On Forgiving Anger

So much, I can forgive you for
But never your anger can be

Your loneliness, and its cries
Grow tears inside of me
Friends forever, we shall be

To your fear of darkness, amorphous anxieties
Heaps of reassuring hugs I give
Hoping to set you free

So long as you repent
I can always forgive
Your forgetfulness, poor memory

And so long as you love me with all your heart
Your clumsy way of showing love
Sets off a smile, healing warmth filling me

But your anger, sharp as a deadly knife
Cuts me deep inside
This I can never forgive
It sparks the same in me
No forgiveness there can be

Sunsets and Other Dying Words

At times, words seem so incomplete
Leaving us wanting
In ways we cannot describe
Pointing to things not things at all
Within and about us, directions, places with no words
Not now, or ever

Close your eyes
Recall the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen
Try your best to describe it—bring it back to life with words
How it became a sudden part of your life
How in between heartbeats
You even mused death also could be beautiful

Words will always be lonely—
Seeking the company of other words
So they won’t die a lonely death
Like souls need bodies to manifest life
Like the sun needs a reflective surface
To paint a sunset, signaling its departure

So why bother, you say
To replay our life experiences
Like some loved old movie
I have a hunch—
We want to hold on, to all of it
The sunset, even our words about death

Our Economic Angst

Times have gotten pretty tough
Perhaps a diamond in the rough
Everyone, feelin’ the pain
As the economy raises Cain

Working hard, no guarantee
Retirements washed out to sea
Rich and poor, both are losin’
As the markets take a bruisin’

Makes you wonder, when it’ll end
Empty wallets, blowin’ in the wind
Leaner times, here to stay
Easy money, not today

Easy to point a finger of blame
Don’t forget, we all played the game
Livin’ way beyond our means
Now we’re eatin’ more pork and beans

Lessons abound for everyone
Change ahead, won’t be fun
Go back to what really matters
Steer clear, all the idle chatters

Let’s re-envision the American Dream
It’s a busted old and tired machine
Let’s fix the planet, you and me
If I’m right, it’ll set us free

A Teacher

In some ways, more than we think
In other ways, much less
Someone who knows what you’re going through
Another who extends a helping hand, when needed

Not necessarily someone smarter
Or with more answers
After all, all questions in life are personal
A good teachers knows this

Good teachers are good students
Always learning
Never afraid they don’t know
Willing to see things in different ways

Living examples
Ones your soul wants to follow
Someone living their own life, not another’s
One knowing nothing lasts forever

One allowing students to flower
Become teachers themselves, in their own way
Finally, one getting out of the way of your learning
But there just when you need him

See Me, Love Me for Who I Am

So much torment, doubt, unwillingness to accept
More than I can imagine, withstand sometimes
If only the world were different
If only certain things didn’t matter
Like how I get lost in myself
How confusion descends upon me
Like a thick heavy fog hovering all about

Help me, please
So I can help you, or others, in return
Understand me, please
Cut me some slack
As you do for others, yourself
Try to understand that I’m different
No two snowflakes are the same

Hold me, please, when I’m terribly afraid
I will hold you, should the darkest night fill your days
Look into my eyes, clouded with tears, even this sunny noonday
I will look back into yours without judging what I see
See me just as I am, incomplete, without hope sometimes
When needed, remind me there is something larger—
Something always worth living for

I am who I am
Though this I never intended, but I am
As a young boy, overflowing with curiosity, laughter, happiness
This was the last thing I would have considered
This was the last thing I’d hope to become
Please try best as you can
See me, love me for who I am

Note: This is an empathy poem written in recognition of those who suffer from mental illness in its many forms.

My November Guest by Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grady
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so ryly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell he so,
And they are better for her praise.

Ghost House by Robert Frost

I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me–
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,–
With none among them that ever sings,
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.

From “A Boy’s Will”, 1913, Robert Frost

A Visit to Connemara, Carl Sandburg’s Home

Atop the rounded hill
Through the tall dark green pines
White, simple, modest, without pretense
Mimicking the man, the family living there
Three stories tall, seven bedrooms for dreaming
All woven as one on two hundred forty-eight priceless acres
Draped in nature’s earthy shades of green, brown, blue
Carl Sandburg’s home, Flat Rock, North Carolina

Named Connemara by its first owners
Meaning “of the sea” in Irish
A name the Sandburg family carried on
A national treasure in every way
Fourteen thousand books fill the walls
All read by the poet’s penetrating, dutiful eyes
Seeing through life’s clutter
Coming to rest always on what’s most important

His last ten books conceived, written at Connemara
That extra bedroom, even the living room, still speak the words
The typewriters, his favorite chairs, even the ashtrays
Remain filled with his spirit—
Known to us through Chicago, Grass, A Coin, his many other poems
I took pictures, but wanted to touch what he touched
And see what he saw, even the pain
Seeing his bed, I marveled at how his dreams came true

Leaving the grounds, I took one last picture
Of the lake before his home
I saw its unwavering stillness
How it reflected everything about it
I knew then why Sandburg’s last years were here
His conviction, strength, dedication
His inalienable sense of being a vehicle for beauty, truth, justice
Looking in these waters, it all became more clear to me

Under the Harvest Moon by Carl Sandburg

Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

Let Your Pain Out

No refuge in your sorrow
Bear your pain, let it out
No escaping self-inflicted wounds
See the blood, your knife, your own hands

No refuge in your anger
Bear your pain, let it out
No dodging all the bullets
Lingering smoke, your own gun

No refuge in your fear
Bear your pain, let it out
No running from the shadows
Those you cast when in doubt

No refuge in your envy
Bear your pain, let it out
No covering up the lies
Unclog your drain, let your pain out

