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Sample Poems by Judith Brice


 

What We Learned:

First there was shock.
Then denial, anger.
Soon depression-
No one talked of despair
only "acceptance," if

the bereaved
was lucky enough
to reach the end
of grief.

Tell that to the tundra
swan when her sole
partner is felled-
swirls past her
through the whirling winter
white- for a hunter's fillet.

Tell it to the mourning
dove, after his life
mate plummets
to a small scarlet
splotch of death-
the savored evening game.

Perhaps the sapling
will hear, when its old-
growth forest is clear-cut
for paper plates.

Tell it now to them,
to us- again.



As We Wept


1926

Flaunting white gowns they rode through town,
as we cringed and shivered and wept.
To the church they rode and then back down

with crosses aflame, white hoods, and gowns,
as we huddled, and listened and crept.
Flaunting white gowns they rode through town

bringing bloodhound dogs circling 'round
as we ran, and our dresses got ripped.
To the church they rode and then back down.

Burly men, bosses, could hear our sounds,
when beyond the noose and wall, we leapt.
Flaunting white gowns they rode through town.

At night with torches they'd go to the mound.
True terror; as we'd seen fire that swept!
To the church they rode and then back down.

They'd circle our houses and then back around,
as we cringed and shivered and wept.
Flaunting white gowns they rode through town.
To the church they rode and then back down.



Links

To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour....
-William Blake

On the off chance that you hate
brown, do you think you could
wonder at a song sparrow's fate,
(there, beside the white birch wood)?

Do you think you could,
(if you hate light auburn, rust and white,
there, beside the white birch wood)
cherish a peony in plain sight?

If you hate light auburn, rust and white,
could you choose to treasure the pinks,
cherish a peony in plain sight-
her red, carmine, whites: even the links?

Could you choose to treasure the pinks,
person to person, lips snidely pursing-
red-carmine-whites: even the links,
while Others you're always cursing?

Person to person, lips snidely pursing,
can you hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
while Others you're always cursing?
Would you dance over windswept sand?

Can you hold infinity in the palm of your hand
or wonder at a song sparrow's fate?
Could you dance over windswept sand
on the off chance that you hate?



Whites


Cirrostratus clouds: sky, wide,
raucous gulls, circling

Snow: drifts
hard-falling

Birches: shedding dead bark
along newly shoveled drive

Kuvasz: on guard
in snow-covered garden

Portico: ionic columns
padded rocking chairs

Many doors: one, ajar
silk sheets on beds

Pearl necklace: earrings
on top of alabaster armoire

Laundry: sorted in piles
for the laundress

Faded sign: at Hotel entrance
Not for Coloreds