My Poetry

The Brightest Star: a Poem

Because only the brightest stars become black holes …

You must have been a brilliant star
The brightest in the sky
Bigger, bolder than the sun
Burning through the night

You must have burned for countless ages
Seen the rise and fall
Of planets, stars, and tiny life forms
You must have seen it all

You must have been a supernova
Blazing in the night
Dying in the depths of space
A star’s final light

You must have been the brightest star
But that was ages past
No longer star or supernova
For these things don’t last

A hollow void that drains away
All light that can be found
You must have been the brightest star
To be a black hole now


My Poetry

The Year We Stole Christmas

Do you remember
The year we stole their Christmas
Stuffed it into bags and carried it away at night
Only to realize
A few hours later
We’d stolen nothing
Nothing that mattered

Do you remember
That I always knew
Christmas was more than the things you stole
A dog with an antler tied to my head
Thrilled at first to see you
Dressed as Santa Claus
Until I figured out your plan

Do you remember
That I was right?
Do you remember
How your heart grew that night?

Do you remember
What Christmas means
Powerful enough to make a mean old Grinch
See the light
As it dawned Christmas morning
With no presents
No feast

Do you remember
When we brought back their gifts
And joined in the feast
And never looked back on that lonely mountain?

Christmas can be shut out
And forgotten
But if it lives in your heart
No one can steal it

My Poetry

Just Yesterday: a poem inspired by A Christmas Carol

Just yesterday, he sneered at us
And sent us on our way
Just yesterday, he threatened, scorned,
And hated Christmas day
Just yesterday, he clung to gold
And shut out warmth and light
Just yesterday he loathed the world
What changed this winter’s night?

How can a cold and hardened heart
So quickly melt and bleed?
How can a man in love with gold
Release his crippling greed?
How can a dark and lonely soul
Give up its cruelty?
How can a single night reverse
A bitter history?

And can we trust the workings of
This miracle today?
Or when the sun has set and risen
Will it fade away?
The past is written, and the present
Unfolds here and now
But future is a mystery
What’s still to come? And how?

A selfish miser transformed to
A kind, warm-hearted man
Who joins in carols that we sing
And gives all that he can
Today is Christmas, so we trust
Miraculous goodwill
And hope, tomorrow morning,
It will linger with us still

My Poetry · Uncategorized

Cosmic Dance

This really isn’t book-related, but I wrote this poem a few days ago, and since the eclipse was today I figured I might as well share it.

They chase each other
Through the vast expanse of space
Marking day and night

When the sun goes down
A shining silver lantern
Hangs among the stars

In the glaring light
Of day it fades, outshone by
The sun’s golden rays

Endless cosmic dance
Sun and moon meet and perform
A vanishing act

A circle of fire
In a darkened daytime sky
Blotting out the sun

My Poetry · Shakespeare

Fall of a Tyrant

A poem about Shakespeare’s Richard III

Scheming, plotting, taking that
Which is not yours to take
Stealing, lying, trusting none
With smiles and friendship fake

Killing, lying, courting one
Who mourns the men you slew
Trapping in a web of lies
All those of use to you

Planning to usurp the throne
Upon a cunning lie
Locked inside the fearsome tower
Youthful heirs must die

Cheering subjects make you king
But enemies grow strong
Cursing you with hate and grief
For all your sin and wrong

Dripping down the castle walls
The blood of those you’ve killed
Brothers, nephews, allies, wife
The blood your hands have spilled

Haunting you with every step
Ghosts on the battlefield
“Despair and die!” their voices scream
By them your fate is sealed

Rising o’er the battlefield
A song of triumph soars
Rebuild the world, unite the signs
Of Lancaster and York

Nevermore from this day on
Shall brothers’ blood be spilled
But rival houses side-by-side
A kinder future build

Rest in peace, you restless ghosts
The battle has been won
The bloodstains fade from castle walls
Your business here is done

Classics · My Poetry

“You Can”: a poem about Les Misérables

Afraid to trust
And boiling over with
Until an unexpected kindness
And a pair of silver candlesticks
Change everything

A woman coughs up blood
Teeth missing
Hair shorn
All she had sacrificed
For a child she loved more
Than her own life
You can’t save her
But you can save
Her daughter

A little girl
Frightened of wolves in the woods
With a broom
And a bucket of water
Dressed in tattered rags
Dreaming of a fairy-tale escape
A castle on a cloud
You can’t give her that
But you can give her
A helping hand
A doll
And a better future

A blaze of anger
Erupting like a wildfire
Like a gunshot
Gunshots break through silence
The streets run red with blood
You can’t save them all
But you can save

A hunter
Cornered by his prey
Expecting vengeance
Finding mercy
You can’t save him from himself
But you can

A crime committed long ago
But not forgotten
A pair of silver candlesticks
Lighting the way
Guiding you to those
In need of
You can’t erase the past
But you can change
The future

Classics · My Poetry · Shakespeare

Two Answers

I didn’t realize until I’d already written both of these poems how well they mirror each other, and believe it or not, it wasn’t intentional. But it makes sense, in a way, because they both relate to Hamlet’s infamous question and tell the stories of two characters who represent very different answers. Anyway, I decided they work better together than apart. The first one is written from Ophelia’s point of view in Act IV of Hamlet, and the second from Horatio’s viewpoint at the end of Act V.

Not to Be

Remember me with rosemary
And daisies in my hair
Their petals wilted, innocence
Now lost beyond repair

Remember me with rosemary
I’ll give you columbines
And fennel, too, some rue for you
But this one must be mine

Remember me with rosemary
And let me slip away
I’ll live on in your memory
Remember, love, I pray

Remember me with rosemary
And keep me in your thoughts
My violets all have shriveled up
And in the earth they’ll rot

Remember me with rosemary
I’m choosing not to be
Let others ask the questions now
Remind them, love, of me

To Be

You asked a question
A question I will answer
Your last command still echoes in my mind
In life I served you faithfully
In death – your death – I do the same
My prince
Among the bodies buried here today
Why was it I who lived?
No, that’s not the question

You asked a question
In the depths of grief
When reason fled and left you craving some release
My prince, goodnight
After the war you waged within your soul
In sleep of death may you at last find peace

You asked a question
I think you found the answer in the end
When words like yours came spilling from my lips
You stayed my hand and took the poisoned cup
My friend, I shall obey thy final wish
I’ll live
While yet I breathe, thy memory I keep
Thy story shall I carry far and wide
And unto all who lend their hearts and ears
I’ll tell thy fate

You asked a question
I’m living out the answer day by day
I choose to be, I choose to carry on
Let life’s outrageous whims do what they may
And words preserve forever what I say
So we may be remembered when we’re gone