A Midnight Violation


I preface this poem with an apology should it provoke any memories in my dear readers of similar abuse. It is never my intention to cause pain.  On the contrary, I offer my love and compassion, and yes, my hope for healing by bringing into the light secrets that grow and fester in the dark. I dedicate this to my younger sisters, who I love and cherish dearly, for the countless midnights stolen from their innocence. And to all victims of this senseless abuse. There is love and hope beyond the pain ~ Dennis

Image

Bathed in an ethereal light
this child has no skin in the game
yet her trust holds demands
she cannot bear.

The creak of her bedroom door
snatches the sleep from her eyes
and in the darkness, horror descends;
her pillow, once soft and warm,
betrays her and once under, now over,
muffles her surprise.

Beneath his weight, she dissipates -
her cries muffled in the night.
Her fright smothers – she gasps for air
and he’s still there, grinding her
fragile hips into dust.

God looks on, and in His fashion
does nothing to intervene;
a celestial voyeur.

Stuffed animals bolt to the floor
one after the other, and with them
descends lost innocence;
her face laced in spittle, and she’s so little.

He rolls over, spent and condemned
as blackness descends to fill her.
Nothing is as it seems, but not a dream.
Tears wash away the vision of
this violation.

He rises as she plummets;
this child painted with the smell of
cigarettes and cheap liquor.

Morning filters through frosted panes
but she finds no warmth in the rising sun.
They’ll be no accounting for this sin
and no childhood left within this shattered
shell of a child. A darkness, deeper than sleep,
envelopes her lost innocence, as the
morning’s breeze carries the cry of angels.

An Ode To the Children of Syria


Image“For Justice all, or none to have,
half-measures will not matter
Beneath the sword of Damocles
our heads upon a platter
We fight so that the future sees
our chains, slave-forged, now shattered.
We’ve offered up our innocence,
ascending heaven’s ladder.”

The price of freedom comes not cheap
It’s why the village women weep
Sweet daughters and their native sons
Lie dead beneath the setting sun

Old age will never call their names
Nor will they play their childhood games
They gave their lives that we might live
No greater gift could children give.

For Allah gathers to His chest
The angels here we lay to rest
He carries forth into darkest night
These stars to hang that shine so bright

As painful as this fight may be
It now comes back to you and me
We have no children left to pay
The price demanded of this day

Oh, Sweet Liberty, our hearts succumb
To the constant beat of Freedom’s drum
With swords drawn high we heed the call
In battles pitched we give our all

Yet still we fear the sting of death
The drawing of our final breath
Immortalize our children’s names
Within a hot and forging flame

 

 

Letting Go


Image

Slip away my son, your night has come
As this day unwinds the sorrow
And do not fear the bells you hear
They ring a bright tomorrow

See the stars above, shining bright, my love
It reveals a path for you
Take one step to be heaven bound and free
Your spirit’s been renewed

It has been my boy, the utmost joy
To hold and love you true
If I must let go, you must surely know
How proud I am of you

Take my hand my dear, and feel me near
Let go these earthly hollows
Feel the light within as you now ascend
And know that I will follow

 

We Are the Reason


reason

There is a reason birds don’t fly here anymore.
The skies are filled with fear and lamenting,
and their wings are covered in blood and ash
– bones falling from the sky.

The deer no longer nurses her fawn
in the de-forested wood, and the fish flounder
and die in dry riverbeds
.
The gardens are choked with a villainous vine,
while the petals of every flower fall
one by one to the rotting ground.

The mountains no longer echo with the songs of valley life,
and the oceans lie still, lifeless beneath the moon.
The dimming stars no longer ignite the imagination,
and the sunrise is muted behind a veil of smog and filth.

There is a reason our lifeless children
have abandoned hope in their futures
and restricted their “friends” to Facebook.

There is a reason our churches stand empty,
except to mourn our dead and send them on their way.

There is a reason we scream instead of sing; why
we sleep alone and lock ourselves behind bolted
doors; why we embrace our guns instead of our neighbor.

Our cities crumble beneath the weight of hatred and
indifference, while greed feeds upon the impoverished.

We have deigned to wear the robes of God and we have
failed. We turn from one another in vile contempt for we
cannot bear the reflection of ourselves in their wounded
eyes.

We have consumed it all, and in the process, we
have consumed ourselves.

We are the reason.

