Tuesday, December 22, 2015

When Santa Claus Comes

A good time is coming,
I wish it were here,
The very best time
In the whole of the year;
I'm counting each day
On my fingers and thumbs --
The weeks that must pass
Before Santa Claus comes.
Then when the first snowflakes
Begin to come down,
And the wind whistles sharp
And the branches are brown,
I'll not mind the cold,
Though my fingers it numbs,
For it brings the time nearer
When Santa Claus comes.
~ Author Unknown ~

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Dentist

Artwork by John Federis
If you hate going to the dentist, don't read this poem!
The Dentist
by Dawn Pisturino
Now I've got you in my chair,
You're not going anywhere.
So open wide, let me in,
And let the painful games begin!
See that molar on the right?
It's in the socket way too tight.
Here's my plier. Please don't move.
I'll pry that sucker from its groove!
Look, there's a cavity over there.
My drill's all ready. Please don't stare!
My hands are shaking, can't you see?
I need your confidence in me.
Oops! The blood is squirting out.
I didn't mean to make you shout!
Your bloody tongue is in my hand.
Sit down! Don't even try to stand!
Come back! I need to suture in----
Oh well, another toothless grin.
February 6, 2012
Published in the April 2012 issue of Underneath the Juniper Tree
Dawn Pisturino
Copyright 2012-2015 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Blue and the Gray

by Francis Miles Finch
By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray.
These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the laurel, the Blue,
Under the willow, the Gray.
From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
Alike for the friend and the foe;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the roses, the Blue,
Under the lilies, the Gray.
So with an equal splendor,
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Broidered with gold, the Blue,
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
So, when the summer calleth,
On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drip of the rain:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Wet with the rain, the Blue
Wet with the rain, the Gray.
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
No braver battle was won:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the blossoms, the Blue,
Under the garlands, the Gray.
No more shall the war cry sever,
Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead!
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.
The eleven southern states that seceded from the Union: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee.
States and territories sympathetic to the Confederate cause: Missouri, Kentucky, the Arizona Territory. In the Indian Territory (aka the Oklahoma Territory), most Indian tribes owned black slaves and sided with the Confederacy. (Indian tribes also owned white slaves and slaves from other tribes.)
Northern States supported the Union forces. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Penelope's Adventure

Penelope Bear, who just didn't care,
Sneaked out after dark to play in the park.
She didn't tell her mother, her sister or brother.
She didn't tell her father -- it was too much bother.
Penelope ran just as fast as she can
Down the dark city street on her little bear feet.
When she got to the park, it was lonely and dark,
But she wanted to play so she stayed anyway.
She swung on the swings and hung from the rings.
She was happy to glide down the big metal slide.
She rode all around on the merry-go-round,
And dug in the sand with her little bear hand.
Then, a voice in the air said, "Come here, little bear."
Penelope shuddered to hear those words uttered.
She turned and she ran just as fast as she can --
And she didn't look behind to see what she'd find.
She ran into the house like a scared little mouse.
Her parents were sad she had been so bad,
But they hugged her and kissed her and said how they missed her.
Penelope cried -- she was frightened inside.
The lesson is clear: Every good little bear
Shouldn't play in the park all alone after dark!
Written for my daughter, Ariel Pisturino
Dawn Pisturino
Copyright 1985-2015 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.
I looked into the big, big sky
And watched an airplane passing by;
I was too small for him to see,
And so he never noticed me.
May 3, 1986
Dawn Pisturino
Copyright 1986-2015 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Harpist's Song: Poetry of Ancient Egypt

Found in an 18th Dynasty Tomb:
This great one is well!
Good is the destiny, good the destruction!
For a generation passes,
and another remains, since the time of the ancestors,
those gods who existed aforetime,
who rest in their pyramids,
and the blessed noble dead likewise,
buried in their pyramids.
The builders of chapels, their places are no more.
What has become of them?
I have heard the words of Imhotep and Hordedef,
whose sayings are so told:
what of their places? Their walls have fallen;
their places are no more, like those who never were.
None returns from there to tell their conditions,
to tell their state, to reassure us,
until we attain the place where they have gone.
May you be happy with this, forgetfulness giving you benediction.
Follow your heart while you live!
Put myrrh on your head!
Clothe yourself with fine linen!
Anoint yourself with true wonders of the divine rite!
Increase your happiness!
Be not weary-hearted! Follow your heart and happiness!
Make your things on earth! Do not destroy your heart,
until that day of lamentation comes for you!
The Weary-hearted does not hear their lamentation;
mourning cannot save a man from the tomb-pit.
Make holiday! Do not weary of it!
Look, no one can take his things with him.
Look, no one who has gone there returns again.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ophelia is Dead

by Dawn Pisturino

Dead! Ophelia is dead!
Her hair bound with daisies,
Gold locks floating free,
She drowned in the river,
       Cursing me.

