Saturday, March 31, 2007

Life Telescopes and Microscopes
By Don Iannone
We are forever trying to decide
when to use the telescope and microscope in our lives.
Each has enormous value and benefit
when used in the right way at the right time,
and each can cause great problems
when used in the wrong way at the wrong time.
Sometimes we get too close to ourselves and our problems
and we fail to see the big picture surrounding our lives.
Sometimes we become too removed from ourselves
and we lose deep personal insight and perspective.
There is a balance...that must be struck
in using these two powerful devices
in giving direction to our lives.
There is a price to pay
when that balance is missed.
There are great rewards to receive
when that balance is achieved.
Each of us must work on understanding
the right time to stand close
and the right time to stand back.
The beauty of life can be seen from each perspective.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Working Stiffs
By Don Iannone
I've grown somewhat jaded
about the ability of work
to bring true meaning to our lives.
Pragmatically, I understand
that most of us must work to survive--
that is we must do something
for money to support ourselves.
I'm not saying it isn't possible
to find personal meaning and purpose
in the work we do, but
I am saying that it is a struggle--
a fight much harder to fight for many.
Growing up in eastern Ohio in the 1950s,
men literally killed themselves working.
The area's unsafe factories and coal mines
maimed and killed many workers,
denying many children their fathers early on.
Today fewer men and women die on the job,
but many more succomb to stress-related illnesses,
which in many cases cause their death.
Looking inside many workplaces,
I see an equally important issue:
the work people do is breaking their spirit
and robbing them of their happiness.
This too is a form of death.
So this poem is dedicated
to all the working stiffs out there--
those who are underpaid
and even those who are overpaid.
I salute you for your forbearance, and
for doing what you must to survive.
But my advice to you is this:
don't accept your current work reality
as your final work reality.
Work at your happiness, and
what brings meaning and purpose to your life.
In so doing, your spirit is rightfully served.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pondering Poetry
By Don Iannone

Poetry is
one of those things
I like to do
and do often.

Poetry is
one of those things
seizing my imagination
and never letting go
until it has had its say.

Poetry is
something that starts
deep inside you
and doesn't stop starting
until it has run its course.

Poetry is
one of those things
helping you find your way
when you're lost
and therefore
poetry is a big part of my life.

Poetry is
something that people tried
to live without
at points in history
only to discover
that poetry is who they were.

Poetry is a blessing and a curse
and those possessed by it
have no choice but
to let it write itself
through them.

poetry is not
the exclusive domain of poets
with special gifts.
Poetry is for anyone
who breathes air.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

If Only
By Don Iannone

If only we had it to do
...all over again.
If only we had more chance.

If only we could go back
...and erase what was written
...and write another script--
one more honest and true.
One more real
...and more fully present.
One carrying us past
...our illusions and blindspots.

If only we could let go
...of our need to go back
...and change anything in our lives.

If only we could accept ourselves--
just the way we are.

If only we could listen this conversation
...and heed its ending message.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What Has Always Been There
By Don Iannone

What has always been there
is what always remains
after all else has departed
and all else has been lost.

What has always been there
is what is etched deepest
into everything you are
and can never be changed.

What has always been there
is what came before you
and will continue after you
no matter what you do.

What has always been there
cannot be captured by words
like the beginning or the end
since it always was and will always be.

What has always been there
is what you share in common
with everyone else
and belongs to no one.

What has always been there
waits for you each time
you stray from it
and always welcomes you back.

What has always been there
is what has always been there
and will always be there
just because it has always been there.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tears We Cry Till Laughter in the Skies
By Don Iannone

At times
our work and money
evaporate like smoke
leaving us
as pennyless hungry beggars.
......Then we cry hard impoverished tears.

At times
our loved ones pass us by
leaving us alone
as solitary mourning doves.
......Then we cry hard lonely tears.

At times
our happiness evades our hearts
leaving us empty
as the starless night sky.
......Then we cry sad broken tears.

At times
our health fails us miserably
leaving us frightened
as chased deer in the forest.
......Then we cry forsaken fearful tears.

