Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012


by Charles Baudelaire
We shall have beds full of faint perfumes,
Divans as deep as tombs,
And strange flowers on shelves,
Opened for us under more beautiful skies.
Using their last warmth in emulation,
Our two hearts will be two vast torches,
Which will reflect their double lights
In our two spirits, those twin mirrors.
One evening, made of mystical rose and blue,
We will exchange one flash of light,
Like a long sob, laden with farewells;
And later an Angel, half opening the doors,
Will come, faithful and joyous, to reanimate
The tarnished mirrors and the dead flames.
BIO:  Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a French poet, art critic, essayist, and translator whose innovative style influenced such poets as Paul Verlaine, Stephane Mallarme, and Arthur Rimbaud. A close friend of painter Edouard Manet, he is best known for his collection "The Flowers of Evil."

Thursday, September 13, 2012


by Dawn Pisturino
Somehow, I always miss the yellow moon
That shines somewhere at the end of summer.
I see the stars on their velvet bed, soon
To be lost to the milky-white winter,
But Moon, I only see thee in autumn,
When the air is sweet and pungent with Death.
Then my senses 'waken from their doldrum,
And I long to cling, with icy-white breath,
To thy big, round fullness frozen brightly
In the eastern sky. Then I want to touch
Thy silky-smooth face gazing down nightly;
I want to raise my open hands and clutch
The silvery-white glow falling softly,
Like a satin gown, all around thee.
Dawn Pisturino's Blog:
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Copyright 2012. Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 29, 2012

As I Grew Older

by Langston Hughes

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun--
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky--
The wall.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall,
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!

In Time of Silver Rain 

In time of silver rain
The earth puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads

Of Life,
Of Life,
Of life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth new leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,

In time of silver rain When spring
And life
Are new.

BIO:  Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902.  He incorporated the rhythms of jazz and blues into his poetry, leading to a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1935. He died of cancer in 1967.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Birdie, Birdie

by Dawn Pisturino

Birdie, birdie in the tree,
Are you lonely just like me?
Rise into the morning sky
And fly, birdie, fly!

Tired of the verdant bough,
Hanging low with apples now?
Look, the yellow sun is high.
Fly, birdie, fly!

I wish I could fly like you,
Sing a song or maybe two,
Flutter softly my good-bye,
And fly, birdie, fly!

When the moon began to rise,
I would leave the darkened skies,
Fold my wings where I would lie,
And die, birdie, die.

Up to heaven I would go,
White and pure as new-made snow,
Safe beneath the father's eye:
Fly, birdie, fly!

All the world would miss my song,
Sweet and pure and not too long,
Partly triumph, partly sigh;
Fly, birdie, fly!

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 25, 2012



The grand highway


* * *
An angel runs
Thru the sudden light
Thru the room
A ghost precedes us
A shadow follows us
And each time we stop
We fall

* * *
An appearance of the devil
on a Venice canal.
Running, I saw a Satan
or Satyr, moving beside
me, a fleshly shadow
of my secret mind. Running,

* * *
The Wolf,
who lives under the rock
has invited me
to drink of his cool
Not to splash or bathe
But leave the sun
& know the dead desert
& the cold men
         who play there

* * *
Poet of the call-girl storm

She left a note on the bedroom door.
"If I'm out, bring me to."

* * *
She looked so sad in sleep
Like a friendly hand
        just out of reach
A candle stranded on
a beach
While the sun sinks low
an H-bomb in reverse

BIO:  James Douglas Morrison was born December 8, 1943 in Melbourne, Florida. Tragically, he died from a drug overdose on July 3, 1971 in Paris, France. Although he found fame as a member of the rock group The Doors, his real ambition was to write. By the time of his death, he had written an impressive catalogue of poems, anecdotes, epigrams, lyrics, essays, stories, outlines for plays, and film scripts.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Danse Macabre du Jour -- Stars Fade

I'm happy to announce that my dark poem, "Stars Fade," has been published on

Here's the link:

And my first writer's interview was published March 9, 2012 on

Here's the link:

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Dawn Pisturino

Friday, April 27, 2012


by Dawn Pisturino
Wind, wind, holler and cry,
The windows are shaking, the doors want to fly!
The old tree is creaking, it surely must fall;
The chimney is cracking, bricks, mortar and all!
How everything shudders! I mustn't delay:
We have, it would seem, a tornado today.

May 3, 1986

Au Vent                                                             To the Wind
Souffles, O vent,                                                Blow, O wind,
Dis à mon oreille                                               Speak into my ear
Un doux mot d’amour;                                     A sweet word of love;
Emportes mes rêves,                                         Carry away my dreams,
Rapportes mes souhaits,                                   Bring back my wishes,
Et n’oublies pas, pour toujours,                       And don’t forget, always,
Ὰ chanter une belle chanson.                            To sing a beautiful song.

5 mai 1985                                                            May 5, 1985

pour mon ami, J.J.                                              for my friend, J.J.

Paris, France                                                        Paris, France
 Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Party at Ken Kesey's with Hell's Angels

by Allen Ginsberg
Cool black night thru redwoods
cars parked outside in shade
behind the gate, stars dim above
the ravine, a fire burning by the side
porch and a few tired souls hunched over
in black leather jackets. In the huge
wooden house, a yellow chandelier
at 3 A.M. the blast of loudspeakers
hi-fi Rolling Stones Ray Charles Beatles
Jumping Joe Jackson and twenty youths
dancing to the vibration thru the floor,
a little weed in the bathroom, girls in scarlet
tights, one muscular smooth skinned man
sweating dancing for hours, beer cans
bent littering the yard, a hanged man
sculpture dangling from a high creek branch,
children sleeping softly in their bedroom bunks.
And 4 police cars parked outside the painted
gate, red lights revolving in the leaves.
December 1965
BIO: Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was a leader of the beat generation and the anti-Vietnam war movement. He wrote in the tradition of William Blake and Walt Whitman, heavily influenced by William Carlos Williams and Jack Kerouac.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


by Dawn Pisturino
Springtime struggles to survive
The clasping arms of winter,
Stirring up the honey-hive
And bringing forth the flower.

She hastens to restore the sun:
The melting snows recede;
And when the sap begins to run,
The worm returns to feed.

A flock of sparrows in the sky;
A big, red-breasted robin
Perched to catch a passing fly,
His little heart a-throbbin'.

Daffodils with yellow heads
Bobbing in a row;
Rich brown fields and grassy beds
Waiting for the plow.

Winter, dying in the wake
Of Springtime's warmer rain,
Thaws the river and the lake
And disappears again.

February 21, 1986

Won HONORABLE MENTION award in the Pot o' Gold contest sponsored by World of Poetry, March 1986. Awarded 1986 GOLDEN POET award. Published in World of Poetry Anthology, 1987 and Best New Poets of 1988.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Christ's Sorrow

by Dawn Pisturino
A Sonnet

I was not born for pleasure but for pain;
For blood and thorns and thirst beneath the sun;
And ev'ry man who doubts I am the One
Has lost the only treasure he could gain.
Blasted with hate, betrayed, and marked like Caine,
My fate was sealed; nor was there place to run.
Standing trial and defended by none,
The case was clear; acquittal was in vain.
You hung me high; you nailed me to the cross;
On either side, the outcasts hung with me.
O enemies mine, I died on that hill
With bitterest gall; but mourn not my loss:
You have helped fulfill my great destiny.
My pain is this:--You do not love me still.

September 16, 1986

Won Honorable Mention in New Golden Poetry Contest, World of Poetry. Published in New American Poetry Anthology, 1988. Won 1988 GOLDEN POET AWARD.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Strings in the Earth and Air

by James Joyce

Strings in the earth and air
Make music sweet;
Strings by the river where
The willows meet.

There's music along the river
For Love wanders there,
Pale flowers on his mantle,
Dark leaves on his hair.

All softly playing,
With head to the music bent,
And fingers straying
Upon an instrument.

1907, from his collection, Chamber Music

BIO:  James Joyce (1882-1941) is best known for his unique use of language in such works as Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922), and Finnegan's Wake (1939).  He pioneered the "stream of consciousness" movement which influenced such prodigious authors as William Faulkner and Joyce Carol Oates.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


by Seamus Heaney
from "Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication"

for Marie Heaney

There was a sunlit absence.
The helmeted pump in the yard
heated its iron,
water honeyed

in the slung bucket
and the sun stood
like a griddle cooling
against the wall

of each long afternoon.
So, her hands scuffed
over the bakeboard,
the reddening stove

sent its plaque of heat
against her where she stood
in a floury apron
by the window.

