Last updated 12-17-2007
P o e t r y
by

Bill Copeland


SEEK THE NIGHT

Seek the night;
find solace in shadows
and observe a quieter world
free of probing eyes
and questioning stares.

Avoid the heat
escape the day,
blinded to the hustle
entrapping the runner
and molding its victims.

Flinch at the rising sun
as pains return,
close your eyes and
await its passing
and the coming of night.

THE LAST CANDLE

I watch the candles
burn slowly with their
flickering light,
giving softness
to the gaiety
of the evening.

One-by-one
they flicker
their last flame,
signaling the end
of the night,
the bleakness
of the season.

Watching the last candle,
I feel the coldness
of the dawn.

WINDS OF THOUGHT

It's in the wind and
can be seen in things
bending to please,
shaped by force.

A tree, gnarled and twisted,
points to the wind's goal
bowing after this majesty,
formed in violence;
as a dune, slanted and swept,
looks away from genesis
watching the path, built to evolve;
and a cloud, airy and wispy,
races the current to keep pace,
changing in the rush.

It's in the wind
and can be seen in thoughts
bent and twisted,
shaped and aloft.


LONELY WATCH

Wait the passing of night-
a lonely watch stand
as wandering souls search
amid the clamor of sounds
for release from isolation
and surrounding darkness;
journeys enlivened
with toxins of exuberance,
makes more desperate
the search:
seeking the light
to warm the night and
give comfort against emptiness.

CLOUDS

I was in the clouds yesterday,
in the mountains beautified
with their halos, hiding from
the villages below. I left the valley,
drove among the clouds, and felt their embrace,
freeing my thoughts, unleashing my feelings;
I moved midst the veiled crests
and felt their cool dampness,
cleansed in them, warmed by their density.

But the sun came forth removing the blanket,
chilling everything, revealing the harshness
of the mountains, their valleys, and me.

I RIDE THE ROADS

I
ride the roads
mile after mile,
town after town,
the unfamiliar sites becoming
all too familiar,
blending with the blur
of speed, always faster
to traverse the distance,
to quicken the destination;
to stop, rest, and
wait to begin again;
onward, pushing,
riding the roads.


DAISY

I buried a dog today
just a mutt, an old dog;
to rest I put her to lay,
barely eight, just a dog.

A Boxer sired her
from a Bassett mother,
and her traits were
the best of the other.

She hated the rain
and all the pain
as seizures plagued her
and finally took her.

I buried a dog today,
barely eight, not so old;
an old dog as she lay
too soon grown cold.

RUN, DAISY, RUN

Run, Daisy, run,
fly with the wind ...
chase that scent and run ...
frolic and lick everyone ...
play with your pals ...
and visit your friends ...
see all you want to see
and run.

Run, Daisy, run
follow that scent
as long as you want;
I'll not call you home,
but I'll miss you
more than you can know.

BIRDS IN A FIELD

I watched jays circle the field
Four birds, wings furiously flapping,
Flying in a mock drill
Circling, climbing, diving, chasing
Two against two, three against one
Around and around, up and down,
In the field frolicking
Two against two, three against one …

Oh, never mind,
they’re only crows.


OWL DOTH FLY

The sky above holds the night;
the brave eagle proves too shy,
nor does a lone hawk take flight
when the hunter owl doth fly.


DO YOU REMEMBER?

There was an old dirt road
that led to the church and school,
a worn, rippled, graveled path
leading to salvation and enlightenment,
and to adventures beyond.
Do you remember?

There were small farms
surrounding our home,
providing produce and customers,
meager plots of red clay begrudgingly
yielding crops to hard labor
with little promise or security.
Do you remember?

There was an old barn on a hill,
deserted, a playground for youngsters
and precursor of the future,
not really haunted,
but haunting still with memories of times gone by.
Do you remember?

And there was an old lot
where great ball players
dreamed of the big leagues,
of grand plays
and cheering fans amid barren,
eroded clay banks
surrounding our field of dreams.
Do you remember?

There were kids, too,
our adversaries and allies
in wars waged in fields and pastures,
Jimmy, Charles, Phil, and others;
Anita, Evelyn, Judy, and Lynn,
leaving us things to treasure.
Do you remember?

There were forests and lakes,
new worlds for us
to discover and roam,
to practice being heroes and
conquerors, men making
a difference in a harsh world.
Do you remember?

Do you remember those days
of youth, my friend; remember
the times, friends, and hopes?
They aren't there anymore;
dirt trails replaced with
four lanes of tar,
woods, fields, lakes, and playgrounds
now homes, churches, and businesses.

Even the store, our home,
is no more, vanished in flames
leaving only four granite slabs,
and those, too, leveled to build walls,
boundaries against growth,
halting ideas.

But flames also took our dreams,
our hopes of greatness,
our thoughts of making
a difference in a hostile world;
our heroes, our parents,
our sweethearts, all gone
as are our days of innocence,
our feelings of importance,
replaced by less noble feelings.

Do you remember, my brother,
and do you miss them, too?


HELEN

I saw her face many lives ago,
a time beyond history,
when we were summoned
to launch our ships
and sail towards the rising sun,
to leave our homes
and bring our sons.

We were to fight this war,
engage this enemy
because of goddesses’ vanity and
their desire to be more beautiful
than the other;
because of a young man’s lust,
his pride to possess
the most desirable woman,
the mother of the crown,
the fairest of Hellas.

I had never seen the queen,
but obeyed the order,
setting my sails
with a thousand others,
to regain this jewel
for the good king,
to right the wrong
done to the Greeks.

I followed Menalaus,
my king, and marveled
at the courage of Achilles,
the wisdom of Ulysses,
the arm of Agamemnon,
vowing to kill Hector and Paris
and sack Troy,
all to regain the fair Helen.

I knew not my queen
and cursed this trek,
this war for another’s woman,
this senseless fight
due to fickle gods
and cursed Trojans.

Yet, I sailed and fought,
sacrificed my sons,
nursed my wounds,
and built the gift,
the horse of retribution,
which destroyed Troy
and regained the queen.

I saw her from the plain
before burning Troy,
standing upon the bulwarks,
greeting her subjects,
embracing her king,
and I stared upon
the fairest face of all Hellas;
I understood the courage
of noble Troy
and the tenacity of Menalaus;
I regretted not the sacrifice
of my sons, or Achilles,
son of Zeus, champion of Athens.

I understood, too,
the jealousy of the goddesses,
of their willingness
to destroy the world
to have a queen’s beauty
and I learned all this upon
the face of Helen.


THE ROSE

The freshness of a rose,
dew dripping from its petals,
glistening with whiteness,
fills with awe; the slender stem,
standing strong against the weight,
threatens with arched thorns,
warning to respect.

Stand close, yet afar,
awestruck and respectful,
desiring to touch,
daring not to risk,
yearning and dreaming,
lost and alone.

GENTLE MEMORY

Gentle memories
fall on the mind
like raindrops,
sparkling jewels
shining brightly,
warming the soul.

The spirit seeks warmth
and radiates with joy
as raindrops flow
spreading cheer,
lighting the path,
showing the way.

Gentle memories
warm the soul.

MAN AS AN ISLAND

Utter darkness is closing in;
the dismal fear and
agony of hell
is near.

He is trapped,
longing for light,
crying out for relief.

Deaf ears hear his cry and
blind eyes witness his torment,
as he stands alone,
stranded on an isle of nothingness.

Awful eternity swallows him,
and his pleas sound no more


DAWN

There is a hint of light
on the horizon,
the wind is still
and the world is quiet.

Rise quietly, not to disturb,
go outside to sense the dawn
and smell the morning.

Love the silence,
as the damp air rests
softly on the skin,
cleansing the heart
and freeing the soul.

MOVING TIMES

Stand before the rising sun
as light warms,
as birds sing
awakening a new day.

Watch children play
and hear their laughter of joy,
and see lovers smile
at the beauty in their eyes.

These are times
that move the heart.

INFINITE THOUGHTS

Our eyes met briefly
as we exchanged smiles,
took time together
and shared thoughts
shared energy.

We have known each other
for only moments in this life,
but our thoughts are the same
as are our words.

Our lives have been brief,
but our time eternal.


A SOUL RISING

It was a time in life
just as the moon faded
and the sun had yet to rise,
and it was just becoming light,
but darkness still,
as you groped about in a
new world, striving to know
the niches and its treasures.

It was hard to be comfortable
not knowing who you were,
quietly adjusting to changes
thrown with little warning,
treading lapping waves,
threatening to immerse you,
sapping energy and forcing
a greater struggle.

Yet, you set your goals,
aware of the aims and
reached within for hidden strengths,
secretly held reserves to answer
the call and achieve
the heart's ideals,
the triumph of your dreams.

The sun rises
and light shines on the path,
through a lingering haze
as the journey is begun,
the way obscured by fogs and doubts,
but the will is strong.

NO MORE ROSES

There were always
roses in her yard,
hybrids and vines,
yellows, pinks, reds,
and tropicanas.

The garden was well-manicured
and rewarded the loving care
with constant blooms.

Then one sad day,
age ended her work.

I went to the garden
to gather roses
for her grave,
but they were all
gone, save one
radiant, pink rose
on a dying bush.


LONELY CALL

As a boy
I heard the train’s whistle
far in the distance,
a lonely call in the night.

As a man
I still hear the train’s whistle
far in the distance,
a lonely call in the night
reminding me I am not alone.

FINDING STRENGTH

I found a pretty stone,
small enough
to fit into my hand,
obscure enough to go unnoticed,
simple enough to carry,
precious enough to keep.

I took the stone in my hands
and closed them around it,
held it firmly and warmed it
with gentle strokes;
then I pulled it close to my heart,
pressed it against my breast,
held it a few moments and
felt its warmth enter my heart.

I brought the stone to my ear
and heard a gentle whisper,
words of strength
from another world,
A world of kindness,
warmth, and joy;
but I had heard them before,
and closing my eyes,
I saw the speaker,
radiant and loving.


Holocaust Poems

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