 

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


grief

A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky above
the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

grief 2

In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
A flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap
next to a crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed
with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

 

An Ode to Syria’s Freedom Fighters: the Children


SYRIAN-CHILDREN-640x468

     For Justice all, or none to have, half-measures will not matter
    Beneath the sword of al-Assad our heads upon a platter
    Fight until our people’s chains, slave-forged, now timely shatter
    We’ve offered up our innocence, ascending heaven’s ladder

The price of freedom comes not cheap
It’s why the village women weep
Sweet daughters and their native sons
Lie dead beneath the setting sun

Old age will never call their names
Nor will they play their childhood games
They gave their lives that we might live
No greater gift could children give.

For Allah gathers to His chest
The angels here we lay to rest
He carries forth through darkest night
These stars to hang that shine so bright

     For Justice all, or none to have, half-measures will not matter
    Beneath the sword of al-Assad our heads upon a platter
    Fight until our people’s chains, slave-forged, now timely shatter
    We’ve offered up our innocence, ascending heaven’s ladder

As painful as this fight may be
It now comes back to you and me
We have no children left to pay
The price demanded of this day

Oh, Sweet Liberty our hearts succumb
To the constant beat of Freedom’s drum
With swords drawn high we heed the call
In battles pitched we give our all

Yet still we fear the sting of death
The drawing of  our final breath
Immortalize our children’s  names
Within a hot and forging flame

     For Justice all, or none to have, half-measures will not matter
    Beneath the sword of al-Assad our heads upon a platter
    Fight until our people’s chains, slave-forged, now timely shatter
    We’ve offered up our innocence, ascending heaven’s ladder

Award Winning Poems from AllPoetry


allpoetry-winter

I recently held an extremely challenging round-robin poetry contest at AllPoetry.com. Each poet was given the same photo prompt and asked to compose a poem, in any style, to support the prompt. The following poems were the award winning finalists from that competition. Please follow their  title link after reading their poems, and leave them a well deserved note of appreciation. Congratulations to all of these fine poets extraordinaire!

479

CHILDREN OF CHINA
by Stuart McCabe, All rights reserved

Wars woes betide young youthful sprouts,
life’s melancholies holds no restraint,
Witnesses to few winters, virginal innocence no
shield against life’s lashing lance,
Death’s caress naught but a bayonet stroke away;
blade and blood soon to acquaint,
Empire’s sun rising, servitude, slavery,
children of China now lives in Showa’s manse.

Shadows be the cradle of their birth,
under the Rising Sun does darkness come,
Blade point to their hearts and mothers’ bellies,
death comes before their birth,
Bayonets slick with blood; child visceral bathing
in Nanking’s flames; bedlam,
On children’s backs Empire treads upon,
dominion assured, sating Tojo’s mirth.

Blood runs down the Yangtze River,
crimson on the Yellow Sea; China bleeds,
Slaughter’s symphony sing in every salvo,
children’s chorus silent; death’s crescendo,
Battle lines drawn, tyrants’ grip slipping;
in shadows burrows communism’s seeds,
Mao’s revolution reaching far, heeded;
young hearts hear his name; free from Shinto.

East Ocean devils defeated;
China’s newborn star eclipsing Empire’s dying sun,
War won; orphans know not a peace,
in red their future; blood, Marxism, Cold War,
Enola Gay’s Little Boy takes history’s glory;
China’s pain suffers infamy’s omission,
Soviet Bear to the north, bald eagle circles;
enemies, foes China’s children will abhor.

479

TEARS FOR NAGASAKI
by Mark Andrew James Terry, All rights reserved.

As winter came like summer frost,
he sang sincere daijoubu,
and softly cuddled sense of dread,
her whimper’s tearing for the dead…
no home, no life to go to.

One second’s unpinned umbral urged
our fury’s fuming cauldron.
It seared through bodies, atoms-purged,
and forty-thousand souls emerged
to gather near their children.

That moment froze in disbelief
to life’s denuded breathing.
The young boy’s song, a sad motif
in quiver’d chant, was no relief
to rife and anguished seething.

In knowing lives can vaporize
to end a fight, we theorize
brutality’s finality,
then live in anonymity,
avoiding Hibakusha eyes…
the ones who lived where terror lies.
O when will evolution overtake
our tendency to so forsake?

479

CONTINUANCE
by Chrysanthy, All rights reserved.

