Champ Speaks by Christine Potter

Champ Speaks

I’m old, but I was glad to move my den.
My humans made my bed next to the fire—
a comfort on these winter mornings when
The South Lawn doesn’t beckon, and the choir

of shutter-clicks and shouted questions wear
me down. These days I run my best in dreams;
let Major ’s woofing end up on the air.
This good boy understands that all regimes

begin and then they end. You humans choose
your dogs and cats and Presidents, and put
them in this house to charm the world—or snooze,
like me, the dog who didn’t break Joe’s foot.

Real wisdom’s seldom something loud and fleet.
An old dog knows the fireside is sweet.

by Christine Potter

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Amazon Author Page

Editor’s Note: Doggie wisdom is always more intelligible than the blather humans tell each other.

From the archives – February by Jean L. Kreiling

February

From leafless branches etching crooked lines
against the sky—scars coldly cut across
a bloodless cheek—some poets weave designs
of desolation, stories laced with loss.
They find in webs of winter-blackened limbs
the shapes of emptiness and elegies—
but those who see the stuff of requiems
miss what another eye obliquely sees:
the rugged grace of living filigree
that scrawls a promise on the open air,
a craggy silhouette of constancy
that tacitly rebuts boot-deep despair.
Though darkly drawn, these etchings may impart
the vital signs at winter’s still-warm heart.

by Jean L. Kreiling

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 19, 2015

Photograph by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – The Kiss by Gregory Palmerino

The Kiss

Something is cast in beauty that receives
the mind and won’t let go: it seems as fine
as sunlight dappling beneath the eaves

or yellow jasmine fragrant on the vine,
and you, with florid lips and furtive eyes,
inviting me to cross that whirlwind sign;

it keeps compelling me to recognize
this look of yours, in half a measure’s time,
is only half of splendor’s sacred prize.

For music sought inside this holy rhyme,
the scent of flowers, and the taste of wine
all flee to me from Rodin’s cold sublime—

when last I tempt that spell and cross that line
then take your hand and press your lips to mine.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 21, 2017 — by Gregory Palmerino

Sculpture by Auguste Rodin courtesy of Rodin Museum

Moving by Gail White

Moving

How difficult it is to move
even from simple place to place,
how hard to pack the books, to shove
the cat into its carrying case;

how hard to sit in Airport-land
through one more endless flight delay
while Trebizond or Samarkand
sits half a universe away;

how hard to get the papers filed
that separate you from your past,
newly and legally enisled,

and yet, and yet my father’s last
great journey out of self to shade—
how easily and quickly made.

by Gail White, first published in Measure

Editor’s note: Sonnets often say the hardest things with the most ease.

A New Year Begins: An acrostic sonnet by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

A New Year Begins: An acrostic sonnet

Adieu to Twenty Twenty! Now it’s gone,
New hopes arise for what we could soon share:
Emancipation from a marathon
Withdrawal of companionship and care.
Yet ending this pandemic with vaccines
Entails their distribution planet-wide——
An end to loneliness in quarantines
Requires the rich to help the poorer side …
Below the radar, or behind the scenes,
Essential workers toil, and in return
Get all too scant support, while those of means
In comfort stay secure with scant concern …
New Year must face a truth the old laid bare:
Society’s most free when it’s most fair!

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

Editor’s Note: Hello 2021! Might as well start off with a poem that rhymes ‘vaccines’ with ‘quarantines’—not something you see everyday in a sonnet.

From the archives – December by Jean L. Kreiling

December

Arriving modestly, without a sound,
the first snow of the season fills the night
with tiny flakes of other-worldly light
that settles in pale patches on the ground.
The stone-cold air turns flannel-soft, transformed
by small wet stars that fall and thereby lift
the eye and heart—a fragile, frozen gift
that leaves our spirits fortified and warmed.
Another silent night may come to mind,
another star, another gift, but He
need not be sought as heaven falls to earth
in icy, cloud-spun pieces that will find
the pious and the pagan, equally
anointing all who see the season’s birth.

by Jean L. Kreiling

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, December 2, 2015

Photograph by Christine Klocek-Lim

Put to Shame by Jenna Le

Put to Shame

How funny that the bedroom it hurts least
to write about’s the one in which the beast
that is my body felt the greatest pain:
the room where nurses came time and again
to stick my green-blotched upper arms with needles
whose sting would last whole minutes while in fetal
posture I’d cringe away, my eyes squinched shut,
the room where intravenous lines would jut
into my elbow creases like insistent
inquisitors on orders from some distant
nefarious lord to torture me, to not
allow my arms to bend, to undercut
my wish to lie face down…. It’d hurt still more
to write about that other, clothes-strewn floor.

by Jenna Le

Editor’s Note: A single emotionally excruciating sentence spans thirteen lines of this sonnet, interrupted only by the shocking pivot of the volta into the reader’s skin.

Overnighter by Phil Huffy

Overnighter

In sleep she opens up her battered case
and finds within that rugged portmanteau
dark recollections years cannot efface,
although the waking mind has let them go.

Behind those dormant eyes her thoughts compete
to artfully assort and so define
conundrums with most answers incomplete
to which she does not consciously incline.

And when she stirs, resurgent as the day
and life resumes with rest obliquely got,
in truth, some things she thinks are packed away
are carried in the heart as much as not.

And so to dream can grant benign surcease,
permitting her to rise and go in peace.

by Phil Huffy, first published in Pangolin

Editor’s Note: The stellar iambic pentameter and rhymes of this sonnet perfectly support the extended metaphor introduced in the first stanza.

Scandal by Barbara Lydecker Crane

Scandal
Madame X, by John Singer Sargent, Paris, 1843-4

At last, when she allowed me to depict her,
this married beauty linked to love affairs,
the critics brayed I’d broken every stricture–
her brazen stance, décolleté, her air
aloof–as if with scorn, her head is turned
aside. She flaunts herself and yet withdraws,
a self-preservation I have learned.
Beyond this daring portrait, did I cause
reproof for what in me I must conceal?
Despite the furor, I did not take this out
of public view. The work is vital, real–
and over time, its scandal gave me clout:
what once made Paris critics blanch and fret
now flaunts its beauty at the New York Met.

by Barbara Lydecker Crane, first published in Think

Editor’s Note: This ekphrastic sonnet gives voice to the artist and art history simultaneously, with impressively rhymed lines. Also, if you’ve never seen this painting at the Met, I highly recommend it. It’s luminous in person.

Thé Dansant, 1895 by Mitchell Geller

Thé Dansant, 1895

The crisp eroticism of the waltz
is infinitely sexier to me,
(although admittedly inclined to schmaltz)
than tangos from the Argentine could be.
The strong 3/4 of Lehár and of Strauss—
libido under bombazine and lace:
tumescent tunes—unlikely that they’d dowse
the flames that flush décolleté and face.
A final sweep around the ballroom floor—
the swelling horns, the throbbing of the strings.
A dance-card filled: no room for any more,
and febrile words that make a heart grow wings.
Her breathlessness required smelling salts—
I blame the man, the music and the waltz.

2004

by Mitchell Geller

Editor’s Note: As a lifelong reader and writer of romance novels, an amateur ballroom dancer, and a lover of classical music, this sonnet is an absolute delight to read.