Poems

All poems below are copyright by Bill Chatfield, unless otherwise noted. 

Don’t Talk To Strangers
(1/27/17 by Maura Kennedy)

Detroit in 1968’s the time
It captured my attention
That shiny fire engine
I chased it through the streets and past the neighborhood I knew
A five year old, now lost in the city
Nowhere to turn in a town without pity

“Don’t talk to strangers,” Mamma said
There may be danger on the dark road up ahead
One never knows
Who hides in the shadows
What kind of life they have led
Don’t talk to strangers

Barefoot and bleeding, refugees, their crime
They come with sons and daughters
No shelter food or water
Fleeing with their very lives and leaving all they knew
Now we’re building walls at the gates of our city
No one to trust in a town without pity

“Don’t talk to strangers,” Mamma said
There may be danger on the dark road up ahead
One never knows
Who hides in the shadows
What kind of life they have led
Don’t talk to strangers

I remember thinking then when I was five
I knew the rules and knew what they were for
But if I was to make it home
I couldn’t keep to rules I’d known
I had to overcome my blindness
Put my faith in human kindness

Like Lady Liberty, she stood outside
Her family all around her
A friendly air about her
That she would guide me home, it was the only hope I knew
Sweet chariot, we rode through the city
The look in her eyes was more kindness than pity

“Don’t talk to strangers,” Mamma said
But is there no danger
In denying what I read
By that golden door
Her torch lit the shore
And welcomed all instead
She lifted her lamp…Her lamp shone a light…
It lighted the way, the way home to strangers

Copyright 2017, The Kennedys, L.L.C.
www.kennedysmusic.com

Who Am I?

Words (and music) by Joe McDonald
©1967 Joyful Wisdom Publishing Co BMI

Who am I
To stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate
Slowly grind my life away.
Who am I?

There were some things that I loved one time.
But the dreams are gone I thought were mine.
And the hidden tears that once could fall
Now burn inside at the thought of all
The years of waste, the years of crime
Passions of a heart so blind;
To think that, but even still
As I stand exposed, my feelings are felt
And I cry into the echo of my loneliness.

Who am I
To stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate
Slowly grind my life away.
Who am I?

What a nothing I've made of life
The empty words, the coward's plight
To be pushed and passed from hand to hand
Never daring to speak, never daring to stand
And the emptiness of my family's eyes
Reminds me over and over of lies
And promises and deeds undone
And now again I want to run
But now there is nowhere to run to.

Who am I
To stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate
Slowly grind my life away.
Who am I?

And now my friend we meet again
We shall see which one will bend
Under the strain of death's golden eyes
Which one of us shall win the prize
To live and which one will die
'Tis I, my friend, yes 'tis I
Shall kill to live again and again
To clutch the throat of sweet revenge
For life is here only for the taking.

Who am I
To stand and wonder, to wait
While the wheels of fate
Slowly grind my life away.
Who am I? Who am I?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Lyrics to a song written by Joe Crookston (see: https://www.joecrookston.com/)

Fall Down as the Rain

When my life is over
And I have gone away
I'm gonna leave this big ole' world
And the trouble and the pain
And if I get to heaven
I will not stay
I'll turn myself around again
And fall down as the rain
Fall Down as the rain
Fall Down as the rain

And when I finally reach the ground
I'll soak into the sod
I'll turn myself around again

Come up as goldenrod
Come up as goldenrod
Come up as goldenrod

And then when I turn dry and brown
I'll lay me down to rest
I'll turn myself around again
As part of an eagles nest
Part of an eagles nest
Part of an eagles nest
And when that eagle learns to fly
I'll flutter from that tree
I'll turn myself around again
As part of the mystery

Part of the mystery

“2055”        by Seth Chatfield 

Welcome to the future, now it’s 2055
the ice caps all have melted and the last oceans just died
but as always there’s an upshot - if you’re brave enough to try it
there’s an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet, floating on the tide.
Long ago we changed the channel,
when we should have channeled change,
but we loved our entertainment
and we auctioned off our brains.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda doesn’t matter In the end,
and that’s looking like tomorrow so go hug someone my friends.

Corruption was a problem when we had a government
when the companies took over, right away that problem went
and yes they took our healthcare and of course that one was wrong
but here’s a life-hack:  you won’t need it if you just don’t live too long.

Thank God we closed down all the schools, that was an awful cost
and now we have the cash to pay for all the wars we lost.
We could always start another if we found more enemies
but it’s getting pretty dark in here and also hard to breathe.
Long ago we changed the channel,
when we should have channeled change
but we loved our entertainment
and we auctioned off our brains.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda doesn’t matter In the end
and that's looking like tomorrow so go hug someone, my friends.                                    

morning walk

I am walking

down by the river-side           

down by the small place

where

the cardinals whistle

to the bluejays

and

the bluejays mark their

time///

whistling in

the morning

is yet to be a crime.

 

Verses from part of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

…There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
…And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea…

 

hutchinsonsingerssongbanner

 

(the above poem is part of a song composed by Judson Hutchinson, sung by Abby Hutchinson of The Hutchinson Family Singers, 19th Century NH)

 

Bystanders No More

We are innocent
Claim the folks
   On the sidelines
Bystanders only
   As the world turns

Shaking heads sadly
As the world burns

It is time to stand up
To take a real stand
Eyes up and aware
No more heads in the sand

Innocent bystanders
Who stood idly before
Must be involved
…Forevermore.

 

Tune

There are those
in shadows
urging me
to change
    my tune...
the song I sing
from my cocoon.
My tune’s not
changing
at the drop
of a thought
…like it or love it
or like it quite not.

 

sun and shadows

sun and shadows
pulsing
one
  after
    another
putting on a show
requesting
a choice -
which way to go

 

The Last Apple

dew
drips
 s  l  o  w  l  y
from your last
and only apple

cool green

a tentatively green
b
lade of grass
shivers in the cool
    
of the evening.

Writing                                      

Writing a poem                         
  is never done                         
    words multiply                   
      to infinity from one      

Winter Hazards         

Winter hazards in the air

Invisible people must beware

Of other folks who cannot see

You cloaked in invisibility

Frozen breath might give a clue

But little else shows up as you

 

invisibly                        

if the invisible man speaks
B O L D L Y
will he soon walk hand-in-hand
with shadows?

Awake

Awake with the wind
I am lonely and cold
No wish to arise
No impulse to be bold

Awake (version 2)

Awake with the wind

I am lonely and cold

      I have

No wish to arise

Nor Impulse to be bold

 

Sunspot

There is a little sunspot
dancing on the sun
twirling flames into the “air”
and no doubt having fun

NASA worries that the spot
may engender a large flare
rendering havoc in our lives

a chaos truly to beware
 

It’s just a tiny sunspot
in the solar scheme of worth
although to us it’s rather big
six times as large as Earth

 

Falling

 

yellow leaf falling

tip of my tongue extended

autumn convergence

 

False Choice

The road I was on came to a Y…
Begging me to choose between
existing paths
Urging me to smoothly decelerate
or just as winsomely
Accelerate
onto one of the two roads.

Such a fork in the road
does not encourage
Other choices:
Stopping,
Making a U-turn, or
Disembarking
to start walking
    
around
in the middle.

 

Excerpt from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by NH poet Robert Frost -

…The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Success - by Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

Success, O magic word, Success!
How much you mean to happiness
Men seek you over e’ery land,
But scanty few have you in hand.

Men slave for you and with life pay
If they can clutch you for one day
You are the subject of their prayers
To you they give their thoughts and cares

Men say untruths for you alone
And by foul means you’re called their own
Yet rest not till their dying day
Because they grasped you in such way.