At times
our sensibilities part our company
leaving us confused
as mice in an intractable maze.
......Then we cry lost desparate tears.

At times
a blessing falls from the sky
just the sign of hope
that we need.
......Then we cry joy-filled thankful tears.

Each turn of life
no matter what
has its lesson
and when we learn
all tears cease.
......And there is laughter in the skies.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Train Whistle in the Fog
By Don Iannone

Off in the distance
a haunting train whistle blows
away the sullen morning fog
that sat the night
yet still blankets the awakening sun
that eventually sputters its way
above the horizon
then floats into the sallow sky.

Train whistles on foggy mornings
like lonesome magnets attract
your heaviness and deepest desperation
and lift only after
they have stolen your sunshine
and left you following after their cry.

We must then decide
whether to follow the lonely train's cry
or continue walking through
our own heaviness and desperation.
We must then decide
which will lift us past the horizon
and into the awaiting sky.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Dove
A Springtime Dedication to Mary
By Don Iannone
Lady bird of grace
whose broad eliptical wings
gather hope
as they flutter helplessly
in love with the morning sunlight.
You saunter
for no particular reason
through the delicate wildflowers
spraying a blaze of color
at the forest's edge.
To that special point you float
and sit in loyal courtship
with the one you adore
and hold forever in your gentle heart.
Your near haunting coo lingers
like the morning mist
drifting afar
then igniting replies
from others perched high.
With the many you gather
from time to time
but always you sit
in that special place
with just one.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Full of Surprises
By Don Iannone

Sun up to sun down is full of surprises
...and that's exactly it should be.
We shouldn't be so surprised
...that life is surprising.
After all IS one big mystery
...despite all that science
...thinks it knows about life.
Does this come a surprise to you?
It continues to surprise me
...which is why I need reminding
...that life is a mystery matter how much I know.
When you wake up tomorrow morning yourself a favor
...and act surprised.
You'll be surprised how
your day will change.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Painting: Monet's Garden of Giverny

First Day of Spring 2007

The birds in the woods
...sing in spring voices the fire-red melting sun readies
...for its daily departure.
They are happy voices--
filled with newfound glee
...causing us to drift off and dream
...of the potpourri of young wildflowers
...about to sprout along the trail to Buttermilk Falls.
Last night the skunks returned
...after the long winter
...for a late dinner of birdseed
...under the backyard feeders.
They know spring is nigh, and
we too are eager for first sightings
...of the bluebells, wild hyacinth and showy orchis.
Is it any wonder Monet found ecstasy his favorite spring garden at Giverny?
Is it any wonder
...each of us turns artist in the springtime?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By Don Iannone

Never been to Iraq.
No desire to go there--
at least not until
things get a whole lot better.

The killing there must stop!
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Baghdad (بغداد Baġdād) is just a place
on a map to me, but I
can feel the pain there,
and the many other war-torn places
where children die, even before
they have a chance to live.

I look at the horrifying pictures
everyday in the paper
of dead people--
people whose hearts used to beat
like yours and mine.

Words are one thing, but
the pictures are the worst.
So many young soldiers--ours and theirs
--hiding behind their uniforms, and their guns
that separate them
from the people they kill.

Both sides--all sides--that kill are wrong.
They always have been--in all wars,
not just this one.
I am not naïve...I have looked death
straight in the face...
I know it's hideous smile.

Have you ever asked yourself
what war means?
What DOES it mean?
Don't trouble yourself too long
for a dressy answer
that you hope makes you half accept
what happens to people in places like Iraq.

War means just one thing:
Justification to kill
for reasons that will always
be buried in the small print--
the very smallest print possible, which
nobody can read, even in their native language.

If you're dying to know--
go to Iraq,
or flashback forty years to Vietnam.
Substitute a hot steamy jungle
for a bone dry desert, and there you have it.
Killing is killing, and
dying is dying.

