Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The poetic form *The Pleiades 

*seven six-syllable lines beginning with the letter of the title-word

Perhaps she will fail you
Please, don't misunderstand
Poetry perplexes
Poets with pen in hand
Pacing half-paragraphs
Probing thought-oceans stirred
Painting pictures with word

 Janet Martin

Speaking Out for Truth

 Matt turns 16 on Friday...what is a mother to do?

Dear child, I’d like to tell you
That this world is full of lies
And you must ever be on guard
For wolves in sheep-disguise
It seems that you are growing
Up too fast for my own good
So I would like to set things straight
Like every parent would

Dear child, this life; it isn’t fair
Not everybody wins
And just because we may not care
Does not absolve our sins

Judgment day is coming
God is gracious, life is cruel
Be kind to your neighbor and
Don’t scoff at rules or school

Texting and driving kills
Drinking and driving too
As do ten thousand thrills and ills
Not yet revealed to you

Don’t talk with your mouth full
Brush and floss, ah, you may laugh
But someday if you’re lucky
Folk may want your autograph

…and you don’t want to meet them
With your teeth still full of lunch
Remember; love is more important
Than a six-pack when you crunch

And looking out for others
…gentle words and ready smile
Unlike fabricated fashion
Never will go out of style

Treat a lady like you hope
Someone treated your mother
Don’t be loose with things like kisses
Respect one another

Dare to stand alone
If it means doing what is right
For though you may be scorned
You will be precious in God’s sight

Read the Bible, it’s the only
Infallible truth
Life is short though now you think
You own the fount of youth

Be kind always, always
Someday you may be husband or wife
And habits molded early
Often follow us through life

Pray in the morning, pray at noon
And pray again at night
For it is easy to get lost
If we yield faith to sight

…and God is ever-faithful
Rich or poor can trust His Word
He wrote the most amazing
Love story that man has heard

Live, laugh, love with courage
Be your best self you can be
Don’t forget that Jesus loves you
From now through eternity

…Dear child, I’d like to tell you
To be ever on your guard
For wolves dressed in sheep-clothing
Wrong is easy; right is hard
And it is wise to study keenly
What are lies and what is Truth
There’s a world full of opinion
Waiting to influence Youth

© Janet Martin

I've written the verse below in numerous cards, as my mother did to me because it is hard to ' lean not on our own understanding ' and to 'trust Him with all our heart' no matter our age.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding; 

 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6

On April...

April, though famous for its fool
Unravels silver from its spool
Then every indent is a pool
And every pool a mirror
She spills and fills enchanted nook
With laughter from her unchained brook
And we forget how long it took
To quash her predecessor

April, flighty, double-minded
Matron armed with broom and bonnet
Sun-rain-snow, a vexing sonnet
Testing farmer-courage
She arranges bud on bower
Probes the pod that births the flower
Breaks earth’s bondage with her shower
Wakens winter storage

April, metaphor for Life
Gray and gold, laughter and strife
Where each gritty glance is rife
With hope’s ever-keen yearning
April, Time's bridge twixt white and green
Summer’s rebel, winter’s queen
Wisdom’s wait-wizened in-between
Lent for our humble learning

© Janet Martin

 I dare say  no one here is mourning her passing
and yet, April is rife with blessing...

April at a glance...

This poem was inspired as I read an oldie by Robert Frost which reminded me that April has always been like a double-minded man, unstable in all her ways ;)

Two Tramps in Mud Time or A Full-time Interest
By Robert Frost  (my book dates it 1936 and here it says 1934)

 Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!”
I knew pretty well why he dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of beech it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good
That day, giving a loose to my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And fronts the wind to unruffle a plume
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake: and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn’t blue,
But he wouldn’t advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheel rut’s now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don’t forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
These two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You’d think I never had felt before
The weight of an axhead poised aloft,
The grip on earth of outspread feet.
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the woods two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps.)
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax,
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right — agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For heaven and the future’s sakes.

Reading Between the Lines...

Poetry; the most intimate road between writer and reader.  James Scoles

When we make love out of habit, not heart
We pander with plebeian phrases, fine art
Finger-tip routine and word void of need
Scorns silver-linings with second-rate greed

There is no poetry in worn cliches
Cold, like an ember bereft of its blaze
Darling, how busy our bodies become
Deaf to the music that musters the poem

Surely the laugh-lines of yesterday’s bliss
Longs to replenish our mouths with its kiss
Touch; be the climax of hard-fought foreplay
Second-mile murmurs through guerdons of clay

Beauty is not in the shaping of skin
But bleeds from rudiments somewhat akin
To scarlet-stained front-lines where we over-threw
Common-clad odds to protect what we knew

Darling, let’s undo the air with our eyes
…covet the apex of want for its Prize
For when we make love out of habit, not heart
We desecrate its most venerable part

© Janet Martin


How Much Is an Hour?

 Each Tuesday and Friday mid-afternoon begins The Question; how much longer until Matthew and Victoria come home? and often my reply is 'oh, about an hour'. Yesterday he sighed a big sigh and asked, but how much is an hour?

How much is an hour
Little lad asked of me,
Why child, don’t you know it?
An hour is free

…free for the taking and making of dreams
Free for the tasting or wasting its reams
Free for our laughter or perhaps a tear
Free to be wandered or squandered in fear
Free walk once around the clock
Free to be kissed, hugged or frittered in thought
Free to our labor and free to our play
Free to wee child or to sage, bent and gray
Free-fall of hope and opportunity
Free phantom nugget of ‘almost-memory’
Free frame to fill with whatever we do
Free Wonderful as I spend it with you

How much is an hour, dear child at my knee?
Why, the whole world over an hour is free

© Janet martin

Calling It More Than Day

PAD Challenge Day 30: today’s prompt, write a “calling it a day” poem

The outer edge of almost night etches skylines of dark on light
Its chief appointment of mere air defeats determination’s stare
And we cannot bond to our touch the hour ere time’s quiet clutch
Reclaims its gasp of gifted grace into that phantom holding place
Of history and memory and all that nevermore will be

We are its troubadours where Want’s storehouse of thought implores
To minute-hand and moment-sphere and season’s spitting year on year
This doggerel twixt life and death impresses to each granted breath
The Imminence of recompense trembling in Time’s deliverance
Of black and white and almost night before that first and final Flight

We simply call it Night and Day; this dallying on Life’s highway
Leads not to tombs or holding rooms; its smattering of broken blooms
A testament of greed and need and Mercy for which all men plead
As we tread more than moment-lore to that supreme, Ultimate Door
…how gossamer Time’s gilded string links eons to each evening

© Janet Martin

I was suddenly struck by a surge of Time; its breadth designed
in morning prayer and breakfasts where 
children leave out-grown shoes behind...

Farewell April 2014

Our wearied optimism reaches past this cold, gray day
Spring charms that we envisioned have been pinned on sleeves of May
For April did not flatter us with honey-golden guile
But scattered flurries where we dreamed of daffodil-drenched isle

April unleashes her farewell in phlegmatic downpour
We do not mourn her passing as we haste her through the door   
For our misconception of a bonny green-eyed lass
Has waned; and now to merry May we lift hope’s polished glass

Dear April, please do not consider us vulgar or rude
We do not want to shoulder long this morose attitude
But oh, the farmer hungers for the thrill of furrow-dust
How long must we be patient, pleading for anointed trust?

The gardener is waiting with perfection planted dream
The poet pines for music of dusk’s amethyst requiem
The lad inside the window wonders when the rain will end
While mother murmurs prayers and platitudes to be patient

Farewell then, fretting shower where the flower waits to bloom
May waits to strum the hour with froth-cloth of petal plume
We wait to till earth’s thoroughfare and plant its field once more
But first we kindly usher April out through Time’s back door

© Janet Martin

After the storms in the central/southern states the past few days (thoughts and prayers are with you) it seems trite to even almost grumble or be negative but this April/ winter and spring so far has broken numerous records NOT on the sunny, warm side. We had one or two truly warm, pleasant days in April; not enough to dry fields and allow farmers to plant at all! Still, God is in control and we do not want to question His order…

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Come, Come where Blossoms Bloom

 (click link to see gorgeous blossom)

Come, see where blossoms bloom
Before the sweet of fruit
And leaf returns to root
Hope spills its half-bud plume

Come, stroll where dreaming roof
Is fraught with fragrant flow’r
Before the bleeding bow’r
Bends low with harvest-proof

…and here we, arm in arm
‘neath virgin canopy
Of what is yet to be
Taste youth in all its charm

Come, come where blossoms bloom
Too soon the fruit will fall
Its musky madrigal
Filling thought’s holding-room

© Janet Martin

Perfectly Blue

PAD Challenge Two-for-two Tues; Write a realism poem Write a magical poem

That magical moment
Clear out of the blue
When my heart skips a beat
At the thought of you

Jolt to reality
…bittersweet bliss
The grand realization
Of what no longer is

Tick-tock proof tango
Perfectly blue
One part me
The other part

© Janet Martin

Caught in the Becoming of You...

  • Write a realism poem. A poem that is rooted in the real world. Or…
  • Write a magical poem. A poem that incorporates magical or fantastical elements

No abracadabra will bring you to me
No wand can rearrange history
Nor can I fold with a wink of my eye
Miles gaping cold between you and I

No spell can force from your lips thought unheard
Laughter and love are not tricked into word
Black-scarlet cape, the illusionist’s cloak
Cannot obliterate horrors we spoke

Night is a deep velvet hat, but the years
Cannot reverse where its dark disappears
Thought-blood of sorrow is not red, but blue
Its potent river unscathed by voodoo

You are unreachable, no hex or charm
No metamorphosis manifests form
Ethereal harbor of mystic appeal
Time’s transformation from real to surreal

I’ve never touched you and yet you become
My every whisper and deed I have done
Darling, you tease me with echoes; your kiss
Ravaging eons of what no longer is

I cannot gather you nor hypnotize
That which is bent on streamlining your sighs
Yet here in my hand your threads tremble, gold-gray
Waiting to weave your corpus; Yesterday

© Janet Martin

Monday, April 28, 2014

Matrix of Memories

Poured into the mold of Moment
Supple season-serenade
Tick-tock shell; ethereal advent
Of a memory being made

Trip and tumble, wander, squander
Dredging deeps and skimming surf
Touch and treasure, moment-measure
Time's touch-down on transient turf

Wish and wonder, pray and ponder
Free-fall from a fount of air
Sip and savor, Mercy’s favor
Spills and fills in half-breath fare

Drip and dangle, silver spangle
Garnishing laughter and tears
Sanguine sorrow none can borrow
Brushing bygones into years

Poured into a mold of Moment
Sacred, soundless sparkles sift
Matrix of tender-sweet torment
Where a life of memories drift

© Janet Martin

I was out putting cages around pink peony-points peeping through the earth:)! 

Suddenly an over-whelming sense of bittersweet washed over me as I recalled tugging them out, tossing them on a pile, tasting tears of letting go as I was re-living moments of summer, wedding, life etc...

Settling Matters

 PAD Challenge day 28: write a 'settle' poem

Sun settles twixt shadows
Dew settles on grass
Thought settles on matters
That soon too shall pass

Want settles on nothing
Dust settles on sod
Where rain settles dust
Hope settles on God

Love settles on others
Lust settles on Self
Time settles in pages
On history’s shelf

Sea settles twixt shorelines
Hen settles on brood
Trust settles on something
Not yet understood

Kiss settles on lips, love
Hearts settle on chance
Alone love, we hunger
Together we dance

© Janet Martin

Beneath the Leaning Sky

PAD Challenge day 28: Write a settled poem

When morning strikes her match
Beneath the leaning sky
It seems to me we almost catch
A twinkle in God’s eye
For Goodness is not cupped
In midnight’s yearning deep
And where dusk’s settled verdicts supped
Now virgin hours leap

Beneath the leaning sky
Where morning’s yesterday
Delighted and bereaved our sighs
Grace kindly lights our way
And from God’s vaulted thought
Beyond mortal mind-grasp
He sweeps our yesterday to naught
And settles it as Past

It seems to me we catch
A glimpse of paradise
As Mercy unfetters a latch
In dungeon-darkened skies
The dust of practice runs
Has settled; on Time’s shore
Pardon bestows another dawn
Like none ever before

A twinkle in God’s eye
Hope’s hallelujah spills
From ebony to gilt reply
Across celestial rills
Benevolence delights
The air as midnight-chains
Dissolve; God settles Mercy’s sights
Where time and hope remains

© Janet Martin

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Where Dark and Light Collide

PAD Challenge day 27: write a monster poem

You slink between whispers
And hide beneath pillows
Tireless fiend, you torment and impose
Ill-favored presence
Wherever the essence
Of faith-flicker falters; you flaunt grim unknowns

You mock and scorn
Where Hope, tear-stained and torn
Clutches a candle and kisses dark seas
Devious fraud
As your sickle, a god
Unto the wicked, draws faith to its knees

Skeletal carcass
Wherever the dark is
Here, in your glory you unleash your breath
Pitiless reaper
And merciless schemer
Gathering souls for a harvest of death
We could not chance
Morrow’s imminence
Save for One greater to comfort and cheer
In vain you lash
Seething where demons thrash
For Faith in God grounded is greater than fear

© Janet Martin

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Shortfall of Mortal Love

Love, I would give you everything I have to have and hold
And promise ‘we’ will be enough until I’m very old
The wanting for your touch I pray would never fill or wane
Nor would I suffer very much if love should cause my pain

Darling, the satisfaction of man-woman melded heart
Would be enough forever, but for Love’s intrinsic Part
And just to have you need me would be its immortal prize
Its thrill my hallelujah and its kiss my paradise

Sweetheart, when love lives long enough it is life’s greatest wealth
For it has stood the test of time in sickness and in health
And as I run my fingers over lines betraying youth
I covet years to learn and earn its covenanted truth

…yet oh, for all the beauty that love’s have and hold imparts
It cannot placate wholly the hunger of human hearts
Love, I would render everything I have, to thee entrust
But, there is no salvation in a love twixt dust to dust

© Janet Martin

Mercy's Monument

You can never leave
Though our eyes no longer touch
Where once we held the Prime of life
And Innocence and such

You may think time forgets
Because distance expands
From miles and hours into years
Of echo-stricken sands

Love holds while it lets go
Farewell is not despair
But mercy’s muted monument
Of love turned into prayer

© Janet Martin~

Living Water

PAD Challenge day 26; write a water poem

We weigh our will with wanting
And weep that we are cursed
With intransigent taunting
Of begging, bleeding thirst

We stuff our cheeks and plunder
 Earth's bread-crumb luxuries
While groaning as we wonder
What will this thirst appease?

Our pockets bulge with bondage
The well of transient bliss
Lures us, like eager children
To drink its emptiness

We clamor for sweet nectar
To quaff our guilt and greed
Is there nothing but water
To fill this mouth of need?

Will we, for all existence
Be damned to drink in vain?
The hollow of resistance
Our perpetual pain?

Hark; hope pours from Love’s fountain
Spoken to sinners first
Pure, precious words of Promise
To satisfy our thirst

A Well-spring from within
And everyone who drinks from it
Will never thirst again’

© Janet Martin

Brewed Bliss

 PAD Challenge day 26: write a water poem

Water is wonderful
just as it is
But brew it through Brazilian beans
and you get

© Janet Martin

Small and Mighty...

 PAD Challenge day 26: write a water poem

You didn’t say a word
As I spilled wrath’s disgrace
But the rebuke that roused my shame
Was written on your face

My foolhardy revolt
For all its brash veneer
Was silenced by the reprimand
Of one wee, bitty tear

© Janet Martin

Friday, April 25, 2014

All That We Have Is Today

Time is a treasure we cannot steal or borrow
And we do not know what will happen tomorrow
Ever the fortune that no one can tell
All that we have is Today; spend it well

Time is the patriarch of bygone years
No one can cage it; it just disappears
Ethereal Presence without form or face
Yet ever and always Today; gift of grace

Mute moment-merchant; no barterer he
Tick-tock allotment of favor; full, free
To beggar and baron alike will befall
Time’s equal portion, Today; that is all

Time is a breath-by-breath measure of grace
Who can foretell it or its steps retrace?
Century-boast yet its breadth none can say
All that we have of its thread is Today

© Janet Martin

Ah, Word...

Ah word, what worlds you wield
What wonder you impart
You spill your ink-fraught yield
From fathoms of the heart

Ah, word, we trace your trove
To hear the soundless sound
Of breakers crashing on a cove
Of shoes on holy ground

…of gondolas at dusk,
Or city-streets at noon
A word can spell the colors of
The azure eyes of June

Ah, word, you whisper where
The eye a thought descries
We read, deciphering with care
What word is Truth or lies

Ah, Word, we touch Thy page
Where God’s voice changeless, sure
Proves faultless still from age to age
Its promises secure

© Janet Martin

So much to read, so many opinions, much inspiration, beauty, ugliness…

Here, in God’s Word there is no deciphering between truth and lies.

Of Burden and Beacon

Here upon time’s season-fallow
We are called, not to employ
Moments for a moment’s measure
But for love’s eternal joy

Here upon thorn-thistle canvas
Ripe with dread and black with doom
We go forth; and pray Lord willing
Here and there a little bloom

Sorrow spills its solemn season
Laughter thrills our lips, ere strife
Bleeds its burden, still Love’s beacon
Breaks the dark of death with Life

Hope and heartache intermingle
This will ever be our fight
As the Love of God eternal
Lights our candle with His Light

Here upon Time’s season-vapor
We are called, not to despair
But to trust and praise our Maker
As we light hope’s wick with Prayer

© Janet Martin

Now Let Me Speak Frankly...

I'm shivering as I write this. A cold, raw wind screams outside my door and howls at every window...

PAD Challenge day 25: write a 'last straw' poem.

You keep wrapping your arms ‘round about me
Your sense of humor is wearing me thin
That five-o’clock shadow has lost its allure, love
Oh, how you vex me with your rebel-grin

Find for your pleasure another dance-partner
I hate glass slippers; their beauty is cold
As are your kisses; ah, how my mouth misses
Warm, willing whispers wild with green and gold

You strut your stuff in gray coat and galoshes
Bold and belligerent, cocksure and cool
I pity you, foreigner to flower-gardens
Sun-swaddled shorelines or drinks by a pool

Hey, one man army of churlish advances
Stumbling and screaming outside my front door
Take your battalion of stormy side-glances
You are not welcome here anymore

…yet, you keep wrapping your arms ‘round about me
Bent on rekindling some deadened delight
Dear, old man winter, now let me speak frankly
‘Our friendship is over, get out of my life’

© Janet Martin

There is Something 'bout a Morning...


There is something ‘bout a morning with fresh color on the air
Well, it fills my heart with wonder and my mouth with humble prayer
For the Keeper of Time’s hours in His pity for our state
Did not bar the earth from Heaven’s eye or fetter Mercy’s Gate
But with infinite compassion patience lavishes the sky
Dawn unfolds Love’s invitation from a Hand none dare deny

There is something ‘bout a morning that renews hope’s song within
See, His eye has not forsaken us in spite of our sin
And we are never called to suffer or to shoulder living’s load
Above that which we are able; morning-tide unveils the road
As the Keeper of Time’s hours lends a step-by-step embrace
And He never will forsake us; morning magnifies His grace

Yes, there’s something ‘bout a morning pouring through the thinning deep
That inspires us to journey on beneath its Giver’s keep
For Love did not seal against us that which we have failed to do
As His gracious arm defends us with a morning fresh and new
Thus we touch with sacred worship this pittance of Time and dust
Light replenishes the darkness, unknowns wait; in God we trust

© Janet Martin
 The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."…Lam.3:22-24