I

there are times
I feel I’m drowning
in the midst of chaos
fear and agony seize
my core existence
and desolation threatens
devouring the depths
of my embodiment
it is in these times
you are nearest to me
every inhalation
renewing life
desperately I cleave
endless devotion onto you
for only through you
can life’s aspirations
ever be replenished

II

and though darkness
approaches
fear not
for beauty lies there in
withal
even as we bathe
in tears of injustice
filth and sorrow
this inescapable nemesis
we will conquer
and over throw
hold fast onto destiny
fortuity is by our side
triumphing
over ruination

III

every teardrop
surrendered
a prescription
for misfortune’s
architect
carrying eternal death
execute
anathema’s abomination
upon
this phantom wraith
devour and paint him
into anonymity
from
manifestation
giving adversary
what is due

IV

holdfast
till day light
shines upon us
once again
tender moments
and memories
reminisce
celebrating
the brevity of life
allowing
love’s embrace
a birthplace
two hearts
transient vessels
in search of
everlasting love

479

HIS EYE
by Mary Lou Healy, All rights reserved.

i
Two sparrows
beneath the hand
of fate.
Does the omniscient eye
behold need
or does it blink
and look away?

ii

Life offers choices…
to accept the solace of belief
in a benevolence
that oversees;
or to know the loneliness
of your singularity
in a vast universe.

iii

A guiding hand
that shelters,
that traces a path to follow
is security;
yet the soul is strong
who charts his own course
through infinity.

iv

Cry out to the heavens
and listen long
for an answer
that does not come…

except in the heart
of the believer.

Cathedral of Shame


The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger) becomes final Thursday. After meeting with the cardinals, he departs via helicopter to the papal retreat south of Rome. His abdication of the papacy, however, pales in comparison to his abdication of the truth in the issue of molestation within the church. His legacy will be forever tainted for his abject failure in addressing and attempting to right this terrible wrong. Shame on him.

My poem below, “The Cathedral of Shame” underscores the lingering pain and shame of those who fell victim to this horrific sexual scourge within the Church. Try as they might, many have tried to return to the fold, but until these crimes are fully owned by the papacy, most of these efforts at reconciliation will become epic and painful fails. Perhaps the next Pope will possess the courage Ratzinger lacked, and will take ownership of the Vatican’s complicity in these sordid crimes against youth. Let’s hope so, because, until they do, the abuse of the body will only be compounded further with the abuse of denial.

The chances are slim, however, that any meaningful redress will arrive with the new pontiff. This is, after all, an institution that took hundreds of years to issue what ultimately amounted to a lukewarm apology for the Great Inquisition, and has yet to take any responsibility for the bloody atrocities of the Crusades. Let’s hope that the addition of the Age of Molestation doesn’t replace the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost with the aforementioned Trinity of Complicity.

cathedral

Cathedral of Shame

It was never my intent to return to this place
dark halls of betrayal, and lacking in grace
Lustful intentions, like geysers of steam
scald memories ‘neath mahogany beams

Yet I come on this day to recapture my soul
To quiet the screams now three decades old
Black flowing robes with collars of white
Incensed chambers to the left and the right

The bones of saints litter this brothel of sin
While confessions absolve the evils of men
The innocent novice here silently cries
Behind red velvet ropes of cardinal lies

Like lambs sacrificial to the altar are led
While the pure hearts of angels are quietly bled
I kneel before God, but my prayers silent fall
In the shadow of Christ in this candlelit hall

The peace that I seek here doesn’t exist
Where the holiest men refuse to resist
Hail Virgin Mary, full of sweet grace
Help me to rise and get out of this place

Our Youngest Patriots


A boy watches men dig graves for future casualties of Syria's civil conflict, at Sheikh Saeed cemetery in Azaz city

The price of freedom comes not cheap;

it’s why the village women weep.

Sweet daughters and our native sons

lie dead beneath setting sun.

They gave their lives that we might live;

no greater gift could children give.

Old age will never call their names,

nor will they play their childhood games

For Allah has gathered to His chest

these angels here we lay to rest.

For the Child


Who will love for the child when the child can’t love?
When the trust that he seeks is so needlessly shattered,
And he’s come to believe that his love doesn’t matter.
Who will love for the loveless child?

Who will cry for the child when the child can’t cry?
When his innocence, like his toys, lay broken,
And his spirit is crushed with a harsh word spoken.
Who will cry for the tearless child?

Who will laugh for the child when the child can’t laugh?
When the laughter he craves turns quickly to fear,
And his smile fades, and his voice disappears.
Who will laugh for the laugh-less child?

Who will care for the child when the child doesn’t care?
When his needs are ignored and his tears fall most freely,
And he shivers when held and clings oh so dearly.
Who will care for the care-less child?

Who will do all of this when the child isn’t able?
Who will offer him love and a place at the table -
To feed and to clothe and to offer him love,
To stand by his side when push comes to shove?
Who will do all of this with a slow, healing hand?
If you’re willing and able….perhaps you can.

The Homecoming


The royal robes of winter’s night tightly bind me
in its blue-black grip; and shadow of majestic mountains
kneel on the banks of frozen rivers, its cracked ice,
like braided lace hemming the barren valley floors.

An amber moon spills bitter glow through naked branches
like brittle fingers clutching a button-less cloak.
Icy winds whip swirls of fog across lifeless lakes,
and on broken wings doves fall from a voiceless sky.

In a distant village, old ladies warble lullabies
to their dying husbands; soft verse cutting like
jagged blades through thick cherry smoke,
bleeding from pipes clenched in broken teeth.

The children, with bellies as round as their joyless
eyes, feed upon fermented peaches and dance
on knitted bones, playing hide and please, don’t seek.

I have walked a lifetime to return to this, my kingdom,
stretching as far as the blind eye can see.
My head is crowned in a spray of dying stars
as my spirit is drowned in muted prayer.
My hobbled feet were cut upon jagged stones -
This is my doomed destiny; my home made in hell.

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky
above the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
a flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap,
next to crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

An Infinite Pain


And they will say, “At least he’s not in pain anymore.”

Really?

I have left this world just as I was beginning
to understand my role in it. I will never experience
the wonder of new lands, nor will I ever listen to the
crashing of a wave against the shore. I will never again
hike the wooded forests, or climb a lush green mountain.

I have widowed my wife and whisked away her best friend.
I will never feel the softness of her lips; hear the laughter in her voice.
I will never share with her my deepest secrets, nor will I receive hers.
I will never love again as I have loved.

I have taken my children’s father away
before they were even halfway home.
They will grow, and marry, and have children of their
own, children who will never be gathered into their
grandfather’s arms. In time, they will forget me
altogether.

I have ceased to be a friend, forever,
to those I held dearest. When my name is called, I will
not come. When I’m needed most, I will not come. I have
taken so much, and will never be there to return the favor.

I will never feel the warmth of the sun
upon my face, or smell another fall as it rustles in. I shall
never shower in a spring rainstorm, nor will I taste another
snowflake in winter.

In what alternate universe does any of this mean I am free of pain?

To spend eternity in certain knowledge that I have failed everybody
and everything that I hold close in this life? I would rather live racked
with the physical pain of cancer for the remainder of my life than to
steal away a single day from those I treasure most.

Do not say, “At least he is not in pain anymore.”

My pain is infinite. My sorrow will bleed through the ages.

The Sacrificial Child



Let not secrets fall outside these walls;
Ignore this child’s anguished call -
Don’t trouble me none, with your tellin’ tongue,
May a silenced voice save us all.

Oh, sweet child of mine, now is not the time
to be breakin’ down in tears.
Your father’s touch didn’ hurt you much,
and he’s gettin’ on in years.

I’m your mother son, and it troubles me some,
this fear you’ve seem to got.
I may turn away when ya’ll come to say,
“oh, Momma, make him stop”

Yes it grieves me some, that you’ve come undone,
jus’ keep it in your chest!
I know how you feel, just give it time to heal
And we’ll put it all to rest.

Got a call, my boy, from your school, my joy,
sayin’ you broke down in tears.
Don’t you know, my love, that come push to shove,
I’ll deny your tender fears.

You took your life my sweet, now the secret sleeps,
Let death now set you free.
Find your peace, my love, in the stars above,
and say a prayer for me.

I’ve five more to raise, and a thousand ways,
to keep it’ all within.
Please don’t blame me, sweetness, for my incompleteness,
And my part in this sin.

Descent into Silence


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caught in a flame, and scorched by fire
The searing heat of dark desire
A life for most part innocent
Now lay shattered, scorched, and rent
And on this day to never set
The Sun reveals what she can’t forget
There are no tears still yet to fall
For in this act, she lost it all
What still constricts this child’s laughter
What further harm awaits hereafter
Horrors endured in silent fear
One day stretched out into a year
A year to ten, and now a life
Lies severed by one day of strife
And now confined behind a wall
In silent screams, we watch her fall
Into a pit of pain and bile
All to whet a taste most vile
Malevolent and deadly sour
Another child lost to baseless power

Lost Innocence


Like a child’s lost innocence
that time and nature steal away,
without the slightest reverence
or sympathy for child’s play.

So do we, in love’s all knowing
pay once more this price for growing.

We brush away our young one’s tears
when life becomes demanding,
and offer in those tender years
a gentle understanding;

Yet we as lovers, slaves to passion,
lose our touch for such compassion.

We dream as children, trouble free;
careless nightly visions
as children’s dreams were meant to be
before life’s cruel revision.

That lover’s can’t makes perfect sense
for dreams belong to innocents.

Our children have so much to teach
and we so much to learn:
that childhood beyond our reach
is innocence lost, and common sense earned.

Life must demand this sacrifice,
but still, it hurts to pay it twice.