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Group III
by Joyce Poet
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(Group III)
Carousel Dreams
After Tasting Death
Self Divided
Only What We Are
A Kiss and a Promise
Sonnet XXXII


For richer or poorer?
For better or worse?
In sickness and in health?
Until death do us part?

Marriage as it is
and as it should be
can be differentiated
with simple punctuation.
Trade all those question marks
for explanation points.

Marriage is a piece of paper.
Love is an explanation point.
And it goes something like this:

If we live in a high rise condo
and the rat race causes you stress,
I'll patiently wait until you're ready
and then I'll ease your stress away.

If we fall into a valley
of financial loss,
I'll stand proudly at your side,
knowing that sooner or later
things will start to look brighter.

Those great big tests
come in the first few years;
We'll get through them
because we ARE love.

And when everything seems
to be going well,
I won't forget to treat you
like I know good times
don't last forever --
humbling myself
in the midst of our blessings.

If you are ill,
I'll stay at your side,
holding your hand
and holding up our home.
When we're in good health,
I'll take care of what we have
so that we'll have strength
to overcome.

And if you die before I do,
I'll live on courageously,
knowing I'll see you again.

Marriage is but a piece of paper.
Love is a wedding ring set --
But only when our hearts
are the rings around
each other.
© Joyce Pool

Carousel Dreams

I found my greatest love to be
right here inside of me
when I left it all behind
and set the songbird free
to dance playfully in the rain
alone, but not in pain
waiting for the perfect mate
to sweetly sing my name.

Carousels have always
held a special place
in my dreams.
Those lights --
They dance so colorfully
around the two of us;
We are lost in one another
in still, quiet moments
while the world spins on around us.

While merry-go-rounds
hold a bitter place
in my memories;
He stood out there
in a world that seemed so contented,
so still, and left me all alone inside --
spinning out of control
until I was sickened by the motion.

I found my greatest love to be
right here inside of me
when I left it all behind
and set the songbird free.
My perch on the carnival gate,
the perfect place to wait --
I stand watch for him to come,
my sweet carousel mate.

I'll sit sideways on a pelican's back.
He'll take the big white horse beside me.
We'll let go of the reigns
and ride away
into carousel dreams
and dancing playfully
in the rain.

But for today:
I have found
my greatest love to be
that which exists
inside this songbird
and my carousel dreams --

leaving my joyful song
within the raindrops
to fall, someday, onto his ears
and gently steal his heart
upon his entrance
into the carnival gate.
© Joyce Pool

After Tasting Death

I've walked through the ditches
flooded by dead men's tears,
survived crimes of passion;
death knocked at my door.

I woke to the sound of thunder
crashing through my bones,
gave up on anything they call magic,
and chose only to believe
in illusion and power unseen.

Many millions desire but to envision
things I've seen with my own eyes,
and do so without even knowing
it is beyond their own mystical dreams.

I've become immune
to the opinions of others,
though I do desire, always, to please,
for daily persecution leaves me
to disregard pointing fingers,
unknowing knowing stares.

Though thick crimson blood
pumps itself through my purple veins,
my past is so not pretty,
and I walk on the same soil as does any other,
I know I'm set apart;
I don't belong here,
having defeated death and found life
to be full of unexpected surprise,
daily renewed.

Respect is something I earned
for me, from me
and I smile at the illusion in my mirror,
for I am risen above the floods
with the help of power unseen.
© Joyce Pool

Self Divided

Though my soul abides
on the banks of rivers
rushing between the rolling
Oklahoma hills,

my heart lives
deep in Texas plains,
captured by six big brown
and two blue
puppy dog eyes.

And yet,
my spirit dwells
in the secret place
of the Most High
where peace surpasses
anything I may have found
on the peaks
of pine-covered
blue mountains

and love abounds,
somehow, inconceivably
greater than that
of a mother for her child.
© Joyce Pool


The following poem was written while sitting in the midst of Ouichita (pronounced War-shi-taw) National Forest just outside Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

The song of the whippoorwill whispers in the distance.
Pine grows dense and Mimosa, wild.
I allow myself, despite the resistance,
to recall the heart of a child.

The soil, a soft shade of rust, may be so by my blood
spilled and painting it red with pain.
But it sure feels like the breath of scarlet mud
pours out on me in cleansing rain.

The rolling hills rise and fall, as do my emotions,
winding themselves through each other;
They echo with sounds of nature's devotions
to steal the heart of another.
© Joyce Pool

Only What We Are

It doesn't matter to me
if you didn't hang the moon
or if the stars never find
their playground in your eyes.

You don't have to be the heart
of superficial love songs
as long as I can find a place
called home at your side.

They all want a knight
to rescue them
like damsels in distress
from the cold,

but I've learned to weather
my own storms;
I simply want you
to love me with honesty.

Where did they go,
those simple times
when people genuinely cared,
respected other hearts?

I don't want you to sweep me
off my feet; I want them planted.
Just take me by the hand
and let's walk back there

in the freedom to be
only what we are when we're with
or without each other.
© Joyce Pool


The following poem concerns the neighborly love that was so quick to flood America after the tragedy of 9/11.

Lives are changed
in the blink of an eye
while our brothers,
and children must die.

Loves deepen
by the truths
we must bear
and our hands, in unison,
stretch for the air

in prayers that ring out
through darkest of days
for protection
and freedom
and light
in the haze.

Why does it take
tragedy to bring us
to the point
of loving one another?
© Joyce Pool

A Kiss and a Promise

The following poem was written for the “Notes” romance poetry contest.

Sitting on an old wooden park bench,
waiting for her love to meet her,
she took note of her surroundings,
none of them like her:

Teenagers necking under the pavilion,
an elderly man walking his dog,
and four female ducks
following one bright green mallard.

The sun was getting low.
She prayed a quick prayer,
"Let him make it on time
to see the sunset with me."

Huge red ball of fire
half covered by the horizon,
the sun threatened, "goodnight,"
and she still sat there alone.

"Where are you, My Love?
Have you forgotten me?
We can't have this moment back
once it's gone."

She pulled the old crumpled paper
from her jacket pocket
and smoothed it gently
with wrinkled hands.

"Here, on this park bench,
I'll meet you every year
for a kiss and a promise
to keep the wonder of our love alive."

The teenagers drove away
and the ducks had long since gone.
The old man and his dog
were nearly out of sight.

She closed her eyes
to envision
their first night on this bench
some twenty or thirty years prior.

He held her hand,
promised to love her forever
and sealed the promise with a kiss;
it was their wedding night.

They vowed to meet,
same time, same place,
every year, forever after
and carved their initials in the bench.

A tear slipped down her cheek
and she grabbed her purse to leave,
the sun leaving the last of its
bloody reflection on the water.

A strong, but gentle hand
fell upon her shoulder,
"I'm sorry I'm late.
Forgive me, Dear?"

"Look, before it's gone
Isn't it the most beautiful thing
you've ever seen."

"Yes, Love, it is.
I do believe it's more beautiful
with every passing year,"
and he bent to kiss her forehead.

"Sealed with this kiss,
My Love, believe me;
you are more beautiful
than the day we met."

"I promise, as always,
to meet you,
as the days turn to dusk.
I'll spend every night by your side."

A kiss and a promise
to seal their love,
a signed park bench,
a lifetime still to wonder --

they are you and I
when you've finally come
to watch the sun lay down to rest
in contentment with me.

"Let him come to meet me
when daylight turns to dusk,
while my heart is still soft enough
to find awe in the wonders

of true love."
© Joyce Pool


The following poem was written for the “Taboo” romance poetry contest.

T olerated easily by her company,
A ccepted despite her past,
B anned forever from the world outside,
O stracized for simply being misunderstood,
O bliterated like yesterday’s newspaper,

Her name - Sanctioned

She is the definition of inhibition; the shy
young lady receives favor
in triple portion
for the restrictions she places
on herself; she prospers,
though not with money,
in ways the world cannot fathom.
You would fare well
to know and love her
as she differs so
from those around her.

Her name - Sanctioned
© Joyce Pool

Sonnet XXXII

The following poem was written for a poetry contest in which the challenge was to write a poem that resembled one written by a famous poet. I chose ‘Sonnet XXXII’ by William Shakespeare.

Keep me in innocent thoughts,
When my pen no longer gives way to utter my heart's cries,
And remember me only by the words I've given you,
The remnants inside of me bleeding through poetry.
Do well to recall that I have loved you,
Though my thoughts are deeper than utterance,
More felt than transformed to words.
Hold them close to you,
For they are as close as one may come,
Touching, but never grasping my soul.
You, here, are the few who will ever follow my lines;
Do tell one another when I'm gone,
"Yes! She was different!
She loved more thoroughly. She laughed louder.
She was shaped by the river's beating edge, gracefully conformed,
Beautified by storms, and given to dancing.
Shakespeare was her hero,
And Satan, her only enemy.
I read the rest for joy, hers for her heart."
© Joyce Pool

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