I am a retired high-school English teacher from Potts Camp, Mississippi. Life in general and my grandchildren in particular inspire me to write. I especially enjoy writing— and reading— rhymed, metered poetry and mourn its loss of respect in some literary circles. I get a real charge out of parodying the famous poems I taught my students— while keeping a perfectly straight face and assuring them that studying such noble literature would greatly enhance their lives. I stay busy with a variety of activities at home and church. My poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Verse-Virtual, The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, Parody, and The Mississippi Poetry Society Journal(s).
Author's note: These poems are loosely connected in theme; each addresses
love that hurts—unrequited love, lost love, love that leaves one disillusioned.
Don't transfix me with a gaze
that shakes my complacency
and threatens to resurrect feelings
I let die— actually bludgeoned to death—
Don't speak to me in that tone,
reminding me that I am flesh,
not a well-oiled machine.
I operate smoothly and efficiently
when feelings and urges,
fleeting or lingering,
don't encumber me.
Don't touch me with demanding hands
that seek the warmth and fulfillment
I can't, or won't, provide.
I, the energetic fury, can turn out
masses of concreteness
when unfettered by emotion.
A final warning:
If you must try to awaken a sleeping thing,
do so not simply because it sleeps,
for the challenge of conquest.
Awakened things must be nurtured.
Just Someone I Used to Know
She saw him after twenty years
while lunching in a small cafe.
He caught her eye and casually waved.
She smiled and turned to walk away.
The memories came rushing back.
She blinked and brushed away a tear.
That she'd encounter him someday
had always been a lurking fear.
Did he recall that cloudy day
he told her he would not be back?
He'd never know how much she cried
and how he'd thrown her life off track.
"Hey, what's the story with that girl?"
his buddy asked him with a grin.
"Oh, just someone I used to know—
a high-school girlfriend way back when.
You know, sometimes I speculate
on just how different things might be
if I had not left her behind.
Oh, well, I'm happy to be free."
Hers . . . His
She sits in silence in her corner room,
her nighttime portion of the universe,
recalling vows she made so long ago.
What had she said— "For better for worse"?
"For richer for poorer," she had vowed.
"Love, honor, and obey" came from the heart.
Their lives became as one; their beings joined.
How could such unity be torn apart?
How many evenings has she sat alone
and asked her soul-deep questions of the night,
here in her little corner of the world
where shattered dreams might be imagined right?
He sits in silence in another room
in his domain for evening's retreat,
recalling one fine day so long ago
when promises and kisses were so sweet.
The golden bands, the wedding cake, her lace—
bright images of love that's just begun—
grew dim with time, and oneness slowly died
like waning brightness of the setting sun.
How many evenings has he sat alone
and wrestled with the loneliness he feels,
here in his little corner of the world,
regretting what his shadowed thoughts reveal?
Soon day will dawn; reality will strike
with sixteen hours of fast, demanding life.
They'll live this day in worlds marked "his" and "hers"—
this night in rooms "for husband" and "for wife."
©2015 Janice Canerdy