The first Thursday of April…hoping to move the needle, slightly upward


he second day of National Poetry Month finds itself mired in the cloak of an ongoing dire situation as we have experienced in the past few days and weeks and months.  

As a society, we stand ready to offer solace, support and determination to one another as the heartbreaking news regarding Covid-19 remains uppermost on our minds. So, what can poetry do in a time like this one?

Psychologists and mental health folks may opine that we need to find a safe place, a comfortable place to have a respite from the stress of the challenges that we face. And those places of refuge may be as diverse as there are global people. And for some, the creative arts may offer such a refuge. And for many, poetry can be that creative shelter. 

Each day of this month, we will share a poet or two and her/his work. In this small way, the work may prompt you to reflect, understand, and place in perspective a wide range of issues that require clarity and provide a sense of peaceful contemplation.

James G. Piatt is today’s featured poet. In 2019, he released “Solace Between The Lines” his latest book of poetry. Here are his poems to celebrate National Poetry Month. 

Dr. James G. Piatt, photo provided

Change and Constancy

A long time ago, I walked on the soft barked paths of the woods that meandered through meadows and copse, and I thought I heard voices of angels softly singing as bronze church bells far down the valley chimed a welcome to mass. That was when the world was peaceful and there was a certain kind of calmness in the atmosphere. The truism that said, you can never step in the same water in a river twice, equates to special times in one’s life as well. You can never walk the same path, or observe the same pond twice as well. Every time you visit the woods it is new, the river has changed its course, new ponds are formed and old ones disappear, trees are different too, some are taller, others now lay on the forest floor, and new ones have emerged out of the soft loam. The water in a translucent pool reflects images off its face, like a mirror, and every image is different each hour of the day, each season of the year. The only thing that stays constant, is the memory one contains in their mind, precious visions of another time, another place, and it is always the same place. The water that runs over stones in a brook changes the character of the stones, like the trials in one’s life, changes one’s character.  The wind that curls across the meadows changes the curvature of the meadows and carves new trails. The storms that ravage through the woods changes the complexity of the forest, and one finds that the images that one sees now is different from those seen yeas ago. Visions change with time and the touch of season’s elements, except in one’s mind where the landscape is forever unchangeable and constant. Life is similar; from youth to middle age to old age, times and seasons change us as well, until, everything, like the landscape, no longer resemble what was, except in our memories: Treasure your memories, for they are the only things that are real.

The Gift

What good is a poem without wings that can fly far into the sky, and walk on rhyming feet that trod upon heaven’s rim? 

What good is a poem without words that reach into forlorn souls, or without a touch of fundamental reasons, for that which is, but cannot be, or without a luminous voice that can brighten minds in the darkness of night?

The poet’s ebony ink filled pen must etch beautiful words on paper as white as snow in order to enter searching souls. It is only then when whirling rhymes imprint visions into memories and create dreams that reach into the essence of reality. 

Too many poems brittle like aging bones, exhausted like weary flesh, are becoming ashen and worn, like the face of a long abandoned doll in a dusty attic. Too many poems have fallen like bits of charred wood into a river and have been washed downstream into extinction. 

Like a rutted and battered road that begs for smoothness, poets must fight against the phantoms that wish to steal rhymes that breathe life and morph them into the corrosive language of callousness.

But a new dawn will come, and future poems will flutter in the winds of time like beautiful butterflies, slowly becoming reachable again as they fly into the heavens for assurance, and back to earth again.

In the wee hours of an apricot tinted dawn, people will hear the reassuring bells of a church, and watch the moon outside a window sending down beams carrying poems to quench the pain of loneliness and sadness. 

Poetic rhythms will spin across their minds like white crested waves in an ocean, creating a collage of beautiful feelings covering the fetid odor of sadness, creating joy, crushing grief, and leaving a cheerfulness echoing in their longing souls. 

In the breathless yawn of a new daybreak, as they awake from their somnambulant hours, they will be moved by the day’s poetic rhymes that shatter the darkness, and paints an orange hue on the hills and the meadow below. It is then that they will realize that they have the gift of another day of life, and be glad.

                                                   * * *
Dr. Piatt earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University and his doctorate from BYU. A retired professor, Jim has published three collections of poetry prior to “Solace,” as well as 1,160 poems, four novels and 35 short stories. His work has been nominated several times for Pushcart and Best of Web awards. In recognition of his work and literary accomplishments, here is a special April contribution from Jim Piatt.  

Spring Is Arriving  
Spring is arriving it is no longer cold
Velvety birds sing loudly at their will
The bright sun is melting winter’s icy hold

The verdant meadows are no longer gold,                            
The dappled frogs’ voices are croaking shrill:                                   
Spring is arriving it is no longer cold.                                   

Spring creates colors for us to behold,                                              
Water flows in chasms down a rutted hill:                
The bright sun is melting winter’s icy hold.              

I long daily for summer to unfold                             
See beautiful flowers near a flowing rill:                               
Spring is arriving it is no longer cold.                       

I love the beauty in the roses that unfold,      
When the sun’s warmth removes the frosty chill:                                         
The bright sun is melting winter’s icy hold.              

On a spring day it is often foretold,                           
In the warmth of the sun I will surely thrill:              
Spring is arriving it is no longer cold,                       
The bright sun is melting winter’s icy hold.


old on…for just a minute or more time in space…wait…be patient…another poet is coming…tomorrow. So...

Use your time to protect and cherish those you care for and love.

Stay safe.

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