The Poetry

Fact is, I've never considered myself much of a poet. Reactions from my readers suggest, however, that I'm too hard on myself. Be that as it may, I've not written a lot of poetry.

And I'll be honest. You're not going to read much of it here.

This is not because I don't want it to be read. On the contrary!

I will not be posting entire poems here (except, maybe, those I write after this date) because I have gathered them into Acoustic Words, my collection of short stories and poems. What I will do, below, is describe each poem in the collection and give you the first couple of lines or stanzas.

Anything beyond that, you'll have to buy the book. The links are below.

Purchase Acoustic Words

Print version: $9.99 USD

Digital version: $7.99 USD

All That's Left to Say

One of my few overtly spiritual pieces (and one of my few rhyming, metrical poems), this looks at the frustration of not being able to put into words what you feel during worship. This is actually a set of lyrics.

Sometimes words of praise are the hardest words to find;

They disappear before they can be spoken.

And all my good intentions to glorify my God

Come to nothing, and the silence is unbroken.

Carnival

This sardonic poem looks at the painful breakup of a relationship in terms of a visit to a carnival midway.

I'll take two scoops of

pain

in a sugar cone

please

Children's Park, South Bronx

A four-part tribute to finding hope in the midst of hopelessness. Because I love you and don't want to leave you hanging in the middle of a sentence, I'm giving you the entire first part here.

There is a city,

     where the tenements,

                    like mountains,

     dominate the land and

     claw at heaven, and

     where the streets,

                    like rivers,

     run black brown yellow and

     swirl with life and death and

     where the children,

                    like butterflies,

     float on shy wings and

     then falter or lie crushed and broken and

There is a valley,

     where the tenement

                    mountains

     loom dark and angry and

     shoulder aside the poisonous sky and

     where the street

                    rivers

     gather in a backwater eddy and

     deposit their burdens of trash and treasure and

     where the children

                    butterflies

     struggle for light and warmth

     at the feet of beasts and monsters.

A Conversation With the Muse

A light-hearted look at the sometimes frustrating creative process.

The Muse

     smacked me upside the head

     And said

     "Write a poem".

Is This Love?

....or is it just abuse? This poem was written to accompany the illustration that serves as the background to this page.

Your hand scythes

     up and down, up and down,

     flickering in the redbluegreen of

     the TV screen.

It's All In How You Look At It

Sometimes that odd perspective on life is not what it seems....

Sunset

melts and swirls in

swashes of blue and salmon and violet -

Lullaby for a Savior

My other overtly spiritual poem, also a set of lyrics, is a bittersweet cradle song for the infant Jesus. You can hear the music in The Music Room.

Sleep, little babe, go to sleep;

dream while you may, pure and deep.

There's a road up ahead where you'll not find a bed,

So sleep, little babe, go to sleep.

October Ride

The relationship between two people, as expressed through the metaphor of a bicycle ride on an autumn day.

We set out on our journey with 

a rattle of chains and

clatter of gears;

You on your new, twenty-one speed Italian racer,

me on my beat up, assembled-in-Ohio

mountain bike.

Two Feathers

A sonnet exploring the spirit of independence in the face of oppression.

Two feathers, gray and pale as autumn haze,

surrender to a listless late spring breeze

and cower in a hot, hard concrete nook.

Winterscape

A brief celebration of some of the sights and sounds of winter.

Breathe deep of air

          snapping against the throat;

Feel tiny needles

          numbing, burning the skin;

Taste cream turned ice -

          iron on the lips.

Baby Steps

I was 11 years old – about 2½ months shy of my twelfth birthday. I was sitting in my 5th grade classroom. I don’t remember what subject we were studying; that would all become moot when the principal of Arbor View School came on the intercom to announce that, just a little earlier that day, the President of the United States had been shot and killed.

 

Up until November 23, 1963, the most notable assassination in American history had been that of Abraham Lincoln. Thus, perhaps, my confusion was understandable, even excusable: I wondered for a moment if the principal were initiating some school-wide memorial to Lincoln’s death (the fact that Lincoln had been killed in April, not November, was a detail that never occurred to me). Then, as he continued to speak, realization and shock set in simultaneously. He was referring, not to someone from the distant past, but to a contemporary figure. President John F. Kennedy had, just that morning, in Dallas, Texas, been killed by an assassin’s bullet.

 

I don’t remember the rest of the day – if we were sent home early or if we carried on pretending nothing untoward had happened but with the undercurrent of this horrific historical event a constant distraction. Nor do I really remember the rest of the week. My parents were staunch Republicans (I remember, just one year later, pulling a wagon through the streets of our suburban subdivision, campaigning for Barry Goldwater with a sign reading “AuH2O” – the scientific symbols for “gold” and “water”, respectively), but this was far bigger than politics. I know we watched a lot of television in the next few days. Whatever else, this was History, with a capital “H”. I remember feeling a certain surrealism during those days, a feeling that was only accentuated when, almost on the heels of the first shock, we watched as Jack Ruby murdered accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in full view of the Dallas police force and the entire nation.

 

Fast forward a bit. I’ve been given an assignment in one of my classes. I don’t recall the precise nature of the assignment, or even which class it’s for, although English seems likely. I don’t even remember what year it is, precisely. It’s certainly after November, 1963, but before I’m to start high school in September, 1966. I’m either 12 or 13 years old by now, and the Kennedy assassination is still fresh in my mind. Whatever the motivating assignment, I decide to write a memorial ode to Kennedy. It will be my first extended, completed poem. And while I would subsequently lose the original manuscript (although I have a sneaking suspicion that it resides in a scrapbook somewhere in my mom’s condo), I have never forgotten the poem.

He Lived No More

The morning had dawned warm in our largest state that day.

The crowd came forth upon the streets, to him their honor pay.

To gaze upon that great man, forward they did pour.

They saw him sit, the saw him wave,

And suddenly, he lived no more.

 

From high above the street that day, from where, no one could see,

A shot rang out. The people froze, like a suddenly calmed sea.

The wave surged back, they stood aghast, he slumped down to the floor –

A sudden gasp, a sudden shout,

And suddenly, he lived no more.

 

The tombs stand cold and stark and still against the leaden sky;

The beat of restless horse hoofs; the caissons rolling by;

The drums’ salute, the bugle’s call; our hearts are saddened to the core.

In this cold grave a man does lie,

When, suddenly, he lived no more.

© 2016 by Stephen M. Larson. Proudly created with Wix.com

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