Three Selected Poems

I have never really considered poetry to be my strong suit. Nevertheless, I have built up a nice little collection. Recently, I was alerted to a poetry competition taking place here in Bucks County for Bucks County residents only and sponsored by the Doylestown Bookshop. Since I qualify all around, and my novels are set in Doylestown, where the bookshop resides, I decided to give it a try.

The rules call for three poems, no more, no less. The question was how to pick the right three… When in doubt, ask for help. My dear friend, Roger Moore (no not 007), poet, published author and academic, read and critiqued eight of my poems and helped to select the three I will submit. In addition, he suggested an order for them that actually tells an eerie little story. You’ve read them before but here they are again and with an audio track as well. What do you think of the tale these tell?

Tales Of War   

Gathering dust and clinging webs
The attic cache lies in wait
Trunks and boxes long untouched
The time has come to investigate

Sepia photos, cracked and faded
Sticking pages, broken binding
Letters home, bound with twine
The tales of war, I’m finding

Peruse the pictures, study the faces
So full of youthful determination
His postures straight, those twinkling eyes
Would soon witness extermination

Ravaged, disfigured, lungs burned by gas
Returned to England, war scarce survived
Haunted by nightmares, wracked by cough
This broken man came home to die

War upon his sweetheart, laid the burden
Tore away the chance for a happy life
For the babe that quickened in 1914
Was all that he left his beloved wife

Pitch Black  

She was as welcome
As a ray of sunshine…
On a parched desert world
Devoid of life
Atmosphere burned away
By hydrocarbons

She was as wanted
As a downpour…
On the day of the funeral
The mourners soaked
With cold rain
And bitter tears

She was as loved
As an armistice…
On the final day of a war
In which your son
Was the last one
To die

She was as pitch black
As the agony in her broken heart

Night Work

Silence flees from the forest
At the snap of twigs beneath boots
The burden grows ever more heavy
While carefully avoiding tree roots

This menial task is performed
Under deepest cover of night
With great exertion and haste
The toiler must keep out of sight

As milky eyes stare up blankly
And porcelain skin seems to glow
Cool flesh, ragged nails and torn clothing
Beneath loamy soil, sink low

Then with the deed accomplished
Straighten up, breathe deep and be brave
Leave the girl’s corpse to rot slowly
In her exclusive woodland grave