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November 14th Poems

Belarussian Hymn (after Valzhna Mort)


We are children of mothers who did not

receive enough love from their mothers

and could not tell us how it was, only

how it felt, and it felt too hard to tell.


We are children of mothers and we are

mothers of children who cannot tell us

how it was, but only how it felt, and from

such crumbs we must construct a life.


We are children who can yet be transformed

by love who yearn for stories

to tell us who we are, a hymn we sing

each voice blended like a choir


making room for other voices,

knowing we are all children of mothers,

knowing nothing was said to us,

knowing everything was said.


Ginny Sullivan


Ties that bind


Melodies ride the strings of the cello –

waves of sound, wafting and weaving

like the light tumbling through branches

or sliding through windows to kiss the cat,

who hears the harmonies riding on sunbeams,

who sends out her own prelude through vibrations

that tickle tired fingers gently lounging in the soft fur,

surging electric rays of energy up into heart and mind

like the movement of skaters writing love poems on ice

witnessed by sightless spectators aware only of the sound

rippling across frozen tundra, as the steel cuts swirls and circles

like yarn tossed across the floor, as children play growing games

which cut the strings of aprons and hearts leaving behind whispers –

memories of melodies that rode upon the strings of the master’s cello.


©  2020 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas


Inspired by “Lot’s Wife” by Wislava Szymborska


Being falsely accused,

having people make assumptions

about motivation.

Certainly a toxic brew,

setting up a tragedy.

Lot’s wife  has not had her fair hearing,

and perhaps her husband ought  to

be seen as flawed.

Yes,  she turned around and

disobeyed instructions,

and became a pillar of salt.

Perhaps she was so moved by those human

feelings we tend to value most highly.

Imagine the pain of leaving children

and dear friends behind

to be destroyed.

How should she have carried such a burden?

There are pains that exceed the heart’s tolerance.

Think of the good times,

her loves and pleasures of friendship and family.

All this to be lost, cast aside, ignored, and destroyed?

Is not a crucial part of being human,

caring for others?

If she had turned her back

on all that was important in her heart,

what would she tell herself, her children

and friends in the future?

Could she look them in the eye?

Could they trust her?

Could she look in the mirror every morning?

Perhaps her husband deserves questioning,

and she was shocked and dismayed

by his callousness and disregard for humanity.

Would she truly want to travel life at his side in

times of trouble and conflict?

All  this demonstrating how confusing life can be,

then and now.

Paul Redstone


Who Are We?

We pay more than $12 billion a year

in Social Security taxes

but are not eligible to receive retirement benefits.

We pay some $4 billion more in Medicare taxes

than we withdraw each year.

We pay our fair share of income and sales taxes.


We do not take your jobs;

We are willing to do the menial work

most of you don’t want.

Without us, more companies

would move operations overseas

and import foreign goods.

Without us, who would

pick your fruit and vegetables?

flip your burgers?

mow your lawns and rake your leaves?

clean your homes and hotel rooms?

wipe the asses of your elderly?


We are often paid below legal minimums

and sometimes go unpaid.

We cannot afford clean, safe housing.

Many of our babies are snatched from mothers

and put in cages, with paltry health care

and inadequate records

that would make family reunification possible.

In some states, our children cannot attend public schools

and cannot afford college

making self-sufficiency all but impossible.


We commit fewer crimes than others

including theft, murder and DUIs.

In fact, because our numbers are about

twice as high as official estimates,

our crime rate is half what’s reported.

We rarely report crimes committed against us

for fear of deportation.


Yet you call us illegal?

Jayne A. Pearl


Wake to Find


In my dreams I can fly
wake to find
a new family
I am loved


No vodka slamming
into ice and orange
glass sweats      night
eyes redden tempers
do the same


good morning’s that sing
toast cut into triangles
bedtime stories      ear music
how was your day?
kiss your forehead
and leave a light on


Dreams come again
feet on the ground     toes in the sand
heart and
pockets full    sea glass
smooth cool
blue   brown   green
No red
Never red


Cassie Platt


Make Your Soul Grow

There are so many questions in life

Feasting words and smiles,

Mired with hoops of ignorance

And loops of mis-/dis-information

That run simultaneously

In deep and wide murky rivers.

Ask whose whip cracked the soup bowl

And for what wrong doing.

Why is it a crime to look for a better life

Believing in the future of your children?

Why do we ask questions of moral codes

That hang in the divided, shifty hemispheric air?

What do we expect for an answer when the shifty

Air moves to answer contrarily?

A blemished bowl wants to be mended knowing

That the healed scar adds another layer of skin

And strong enough to examine the life

Ready to shape into a new adventure.

The scarred bowl wading through attributes–

Success/defeat–big and small

Makes your soul grow till the last minute

As long as you know where your coat hangs.

Yenna Yi