Friday, September 30, 2011

Beauty Versus Brawn

She flings ‘cross the morning her bronze-dappled gaze

High-lighting dew fringes in a rich coral glaze

He surveys her ardor with a gleam in his eye

Shoving an army of clouds to the sky

Cobalt and silver and ten shades of gray

‘Take that, my fair lady, now what do you say?’

And she smiles nonchalantly, as with riveting hue

She out-lines in gold, those tumbled clouds of gray-blue

Autumn digs deeper, the duel is on

He, of all seasons, will not be out-done

As he brushes earth’s heaven and tousles the trees

Filling argent air with gold-leaf melodies

But summer spreads herself broadly across the blue vault

Drawing the ocean of billowed clouds to a halt

Then she turns the observant spectators gaze

To sunflower, zinnia and delphinium maze

Her sapphire canvas, a stunning backdrop

Enhances flower rainbows, as hurried feet stop

To marvel at the glory of summer-late bloom

Inhaling the sultry musk-laden perfume

As gardens relinquish in grand chivalry

Its remnants of summer in brilliant harmony

A collaboration of pink and orange, sorrow and hope

Of red, yellow, purple and green kaleidoscope

Her unabashed splendor is hard to ignore

He tugs at the sky’s edge; it begins to pour

Long fingers snuff her beguiling charm

He leans on her shoulder with bold, brawny arm

His moody demeanor and purposed intent

Dominates keenly a pivotal moment

Fair beauty, dark brawn, he touches her lips

She moves to respond… but the moment slips


'It's a funny day' comments the little guy I baby-sit,

as the sun slips behind gray curtains and it begins to rain.

'I think summer and autumn are having a tug-of-war again today', I replied...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

No 'Free' in Freedom...

Somberly, up the quiet tree-lined street
The steady stream of solemn ranks are led,
As sun-beams dance to the drummer’s beat
Filtering through the branches overhead
Beyond the tears and past the trees
The music of a small child’s laughter swells
Stark contrast to the infantry
Bowing ‘neath the tolling of the bells

Then, as the bag-pipe sound exalts
The melody of sweet Amazing Grace
The banner-covered coffin halts
For it has reached its final resting place
The last note fades, the cannon flies
Echoing across a distant shore
But none as stirring as the mother’s cries
“There’s no ‘free’ in freedom anymore

Put down your banners, lay down your guns
My sweet baby boy has died
Tributes, salutes, many battles won
Won’t bring him back” she cried
“Take away all the roses for nothing will be
Like it ever was before
The price of freedom is too hard for me
There’s no ‘free’ in freedom anymore”

Freedom (part two)

Up the rocky skull-strewn trail
A teaming, screaming throng of hatred surged
Swarming ‘round a form so pale
Upon a place called Calvary they converged
Beyond the tumult, wild and raging
Not a solitary friend is found
Stark contrast to the shouts and praising
As the palm-tree branches decked the ground

Then as the sound of steel on steel
Rings beyond the horror on the hill
As they drive in each cruel nail
‘Gainst the cries of ‘Father, not My will’
And as they raise the blood-stained cross
In victory the maddened thousands roar
As Mary weeps her deepest loss
“There’s no ‘free’ in freedom anymore

Take away your hammers, lay down your swords
My dear precious son has died”
As the lightning flashed and the thunder roared
There at His feet she cried
“Take away all your hatred, your jeers and chanting
For you have slain my Lord
Take away all your weapons, your raging and ranting
There’s no ‘free’ in freedom anymore”

There’s no ‘free’ in freedom, oh what a price
So that we may be set free
There’s no ‘free’ in freedom, love's sacrifice
Is beyond understanding for me
There’s no ‘free’ in freedom, let us value each day
And cherish each living breath
Oh, what a price someone needs to pay
For the cost of freedom is death

Janet Martin

A comment on the previous poem caused me to dig into the archives.

Suddenly I'm thinking of the cost of freedom...

Somebody's Love (another 'red' poem)

He loved his mom’s apple strudel
His eyes were kind and blue
He loved a girl named Caroline
And oh, she loved him too
They were going to be married
As soon as the war was done
And maybe if they were lucky
Someday they would have a son

He always loved to play football
Was the high school quarter-back
He didn’t play for a medal
Just played for the love of it
He had a collie named Rover
Best pals, the two of them
Now Rover whimpers every night
Wondering what's taking so long

He was a generous fellow
Walking the second mile
When other were inclined to say no
He offered, with a smile
But nobody knows his attributes
As he lies in the crimson snow
They’ve come to gather the fallen dead
Here lies another John Doe

Beneath each cross in Flanders’ Field
Beneath the sound of a gun
Beneath the weapon or the shield
Is somebody's precious son
Beneath the watchful eye above
The bloodied fallen lie
Oh, pray for they are somebody’s love
For you and yours they die

'son' is a generic term here
We pray for all the sons and daughters!

Red is for poppies and rivers of blood.
Red is for freedom.


When maple tree, sedum, and apples turn red
We know darling summer is bowing her head
Farewell to the warm, green dust-fringed afternoon
As red steals the verdure of opulent June

Into mystic tresses languid summer slips
Beneath the caresses of autumn’s red lips
As passion and longing and imminence bleed
Across blazing tarmac of hopes falling seed

When ravishing sumac and mountain ash sashes
Line hilltop and highway in riveting splashes
When the whole world’s a-flame with scarlet and red
Then we know sweet summer is bowing her head

Janet Martin

Beautiful Sorrow

Tis a beautiful sorrow to whisper good-by
With a tug at your heart and a tear in your eye
With a catch in your voice and an ache in your throat
As you slip into your shoes or button your coat

Tis surely no sorrow that is sweeter than this
Prolonging the hand-shake, the embrace or soft kiss
And tallying the hours, the days or years when
You trust, Lord willing, to meet each other again

To bear life’s sweetest sorrow, the throb in your chest
Is to know you have tasted of loves very best
How cold is the parting as servile farewells fall
From stiff, moving lips that feel nothing at all…

Janet Martin

This morning I drove Jim in to work at 5:00
so I could bring his truck home.
I realized, to feel that crazy sadness when you know it will be
a little while until he is home again, is a beautiful gift that only love can give!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Sure Investment ( a Triolet)

It is not possible to waste time on a child

Investing time in a child is their future

The future is still innocent and undefiled

It is not possible to waste time on a child

A child with no hand to hold is soon beguiled

Hold them, gently scold them, guide, teach and nurture

It is not possible to waste time on a child

Investing time in a child is their future

Janet Martin

My first attempt at the Triolet.


I’ve never really done anything,

She stammers, beneath the shrewd gaze of a peer

waiting with pen poised.

That is, nothing worth mentioning, really.

I’ve read stories, wiped grubby, chubby hands. I’ve kissed tears.

I’ve rocked little girls and boys to sleep,

and picked up an ocean of toys.

I’ve mended clothes and sometimes even a tender heart or two,

But I can’t think of anything worth mentioning to you...

-as the peer awaited an explanation for a title

to post beside ‘Occupation’.

I’m not sure what to say other

Than, I am a mother.

A stay-at-home mom some call it,

…and I suppose it is a cool name

For the one who attends every hockey game,

dentist appointment,

school recital,

Christmas play,


shopping trip,

rides to and from friends,

teacher meeting,

The list in detail never really ends…

A name for the laundress, the gardener, the baker,

The cleaning lady, florist and bed-maker,

The cook, the nurse,the seamstress, the tutor and teacher too,

The artist to point out rare shades of green and blue

Or the red beginning to frost the autumn maple tree…

But it’s nothing to put on a resume`…

Now if you will kindly excuse me,

There’s laundry to be done,

At three ‘o clock I must pick up my son.

And the salsa I mixed up last night still needs to be boiled.

I should can it today before it is spoiled.

I wish I could tell you in a word or two

Exactly what it is that I do

But it seems I cannot think of any other

Title, besides the word…mother.


Apparently 'mother' is not an acceptable occupation on a resume`:)

Sonnet on the Unraveling of Summer...or is it Life?

Politely we take our seats, as it were

Upon the long side of the afternoon

To behold the unrav’ling of summer

Like gossamer threads from an azure spoon

Dulcet disarmer of green tree and lust

Stealing the murmur of warmth from the sun

Where rust-petaled dreams parade to the dust

And memories like wild, blue rivers run

Even the rhododendron must succumb

To terms of relinquishment and autumn


A stealthy Spartacus captures the land

The tallest oak tree is no more immune

To pleading its grandeur ‘neath his command

Than the starlight of pallid anemone

Soil is the equalizer of earth

Where nature and mankind will not sleep

Segregated by rank, status or worth

As winds and cent’ries the blood-stained sands sweep

The tears of the rich and poor man agree

That life and death wait beneath the same tree


Solidarity wanes ‘neath sober sky

Unable to maintain its green façade

The pious marigold prepares to die

The scornful weed reckons now with his god

While flaming hill, field, wooded dell and slope

Rise to meet death in scarlet crinoline

Autumn is not a ruthless calliope

Serenading the slumber of a queen

Nor is he a grand, flagrant new-comer

But simply a hand unrave’ling summer

Rail-way Back-track

Once, long before the thought of counting years
crossed my mind
I walked here, counting railway ties
soaked in sweat, tar-drenched sunbeams
And dreams,
blue eyes scanning the line where skies
and the impossible met
in passions unrealized.
I didn’t know the meaning of regret
The sumac still burns red in the purple autumn dusk
Supple breeze teases the stalwart cattail.
Choke cherry and mountain ash flaunt fruits of tempting betrayal
and in the stillness I can almost feel the thrilling and ominous
humming of steel on steel, sparks grazing the earth below
in a blazing shower of golden snow. Little girl,
tuck that hand-stitched quilt beneath your chin. Don’t cry.
The train is not really lonely at night
as it hurries by, with its long and plaintive cry.
Progress has taken it all away.
No longer feasible, is what they say,
tearing away labor, sweat and tears of the past
with labor, sweat and tears of the present.
Eyes look to the future,
and where once I counted railway ties to the sky,
now corn-fields sigh and twilight gleams upon the echo
of a young girl's dreams. Mother, tuck that hand-stitched quilt
beneath your chin. Don’t cry. Little girls still dream out to the big sky.
An attempt at free-verse, hidden rhyme, sort of…

I have not done very much traveling in my life...yet:) my initial reaction, when I saw this prompt was 'not for me', but the more I thought about it the more I realized how often a smell, a sound, a season, triggers a memory, a re-visit to those places near and dear to the heart. Last week on one of the poetry sites the prompt was 'trains'. I would have loved to try it, but could not remember where I saw the prompt. I loved watching the train pass through the back of our property.I loved its long approach on a quiet winter night, the anticipation, a thrilling rush of fear and excitement at the first distant moan, oh, so very faint, then increasing, increasing to a thundering rush of steel and whistle and bells, reaching a crescendo,then fading, fading, fading....until all was silence once more, still gives me goose-bumps. I think this is why I thought of the railway track today...

This photo is not the actual track but I thought it portrayed perfectly my memory...the picture is found at above link.

Object of my Desire

I hear you moaning upon the dark limb

Your troubadour passion is passive and dim

Once I, delighted in your boldest vaunt

Eagerly longed for your audacious taunt

But your flagrant charm is vanishing thus

And I cannot claim one moment of us

You sprawled before me with flirtatious eye

Sure-footed, willing and ready was I

Laughing, we threw caution into the night

Imbibed with sweet nectar of summer delight

I knew you would leave; I hoped you would stay

Why do I grieve as you’re slipping away?

This morning your teardrop caressed my cheek

No words were exchanged; there is naught to speak

For Time is unable to restore to me

One moment of us or what used to be

My heart has no seasons; what can I do?

I’ve run out of reasons to stop loving you

I study the object of my desire

Is it you that I love, or simply your fire?

Is it your parting or Time that I grieve?

If you stayed too long would I ask you to leave?

I reach out to touch you; but all I can hear

Is Time’s adulate ticking as you disappear


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We spend trillions

Deploying aircraft,

armies and artillery

Into a country

Goal-blast city to rubble heap

Death is an unfortunate

Cost of doing business

We look to the sky

Begging, weeping, asking why

God would allow earth-quakes,

Fires, hurricanes, floods

And all manner of devastation

As the death toll rises

And we deploy mercy missions

Janet Martin

inspired by a line in -Thoughts from the Woods by Robert F. Harrington

Beauty is Happiness

Today I do not ask for the world

With a wishlist of selfish demands

I desire only life’s bare necessities

Your eyes, your lips, your hands

Life has many a beauty to boast

Some of them glorious and grand

But I’ve found nothing that moves me more

Than your eyes, your lips and your hands

A scalpel and blade, a suture, a tuck

Are not tools of beauty, my friend

If you seek it there then I wish you good luck

On a quest that will never end

Beauty is born of selfless love

It cannot be bought on demand

I’ve been beautiful beneath the touch

Of your eyes, your lips and your hands

Janet Martin

I realize as I penned the words ‘selfless love’

That is an oxymoron…

If it is directed to satisfy one’s selfishness it is not love:

Monday, September 26, 2011

On a Silent Dance-floor

The moon has climbed her lofty trail
above the timberline
It drapes its silver-tinted veil
across the darkened pine

The midnight wraps its sullen fist
around the hour of mirth
which slumbers now beneath the mist
Enshrouding climes of earth

The wind composes melodies
Soft, slow and sorrowful
Its lyric rouses memories
That time cannot annul

The river slides out to the skies
Its sultriness is gone
I wrap my arms around your sighs
I will not dance alone

Janet Martin


There is a box
or is it a wall?
It has no locks
No form at all

We share things
a touch, a glance
sometimes we laugh
sometimes we dance

Behind our eyes
the truth implores
A vault of cries
without doors

There is a box
Or is it a lair
That guards those things
We never share?


You are not a Tree


shed their leaves

in tears of burnished amber- rust.

Summer is done.

Autumn grieves

then it fades

into the purple twilight dust.


are not a season

Or a tree, nor am I.

Thought cannot be taught

to drift

without reason

like a leaf beneath the sky


it seems,

are enmeshed in the fabric of my skin.

In my dreams

and thought you reside,

I breathe out

I breathe in


do not evaporate

as I exhale, slow and low

I will never

Need to wonder

Where you are

Or where you go


perhaps I’ll find

a surgeon skilled with the art

of severing you

from me

like a limb from a tree,

…without removing my heart


Scattered Leaves?

…and there they lie beneath the tree

Parched echoes of what used to be

Sonnets of laughter and regret

Bleeding from summer’s silhouette

And life’s fair hour in the sun

Before minuscule dreams are done

As we reach for life’s deeper Truth

Unacknowledged in our youth

But now we see mortality

Like a small leaf upon a tree

Where soon its passion decks the sod

Like crumbled thrones of lesser gods

That cannot succor our great need

With filthy lucre of our greed

For all the greatness man achieves

Is nothing more than withered leaves

If we should fail to recognize

The Power cradling sea and skies

What is a man but shards of dust?

Driven by our foolish lust

Where nothing on this temporal earth

Holds credence of eternal worth

But we are loved and owned by He

Who forms each leaf upon the tree

And in each man a living soul

That nature’s law does not control

For then we would be nothing more

Than scattered leaves upon earth’s shore

Janet Martin

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poet's Quill

What power in these lines be

Which we call poetry

Moving through us like a silent sea

In waves of ecstasy

Or half-breaths of sweet sorrow thrill

The heart when night is still

As grief and passions spill

From a poet’s quill


The Bum (a story, also a re-post)

He glared with disdain at the old tin can
held up with hope by a dirty old man
whose eyes were too shiny, his nose was too red,
telling a tale with words unsaid,
and the young man turned with a disgusted frown
staring the old man up and down,
Then he said, “I have better things to do
than to hand out my money to a bum like you.
There’s work out there, why don’t you get some
instead of sitting here like a dirty old bum?
I’ve worked hard for the money I have
and I’ve earned my right to the way I live
so I’m not about to throw my money away
to a guy who sits on the street all day.
You’ve made your choices, I’ve made mine
and I’m not gonna pay for your whiskey or wine.”
He spun on his heel, about to leave.
No drunk was going to ruin his Christmas Eve.
His sweetheart was waiting and man, was she sweet!
So why was he talking to this bum on the street?
In another few hours he’d be whisked away
‘neath a blanket of stars, by a horse and sleigh,
snuggled beneath shawls, a hot drink in hand
with sleigh-bells a-jingling. Oh, isn’t love grand?
He turned and began to walk away
but paused as he heard the old man say,
“I was a young pup once like you
and I guess I know why you feel like you do
but until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes
I beg to differ about ‘your right to choose’.
Sometimes you gotta take what you rather would not,
and you’d do anything to trade the hand ya’ got”
The old man’s voice grew a little hoarse
as he ran his fingers through hair long and coarse.
“Yes, I remember it all real well
I had dreams, held the world by the tail.
I loved a sweet lady and she loved me
an’ we were as happy as anyone could be.
Oh, the happiest day of my entire life
was the day that sweet lady became my wife,
and the second best days I ever had
were the three great times I became a dad.
With each new little baby’s birth
we added a corner to our ‘heaven on earth’.
Our days were numbered, but we didn’t know.
We were as happy as anyone here below
until one day an old drunk ended my life
when he killed my three babies and my wife.
So, before you talk choices like winnin’ and losin’,
That we become what we are by our own choosin’,
I’d like to ask you, have you lived alone
after your ‘heaven on earth’ was gone?
Have you sat in the darkness, your 'now ever-after'
listening to the silence echo your baby’s laughter,
and still hear the voices of your precious darlings
or close your eyes to still see them smiling?
Have you heard your wife’s voice calling you
to waken alone and cry all night through?
Then, in a desperate effort to make your thoughts end
have wine or whiskey become your best friend?
Have you gone to work where they locked the door
saying, ‘you don’t work here any more’?
You may call me a bum but before you do
would you like to walk a mile in my shoes?”
The young man was speechless, what more could he say
to this man who suffered more loss in one day
than most people suffer their whole life through?
Words seemed empty from this point of view.
This was no bum, but a lonely old soul
Who, under life’s sorrow simply lost control.
His teardrops fell as he stared at his feet
then he sat down beside the old man on the street.
“Forgive me” he wept to the dirty old man,
“Oh, please forgive me if you can.
For I am the bum, the most ignorant of fools.
What do I know about any of life’s rules?
I’d fill up your can twenty times if I could
but I really don’t think it would do any good.
Far better than money, for you I believe
would be somewhere to come home to this Christmas Eve”
So, there in the cold ‘neath the streetlamps glow
sat the young man with the old in the falling snow,
as the angels looked down from heaven above
Smiling at the pair in tender love
-a young man who would never, ever choose
To walk a mile in the old man’s shoes
Slowly they both arose to their feet
and arm in arm, they walked up the street
(last verse optional)
So before we call anyone a drunk or a bum,
Perhaps we should ask them from where they have come
instead of judging, lend them an ear
and we might be appalled at the stories we hear.
God, give mercy to the poor on the street.
Their stories are the tears that the angels weep.
Shine your love on them and show them the reason
we all may have hope this Christmas Season.
All Rights Reserved
Janet Martin

This poem was inspired by a tragic story on the news...
and spawned the poem below.

I've often wondered what became of that man, a jeweler whose wife and kids were killed by a drunk driver.

More Than Impressions

Occasionally, in this temple beneath strolling cloud
Away from the jostle and shove of the crowd
I worship, as night recedes in slow-motion.
It is no accident, this moment in time
Though darkness may clutch this temporal clime
Light can move through shadow, a soundless ocean
Dispelling the gloom beneath the sky
As the bustle and chat of passers-by
Consumes this tranquil breath upon the sod
I look up; the sacred silence is beginning to wane
Outside these walls, day must begin again…
To toil, to shop or play on this quest to death and God
Janet Martin

Thank-you Viv, for this delicious combination of words.
There are so many directions in which they could lead!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ode to a Rainy Eve

The cold rain hastes the ending of a day
The dark pine moans within its weeping knell
The landscape dims in folds of cobalt-gray
Beneath the tolling of the evening bell

The absence of the lusty cricket choir
Magnifies the musky sense of gloom
Hovering o’er the garden’s silent bower
Heavy with the parting of its bloom

Now fades the sky-line in the gathering eve
And now the dark and daylight intertwine
Until the dark prevails; light slips beneath
The edge of dusk on the horizon line

The night lies dormant in this solitude
Save for the leaf clinging with muted breath
To sodden arm of birch or maple wood
Before it sleeps in cradles of the earth

The cold rain hastes the ending of the day
Profluent sonnet drifting o’er the lee
As remnant sighs of summer slip away
To grace the silent shores of memory

Janet Martin

This is another rain poem I posted recently...
The rain stirs my muse,
I love the rain:)


The rain plays a muted song tonight
Fingertips, gray, pummel out the light
As wind-tattered fragments of my day
Waver momentarily and then slip away

The silence is warm and easy with you
Thunder rolls, the lightning white-blue
Illuminates stark images, rigid and black
My finger-tips brush across your back

The night settles around us in a drawn-out sigh
Reaching the perimeters of the sky
Fingertips whisper, plead, implore
Waves gather somewhere on a forgotten shore

Janet Martin

When I saw this prompt after an all-day rain today,
I could not resist!

The Field at Dusk

Beyond the gold-fringed day
And shadows obtuse tusk
‘Neath misty scarves of silver-gray
Lies the field at dusk

A thread of centuries
Is layered in its palm
Time’s ruthless progress cannot steal
Its effervescent calm

I pause to contemplate
The measure of our toil
Swift season over season laid
With faith that plants the soil

And here the lark returns
To tune the summer dust
And here the brawny farmer learns
Of hope and tears and trust

And here the young maid strolls
Her eye a-light with dreams
And here the silent night consoles
The heart where sorrow gleams

And here the bully day
Releases its duress
And here we humbly kneel to pray
In tender thankfulness

Beyond the gold-fringed day
Midst sighs of dew and musk
Heaven is not so far away
In a field at dusk

Janet Martin

Perimeter of Paradise

I lay there
In the middle of the field
Or was it the edge of the sky?
And I let time pass over me
Like a butterfly in search of nectar
God’s arms smell of pungent earth
And imminent rain
Today His eyes are blue
With flecks of gray
Life’s hurt is dim
And far away
As nature’s hymn
Consoles somber woes
In thoughts of Him
Heaven holds me close
In strains of clover-sigh
And meadow-lullaby
I am completely aware
Of nothing
But awesome silence of a prayer
Passing from my heart
To His
Undeterred by the expanse
Of emptiness
Twixt the carpet
On which I lie
And the infinity of His eye
As I lay
Beneath the whisper of butterflies
On the perimeter
Of paradise

Janet Martin

It's a grand feeling,
lying in the middle of a field
in the middle of nowhere
beneath the middle of an endless sky...

Like Fields of Grass

The morning wept
As fingers swept
Summer from the sky
A moody knell
In torrents fell
As if to quite defy
The hope which waits
Beyond far gates
Through which fair summer slips
In minor key
Bleeds from dark somber lips
The ache of you
Is wild and blue
So close, then far away
A bitter tide
To coincide
With summer’s parting day
The silence of
Requited love
Sleeps in earth’s darkened fist
A tiny seed
Of hope and need
Still waiting to be kissed
Time’s quadrille turns
The heart still yearns
For dreams vague, undefined
As seasons pass
Like fields of grass
‘Neath heaven’s changeless mind


Victoria looked out at the rain, remarking that the day looks sad…

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Tiny Breeze...

A tiny breeze upon the air
Tugged my hand and teased my hair
Then drew my eager feet along
A trail of multi-layered song
Of corn-field carol and cricket trill
And maple moans in wooded rill
Past gathered gardens’ tangled maze
And echoes of a dreamer’s gaze
Of autumn creeping o’er a field
Where summer bounty spilled its yield
In centuries beneath the sun
A gasp, a wink and it is done
While new dreams plant the trampled sod
Beneath the faithful hand of God
And reverently I kneel upon
The footstool of love’s changeless One
For He ordains in perfect time
Each season’s rhythm and its rhyme
Of painted sky and purple hill
The plaintive cry of whip-poor-will
The tender limb of verdant grace
Before time leaves its tender trace
In kisses wrought by sun and rain
Of joy and laughter, grief and pain
For life cannot remain for aye
In meadows where soft breezes play
…a tiny breeze upon the air
Tugs my hand; teases my hair…

Janet Martin

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parting of Ways

You lay your arm across my shoulder
We are feeling much the same
For we know we’re getting older
And in this there is no shame
As a hint of lambent shadow
Steals across the summer noon
E’en the flower in the meadow
Must relinquish her perfume

You and I are kindred spirits
So, my love, we will not weep
Bravely we resolve to bear it
This last lap before we sleep
No one can escape dictation
Wrought by time’s unbending rule
Youth, ah, grand sprint of elation
Leading to life’s higher school

I lay my head upon the hour
Where I see that we must part
For I do not have the power
To deter love’s finer art
Parting, truly is sweet sorrow
We have loved, but not in vain
Ah my love, in some tomorrow
I know we will meet again

Janet Martin

Dedicated to the Summer of 2011

They were saying on the radio that this is the last day of summer,
so I took a picture of one last summer morning sun-rise...I just checked the calendar!
We get one more!!! Lord willing:)

Chill of an Early Fall

If you had been here last night, my love
A blanket of stars
Would have been enough
To bar the chill of autumn
From our skin
As summer’s night
Begins to thin
Beneath the cricket’s dying lay
For there is no need to say
A word, when wrapped in dark blue song
Of willow, wind and summer gone
...but you are not here, my dear
As languid thoughts of you
Spread across my pillow
Like the midnight dew


I know I broke every law of rhyme here
but one cannot control
the mind of a poem...

They Say...

They tell me that I should not choose
This word in poetry
It’s over-done and over-used…
…but it’s a part of me…

…in victory or in defeat
In sorrow or in love
It is the fruit of bitter-sweetest
Stirrings from above

‘They’ say that we must find new ways
In which to verbalize
Love’s ultimate expression
Flowing from our eyes

Oh, I dare not use the word
For it’s been used to much
But what else proves that we’ve been stirred
And utter-mostly touched

The wise, the fool, the old or young
Without a purposed choice
Share this universal tongue
Of passion’s purest voice

Words are only things we say
Syllables we hear
I’ve felt the earth beneath me sway
In the silence of… a tear

To me, above all other words
I have yet to hear
One spoken more profoundly
Than the utterance of a tear

Janet Martin

This is merely my response to experts who say they do not want to hear the word ‘tear’
in a poem for at least a hundred years…but if I read stunning poetry…well, it moves me to…TEARS!!!
Here’s to tears and tears and more tears! Cheers! there not poetry bleeding profusely from every single photo above?

They Say...

They tell me that I should not choose
This word in poetry
It’s over-done and over-used…
…but it’s a part of me…

…in victory or in defeat
In sorrow or in love
It is the fruit of bitter-sweetest
Stirrings from above

‘They’ say that we must find new ways
In which to verbalize
Love’s ultimate expression
Flowing from our eyes

Oh, I dare not use the word
For it’s been used to much
But what else proves that we’ve been stirred
And utter-mostly touched

To me, above all other words
I have yet to hear
One spoken more profoundly
Than the utterance of a tear

Janet Martin

This is merely my response to experts who say they do not want to hear the word ‘tear’
in a poem for at least a hundred years…but if I read stunning poetry…well, it moves me to…TEARS!!!
Here’s to tears and tears and more tears! Cheers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sonnets of the Season

Softly you laugh,and vex me with your kiss
Crumbling my quest to resent your bold fire
As I relent to whispers of desire
Stirred by the hints of heaven-tinted bliss
Riding upon the cool wind’s ruddiness
You strut across my firmly planted ire
And never even pause to once inquire
If I should seek a lover such as this
You overthrow my summer-heart’s intent
To disdain your winning works of art
Why is it now, that I cannot resent
The lavishness your fingertips impart?
As you prey on my sighs of discontent
And thus seduce my true-blue summer heart


Methinks the earth reserves its utter-best
To soothe the summer-heart’s acquiescent sigh
For bluer still is autumn’s azure dye
Than summer’s ever-pleasing sapphire crest
Fulfilling expectation’s blind request
Before the moodiness of lowered sky
Steals the stoic gaze of grief's devoted eye
Rendering her quite speechless and impressed
As gently she relinquishes her will
Advancing slowly ‘cross a rustling floor
Caressed with weightless teardrops as they spill
From walnut, maple, birch and countless more
Strange comfort bleeds from autumn’s purple chill
Painting its sorrow on earth’s umber shore


No longer do I seek to quell its glance
Long, heavy lashes spark the two-toned breeze
Rousing the laughter of the scarlet trees
And suddenly this summer-heart must dance
Kiss sorrow from the lips of circumstance
Heaven designs rare moments such as these
Of musty grapes and lumb’ring honey-bees
Mesmerizing grievance in its trance
Fall’s sonnet trickles from the russet vine
Pure tendrils of a reminiscent croon
As love and loss and longing intertwine
The scent of dusk scatters the afternoon
How full the draught of summer’s darker wine
Earth’s pining slumbers ‘neath the harvest moon

Janet Martin

At our local thrift store I picked up a book entitled
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets from the Portuguese and other Poems

I was intrigued by this rhyming pattern…a-bb-aa-bb-a-c-d-c-d-cd

I. The Italian (or Petrarchan) Sonnet:

The basic meter of all sonnets in English is iambic pentameter (basic information on iambic pentameter), although there have been a few tetrameter and even hexameter sonnets, as well.

The Italian sonnet is divided into two sections by two different groups of rhyming sounds. The first 8 lines is called the octave and rhymes:

a b b a a b b a

The remaining 6 lines is called the sestet and can have either two or three rhyming sounds, arranged in a variety of ways:

c d c d c d
c d d c d c
c d e c d e
c d e c e d
c d c e d c

from Basic Sonnet Forms- by Nelson Miller

The Essence of Life

Wring out each moment in your grip
Experience every drop of it
Savor its nectar on your tongue
It tarries not, for old or young
But pauses for a breath or two
Before it drifts into the blue

Relish its kiss upon your face
A soft caress from Hands of grace
Oh, do not blindly stumble past
The moment that is fading fast
For whether wrought by joy or strife
It is the essence of a life

Wee drops combine to shape the sea
Moments design eternity
Then handle well this gem you hold
And squander not this drop of gold
For it will not revert its glance
To offer us a second dance

How wise the sojourner of earth
Who values every moment’s worth
Instead of gazing longingly
At what once was or yet will be
But knows that living must begin
In whispered moments we are in

Janet Martin

This morning the alarm clock drew me from one of those rare dreams
that I really did not want to wake from...
but as it was fading these words remained 'wring out each moment fully
and savor its nectar on your tongue'...
WELL!!! When waking with words like this as my first comprehension of day
I simply could not let the thought go to waste!

Elusive River

Far away it seems to me
An ocean must exist
Of moments floating to a sea
In rivers full of mist
And if I should by some strange lead
Find its elusive thread
Then I could watch moments recede
As Time flows on ahead

And in this gathering place of sighs
And smiles and hugs and tears
We would never say good-bye
Nor count the days and years
Until at last we meet again
For moments would not slip
Like whispers on an autumn wind
From longing fingertips

If I, by some strange twist of rhyme
Found its reclusive track
Would I first rush ahead of time
Before I could turn back?
For what of all those moments lost
In heartbeats caught between?
Do moments slip into the past
Or shape the unforeseen?

Far away it seems to me
An ocean must exist
Of moments drifting to a sea
On endless shores of mist
But time is a mysterious tide
Relentlessly it goes
I simply cannot quite decide
Which way its river flows

Janet Martin

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Room Beneath a Sky...

There is a room where she can go
The music there is soft and low
Like gentle raindrops on a breeze
A room of treasured memories

Here a new-born baby cries
With mother’s midnight lullabies
‘gainst cheeks so smooth and soft as silk
And warmth of baby oil and milk

Or childish lips, eager and red
Are asking, is it morning yet?
Before school buses could dictate
The meaning of early or late

She sees the dreams of a young bride
Align her gaze with time’s swift stride
As her once young and carefree lad
Begins to look a lot like dad

And daddy’s love begins to show
In silver etchings on his brow
The tears that once he held inside
He no longer tries to hide

There is a room where she can go
To let the tears and memories flow
The walls are lined with works of art
And held within a mother’s heart

Janet Martin~

My ten-year-old daughter still waves from the bus after she is seated…
This morning I’m not sure if she noticed that I had come out to the porch with my coffee
instead of remaining at my post inside the window. She was waving frantically, as was I, but I don’t think she saw me…and suddenly it became for me a picture of moments…
The fact that the glorious red, morning sky was the prelude to a very rainy Monday amplified my nostalgic frame of mind.

Hidden Master-piece

you dipped your pen into the skies
and stole the tint from midnight eyes
transferring with deft, silent skill
the torment of your poet’s quill
to guarded palettes of the heart
where I, recipient of your art
resign myself to fettered years
as I behold your blue ink tears

time has no swift design on you
you paint the surface of the moon
in un-named shades of misery
while merry-wishers wave in glee
my paper smile is worn and thin
the thought of you as raw-edged tin
but poetry preserves, endears
the permanence of blue ink tears

someday this sea of buried art
like crumpled oceans in my heart
will lie beneath the earth with me
in un-penned vaults of poetry
untainted by mortal’s vile tongue
who dare to paint sapphire with dung
I’ll hold for all eternal years
a masterpiece of blue ink tears


Fearless Passion

Only God sees the true colors of our soul
Others may perceive through our words what they will
Should we dare to expose hints of our uttermost parts
Still, only God knows the hidden depths of our hearts

Only God knows the truth behind words we may pen
Words shaped by thought and life’s experience
Release to the wind bits of poetry
Revelation of living's sweet mystery

Only God understands completely
Let's close our eyes then, and bleed fearlessly
Spilling forth passion held deep in our souls
Man sees but half; only God knows the whole

Janet Martin

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Autumn's Overture

The thickened breeze flows through the trees
Like rush of distant stream
The marigold, audacious, bold
Relinquishes her dream
In wistful tones the willow moans
And sheds her amber tears
As moments run beneath the sun
In fantasy and fears

The sumac fire and cricket choir
Collaborate to bring
A grand postlude to flowers subdued
With promises of spring
Magenta dusk and zephyr brusque
A dissonant duet
Add harmony in minor key
To blue-tinged silhouette

The poplar sighs ‘neath painted skies
The day grows deep and still
Dark fingers strum the fields of corn
And sweep the somber hill
A kaleidoscope of grief and hope
Fills earth’s great banquet hall
As summer dims in nature’s hymns
In overtures of fall

The fullness of fair summer’s love
Is strewn in silent field
Epitome of misery
And passions mirthful yield
The restless bliss of Autumn’s kiss
Haunts wood and shaded dell
A melody of reverie
In summer’s grand farewell

Janet Martin

Tonight while I was running this poem sort of wrote itself...
as something to give my mind rhythm and yet absorb the beauty around me.
the wind rushing through the poplars, sounding like a distant water-fall. the ever-present cricket song thinning, but still prevalent as the night fell in cool blue acapella.

In this quiet I run, reminisce, regret, review, resolve, renew and reach!

Thread of Hope

Don’t tell me you love me
as you thrust your fingertips
into wounds, raw and bleeding.

The verve of youth’s passion
has slipped down a corridor
through which I no longer seem to fit

and ideals huddle on opal-tinted hills
as flocks of paper-mache sheep,
Muse is the shepherd…

…too far from me, as I yearn
for pasture’s I cannot see
and a face in the mirror that cannot be

the echo of selfish words
hovers as an omen of doom
in a room heavy with silence

yet, in this pall of sorrow
I find a thread of hope
to strengthen me…

for we are never too old to learn
or to try again
or to whisper, ‘I’m sorry’.