Poetry Sunday

April is National Poetry Month and we want to hear from East Shore’s poets. This Sunday we celebrate our creative writers.

Author Unknown


Has it burned out on its stage,
In a fire and fury of individualism?

Or is there one last breath
In this moment… on breath?
Of hope left in us

Can we stop competing for
Who among us is right
Or solely privileged with the truth
In this ongoing exchange

Where are you Universalist?
Will heaven rise up again in us?
Is there no hell, or, no heaven?
The fight to preserve heave is
In the hands of, you, Universalist

Where are you Unitarian?
Are we now left fractured by a million, no three?
Or is there a single truth for which we all strive?
IF God is One, a singularity, then where do we stand?
It must only be together, united as One…
Even if only in faith.

Will hope rise again in this age of narcissism?
Is this a battle to the death, best MAN wins?
Alone with nothing by incinerated dust of all
The good burned during the battle, to keep our privilege, our wealth?
Or, is it true that all are created equal?
With a needed re-writing of this declaration.
Will hope rise again?

Our heritage has a burning ember –
A birth mother upon which to build a flame.
A global community of hope,
Signifying more than nothing on this rock.
A rock that will not be silent –
As long as we breathe.

We must decide to be good,
To be or not to be, with the best “self” we can be.
Because the alternative trumps all
If we do not, in this moment, breathe in the good
And out the poison gas of our own exhaust

The biggest challenge is to face our own mortality,
And still choose to be truly good to each other
When it truly does not benefit any-one,
To sacrifice privilege

Beware the one ring that united them all
Or, so we have learned from Tolkein.
So that, instead we can practice love and be good.

Wealth, power, privilege, and our
Own narcissistic story, is the last breath

Of Hope?


by Barbara Cheatham

That woman over there is planting
seedlings down in rows and
weeding ‘round her marigolds
as if it mattered.

Presently she’ll stand and
press a hand against her back;
her face is shadowed by a battered hat.
There Is pain; she has a cancer.

Things grow. Given water
by the gardener or her daughter,
the marigolds will bloom without her.
Why, then, does she bother
when it isn’t going to matter?


Layers of Knowledge
by Jeanne Lamont

Understanding racism is like peeling an onion
First, most of it grows deep in the ground where you can’t see it
Use your strength and sever its roots to pull it into the light
Seeing the tunic, the outer layer, is just the beginning
Peeling each scale layer gets harder to tolerate
layers of unequal and separate
of culture exploited and wombs stressed
of pipelines to bars and shot hands up
now gerrymandering as the new Crow
You must keep peeling the layers
Going deeper in your knowing.
The stench will overwhelm
peeling the layers of intolerance and you will cry
Once you have exposed the onion
the smell of injustice is in your skin, in your hair, in your eyes
No matter how hard you try, it cannot be washed away
It is part of your home long after you cannot see it
Understanding racism is like peeling an onion
It is part of the recipe of America’s melted pot


Moon Shine
words by Wenda Collins
music by Eric Lane Barnes

moon shines
moon lines
I write lines in
alabaster and silver
wavy lines on
my clean white sheets
making dark and dusky
mysterious shadows.
Silver lines
from shimmering moons
in dark indigo skies
I write in moon lines
alabaster and silver,
the light lines of my life.


Childhood Stories
words and music by Peter Hiltz

We gather close together
we reminisce and tell
the stories of our childhoods
when our dreams began to jell
When we foresaw a ladder
of hopes and schemes and dares
leading up into the clouds
and castles in the air

The creatures of our dreaming
returning to our thoughts
are precious handholds back in time
to which our mem’ries caught
Back then we were much younger
and thought we could become
the heroines and heroes of
the songs that we’d heard sung

Now that we are older
those childhood mem’ries come
the dreams of what we’d do
the songs which we’d have sung
And some of us succeeded
some who took the dare
to climb the ladder of those dreams
into the starry air

Others left their dreams behind
and sang another song
distracted by another goal
to which they now belong
tonight we’re back together
comparing notes and schemes
what we’ve done and where we’ve been
compared to childhood dreams
what we’ve done and where we’ve been
compared to child


Riff on a Lyric
adapted by Walter Andrews from a poem by Baki

When you’re gone—damn it hurts—my heart’s an exile,
Wounded, alone, and burning,
Peering through my chest’s
Iron bars and yearning
I’m weeping till my eyes flow with blood
On and on and on…
When you’re gone

I’m impaled on a dagger of grief
When you’re gone
Peace and patience catch the last wailing train
To annihilation…
Its headlamp lights the tracks, a flaming torch
Of separation
When you’re gone…

When your’re gone,
I’m not worth a red cent,
A freebie in the shopping mall of discontent

When you’re gone, I’m parched,
lips cracked and dry
Crawling in a desert of how to and why
Seeking the oasis of reunion

When you’re gone,
I’m not well
On my sickbed, a living hell,
I twist and turn, missing you
When you’re gone…
When you’re gone


The View from the Ridge of Studhorse Hill
by Barbara Van Dyke-Shuman

The lake in the shadow of the hill
Reflects the dark of the night sky
Like the frog in the bottom of the well
Who thinks the circle above him defines the sky.
The meaning of this purple
Like the frog’s vision,
Is respite, sorrow,
Safety from the joyous sun-slants.
Give me all to see:
The frog, the lake,
The slanting gold on Stud-horse hill.


At Kalaloch
by Barbara Van Dyke-Shuman

The beaches at Kalaloch are paved with flat round stones
Sorted carefully according to size:
Loaves, pancakes, flattened eggs, dinner mints.
Twice daily, the skilled fingers of the tide
Order this arrangement; resting each against the other,
Tipped westerly, smooth faces
Serenely gazing out to sea. Stumbling,
I spoil this perfection, as they gladly shift
Clacking softly, merrily on their sandy bed.
I pick up one perfect disk, then another.
My coat pockets bulge with my booty.
I lie, guarded, behind the silver log
Where the stones sprawl careless and flat
To the sun in untidy sand. I close
My eyes and store this life-medicine to be used
Flamboyantly against the tight city days ahead.


Doing Therapy
by Fran Corn

Receiving –
Receiving, rejecting, receiving
and correcting.
Giving, receiving, and connecting
Choosing –
to receive
to give
to accept
to connect
over and over
with words
and tears
Knowing –
that neither of us has the
answers, we know it together
and not being afraid to give
the “not knowing”


If I Were Hafez, I Might Have Said…
adapted by Walter Andrews from Gazel #3 by Hafez

Should that fair Seattle barmaid take my heart in hand
For a mole black on her cheek I’d trade Bellevue and Mercer Island
Give me, lass, another glass full of your endless wine
We’ve lakes and seas and cherry trees not found in realms divine
Oh damn those sweet and flirty girls who cause us such unrest
Each took our peace of heart in gift much like a potlatch guest
For this imperfect love of ours true beauty finds no place
What need of hue, and mole, and down has the perfect face
So talk of wine and song forget life’s meaning for a little
For none will solve, not now or then, the secret of this riddle
Potiphar’s wife thought Joseph looked good and better from day to day
I knew that love would rend her veil, lead modesty astray
You trashed my name in public—fine—to lovelies it’s a sport
For ruby, sugar-eating lips to give a sour retort
My life, my love, the young…fortune-blessed, all fair and bold,
More than life itself respect the wisdom of the old
You wrote a pearl of a poem on a girl, like Hafez recite it please
And onto your verse the heavens will strew a necklace of Pleiades


Poem for a Child Lost and Found
by Barbara Van Dyke-Shuman

When I said your name
I saw only a void
You were the word “cloud” in “cloudless sky”.
Over years you became
the “not is”, the unbodied
The sound of the bell not ringing.
You were the limitless absence
The vortex reflecting only itself
The essence of you had drifted away
Like vapor..
Were you? Ever?
And now, you are!
While I thought you were gone
You were always there:
The scent of clean,
The artist’s negative spaces
The rest-stop of musical grammar
The silence at symphony’s end
The void between the stars.
Now I see what you have done:
Brought the night sky into the room of my heart.
You, who had been nothing,
were no-where and endless.
Absence made this heart.