Friday, January 31, 2014

Sometimes Paper...

Sometimes paper
Is the kindest of strangers
Easy to talk to
No judgment, no guile
Patient companion
It never stops listening
Here we can pour our
Our tear and our smile

Sometimes paper
Is thought’s finest option
Sirens of schedule and
Living are loud
Whisper of wishes
And heart-held ambitions
Seems to be drowned in
Life’s everyday crowd

I’ve heard the heartbeat
Of midnight and strangers
Ink-spilled confession
And penned poetry
Sometimes the silence
Of thought-rendered ocean
Helps us relinquish
What never can be

Sometimes paper
Is thought's sacred soulmate
Patient confidant,
Listening long
I've felt the rush
Of  farewell fill its pages
Only to feel you
Back where you belong...

© Janet~


You ask questions for which I have no answers
You whisper wishes too wondrous to bear
Darling, the window of past does not open
It is enough to feel you out there, somewhere

We cannot rearrange moment or memories
Somehow the summertime slipped into snow
Darling, desire and duty-persuasion
Battle on half-breaths of love’s letting go

© Janet Martin

Today's Song

 (Matt laughs at me as I pause in the middle of things to quickly type before I forget) Today it was this song that did it:)

Love bleeds and pleads and longs and needs
There’s not one living soul
Who can become permanently
Another being’s Whole

Want taunts and flaunts in endless vaunts
Weaving a grieving mesh
Evoking, stoking discontent
In ineptness of flesh

Words cleave and weave a hollow hurt
When uttered by mere lips
The heart hungers for more than noise
In fumbling fingertips

Oh, I have bled the broken brogue
Of lonely bittersweet
Like flower-petals ‘neath the snow
Or font of flip-flop feet

Penned poetry is naught but thought
Vexatious twist of mist
We brave life’s wave for what we crave
To be loved once and kissed

...ah, to be loved just once and kissed
It is enough, my sweet
To be caught in the twist of mist
Where love and longing meet

© Janet Martin

Somewhat Like Morning...

 The landscape sprawls like a blank page, waiting for thought to spill its ink...

I sit and stare
This page is bare
Waiting for ink-curls
Shaped in word
Then word relays
Its gold and grays
As touch unfurls
Where heart is stirred
And hidden thought
Curves to the jot
Of trembling
Whilst others read
What fingers bleed
Of want and need
In poetry

I’ve touched within
Time’s half-breath grin
The ‘almost’’ of
Discounted dreams
The have and hold
Of moment-gold
Is but a penny
In life-streams
This restless quill
Can never fill
Thought’s hungering
Yet, ‘was’ and ‘is’
And hope’s kind kiss
Bleeds broken bliss
To poetry

I cannot stare
Too long; the air
Devours hours
This barren page
Extends its stage
Soon touch will spill
In memory
Time's self-same star
Gleams where you are
And shines its little
Light on me 
I sense your lips
And fingertips
As ink-thought drips
In poetry

© Janet Martin

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Of Moment-gold

 Just think! beneath the snow a whole garden is growing restless!

We dare not mourn though time has torn
Another page from future-sheaf
Where swift we spent the hour it lent
Before it lay to rest its leaf
Yester’s quixotic fantasy
Has etched its little legacy

We dare not weep; from morrow’s deep
We reach to thread our half-spun dream
Not with the past but what yet wafts
To tease the tempest with its ream
A sweet and silent canticle
Unfurls its moment-miracle

We dare not pine for soon the vine
That spilled its swarthy summer bloom
Will warmly wake; its bud will break
Then spill its seed back to earth's tomb
As all the while soft through our hold
We touch the wealth of moment-gold

© Janet Martin

But We Can't Get There...

On Winter Street, seems time has frozen
Ribbon o’ rain-song lost in snow
Tomorrow’s out o’ reach, my darlin’
Yesterday, too long ago

Paradigms of love and longin’
Chase their moments out to sea
Noon-dusk-midnight follows mornin’
The ocean has no memory

Ah, pinin’ is a futile passion
Present-tense our single ploy
We can’t get there from here, darlin’
…can’t return to borrow joy

Oh, I know Time’s no traitor
Nor its purposes made plain
But darlin’,  too long this winter
Steals the song of summer-rain

…’an all I’m askin’ for is something
Softer than the steel-blue clutch
And the raging of a tempest
Caging Time within its touch

…on Winter Street, seems Time has frozen
An’ though I know there’s no such thing
Darlin’, I’m pining for a season
Where the rain-song’s whisperin’

© Janet Martin

Thursday Thoughts

Just as muscles
Scream and groan
As they are strengthened
So it is with


For this could be the day of our Lord’s returning


In dungeons of failure
I dare not dwell
For here is the hideout
For demons of hell


