Friday, December 5, 2014

Yuletide Joy

by Thomas Hardy
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel!
"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know."
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
The trees are all bare not a leaf to be seen
And the meadows their beauty have lost.
Now winter has come and 'tis cold for man and beast,
And the streams they are,
And the streams they are all fast bound down with frost. 
'Twas down in the farmyard where the oxen feed on straw,
They send forth their breath like steam.
Sweet Betsy the milkmaid now quickly she must go,
For flakes of ice she finds,
For flakes of ice she finds a-floating on her cream.
'Tis now all the small birds to the barn-door fly for food
And gently they rest on the spray.
A-down the plantation the hares do search for food,
And lift their footsteps sure,
Lift their footsteps sure for fear they do betray.
Now Christmas is come and our song is almost done
For we soon shall have the turn of the year.
So fill up your glasses and let your health go round,
For I wish you all,
For I wish you all a joyful New Year.
The king sent his lady on the first Yule day,
A papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away!
The king sent his lady on the second Yule day,
Three partridges, a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away!
The king sent his lady on the third Yule day,
Three plovers, three partridges, a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away!
The king sent his lady on the fourth Yule day,
A goose that was gray,
Three plovers, three partridges, a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away!
The king sent his lady on the fifth Yule day,
Three starlings, a goose that was gray,
Three plovers, three partridges, and a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away!
A king sent his lady on the sixth Yule day,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was gray,
Three plovers, three partridges, and a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away!
A king sent his lady on the seventh Yule day,
A bull that was brown, three goldspinks, three starlings,
A goose that was gray,
Three plovers, three partridges, and a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away!
The king sent his lady on the eighth Yule day,
Three ducks a-merry laying, a bull that was brown --
                                                                      [the rest to follow as before]
The king sent his lady on the ninth Yule day,
Three swans a-merry swimming --
                                         [as before]
The king sent his lady on the tenth Yule day,
An Arabian baboon --
                                         [as before]
The king sent his lady on the eleventh Yule day,
Three hinds a-merry hunting --
                                         [as before]
The king sent his lady on the twelfth Yule day,
Three maids a-merry dancing --
                                         [as before]
The king sent his lady on the thirteenth Yule day,
Three stalks o' merry corn, three maids a-merry dancing,
Three hinds a-merry hunting, an Arabian baboon,
Three swans a-merry swimming,
Three ducks a-merry swimming,
Three ducks a-merry laying, a bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was gray,
Three plovers, three partridges, a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away?
Yule: Christmaspapingo-aye: peacockgoldspink: goldfinch
Dawn Pisturino

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ode to the West Wind


by Percy Bysshe Shelley
O wild west Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odors plain and hill:
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh, hear!
Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aery surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulcher,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh, hear!
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,
Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,
All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh, hear!
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to paint beneath thy power, and share
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be
The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My Spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O, Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
BIO: Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) attended Oxford but was expelled for circulating his pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism.  He married Harriet Westbrook in Scotland, where he was heavily influenced by William Godwin. He became intimate with Godwin's daughter, Mary, and married her after Harriet committed suicide. They moved to Italy, where he met Lord Byron and wrote the bulk of his works.  In 1822, he drowned in the Bay of Spezia near Livorno.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Limericks

Limericks by Dawn Pisturino
A girl who ate spiders for lunch,
Found shiny black widows to munch.
The poison contained in their bodies remained,
Giving that girl quite a punch!
July 12, 2011
More Spiders
A girl who liked spiders to eat,
Found poisonous spiders a treat.
Their sweet-tasting nectar
Began to infect her,
Turning her into dead meat!
July 13, 2011
Spider Cider
A girl who liked spiders inside her,
Washed them down with a very fine cider.
"Two parts cyanide makes them slither and slide,"
She wrote to her secret confider.
July 13, 2011
The Sorcerer from Beijing
A sorcerer born in Beijing,
Found a magical jade dragon ring.
It breathed out green smoke,
Transforming that bloke
To a blood-thirsty cannibal king!
July 14, 2011
A killer rampaging a town,
Ran into a carnival clown.
The clown drew a knife
And took that man's life,
Then started a spree of his own!
July 16, 2011
The Witch and the Burglar
A witch flying home on her broom
Spied a burglar trashing her room.
"I'll get you for this!" she said with a hiss.
His head was soon found in Khartoum.
July 17, 2011
An Uppity Cat
A cat who liked veggies and cheese,
Refused to eat mouse canapés.
"I just can't abide that tough, hairy hide.
I'd rather eat onions and peas!"
July 16, 2011
A Nasty Old Gnome
A nasty old gnome name o' Bill
Liked to puncture old teeth with a drill.
He gathered some bones from a graveyard he owns,
But that skeleton wouldn't sit still!
February 5, 2012
Copyright 2011-2014 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dirty Donald

