The Floral Guests by Irena Pasvinter


The Floral Guests

The blossoms flew upon the wind
and landed all around:
a few got caught among the leaves,
some finished on the ground
and, trampled by the passers-by,
they were pink no more;
but others reached the balconies,
a couple for each floor.

A cleaning lady wiped them off,
without a second thought.
A child marveled at the blooms,
then tore the pinkish lot.
A man with dying cigarette
searched for the guilty tree,
and an old woman softly said,
“You’re withered, just like me”.

It was young mother, rushing through
another crazy day,
who smiled at the floral guests
before they flew away.

by Irena Pasvinter, first appeared in Ariel Chart

Editor’s Note: This sweet poem is enhanced by the meter and rhyme, and just what is needed to clear the mind after reading too many dire headlines.

An Ode to Poison by Irena Pasvinter


An Ode to Poison

In shadow depths of wild woods
A flower grows amongst the trees,
So marvelous the blossom looks —
Delicious food for hungry bees.
Don’t stop to breathe its magic smell
Or touch its lovely petals. Go!
Or, stricken by its deadly spell,
On mossy carpet you shall fall.

On crumbling leaves of dusty books
A poem flows amongst the prose,
So marvelous it sounds and looks —
Delicious food for hungry souls.
Don’t stop to savor it but leave.
Don’t read, don’t listen, but depart,
Or, stricken by its fragrant grief,
Forever changed shall be your heart.

by Irena Pasvinter

Editor’s Note: The clever near repetition of the first stanza primes the reader for the second, but then the last line unexpectedly cuts open the heart with truth.

The Spring Will Come by Irena Pasvinter


The Spring Will Come

The spring will come, as always, full of hope,
With promise of new life and new beginnings—
The happy shit… It always does, you know,
In spite of all your black and tragic feelings.

The spring will wink at you amidst the death
And cut with sunshine through the darkest cloud.
It cannot raise the dead, but ask no less—
The spring will promise anything, no doubt.

And if it won’t work out as you asked,
Don’t blame her but the subsequent seasons.
To keep the promise isn’t vernal task—
The spring is here for all the other reasons.

So just wink back at her, and trudge along,
And drink the air—through the mask, if needed.
The spring has come, but she won’t stay for long…
But then one day she will return, unheeded.

by Irena Pasvinter

Editor’s Note: Iambic pentameter leads the reader through this poem with delightful ease, while the message circles from the beginning and then back again.

Two Pawns by Irena Pasvinter


Two Pawns

Your pillowcase is white and mine is black.
Our heads are resting, pieces on a chessboard:
Two pawns, one fast asleep and one awake,
Recuperating after daily labors.

The pawns, what do they dream of? Do you know?
To fall in battle? To delay the deadly fate?
I bet they long to reach the final row
And morph into a queen — then check and mate.

And we, what do we dream about tonight?
There are no magic rows in our game.
I’m not a queen, you’re neither king nor knight.
Life has no rules it cares to explain.

Let’s just enjoy the play. Forget the ending.
I dream not to remain the last standing.

by Irena Pasvinter

Editor’s Note: Personification and metaphor drive this poem’s narrative until the closing couplet where the speaker’s vow reflects a very personal wish to cling tight to those we love while we can.

Chestnuts on Pushkin Street by Irena Pasvinter


Chestnuts on Pushkin Street

Remember the giant chestnuts
Along our Pushkin Street,
And how we adored in the autumn
To hunt for them, brown and sleek?

My chestnuts would go into battle
In rows on the floor in my room,
And yours — I don’t know where they settled.
Remember the chestnuts in bloom?

No chestnuts like these in my country:
New home, new trees and new ways.
I picked up a few in Milano,
These gemstones of childhood days.

In Paris they are not the same,
The edible kind, you know.
Madrid — found some, but too lame —
The good ones still needed to grow.

There are no more chestnuts, I hear,
These days along Pushkin street.
In dreams they still bloom, never fear…
I gather them, brown and sleek.

by Irena Pasvinter

Editor’s Note: The rich narrative lines of this poem support a somewhat somber tone, especially evident in the closing line.

Grammar Twins by Irena Pasvinter


Grammar Twins

Two strange creatures Who and Whom
Emerged from primal grammar doom—
Mischievous twins without means,
With lust for complicating things.

Who stuck to He and Whom to Him.
It proved to be a perfect scheme:
Nobody knew if Whom is Who
And how to tell between the two.

They married, on the same day,
The Ever twins, as grammars say.
Two fine monsters they begot,
The Whoever-Whomever lot.

Since then life is forever tough
For those who deal with grammar stuff:
The dynasty of Who and Whom
Delights in breeding mess and gloom.

by Irena Pasvinter, first published in Every Day Poets

Editor’s Note: What better poem than this one to remind us that language is always moving into more interesting, bothersome, confusing, helpful, and surprising directions?

Articles Extinction by Irena Pasvinter

Articles Extinction

On this tragic night when articles died
Few people noticed and nobody cried,
But as morning slowly got on its way,
Linguistic skies turned depressingly grey.

Words stuck in throats, sentences stumbled,
Grammar growled at syntax, idioms grumbled,
So that by time of evening floss
Mouths got sour with taste of loss.

“Oh, never mind,” polyglots said.
“Who cares if article creatures are dead.
Latin or Russian don’t deal with this scum.
Let’s conjure declensions — it’s gonna be fun.”

They started declining, but linguists prevailed,
“We’ve still got word order. You should be ashamed!”
Yet some shady writers were openly thrilled,
“No articles? Fine — less darlings to kill.”

As tensions grew higher, police intervened.
Declension leftovers were urgently cleaned.
Emergency measures strongly advised
To use “one” and “this” from strategic supplies.

And so life continued, largely unblemished.
Only scientists wondered why articles vanished.
Theories flourished, brilliant and lame,
But somehow nothing was ever quite same.

by Irena Pasvinter, first published in Slink Chunk Press

Editor’s Note: This delightful poem employs personification, meter, and rhyme to convey a clever story about grammar and linguistics. Writers find this sort of thing highly amusing.