Now she dusts the board
with a goose's wing,
now sits, broad-lapped,
with whitened nails,

and measling shins:
here is a space
again, the scone rising
to the tick of two clocks.

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the metal-bin.

From Selected Poems 1965-1975, published by Faber and Faber

BIO: Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry, Northern Ireland. Considered a major modern poet, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lament of the Irish Maiden

by Denny Lane
On Carrigdhoun the heath is brown,
The clouds are dark o'er Ardnalee,
And many a stream comes rushing down
To swell the angry Ownabwee;
The moaning blast is sweeping fast
Through many a leafless tree,
And I'm alone, for he is gone,
My hawk has flown, ochone, machree!

The heath was green on Carrigdhoun,
Bright shone the sun on Ardnalee,
The dark green trees bent trembling down
To kiss the slumbering Ownabwee;
That happy day, 'twas but last May,
'Tis like a dream to me,
When Donnell swore, ay, o'er and o'er,
We'd part no more, astor machree!

Soft April showers and bright May flowers
Will bring the summer back again,
But will they bring me back the hours
I spent with my brave Donnell then?
'Tis but a chance, for he's gone to France,
To wear the fleur-de-lys;
But I'll follow you my Donnell Dhu,
For still I'm true to you, machree.

BIO:  Denny Lane (1818-1895) was a member of the revolutionary Young Ireland Party which actively sought Ireland's freedom from British rule. He spent four months in prison after the 1848 uprising.

Dedication:  To honor my ancestors, John and Sarah McInally, who emigrated to Ile-du-Grand Calumet, Quebec, Canada from Northern Ireland in 1781. Some of their descendants later emigrated to the United States.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February. Take Ink and Weep

by Boris Pasternak

February. Take ink and weep,
write February as you're sobbing,
while black Spring burns deep
through the slush and throbbing.

Take a cab. For a clutch of copecks,
through bell-towers' and wheel noise,
go where the rain-storm's din breaks,
greater than crying or ink employs.

Where rooks in thousands falling,
like charred pears from the skies,
drop down into puddles, bringing
cold grief to the depths of eyes.

Below, the black shows through,
and the wind's furrowed with cries:
the more freely, the more truly
then, sobbing verse is realized.

Winter Night

Snow, snow over the whole land
across all boundaries.
The candle burned on the table,
The candle burned.

BIO: Boris Pasternak, author of the acclaimed novel Dr. Zhivago,was born January 29, 1890. The book was banned in the USSR but copies smuggled out of the country earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958. He was forced to decline the award by the Soviet government and died of lung cancer two years later.  Although initially admiring Lenin and the "splendid surgery" of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, he later denounced Soviet Communism as inhumane.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cat and Ghost Game

by Dawn Pisturino

It was strange
The way the candle light
Seemed to bounce across the ceiling,
In leaps and bounds,
Like a playful poltergeist
Putting on a show.
In the background,
Where we sat,
The eerie black shadows
Seemed to lie in wait,
Like a big black cat,
Ready to pounce
At any moment
On the poor elusive spirit.
We waited anxiously on the sofa,
A silent audience,
And watched the cat and ghost
Game before us.
The cat lay still before the dancing ghost,
Licked its lips as it watched its prey
Dance closer and closer to Death,
Raised its haunches, flicked its tail,
And with one subtle gust of breath,
Pounced suddenly and completely
Atop the overconfident ghost,
Extinguishing it forever.
We smiled, then closed our lips, drew close,
And pressed them hard together.
Beneath the warm black darkness
Which covered us, like a blanket.
Alone at last, we sniffed
The lingering odor of scented wax
And began a new game, called love.


Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Young Love, Undying Love

by Dawn Pisturino
When I was fourteen years old, I fell in love with my algebra teacher. Teaching silly high school students earned him a living. His real goal? To complete his PhD. in physics.

His curly dark hair shimmered with dandruff, detracting from his coffee-stink breath. He wore wrinkled blue seersucker suits in warm weather and corduroy jackets with patched elbows in cold. Nervous and shy, his hands and voice trembled when he stood in front of the blackboard explaining algebraic formulas to a bunch of disinterested teenagers.

He seemed young and old at the same time. And he had violet eyes—I kid you not! The most beautiful eyes I had ever seen behind a pair of dark-rimmed glasses.

My heart burned with love for this nervous nerd. I adored him throughout algebra and again during Life Sciences. I worshipped the ground he walked, waiting expectantly to catch glimpses of him between classes and after school.

I even wrote him a poem. I forgot it for many years, and suddenly, one day, I remembered part of it.

Bitter Fragment of a Beautiful Dream

My love, thou hast hearkened to my sorrows
Ere the night as ere the day;
Among the grasses of these meadows
Hast thou hearkened to my laughter
Clearly echoing the joy bound in thine heart.
Beyond the hill hath mine hand wept in thine:
Thou wip-ed away the tears.
Beside the stream—how sweetly flows the rivulet wine!—
Thou rejoiced as mine;
We wept for the years,
Since-parted, we knew each other not.
Belov-ed, thou hast planted deep the seed of love,
And how it grows!—
Reaching, reaching for the height of its passion,
But endlessly reaching—
I love thee.
My sweet, thou hast made pure of me a lover.
A burning fire scorches the flesh and tendons of my soul,
Melting fast the waxen candle:—
I love thee as myself,
For I love thee as thyself,
And as one should we destine,
Striving for the highest and deepest aspirations
Of Life!—
Or Death . . .

(Beginning of poem written Spring, 1970 for R.B, remembered Spring, 1986)

You see here, of course, the influences of the great Romantic poets, with whom I was obsessed: Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Byron, and especially, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. How the world burned with love, passion, and death! For love had to end in a tragic, prolonged death. Young love, undying love. Romeo and Juliet. Catherine and Heathcliff.

I found a photo of R.B. in an old high school yearbook. Examining the greasy hair, weak chin, thin body, I could only exclaim: WHAT WAS I THINKING BACK THEN? Romeo and Juliet? Hardly. Catherine and Heathcliff? No way!

I often wonder if he achieved his goal. Is he a Doctor of Philosophy now in Physics? Does he still teach? And I still remember his deep, soul-sinking violet eyes. But not my cup of tea. No, definitely not! But he was my love, my very first love, and I treasure that memory. Always.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

O Thou, England!

by Dawn Pisturino

Away, away in a distant land
More green and mild
Than a summer's day;
More grey and wild
Than an ocean bay,
O thou, England!---Verdant isle of my dreams!
Fallen anew
On the ripened arbour,
Sea mist and dew
Shroud the ocean harbour:
My heart yearns to wade through thy soaking sand
And ramble along thy running streams!

So far, so far---and yet, so near
Thy splendid beauty lies,
A sparkling jewel among the blue
Of ocean, sea, and skies!
And would I could, I'd wish it true,
O thou, England!---How kettles then would madly boil!
Blazing fires would crackle and snap,
Scones would bubble and rise;
Glad would I roam thy wooded map
In harmony with the coveted prize:
Down would I bend to drop a tear
And kiss thy wet and fertile soil.

September 27, 1986
Written for my penpal, Janet, in Chichester, West Sussex, England

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Age of Elegance

by Dawn Pisturino

Velvet, lace, satin,
Silk, brocade;
Long, billowy dresses
With tight bodices
Cut low and alluring.
Fluttering fans
And white hair piled high
As a snow-capped mountain
On heads delicately balanced
On long, slender necks.

Velvet, lace, satin,
Silk, brocade;
Tight breeches
And tailor-made jackets
Elegantly embellished;
Sheer white stockings
Tightly pulled up the legs;
Pilgrim shoes with shiny brass buckles
And scarlet high heels.
Lacy handkerchiefs,
Gold snuff boxes,
And fans conveying
Secret messages to lady loves
And mistresses already married.

Velvet, lace, satin,
Silk, brocade;
Drawing room comedies,
String quartets,
And illicit love-making
In the gold-leaf box seats,
Hidden by gold-leaf grapevines
And golden bunches of grapes.
The Age of Elegance, indeed,
And the Age of Grace.

Dedicated to the Memory of Marie Antoinette

Copyright 2012Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ring Out, Wild Bells

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

BIO: Born August 6, 1809, Tennyson was appointed Poet Laureate in 1850 by Queen Victoria. He died October 6, 1892 and was buried in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey.