Tuesday, April 2, 2024

PAD Day 2 - Happy/Sad poems

poetry from "The Street" aka Poetic Asides 

 Hi lily Hi lily Hi Lo

Long ago Amy 

kindergarten classmate

sang in pure high contralto

next to the piano in front

of an impossibly large auditorium

sunlight shafted from high windows

and we all kindergarten through grade

six sat transfixed, that voice lifted my

heart - I didn't have the words beyond

happy - never noticed the way the 

light shone through the thinness of

her dress or the pinch of her hungry

cheeks - not until much later - 

came to know that beauty

can sing over sadness 

Oh Amy ..

Hi Lily - Hi Lily 

Hi Lo ....

The Old Man and Israel

I recall an old man with a long black coat
a snow-white beard who came to the house
once in a while and collected a small tin 
box - blue and white where we put coins
for Israel a fledging place of bible story 
a magical place far off that had come
to life - where there were young people
dancing in circles with flowers in their
hair - free from the horror of family 
ash - I recall the old man - I learned
the anthem, saw pictures of a blue
and white flag and draped it all 
around the stories heard of 
crematorium and genocide 
hatred and those iconic 
piles of shoes and suitcases
Israel - tucked away -
a just in case place -
a place of Sunday stories
somehow come to life
in unconflicted shining
moral standing - 
standing now
in sadness that
should never 
can never be 
the old man long gone 
I no longer that little girl 
and yet I hold the dream 
of the just-in-case 
next to nightmares 
what was and could be 
a cacophany of clanging 
images clattering - 
imprinted early in my 
heart - the succor and
safety of Israel of 
Yisrael - fledging 
nation now powerful
needing the coins of
belief dropping still 
into tin cans of 
blue and white as
she struggles to be
the flower of hope 
sanctuary and safety 
in the center of pain 
Oh how I yearn for that little girl - 
for the mystical old man in his
long black coat and beard 
who took my coins to help

Armfuls of flowers 

armfuls of flowers tossed in the air

falling about her as he ruffles her hair

giggling at nothing and everything where

they run in elysian fields without care

armfuls of flowers of peace, puppies

and such - at twenty or so it takes not very much - 

as decades fold and

flowers and lovers fall to the ground

and peace seems a dream, a child's tale once told- 

the ravage of time

the downside of growing so old


Oh all mothers or most think their babes are special
but he was - 

he was turning at two days and 

on and on and on - each day 

sprinkled with new joy and love

oh the love - 

all mothers or most think their babies are
special - most mothers or all expect that they 

shall be loved forever - most are - some are not - 

and the sadness that follows is beyond the realm of poetry

Oh My Papa

I sang this song 
standing on a chair
where they would
lift me under my arms
My father never did -
My father and I drifted
on magical air whether
we were in company 
or alone - the others 
curled my hair in 
white rags and 
dressed me in 
starchy petticoats - 
My father lay with
me under the willow
tree showing me the
shadows dappling on
our shirts as sunshine
sparkled - 
my father sat with me
in our little living room
eyes closed on our 
couch small red records
playing at roaring volume
violin concertos - Pathetique 
The New World Symphony - 
sitting curled against his side - 
eyes closed - 
feeling stories in sound 
pounding through my tiny chest 
The others had me read, chattered 
flatteringly about how quick I was 
smiling with bright red lipstick
My father painted oil pictures 
on an easel on a rickety wooden pier 
I sat at the edge and as sun fell 
watched the crabs blow bubbles
where did it go - 
where did it go... 
Oh my papa 
I hum ...
I hum ...



  1. That's quite a collection! Very moving, and you succeed in conveying all those emotions in a way I can relate to. I especially loved the first, having always loved that song (and the movie it came from).

  2. Wonderfully moving !