She told me I was ugly,
She pulled my frizzy hair,
She teased me by the water,
And I pushed her there.

Dead! Ophelia is dead!
And I really don't care.

February 1, 2012
Copyright 2012-2015 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

For My People

Margaret Walker
For my people everywhere singing their slave songs
repeatedly; their dirges and their ditties and their blues
and jubilees, praying their prayers nightly to an
unknown god, bending their knees humbly to an
unseen power;
For my people lending their strength to the years, to the
gone years and the now years and the maybe years,
washing ironing cooking scrubbing sewing mending
hoeing plowing digging planting pruning patching
dragging along never gaining never reaping never
knowing and never understanding;
For my playmates in the clay and dust and sand of Alabama
backyards playing baptizing and preaching and doctor
and jail and soldier and school and mama and cooking
and playhouse and concert and store and hair and
Miss Choomby and company;
For the cramped bewildered years we went to school to learn
to know the reasons why and the answers to and the
people who and the places where and the days when, in
memory of the bitter hours when we discovered we
were black and poor and small and different and nobody
cared and nobody wondered and nobody understood;
For the boys and girls who grew in spite of these things to
be man and woman, to laugh and dance and sing and
play and drink their wine and religion and success, to
marry their playmates and bear children and then die
of consumption and anemia and lynching;
For my people thronging 47th Street in Chicago and Lenox
Avenue in New York and Rampart Street in New
Orleans, lost disinherited dispossessed and happy
people filling the cabarets and taverns and other
 people's pockets and needing bread and shoes and milk and
land and money and something -- something all our own;
For my people walking blindly spreading joy, losing time
being lazy, sleeping when hungry, shouting when
burdened, drinking when hopeless, tied, and shackled
and tangled among ourselves by the unseen creatures
who tower over us omnisciently and laugh;
For my people blundering and griping and floundering in
the dark of churches and schools and clubs
and societies, associations and councils and committees and
conventions, distressed and disturbed and deceived and
devoured by money-hungry glory-craving leeches,
preyed on by facile force of state and fad and novelty, by
false prophet and holy believer;
For my people standing trying to fashion a better way
from confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding,
trying to fashion a world that will hold all the people,
all the faces, all the adams and eves and their countless generations;
Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a
bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second
generation full of courage issue forth; let a people
loving freedom come to growth. Let a beauty full of
healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing
in our spirits and our blood. Let the martial songs
be written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now
rise and take control.
This poem originally appeared in the November 1937 issue of Poetry Magazine.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

German Love Poems

by Hermann Hesse
My pillow gazes upon me at night
Empty as a gravestone;
I never thought it would be so bitter
To be alone,
Not to lie down asleep in your hair.
I lie alone in a silent house,
The hanging lamp darkened,
And gently stretch out my hands
To gather in yours,
And softly press my warm mouth
Toward you, and kiss myself, exhausted and weak--
Then suddenly I'm awake
And all around me the cold night grows still.
The star in the window shines clearly--
Where is your blonde hair,
Where your sweet mouth?
Now I drink pain in every delight
And poison in every wine;
I never knew it would be so better
To be alone,
Alone, without you.
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Who will hear me? Whom shall I lament to?
Who would pity me that heard my sorrows?
Ah, the lip that erst so many raptures
Used to taste, and used to give responsive,
Now is cloven, and it pains me sorely;
And it is not thus severely wounded
By my mistress having caught me fiercely,
And then gently bitten me, intending
To secure her friend more firmly to her:
No, my tender lip is crack'd thus, only
By the winds, o'er rime and frost proceeding,
Pointed, sharp, unloving, having met me.
Now the noble grape's bright juice commingled
With the bee's sweet juice, upon the fire
Of my hearth, shall ease me of my torment.
Ah, what use will all this be, if with it
Love adds not a drop of his own balsam?


by Rainer Maria Rilke

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh, sweetest song.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

In an English Country Garden

In an English Country Garden


How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know.
Those we miss you'll surely pardon.
Daffodils, heart's ease and flox,
Meadowsweet and lady smocks,
Gentian, lupine and tall hollihocks,
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden.

How many insects come here and go
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know.
Those we miss you'll surely pardon.
Fireflies, moths, gnats and bees,
Spiders climbing in the trees,
Butterflies drift in the gentle breeze,
There are snakes, ants that sting,
And other creeping things,
In an English country garden.

How many songbirds fly to and fro
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know.
Those we miss you'll surely pardon.
Bobolink, cuckoo and quail,
Tanager and cardinal,
Bluebird, lark, thrush and nightingale,
There is joy in the spring
When the birds begin to sing
In an English country garden.

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know.
Those we miss you'll surely pardon.
Daffodils, heart's ease and flox,
Meadowsweet and lady smocks,
Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks,
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden.