    When growth or ageSprouts restless piques

    But strong love's strengthIs that we knowTime-wrought changeCan come and sow

    And grow lost loveIn stormy climesOur compass

    In changing times

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    7. Those We Love Dont Listen

    Last night I dreamt

    I had wing-ed shoesAnd could step into the air

    And hover nearBut unobservedTo loved ones in my care

    I also hadA hold on timeAnd I could now traverse

    So when I sawTheir foolish actsI could put them in reverse

    Then I awokeAgain a slaveTo earth and time's dominion

    And those I loveStill look up to meAnd value my opinion

    Their foolish actsI seek to to stopOccur despite my warning

    For every dayOur life beginsWith God's great gift, this morning

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    8. Nights Small Deaths

    If days are shallow

    Then nights are deepWhere we practice deathEach night we sleep

    With fits of dreamsWe see a lifeWhere reason fleesReplaced by strife

    We toss and turnAnd feel our core

    Our world we startTo one day more

    To greet the dawnWith sudden feelNight's practiced deathIs somehow real

    With day's new sparkAnd caffeine's breathWe jolt our day

    Until night's new death

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    9. Insane Fire

    From ember's sleep I rise and lick

    That which is dry and prone to meI smoke and rise to kindling's stickAnd turn to char, to blacken free

    That which I consume and change its formAll in my path my own life's fuelI burn and roar with windy stormLascivious bent, unfeeling cruel

    To those would stay my windward soundI roar, defy, devour, renounce

    For once alive I'm free, unboundI jump, I spark, their efforts trounce

    ...'Till lack of fuel or water's spoutKills me black and find me deadIn ember's sleep I peer withoutTo rise again and sweep ahead

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    10. Walking in Fog

    Walking in fog

    We grope through our daysNot seeing the signsTo feel through the haze

    The fog is unnervingWe lose our own bearingsThat frosty gray coverThose signs red herrings

    The point of our journeyIs not to walk straight

    Not every road's forkLeads to a gate

    Walking in fogWe grope for each otherInside our lost tethersWe're sister and brother

    The point of our journeyIs not that we fallBut that for each stumble

    The signs we recall

    For when the fog liftsFor others behindThose signs that we leaveWill to others remind

    That we can't see the futureThe past is not pleasantThe best we can doIs grope through the present

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    14. Civil War Soldiers

    We are the ghosts of ShilohTwenty thousand of us dead

    Some were killedIn the hornets nestSome in the surgeon's bed

    Now we fly as eaglesOver lines of blue and grayWe hear the shouts"They're comin' boys!"As dead spirits float our way

    The Minnie balls and grape shot

    Rake those human ranks so cleanThey fall like wheatBefore the scytheRed fields no longer green

    And thousands died at VicksburgAntietam, GettysburgWe fell in drovesAt Marrye's HillMowed down at Fredricksburg

    Our bodies lie in unmarked gravesOur families know not whereThey wouldn't know us anywayFor the dirt and worms we share

    We are the ghosts of Malvern HillThe war's last battle foughtIf we could have lasted one more weekWe'd share that peace they bought

    Looking back to '61

    When we gave that warlike shoutThe Rebel Yell and Yankee cryLike our youth is now bled out

    Why did we fight our countrymen?We dead can tell you whyBut you know we ain't a tellingTo know you've got to die

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    15. Forgiveness

    I know about forgiveness

    For I have wronged as wellIt's the nature of withholdingThat gives wrongs leave to dwell

    As I have asked forgivenessI learned to grant it, tooFor in ways that we touch othersLove's openings are few

    We tend to bank forgivenessLike some priceless, hoarded treasure

    It's the stuff resentment feeds onSelf-pity's harmful pleasure

    I have sought forgivenessOf sins beyond redemptionAnd those who loved me granted itWith love, without exemption

    As I withheld forgivenessFor wrongs against me givenI have wallowed in the hatred

    Tormented, soul unshriven

    When I learned to grant forgivenessI began to see designTo wrong is wholly humanBut forgiveness is divine

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    17. Life is

    Life is the dust

    That came from the sparkThat came from God's sneezeWhen light became dark

    The dark roiling soupWith churning flagellaTickled first lifeThough blind a Capella

    From single-celled swimmersTo tadpoles in motion

    Light's draw to amphibiansWho walked from the ocean

    From the first fish who walkedTo the first leaf was eatenTo that link we find missing'Twixt us and God's Eden

    Is life in God's Nature?Is Nature in God?Is life just primordial

    Like a small clump of sod?

    Or is it a gift?To use as we might?If so, whose gift is it?Is it darkness or light?

    And when light becomes darknessWhen we relinquish the prizeWill we just sleep forever?Or see through God's Eyes?

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    18. Love Expressed

    Love expressed

    Is love possessedBut never tossed awayBecause to liveIt has to giveTo be alive and stay

    Love expressedIs put to testBy every action provedIt must be seenIn its lustrous sheen

    Of the very person loved

    Love possessedIs love expressedThat grows in its returnAnd in that givingIt still is livingAnd radiates its burn

    Love's main testIs love expressed

    And given back as pureIt glows and heatsIn measured beatsThe mended heart's own cure

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    19. Christmas Shopping

    Shoppers we, from both near and far

    Seeking gifts from Famous and BarrWallets fleeting, credit cards bleedingFollowing greed's north star

    Christmas comes like the snow every yearMerchants quake and talking heads fearThat impending recession will take possessionAnd the red ink will sear

    Oh wondrous shoppers, consumers benignWould that your buying could somehow align

    Exceed inflation to give our nationThose positive numbers assign

    The gifting started in CE minus oneWhen kings and shepherds sought God's only SonThe star that led them nurtured and fed themShining, a sentinel alone

    Alas, but those kings from Orient farLeft Pandora's gift box ajarSpoiled children's pleading, income's exceeding

    What shallow descendants we are!

    Oh, I'd love to see the gift giving goneBinge buying and stress and worrying doneInstead of gift finding, we should be mindingLove's ember bequeathed by that Son

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    20. When Autumn Leaves

    When autumn leaves

    And winter callsIt leaves its leavesIn frigid thralls

    Before they freezeThose autumn leavesThey stack and layIn withered sheaves

    The winter comesWrapped cold and dread

    In crunchy brownAnd orange and red

    Splenetic greensOf summer's spewMemories nowIn autumn's hue

    From branch to groundThey face the rakeThey lay in piles

    Like souls to take

    The autumn pyresRelieves the freezeAs denuded branchAnd grieving trees

    And rising smokeCatches breezeLike incense fineTo memories

    Reminding allThat autumn leavesAnd winter comesTo strip the trees