Category Archives: Free Verse

A Shadowed Caricature

Twisting and straining
For a meager sliver,
A mere hint of light
Until gnarled, knotted:
A shadowed caricature.

Blinded and awestruck
By an eager river,
An ocean of light
Until overjoyed, overrevealed:
A bittersweet conflict.

The Darkness Came Slowly

The darkness came slowly.
Not a sudden eclipse
Or flip of a switch.
It was a long, slow sunset
To an unending twilight:
So gradual and quiet
You never noticed the dark
Until the sudden glare
As light broke through

Anxiety’s Reign

A pressure in the chest –
Electricity and compression
Combined like lighting a fuse
And encasing the cannon’s end.

A struggle to breathe –
Pushing against a weight or
Speeding like fluttering wings
In a frantic race to nowhere.

A battle between needs –
Run, hide, rock, freeze, fight,
Cry, scream: pulling and pushing,
Everything necessary and now.

A storm in the mind –
Swirling, striking thoughts
Pecking, pacing, and repeating
Until all else hides or flees.

A pressure, a struggle,
A battle, a storm:
All needs, all now,
All nothing.


Fears, frustrations,
Angers, and angst:
Invisible bars for
A painful prison.

Memorial Day

A formal parade,
Solemn and steady;
A duet of trumpets,
Strong and sweet;
A blast of rifles,
Stark and strident.

A lazy morning,
Still and sleepy;
A bar and grill,
Strong and spicy;
A gathering of friends,
Smiling and sunny.

A day of remembrance:
A day off work:
A ritual for lost:
A welcome for summer.

A starkly flipping coin –
The remnants of the fight:
The reason for fighting.

Life’s Puzzle Door

Life’s puzzle door:
You slide pieces here,
Make room there.
Some shift them easily
Into obvious spots,
Completed in one go.
Some shift again and again
Into different arrangements,
Using different strategies,
Never quite getting to
A happy whole.

Over Time at Once

So many small pressures
Added unobtrusively
Over time, unnoticed

So many small cracks,
Patched constantly,
Over time, unending

So many small pressures
Released suddenly,
At once, incredible

So many small cracks
Revealed completely,
At once, unmistakable

What Is Your Shield

What is your shield when your world overturns?
Is it the pulsing energy of a crowd?
Beating thoughts back with drums and lights
Is it the muffling weight of a closed door?
Burying fears with books and stories
Is it the driving whip of frenzied work?
Blotting it out by crowding minutes
Is it the rhythms of a formal prayer?
Barricading with symbol and sermon
Is it the thrilling spike of vital risk?
Bolting, diving, or vaulting away
Is it the warmth of a loving hug?
Blanketing all with comforting care
What is your shield, your shelter, your escape?
How do you survive the strikes of fate?

Assembled in Bits and Blocks

Assembled in bits and blocks –
Built and rebuilt and built again
As moments inspire, and years destroy.
Shaped by souls, study, and society
From overarching shape to enfolding voids:
A life’s achievement and frame, as well,
Completed without plan or oversight.

A Dozen, a Multitude, a Score

A dozen, a multitude, a score –
The paths stretch forward, back, beyond.
First steps so clear, so precise.
Too quickly, the paths turn and twist:
The steps fade, blur, and obscure,
Leaving the path’s distant end
In dark, unsettled uncertainty.

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