Poem by Dawn Pisturino
Artwork by Jason Smith

Dirty Donald!
His hair, full of lice,
Grows down to his shoulders,
A haven for mice.
His teeth are all rotten,
Mildewed and black,
His tongue is so long,
He could pass for a yak.
His breath stinks of corpses
Dug fresh from their graves,
A delicate morsel
He constantly craves.
He glares at the ravens,
Surrounding his head,
With murderous eyes,
Pronouncing them dead.
Then yanks out their feathers
And nibbles their toes,
Lining them up
In neat little rows.
His clothes are so tattered,
The buzzards all say,
"What a fine looking fellow!
Let's eat him today!"
July 3, 2011
Published on Underneath the Juniper Tree, July 17, 2011. Read it here.
Published in the August 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree. Read it here.
Copyright 2011-2014 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hist Whist

"hist whist" by e.e. cummings,
illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray
hist      whist
little ghostthings
little twitchy
witches and tingling
hob-a-nob      hob-a-nob
little hoppy happy
toad in tweeds
little itchy mousies
with scuttling
eyes      rustle and run      and
whisk      look out for the old woman
with the wart on her nose
what she'll do to yer
nobody knows
for she knows the devil      ooch
the devil      ouch
the devil
ach      the great
(from his collection, chansons innocentes)
Edward Estlin Cummings, better known as e.e. cummings, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894 and became renowned for his experimentation with poetic language. He died in 1962.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Return

by Ezra Pound
See, they return; ah, see the tentative
Movements, and the slow feet,
The trouble in the pace and the uncertain
See, they return, one, and by one,
With fear, as half-awakened;
As if the snow should hesitate
And murmur in the wind,
and half turn back;
These were the "Wing'd-with-Awe,"
Gods of the winged shoe!
With them the silver hounds,
sniffing the trace of air!
Haie! Haie!
These were the swift to harry;
These the keen-scented;
These were the souls of blood.
Slow on the leash,
pallid the leash-men!
An image of Lethe,
and the fields
Full of faint light
but golden,
Gray cliffs,
and beneath them
A sea
Harsher than granite,
unstill, never ceasing;
High forms
with the movement of gods,
Perilous aspect;
And one said:
"This is Actaeon."
Actaeon of golden greaves!
Over fair meadows,
Over the cool face of that field,
Unstill, ever moving,
Host of an ancient people,
The silent cortege.
BIO:  Born in Hailey, Idaho on 30 October 1885, Ezra Pound taught at Wabash College for two years, until he became the London editor of "The Little Review." He was immensely interested in travel and poetry, especially Chinese and Japanese poetry. These Eastern influences are clearly discernible in his own poetry, which is known for its clarity, precision, and economy of language. In 1924 he moved to Italy, where he became involved in Mussolini's fascist movement. When he returned to the U.S. in 1945, he was arrested for treason.  Acquitted in 1946, he was declared mentally ill and committed to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he remained until 1958.  Ho profoundly influenced the writing and careers of such noted poets as W.B. Yeats, Robert Frost, William Carlos William, and T.S. Eliot.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sing Me a Lullaby

Sweet and Low
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the Western sea;
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the Western sea;
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon and blow,
Blow him again to me,
While my little one,
While my pretty one sleeps . . .
To the Evening Star
from Wagner's "Tannhauser"
O thou sublime sweet evening star!
Joyful I greet thee from afar.
With glowing heart that ne'er disclos'd,
Greet her when she in thy light reposed.
When parting from this vale, a vision,
She rises to an angel's mission,
When parted from this vale, a vision,
She rises to an angel's mission.

When at Night I Go to Sleep

from Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel"

When at night I go to sleep,
Fourteen angels watch do keep:
Two my head are guarding,
Two my feet are guiding.
Two are on my right hand,
Two are on my left hand.
Two my asleep attending,
Two awake me bending.
Two point out when I arise
The way to heavenly paradise.

All Through the Night

A Welsh Lullaby

Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee,
All through the night.
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night.
Soft, the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping.
I, my loved ones' watch am keeping,
All through the night.

Angels watching, e'er around thee,
All through the night.
Midnight slumber close surround thee,
All through the night.
Soft, the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping,
I, my loved ones' watch am keeping,
All through the night.

Brahms' Lullaby

by Johannes Brahms

Lullaby and good-night, with roses bedight,
With lilies o'er spread is baby's wee bed.
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed.
Lay thee down now and rest, may thy slumber be blessed.
Dutch Lullaby
by Eugene Field
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,--
Sailed on a river of misty light
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,"
Said Wynken,
And Nod.
The old moon laughed and sung a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish,
But never afeard are we!"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
And Nod.
All night long their nets they threw
For the fish in the twinkling foam,
Then down from the sky came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
'T was all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folk thought 't was a dream they'd
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock on the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three,--
And Nod.

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall (2014)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Poems by King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII
The Time of Youth is to be Spent

The time of youth is to be spent,
But vice in it should be forfent.
Pastimes there be, I note truly
Which one may use and vice deny.
And they be pleasant to God and man:
Those should we covet when we can,
As feats of arms, and such other
Whereby activeness one may utter.
Comparisons in them may lawfully be set,
For, thereby, courage is surely out fet.
Virtue it is, then, youth for to spend
In good disports which it does fend.

Green Groweth the Holly  

Green groweth the holly, so doth the ivy.
Though winter blasts blow never so high,
Green groweth the holly.

As the holly groweth green
    And never changeth hue,
So I am, and ever hath been,
    Unto my lady true.
            Green groweth the holly, so doth the ivy.
            Though winter blasts blow never so high,
            Green groweth the holly.

As the holly groweth green,
    With ivy all alone,
When flowerys cannot be seen
    And green-wood leaves be gone,

              Green groweth the holly, so doth the ivy.
              Though winter blasts blow never so high,
                Green groweth the holly. 

Now unto my lady
    Promise to her I make:
From all other only

    To her I me betake.
                Green groweth the holly, so doth the ivy.
                Though winter blasts blow never so high,
                   Green groweth the holly. 

Adieu, mine own lady,
    Adieu, my specïal,
Who hath my heart truly,
    Be sure, and ever shall.

Green groweth the holly, so doth the ivy.
Though winter blasts blow never so high,
Green groweth the holly. 


Though that Men do Call it Dotage


Though that men do call it dotage,
Who loveth not wanteth courage;

And whosoever may love get,
From Venus sure he must it fet,

Or else from her which is her heir,
And she to him must seem most fair.

With eye and mind doth both agree.
There is no boot: there must it be.

The eye doth look and represent,
But mind afformeth with full consent.

Thus am I fixed without grudge:
Mine eye with heart doth me so judge.

Love maintaineth all noble courage.
Who love disdaineth is all of the village:

Such lovers—though they take pain—
It were pity they should obtain,

For often times where they do sue
They hinder lovers that would be true.

For whoso loveth should love but once.
Change whoso will, I will be none.
Definitions: forfent=forbidden, fet=gained, fend=protect
BIO:  King Henry VIII of England and Ireland (1491-1547)--bold, brash, and demanding-- was forced to marry his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon. The marriage was not a happy one and produced only one child, Mary Tudor. Henry wanted a son who would succeed to the throne. After much violent debate, Henry broke away from the Holy Roman Catholic Church and divorced Catherine. His second wife, Anne Boleyn, gave birth to the future queen, Elizabeth, but was thereafter accused of adultery and beheaded. Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour, produced Edward VI, to Henry's great delight, and then died in 1551. Fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, was divorced. Fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was beheaded. Henry's sixth wife, Katherine Parr, survived Henry's death in 1547. One of Henry's hymns, O Lord, the Maker of all Things, can still be occasionally heard in English cathedrals.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I Remember You

by Dawn Pisturino
I remember you:
Those violet eyes that any girl would envy;
The full lips curled into a boyish smile;
The long, tapered fingers and moist, warm hands.
Yes, I remember you,
For I loved you with all the romance
Of girlish dreams,
And whiled away the hours thinking only of you.
I lived for the simple touch of your hand
And sighed for a single kiss from your lips
And died for a kindly smile in those eyes,
O foolish dreamer that I was!
But my dream was more real to me than life itself,
And I hungered to wed dream to reality.
If you ever knew - or dared to know - my love for you,
It was not apparent in the course of time,
And O! how I wept the bitter tears of unrequited love --
That Great Enemy of adolescence which betrays the heart so well!
Yes, I remember you;
If you would but remember me as a simple child,
I would be happy.
July 29, 1986
"Rosemary for Remembrance"
BIO:  Dawn Pisturino's poems, limericks, short stories, and articles have appeared in/on Danse Macabre du Jour, Brooklyn Voice, Underneath the Juniper Tree, Working Writer, and several newspapers and anthologies. She currently resides in Arizona.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Holly's Blues

