Poets’ Brew – January 2021

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Elaine Smith

Fractured Rondeau, 2020

In Covid’s bitter
pandemic winter,
we falter
under this leaden sky,
a still omen of ice.

Will December’s Solstice promise
of February’s light
release our fractured lives
from Covid’s bitter lessons?

Will spring and summer
weave torn threads
of divided selves,
of our divided country,
and bring citizens out
of this bitter Covid winter?

Leon Petty

Codebreaker August 26, 1892 – October 31, 1980

It is so funny that Elizebeth Smith Friedman started out
trying to decrypt Shakespeare
because her daddy errantly thought that Shakespeare’s manuscripts
had been written containing a Baconian cipher
A thousand hours of futility
ironically leaving behind
such a great gift

and after being so great
after saving thousands of lives
to die without fanfare
in the anonymity of a convalescent home
The poem of her life
secreted by the government
for 62 years

But then, the older I get
the more I can see
how greatness is overrated

Genius is always all around me
and it is impossible to separate myself from it
I just have to break the codes to see it
but somehow
I get myself sucked into the mundane
sucked into thinking that
every moment is not a miracle
sucked into being like everyone else
when obviously it is
and obviously I ain’t

So maybe as I write my poems
I too can be this code breaker
Maybe I can say to the sorrowful and perplexed world
to the troops and to the supplies and to the over laden Queen Marys
as you catch a glint of a poem
the breaking of life’s enigmas

Ian Ritchie

Old Books

He sits with me upon the front porch swing,
the phantom of my friend. He teaches me,
imparting words in ink to me, to bring
his wisdom to my eyes that they might see
a universe of old, (though really all
the same– is nothing new under the sun?)
He is my brother, I am fain to call
on him, communing till the daylight’s done,
when shadows swallow from my view his words,
the thoughts divine, and ghosts of older years,
when God and men of God and slaves and lords
together shared in darkness want of fears.
Yet here in want of light he must depart.
Perhaps at dawn he’ll light to me impart.

Terry E. Lockett

New Year’s Day

“Like the swift flight of a sparrow.” Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England

I told the sparrows
it was New Year’s Day.
Those Devil-May-Cares!

They hopped on last year’s snow
with pitchfork feet,
then breached, on taunt wings,
the sempiternal air.

Polo Muñoz

    Jan. 20, 2020
    Yakima, Wash

The last lights of the evening
break down over the hills
wine sleeps in the mist
of the vineyards.

Oh, my beloved Yakima
in your land I am anchored
until the last fire of my blood.

Here I am with no belongings
neither memory

I count my yesterdays
waiting for the last vertigo
of the winter.

Only Death
can interrupt my vigil.

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