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Intimations of Mortality

What you’ve stolen fades away,
Nothing made of gold can stay;
All your silver turns to brass,
All your diamonds into glass.
Look at your reflection fair
In the mirror hanging there;
Peer again, though, and you’ll see
You’re laced with mortality.
Cruel payment’s coming due;
You will have to pay it, too.
All the games you like to play?
Death will snatch them clean away!
Until then, however, know
That you’re free to come and go,
Doing what you like to do—
But on Judgment Day, you’re through!


Poem © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More The Whirligig #275
More Writers’ Pantry #29 at Poets and Storytellers United


Send Me Silver Messages

Send me silver messages on wings of bees or bats.
Send them to the sad café, where I wear many hats:
Baker, barber, barkeep—even chairman of the board;
Table number three is mine, beside the safety cord.
Also in the library, where dancing Buddhas shine,
You may find me barely sober (I’ll be drinking wine).
Remember now, for safety’s sake, parking’s not allowed
Near the curb, or where bad news is breaking to the crowd.
If you can make some sense of this, you’re better than I am;
Farewell, dear friends, my journey starts—I’m off to Vietnam!

Poem © 2019 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #225
More Midweek Motif at Poets United: “Safety”

Voice of Silver

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Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Southern California.

From the children’s nursery comes a Silver Voice:
“The Willow Tree seems lost now, and you have no choice
But to seek until you find her, seek both near and far,
Seek beneath the stump and boulder, seek where dragons are.
Do not let unrest dissuade you from the task at hand.
Courage, sister! Courage, brother! Don’t you understand
That skies and stars and planets all depend on you?
Gird yourselves with courage, and do what you must do!
Destroy fierce Dragon Burdock that threatens Willow’s ways;
Then, with all things great and small, in peace live out your days.”
We hear you, Voice of Silver, we hear you, Voice of Old;
With courage as our mantle, we’ll do as we are told.

Poem © 2018 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #185
More Poetry Pantry #426 at Poets United

Ponder This

~~ ~~ 1 ~~ ~~
Why pretend that parents are wise beyond all telling?
I say this for the record: Something rotten I am smelling!
~~ ~~ 2 ~~ ~~
If police come knock, knock, knocking, and the census taker notes
That you are a foreign person, board your boat while it still floats!
~~ ~~ 3 ~~ ~~
In the poor, white cardboard shanties gold and silver may be found,
But take care, O treasure seeker, that the gold does not confound.
~~ ~~ 4 ~~ ~~
Do not ditch the native speaker,
You’ll be glad that she’s around
When the jungle vines come creeping,
And your own tongue can’t be found.
Who can make sense out of nonsense?
Who can make hell holy ground?
Only those who speak the language
Of the things that make no sound.

Poems © 2018 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #177
More Poetry Pantry #418 at Poets United

The Pimple Ripens Slowly

~~ ~~ 1 ~~ ~~
The pimple ripens slowly, so everyone can see
That this unsightly blemish is clearly part of me.
~~ ~~ 2 ~~ ~~
Cancer turns a man to dust.
What is this, if not unjust?
~~ ~~ 3 ~~ ~~
Empty your closet, toss out your belts—
With global warming everything melts.
~~ ~~ 4 ~~ ~~
Is anyone clever enough to measure
The actual weight of the thing called Pleasure?
~~ ~~ 5 ~~ ~~
My horse will wear silver, my horse will wear gold,
He’ll walk where he wants to, and not where he’s told.
~~ ~~ 6 ~~ ~~
Your spine belongs behind you, not in front, my dear,
For if your spine were frontal, where would be your rear?

Poems © 2018 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #175
More Poetry Pantry #416 at Poets United

A girl is marching

A girl is marching
through secret gardens,
pounding a drum
with silver sticks
stolen from carnivals.
Her imaginary parrot
is rattling its beak—
no talking is allowed
on the gardens’ paths.
The girl and her parrot
find it comforting
to make sounds together,
and lemon trees
lining the pathways
seem to blossom more freely
as they lean toward
the silvery beat of the drum.


Poem © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Sunday’s Whirligig #131
More Poetry Pantry #373 at Poets United


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~~ 1 ~~
muttering nonsense
the women at the dumpster
rummaging for scraps
~~ 2 ~~
in a hidden vein
gold ore waiting in the dark
for a miner’s pick
~~ 3 ~~
hibiscus blossoms—
tearing at them with anger
till they are no more
~~ 4 ~~
pilgrims on the way
the youngest lagging behind
to pick some daisies
~~ 5 ~~
from here to Denver
across the Mississippi—
the length of her stride
~~ 6 ~~
the topmost branches
of a forty-foot white oak—
my childhood lookout
~~ 7 ~~
the joy of walking
in places with no footprints
crow guiding my way
~~ 8 ~~
pathway pebble-clear
walking barefoot after dark
for our rendezvous
~~ 9 ~~
an old silver tray
laden with grapes and olives—
artisanal fruit
~~ 10 ~~
hibiscus blossoms—
changing their color with chalk
snitched from a schoolboy
~~ 11 ~~
August afternoon—
the way thunderheads threaten
to flood the washes
~~ 12 ~~

© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #263
More Sunday’s Whirligig #18