by Margaret Flint Suter
Better to go lightly on that page
It has shattered glass
Among the ruined grass.
Move along in quick time
Past the pain markers --
Crimson dripped on navy.
Go lightly past the sparkling gems
That mirror failure
In multi-faceted mockery.
Toast to trials, hold your glass high
Beneath the fire escape, a mask worn on each landing
A life re-made at every turn.
Go lightly down that avenue
Where Holly's hurt spread thick fingers
Into heartache and split the muscle open.
Wait in the rain
For a cat that must return
Call into the alleys along the dream street.
Lift the lids on all the dumpsters stinking of despair
All the while sniffing hope
Under the coffee grounds.
Listen for the voice
Of cat calling
In return to Holly's blues.
Listen as his voice fades
Beneath the storm
While Holly weeps.
Weeps among the alley ends
Until she crumples
Mean reds flaring around her basic black life.
Touch the color of Holly's blues
Feel her sorrow
In pulse of neon.
Rain sibilant
Against your ear
Hold Holly while she weeps.

©Copyright 2007-2014 Margaret Flint Suter. All Rights Reserved.
Based on the book Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote and the Hollywood film starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard.

Read more works by Margaret Flint Suter

"Bone Music"
Published in the November 2011 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree.

"Sweetest Halloween"
Published in the October 2013 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree

"Lavender and Lilac: 'Til Death Do Us Part"
Published in the December 2013 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree

"Balthasar's Box"
Second Place winner, Poemeleon Poetry Journal

"Redemption Box"
Runner Up, Poemeleon Poetry Journal
Bio: Margaret Flint Suter served her country in the U.S. Navy as a cryptologic technician. She now serves up tantalizing stories and poems to her many readers -- both children and adults. A doting mother and grandmother, Suter embraces many worthy causes that contribute to the betterment of humanity.

Monday, February 3, 2014

THE TRAIL'S END - The Story of Bonnie and Clyde

written by gangster Bonnie Parker
You've read the story of Jesse James
of how he lived and died.
If you're still in need
of something to read,
here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.
Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang.
I'm sure you all have read
how they rob and steal;
and those who squeal,
are usually found dying and dead.
There's lots of untruths to these write-ups.
They're not as ruthless as that.
Their nature is raw;
they hate all the law,
the stool pigeons, spotters, and rats.
They call them cold-blooded killers.
They say they are heartless and mean.
But I say this with pride
that I once knew Clyde,
when he was honest and upright and clean.
But the law fooled around;
kept taking him down,
and locking him up in a cell.
'Til he said to me:
'I'll never be free,
so I'll meet a few of them in hell."
The road was so dimly lighted
there were no highway signs to guide.
But they made up their minds;
if all roads were blind,
they wouldn't give up 'til they died.
The road gets dimmer and dimmer.
Sometimes you can hardly see.
But it's fight man to man
and do all you can,
for they know they can never be free.
From heartbreak some people have suffered.
From weariness some people have died.
But take it all in all;
Our troubles are small,
'til we get like Bonnie and Clyde.
If a policeman is killed in Dallas
and they have no clue or guide,
if they can't find a fiend,
they just wipe their slate clean
and hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.
There's two crimes committed in America
not accredited to the Barrow mob.
They had no hand;
in the kidnap demand,
nor the Kansas City Depot job.
A newsboy once said to his buddy:
'I wish old Clyde would get jumped.
In these awful hard times,
we'd make a few dimes,
if five or six cops would get bumped.'
The police haven't got the report yet
but Clyde called me up today.
He said, 'Don't start any fights;
we aren't working nights,
we're joining the NRA.'
From Irving to West Dallas viaduct
is known as the Great Divide,
where the women are kin,
and the men are men,
and they won't 'stool' on Bonnie and Clyde.
If they try to act like citizens
and rent them a nice little flat,
about the third night,
they're invited to fight,
by a sub-gun's rat-tat-tat.
They don't think they're too smart or desperate,
they know that the law always wins.
They've been shot at before;
but they do not ignore
that death is the wages of sin.
Some day they'll go down together.
They'll bury them side by side.
To few it'll be grief,
to the law a relief,
but it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.
Bio:  Bonnie Parker was born on October 1, 1910 in Rowena, Texas. She met ex-con Clyde Barrow in January 1930 while working as a waitress. The pair instantly fell in love. Bonnie followed Clyde on a 21-month crime spree across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Missouri, which ended in a deadly massacre at Gibsland, Louisiana on May 23, 1934.