When a Factory’s Life Ends (Repost)

Foul gray smoke once belched
from tall red brick stacks
A bittersweet sign of life–
the old factory was still working

The smoke has now ended
along with the noisy metal-banging
that kept men busy
from sun up till sun down

The iron gates are chained shut
Never again, will they greet the dark faces
of hardened men with stale breath
from strong black coffee and cigarettes

Too easy to blame, too many strikes
for the factory’s foreboding silence
but hungry workers elsewhere, willing
to work for much less
and customers needing less metal
are just as much the reason
why the dark faces have grown much darker

The mill is history–
a cold, lifeless archeological ruin
So are the paychecks that paid the bills
giving small consolation to the two thousand men
laughing at each other’s lame jokes
dreaming of days
they wouldn’t have to work so hard

Now that day has come, and
their dreams and jokes both have ended.

Reflections

Time, just a fragment
Loose particles in space
What’s left over, after sunset
That which hovers
Finally leaving us wasted and lost
Like some stalled memory
Favoring what’s to come
Over what never could be

Time, always inexact heartbeats
Those skipping beats between realities
Those awaiting tomorrow
Even before today arrives
And like some stalled memory
Lost, before starting over
And finally finding
What we thought never could be

Take the Outstretched Hand

Why so alone and blue
So lost within yourself
So splintered, fallen apart
Like some forgotten old wooden fence

You don’t suffer alone
None of us do
Your life, not some worn out coat
Left on a rusted hook in the garage

Your soul, born for a reason
A purpose only you can serve
Your pain, not yours alone to bear
Your heartache, a sign you’re still alive

I see the way you look at yourself
Your eyes show your fear of being lost
There is an outstretched hand awaiting you
Take it

The Owl Cries at the Waxing Gibbous Moon

Ghost-white face, hovering
In pitch black darkness
Near perfect circle of light
Slowly climbs Heaven’s dark staircase

All alone, save one distant lonely star
Who watches on
Praying for a mere cricket’s song
Awaiting first signs of daybreak

Through the October trees
She beams yellow-white
A small elbowed branch twitches
Nervous reflection, perhaps the wind

In the distance, the haunting cry of a screech owl
Agitated by the waxing gibbous moon
The fatal bellman rings his bell
Another soul fast a memory

The Morning the Angels Carried Dad Away

Clear blue sky, peace eternal
This morning’s sky, could be no clearer
No clouds
Nothing, standing in the October sun’s way
Painting warm yellow sunlight across the yard and trees

Only the gentlest breeze—
That lifting the wings of angels
Coming, without notice
Departing, quickly in blessed silence
Dad held fast in their tender arms

Life prevailed, this tenth day of October
I went outside, smelled its sweet fragrance
Felt its comforting embrace in the wind
My heart fluttered, like a butterfly
A reminder, life and death, all part of one

View image poetry version here.

My Dad’s Passing

My father, Donald Lowell Iannone, died this morning at 6:20 AM Central Time in Tupelo, MS. In June of this year, he was diagnosed with cancer.

Dad was loved dearly by his family and friends, and he will be deeply missed by all of us. Toot a loo, Dad. We love you!

Something tells me Dad would like to be a Country/Western singer, who also writes poetry, in Nashville in his next life. (Smiles)

Click here to read about Dad’s poetry. I will be posting more about my Dad in the near future.

My sincere thanks to all sending me and my family their thoughts and prayers over the past several months.

Frames of Life

Every photograph
A fragment in time
A step into life’s ever-flowing river
Each, a reminder—live in the moment

Every photograph
A personal depiction of what is
Breathless capture of what was
A quantum future possibility awakening

Every photograph
The soul’s longing to hold on
To special encounters
Our fleeting hopes and dreams

Every photograph
A tiny reflection of what we see
Magical stardust, cheerful ray of sun, lonely moonbeam
Always a frame of life

Inspired by this photograph

And see the poem here embedded on a photograph.

No Life Without Suffering

You haven’t lived
If you haven’t suffered
There is no life without pain
No way to escape the emotional earthquakes
Life’s thunder and lightning
The floods, emotion overflowing inside us
Capsizing our life’s ship

Hard as we try
Science in our hands
Religion in our hearts
There is no life without pain
Nothing to work for
Die for
Eventually, replace with our love

You haven’t lived
If you haven’t suffered
Celebrate the dawn
Sweeping the nightmares away
Forcing us to walk the medicine wheel
Bringing us back
To where we all began

Walking Life’s Trail with a Friend

Come along with me, friend
Together let’s walk the forest trail
We’ll cast all expectations aside
All doubts from memory erased forever
Come along with me, friend
Together let’s walk the forest trail

As we walk, the forest will fill us
Two spidering souls, amidst all this glory
Making our way through life
Like the sun filters through the tall oaks
Painting dancing white lace all about us
As together we walk the trail

You tell me your stories
I’ll tell you mine
Our walk itself, a story for the future to tell
A story we’ll write as one
About how we walked together—
One eternal requiem within us does keep

We’ll have no destination
The journey itself our end
You’ll know when your time has come
Mine, I will know much the same
Come along with me, friend
Together let’s walk the forest trail

Darkness Gives Way to Light

The day started in darkness—
The type our dreams come wrapped in
Yes, our dreams—
Butterflies, smoke, breath
Escaping back into us
Just as we remember their names

Come nine A.M., the sun won its battle
With the clouds and rain
Again, light prevails over darkness
Again, my dreams give way
To the dreamer
To the sun, the light it brings

The darkness is not a bad thing
Nor the clouds and rain
All parts of us—
Reflections in the mirror
Appearing on the soul’s still surface—
That place where all are one