Learn from mistakes
Then forgive and forget
‘Tis mental suicide
To live in regret


‘Tis hard to judge with human eyes

Verily, we all will receive our just reward


Lift up your drooping gaze, my love
and wipe away your tears
On yonder brink of breaking day
an unmarred page appears


When we sink to our knees, boast-broken and weak
At last we are ready to hear the Lord speak


Pragmatic, compliant, flippant, pious, proud
Someday every knee and head will be bowed
We would do well to take earnest heed
to That Destiny where life's highway will lead


A cup of coffee in my hand
makes every mundane moment grand


To a poet
or a heart in love
there are no
mundane moments


...and they ask me what am I doing today
I smile a little and casually say,
'I'm dusting and scrubbing and doing laundry. does one reply, er, um, poetry?'


(Jim's mom just called and asked what I'm up to;) She called to tell me his uncle passed away.) he has laid life's burden down
No tear will dim his eye, no night
His cross exchanged for heaven's crown
As faith becomes eternal sight

On that note...have a wonderful Thursday and KEEP WARM! (I'm off to dust and scrub and, laundry;)


Of Forecasts and Fair Maidens

The weather man just forecasted that...

‘Early sun will yield to cloud’
I wonder, does she willingly
Surrender to the morbid shroud
That snuffs the sparkle from the sea
And plucks the coral from the sweep
Of drifted winter icy-deep

Morning’s maiden youthful, gold
Must put her bright day-dress away
Does she rebel as she is told
To wear instead a robe of gray?
Is she demure or does she wail
Behind a melancholy veil

Early sun will yield to cloud
Though now she spills in merry mirth
And holds her head up high and proud
As golden glory gilds the earth
Before her somber peers accrue
To hide away her gold and blue

© Janet Martin

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Free For the Taking

It was one of those Second-cup days; press repeat:) I promise this is the last one for today!

Once more the hour breaks in two
Before the last half slips from view
Only to refill with brand new
Tick-tock free for the taking

Oh, little life-song softly spun
Dropping in moments one by one
Clock-metered measure; tell me hon,
What is it we are making?

Silver-swift spangled semi-sphere
Lilting of laughter, touch of tear
A penny for your thoughts, my dear
What is it we are molding?

Ah. moment-melded melodies
And golden-gilded agonies
Hon, we are making memories
For thought’s tender-sweet holding

© Janet Martin

Of Hearts and Having and Holding...

Hearts are not meant
To be shuttered and barred
Though having and holding and loving
Is hard

Tis better to love
Suffering romance
Than to die unscathed without taking
Love’s chance

Hearts are not hollows
But harbors of hope
The more that we love, oh the more
We can cope

…and love’s letting go
Is the bittersweet smile
Of having and holding a heart
For a while

© Janet Martin

This morning 'my baby' got up early to make her hair pretty for school; so unlike the old Victoria, but she will turn 13 in a little over a month! This realization sent a fresh jolt of 'holding on' through me, yet we all know love cannot hold what must be let go...


Vast and varied, ink-persuasion
Vexed by nothing but a thought
Intangible rush of passion
Spilling bravely into jot

Artist not of tinted pigment
Where a thousand word-scapes waft
Pen and parchment the lone canvas
To portray oceans of thought

Hurricane held in a levee
Moaning, groaning intercourse
Not of common causes, fleshly
But of soul and spirit force

Fusion of desire and duty
Trembles, tracing every line
Until we can feel the Beauty
That at last word can define

 Breathless capsheaf; awe and hunger
Apex of coveted release
Pinnacle of pen and paper
As the poet finds his peace

© Janet Martin

and I realized, whether house-wife or cowboy, theologian or wanderer, poets share a common hunger to paint passion in word.

The By and By


It’s so hard on these freezing mornings to uncurl from that cozy cover-cocoon

…but, this is not some futile quest
That we traverse from sod to sky
And moments are not mercy’s jest
Painting morning, noon and midnight

The Hope for whom we strive is not
A phantom Thing lost when we die
And what we suffer here is but
A brief prelude to By and By

The By and By; ah, this is where
Faith will unveil what Time conceals
Of promises told in His Word
As reckoning God’s Truth reveals

So we press forward, morn to morn
Knowing death is not our reward
Though unbelievers often scorn
This Awesome Thing told in His Word

Life is a highway, not to death
But to an ageless By and By
And moments are Time’s little breath
Leading to where we never die

© Janet Martin

For some inexplicable reason I woke with this parable being one of my first thoughts …

The Rich Man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31

 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores  and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,  for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When Looking Back

When you have swept the highways clean
And melted from garden and pond
When you have chased the silver sheen
Out to the sky-line and beyond

And oh, when you have tickled bare
The northern half of hinterland
Perhaps then we will soft revere
How beautiful you were, and grand

When you have vented your last gale
And gathered up your bully-breeze
And when this powder-painted vale
Gleams, only in our memories

And oh, when you gentle your greed
Growling at every crease and crack
Perhaps at last we will concede
You weren’t so bad, when looking back

© Janet Martin

For Troy...and every other girl and boy

God thought and He thought
Then, when He was through
He wove from His fingers
A most beautiful you

Your nose and your eyes
Your shape and your skin
Will never be made
Quite like this again

And oh, how He loves you
Not by what you do
But simply because
You are perfectly you

© Janet Martin

Inspired by a very precious boy whose name is Troy.

There is nothing quite as painful for a parent
As hurting for their child.

Evaluation Test

Who I am is not proven
By words, sweet and tender
But its truth is spoken
By what I surrender

Who I am is not stated
By wealth or by price
But its truth is meted
By what I sacrifice

Who I am is not shared
By prideful boast
But its truth is declared
By what I serve most

The clock does not tally
Achievements and such
It unfurls a Ballet
Of taste, treasure, touch

Who I am is not hidden
The hour will prove
As choice becomes action
Whom I most love

© Janet Martin

What is Spring?

is that thing
which smiles away
the garden’s filled
with snow
And where the
ground is
the year’s
first flowers

© Janet Martin

Tangible Optimism

These wishes
Work with one eye on the storm
And the other on a window
Splashed with sun-gold
Grinning charm

These hours
Swept with snowflakes
Cannot freeze Time’s moment-fling
And I know
From past experience
They always lead to spring

© Janet Martin

I’m working at some spring-cleaning early just in case we get an early spring! This is my tangible optimism!
However, cleaning windows? entirely out of question!

Far-fetched and Free

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:Prov.23:7
image source; public form

You came to me, far-fetched and free
And I did not restrain you
But chose instead, inside my head
To grandly entertain you

…and what began as nothing but
A thought unforced, unbidden
Provoked my will often until
It was no longer hidden

And what began as far-fetched thought
Free and un-reprehended
Became the very thing I did
Because I entertained it

© Janet Martin

Good or bad, thought is the precursor to attitude and action…

Our Keeper

 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Matt. 6:26

Ah, ye that first formed everything
Of sky and land and sea
And breathed Time to existence
Where nothing used to be

Ah ye who transcends ‘being’
I AM; beneath, above
Within and out and nothing ever
Greater than Thy love

Ah ye, who knows all reason
Beyond our vision-scope
And offers to our longing
Thy everlasting hope

Ah ye, Father of mercy
Hear these meek words I pray
And fill us with love’s perfect peace
Within Thy care today

© Janet Martin

All you guys down south, bracing for The Big Snow Storm, my thoughts and prayers are with you... J~

Monday, January 27, 2014

In the Fading of the Light

Seems to me there is an hour
After day, before the night
When the world is softly cradled
In the fading of the light
Here blue-gray dons pastel pathos
And the hurried-ness of feet
Pauses ‘neath lone star pavilion
On a periwinkle street

Now the cruel care of living
Takes a tender second-place
For farewell is fondly waving
To a day of heaven-grace
And its skylight gently closes
To the deeper tones of night
Nearer to tomorrow’s roses
In the fading of the light

Here within the hush of ages
Past and present intertwine
As we sense the turn of pages
Where regret and hope align
As redemption soothes our error
We, bearers of human plight
Sense a Hand, immortal, tender
In the fading of the light

Soon the night will snuff its splendor
Ere the morrow comes to pass
As we suffer all things human
Trickling through Time’s ether glass
But, before the dark’s returning
After we have borne the fight
Of another day of learning
Comes the fading of the light

...Someday, when we reach the shoreline
Twixt Time and eternity
As we sense death’s darkness falling
Over this mortality
Then we’ll hear a kind voice calling
Drawing us from endless night
To an everlasting morning
In the fading of the light

© Janet Martin

Winter Picnic-Table

For now
The birds may feed
Upon some drifting seed
That lodges there
Where ice and snow
And cold winds blow
Instead of sunbeams fair

For now
No bare or flip-flop feet
Will pause to rest a bit
No peanut-butter
And jam sandwiches
Enjoyed slow
As we sit
To languish in the high noon sun
Or sample summer-fare
Of garden-goodness
In sassafrass-sweet air
And for now we do not gather
At the supper-hour of day
To exchange love-laughing stories
Where the dappled shadows splay
Or to listen to the jortle
Of the robin and the lark
Sharing watermelon moments
Letting light slip into dark

For now
We let warm memories
And echoes soft re-play
Over winter’s picnic table
Spring is not

© Janet Martin

Cold anyone?
A little warm-up:)

Of Nature's Banjoists and Balladeers

This morning the minstrels deliver snow-song...again:)

Open up our eyes, Oh Maestro, open up our sluggish ear
For the piping song of nature spills into the atmosphere
‘Twould be a sin of grossest greed to blind and deafly pass
Without acknowledgement or heed, the reed that tunes the grass

The choristers of clover-mead and snow-swept solitude
The minstrels clad in sultan-thread attuning winter’s wood
The wild-bloom choir, the vesper fire, the hazy noon refrain
Of locust drone or wild-wind moan or silver-throated rain

How rare the aria  that wafts on midnight’s ether realm
The cockcrow canticle on soft and purple-misted helm
From barren branch to leaf-lace lilt; majestic madrigal
‘ere nature dons the dappled kilt of summer-song and fall

Where is the violin that vexes poplar tress and pine?
The timbrel and the tambourine attuning fair and fine
Her midnight, morning, noon alloy with stunning melody
Filling the air with giddy joy where else sorrow would be?

Oh Maestro of ten thousand, thousand orchestral designs
Dare I to breathe obliviously love’s beauty-blended lines?
Dare I to tread in blind, deaf greed this scope of snow and sand
Without acknowledgement or heed, the reed in Heaven’s Hand?

© Janet Martin

This poem was inspired by the poem below...
I have felt the 'rush' he speaks of. Have you?

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer delivers a daily highlight (aka poem) to my in-box faithfully!
This morning was one of those poems that immediately had to be re-read!
…and I thought oh yes, I know that wild and wondrous feeling…
F'om a real ol'-fashioned banjo, 
Like dat one upon de wall.

A Banjo Song
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Oh, dere's lots o' keer an' trouble 
In dis world to swaller down; 
An' ol' Sorrer's purty lively 
In her way o' gittin' roun'. 
Yet dere 's times when I furgit 'em,-- 
Aches an' pains an' troubles all,-- 
An' it 's when I tek at ebenin' 
My ol' banjo f'om de wall. 

'Bout de time dat night is fallin' 
An' my daily wu'k is done, 
An' above de shady hilltops 
I kin see de settin' sun; 
When de quiet, restful shadders 
Is beginnin' jes' to fall,-- 
Den I take de little banjo 
F'om its place upon de wall. 

Den my fam'ly gadders roun' me 
In de fadin' o' de light, 
Ez I strike de strings to try 'em 
Ef dey all is tuned er-right. 
An' it seems we 're so nigh heaben 
We kin hyeah de angels sing 
When de music o' dat banjo 
Sets my cabin all er-ring. 

An' my wife an' all de othahs,-- 
Male an' female, small an' big,-- 
Even up to gray-haired granny, 
Seem jes' boun' to do a jig; 
'Twell I change de style o' music, 
Change de movement an' de time, 
An' de ringin' little banjo 
Plays an ol' hea't-feelin' hime. 

An' somehow my th'oat gits choky, 
An' a lump keeps tryin' to rise 
Lak it wan'ed to ketch de water 
Dat was flowin' to my eyes; 
An' I feel dat I could sorter 
Knock de socks clean off o' sin 
Ez I hyeah my po' ol' granny 
Wif huh tremblin' voice jine in. 

Den we all th'ow in our voices 
Fu' to he'p de chune out too, 
Lak a big camp-meetin' choiry 
Tryin' to sing a mou'nah th'oo. 
An' our th'oahts let out de music, 
Sweet an' solemn, loud an' free, 
'Twell de raftahs o' my cabin 
Echo wif de melody. 

Oh, de music o' de banjo, 
Quick an' deb'lish, solemn, slow, 
Is de greates' joy an' solace 
Dat a weary slave kin know! 
So jes' let me hyeah it ringin', 
Dough de chune be po' an' rough, 
It 's a pleasure; an' de pleasures 
O' dis life is few enough. 

Now, de blessed little angels 
Up in heaben, we are told, 
Don't do nothin' all dere lifetime 
'Ceptin' play on ha'ps o' gold. 
Now I think heaben 'd be mo' homelike 
Ef we 'd hyeah some music fall 
F'om a real ol'-fashioned banjo, 
Like dat one upon de wall.
This poem is in the public domain.

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) was from Ohio. He wrote his first poem at the age of six, was editor of his high school newspaper, and published his first book at twenty. His writing attracted attention from the very beginning, and Paul became well-known in both America and around the world. Like James Whitcomb Riley, who was a fan of his young contemporary's work, Paul wrote many of his poems in dialect. Besides a dozen books of poetry, Paul wrote four short story collections, five novels, a play, and the first  Broadway musical ever written and performed by African-Americans. A tremendously successful poet whose work was being published in all the major literary publications of his day, Paul's life was cut tragically short by tuberculosis.