When will we ever learn?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Changes Spring Forth at Winter's Edge
By Don Iannone

Almost there--
to spring that is.
While a heavy wet snow fell today
...winter knows by now
...that spring is inevitable, and
little can it do discourage spring
...from taking center stage.
Once the crocuses have had
their chance to shine
...the daffodils will take the yard by storm.
And once the daffodils
have gone daffy
...the orange, red, and yellow tulips
will have their way--
until the hungry deer discover them
and mow them down.
So much change springs forth at winter's edge.

Monday, March 19, 2007

removing the you between you and another
by don iannone

leave yourself behind today
forget yourself
...long enough to remember another
...who needs you more
...than you need yourself

forget yourself today
...leave the self behind you cling to
...try your best to get outside the self
...that gets between you and others
watch a miracle happen when you do.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Poems and Dreams: Close to the Other Side
By Don Iannone

Poems about dreams
are excruciatingly hard to express,
and probably just as hard to understand,
even once written on the page.
Dreams about poems are no easier,
when on occasion you have one, and
they are far less expressible, as they
venture into a creative realm beyond--
where the poetry-creating mind usually goes, and
beyond where the poetic hand can write
with any measure of sensibility.
Having said all this, I believe
poetry and dreams come roughly
from the same place inside--
a place very close to the mystery
as we can visit, and return safely,
without falling through to the other side--
a place we write poems about
and have late night dreams about, but
a place we are reluctant to go, until
it is absolutely our time to go there.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Going to Find Peace
By Don Iannone

There comes a time
when you will have gone
as far as you can go
in the way you're used to going.

There comes a time
when you must find another way of going
to get to a new place
you've never been before
and must get to.

There comes a time
when all the places you've been
won't help you go to the next place
calling your name.

There comes a time
when coming and going will end
and staying the course bringing you peace
will forever end your wandering.

There comes a time
when everything that ever made you go
will make you stay.
In that place you can rest.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Betting on Spring
By Don Iannone

Snow fell hard and wet
on young crocuses trying their best
to make strong first impressions in life.
They sagged under the weight
of the slushy snow--
doing its best to leave
a strong lasting impressions
before spring closes the door
on winter's final act.
A nearby chirping robin,
ear cocked to the ground,
places his bet on spring.
I follow his lead and double the bet.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Moon Memories of a Campfire-Lit Night
By Don Iannone

Campfires rage bright
into the deep forest night.
Hungry flames lap
the lonely silence
lingering long past
shadows left
by a rebellious moon
unable to release itself
from the hold
of distant memories
of times long gone by.
The moon will forever
remember this night
and the campfires will dim
always forgetting the light
they gave this forest night.
Rideau Canal Waterway Photo Credit: Ken Watson

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Honoring Our Bison Friends
A Native American Tribute
By Don Iannone

We have forgotten
our bison friends
who for thousands of years
roamed the prairies
honoring their Maker and ours.

We have forgotten the millions
who were slaughtered
for no good reason
by savage white men with rifles
on fleet-footed horses.

We have forgotten those
who leaned out train windows
needlessly shooting the great beasts
whose calves now must find their own way.

We have forsaken
the one given to us all
by the ever wise Great Spirit
as food, clothing, tools, and shelter.

For their tongues
millions were slaughtered
and their maimed carcasses
left to lie and rot.

Many of our thundering friends
died for nothing
save the momentary joy
of seeing the Great Ones fall
to the hard earth beneath their feet.

Such savage folly
by all those taking
what belongs to everyone
but no one
and for taking far more
than they need.

May we all learn
and remember
when men were at their worst
and when they took
what belongs to everyone
but no one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

First Crocuses
By Don Iannone

First crocuses
...about to bloom
......sit and wait
.........for they know their time.

First crocuses
....test spring's water
......thin green fingers
.........reach toward blue sky.

First crocuses no hurry robins race
..........and redbirds fly.

First crocuses
...listen for Beethoven
......then they know it's time give life a try.

Monday, March 12, 2007

less is more
by don iannone

so many thoughts many memories much to forget
.........before we can remember
............who we really are.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Lake Erie from Cleveland
By Don Iannone

Proud, but smaller than her four siblings,
Erie wraps herself,
like a rough hewn blue-gray shawl
around Cleveland's burly brown and green shoulders.
She hugs the city in places,
giving needed comfort and reassurance.
Then, like any beautiful woman,
she steps back and flirts at a distance--
even sometimes defying our advances.
Her shallow waters seethe at times,
standing tall and swaying back and forth
like a quiver of king cobras.
Her current four thousand year old incarnation
remains hard to fathom, let alone
her Pre-Pleistocene Ice Age roots,
stretching back over two million years.
With age comes grace, and surely
this fair lady commands our respect
for her deep flowing wisdom and beauty.
All this said,
why is such scarce notice given by us
to this watery Cinderella to our north?

Saturday, March 10, 2007







Photo Credit: Rockwell Kent, American, Clover Fields, 1939–40

Spring Fantasies
By Don Iannone

Spring is coming
and everyone and everything knows it
in their heart.
After a long hard winter
the spring makes you want to tarry
for a while
and inhale its lingering perfume.
Just the simple thought of spring
on this early March Saturday morning
makes you want to loosen your hold
and plop down on your back
in the midst of a glorious sun-drenched cloverfield
and gaze without reason
at the fluffy white clouds
slowly drifting across a bright blue sky.

Friday, March 09, 2007

What We Can While We Can in Life
By Don Iannone

Sometimes the weight of life
is so heavy
you can't help but stumble
and even sometimes
you fall.

Sometimes the speed of life
is so fast
you can't help falling behind
and sometimes
you never finish the race
seeming like yours to win all along.

Sometimes the twists and turns in life
set you spinning in circles
whose circumferences fail to intersect
even the tiniest part of your true nature.

Sometimes life goes on
without you
in directions you never imagined.
In directions not yours.
In directions, even at your best
you cannot go.

Sometimes the only thing
we have left
is the lingering glow
of life's fire
burning on for those left after.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sundown Geese
By Don Iannone

Four Canadian geese
...out of formation
.........straight off
............into the setting sun.

No leaders
...just each following
......his own heart
.........on this lingering
............March evening
...............that wraps itself the creamsicle orange sunset
.....................painting its way
........................across the western sky.

One last glimpse
...of the fleeting foursome just fading shadow shapes
............into sundown's last breath.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

There are Deep Places
By Don Iannone

There are deep places
like valleys you wear
that you can't shake loose
until you give them
all that you have.

There are deep places
cutting your world in half
separating you
from your questions
and from your answers.

There are deep places
sucking you in
and making you believe
there is a limit
to how far
you can fall.

There are deep places
you must go
to find yourself
and lose the illusions
following you through life
like perpetual shadows.

There are deep places
that seem to surface
just about the time
you think you have life
all figured out.

Plumb these depths,
but carefully.
And never forget
they are there
because your life starts
and ends in these deep places.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Second Take on the Interstate Accident
By Don Iannone

One poem was not enough
to shake loose the hold
of the interstate accident
I witnessed last month.

The images of the dead bodies
seem to hover in my mind.
I saw them--
the dead bodies,
completely covered by sheets.

People alive in one instant
and dead in the next.
People on their way to somewhere
when something went terribly wrong
and now their lives have suddenly ended.

Two people
who won’t go home tonight
to their families,
eat supper,
and complain about their jobs.

Two people
who never intended to die this way,
or for that matter in any way
on this snowy cold early February morning.

I wonder who was at fault--
if anyone at all was to blame
for what had happened.
What good is blame
at a time like this any way?

The two people on the covered stretchers
are just bodies now, waiting
to be loaded into the ambulances
with the flashing red and blue lights, and
then taken through the snowy darkness
to a nearby small town hospital,
where those who love them
must come at this early hour,
identify their bodies, and
somehow accept
they will never see their loved one again.

The bodies have names--
even now at this dark hour,
as their spirits slip away,
and their loved ones hover over them,
saying their names, hoping
the names will bring them back to life.

Why was I driving so fast this morning?
Why was I not paying attention to the traffic,
the slippery road, and
my hurried, over-stressed, out-of-control life?
I could have caused this accident
by leading my life in such a reckless fashion.

I could be one of those lifeless bodies,
covered by a stark white sheet, waiting
to be taken to a hospital I don’t know,
and my family would have to come
and identify my remains.

Why do I drive myself so hard in life?”

Monday, March 05, 2007

Visit from the Red-Tailed Hawk
By Don Iannone

From the window
we watched
not more than five yards away
the red-tailed hawk
perched regally
in the still silent pin cherry.
Whitish belly prominent
and proudly fluffed
as a large down pillow.
Chocolate-brown plumage
across his head,
nape and back.
Razor-sharp beak poised
and powerful talons grasping
the most hidden branch
out of view
of unsuspecting songbirds
considering Sunday dinner
at the window feeder
by the dangling wind chimes.
Eyes like lasers
focused in all directions
missing nothing,
including the playful squirrel
lost in himself,
and if not careful
perhaps dinner
for our new raptor friend.
No songbirds appear
and so he lifts off
with broad wings pumping
the Airbus-like bird
high into the marbled gray March sky.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

By Don Iannone

March winds howl without mercy.
Their wolf-like lungs ache--
inhaling bitter February air
not quite ready
to give over to April showers.
So we have March--
the in-between, go-between time
when kites either soar high
or fall abruptly
to the hard frozen ground below.
March winds cry--
into the night;
long past any hour of return.
Their voices drown out
winter's rebellious roar,
and spring's magical chant
that eventually coaxes early snow drops
to lift their frail heads
through still hard earth, and then
find the distant sun's white rays
that will grow strong enough
to still March's howl,
and steady spring's unpredictable dance
into the yellowing sun of summer.
There Comes a Time
By Don Iannone

There comes a time
when sorting out
comes to an end
and the need to sort out
becomes far less important
than nursing along
the time you have left.

There comes a time
when the end
no longer lingers
you have nothing left
to hold you back
and keep you from ending.

There comes a time
when all goodbyes are said
and over
and only the sound of silence
comforts and relieves
the pain of emptiness
weighing unbearably heavy
on your heart.

There comes a time
at last
when the need to end
ceases to be a struggle
and you finally accept
that life wasn't at all
what you thought it to be
rather it was
exactly what you allowed it to be.

Then you begin living.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Beyond Your Fear
By Don Iannone

You can't be but afraid
when loneliness fills the well
from where you draw your hope.
You can't be but afraid
when night lingers in your heart
and drowns your smile
before your lips can try it on.
You can't be but afraid
when the whispering of the wind
shouts and echoes in your deepest places,
and you can't stop
what was never intended to be.
You can't help but being afraid
knowing that being afraid will, forever
preclude those possibilities
not seeing their own end.
You can't be but afraid
looking back at yourself
in the rearview mirror of time
that reflects only what you can see about yourself.
You can't be but afraid
as your next breath threatens to be
your last breath, before
your next breath arises.
In all this being afraid,
you just might lose yourself long enough
to find something else--
something more worthwhile
than the fear you hold onto.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Among the Rows of Corn
By Don Iannone

The golden corn grows impatient,
like a clown's evaporating smile,
in long fingered rows
in the once fallow fields
by the rippling brook--
through the green valley,
where aimless wildflowers grow
through late May, and
where the corn, the sun,
and the long awaited summer--
all dance as part of one dream,
saturating all promises
leading up to tomorrow.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mole Hills or Mountains
By Don Iannone

Mole hills have a way of growing
into mountains in our lives, and
we have a great deal to do
with these miraculous transformations.
Yes indeed, small problems become large ones, when
we use a magnifying glass or a microscope, when
we should use a telescope in sizing up situations.
We should consult our inner sage on these matters,
and seek guidance on how
to keep things in perspective.
It's funny--because
most inner sages I know
prescribe a natural remedy--
called "give things time."
This remedy, as we all know, means
letting the mole hill decide for itself
whether it wants to stay a mole hill,
or become a mountain.
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