ATTENTION IPAD USERS!
Apple doesn't like listing me as "Will Shakespeare (poetry blogger)"
to differentiate me from the other guy, although everybody else does.
They took my first book but now won't take new ones. (Go figure.)
Since Smashwords distributes my books to Apple anyway,
just go to my Smashwords author page and download EPUBs from there.
Smashwords provides samples of my books also.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Museless Thoughts

My muse refused to answer me today.
Her cold silence said, in as many words,
“Have your people call my people… later.”
Am I that much of a nuisance? Am I?
Perhaps I expect too much of her;
Perhaps her inspiration is limited.
Does a muse ever pause, furrow her brow,
And say, “Wow, I’m a clueless muse. What now?”
What does she do then? When the well runs dry,
Where does my muse find her inspiration?
Is there a book of musings, where museless
Muses find muse-y thoughts to muse about?
Or do they call 1 (800) MUSINGS,
Where muse operators are standing by?
Do they seek new companions at eMuse –
New friends to whom their old ideas seem new?
Or does she just sit back, amused at my
Apparent lack of creativity?
This problem has bemused me long enough;
I’ll just file it under “anonyMuse”
And seek some inspiration on my own.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Upturned Palms

A brief meditation for Palm Sunday.

“The Master has need of it” said the man
As they handed him the frightened colt’s reins;
The mama donkey didn’t follow them.

The one they called Master stroked it and cooed
Quiet encouragement as He mounted.
The Master was its first burden, ever.

Its fear turned to excitement as it saw
The crowds of people walking and cheering
Alongside them. The Master’s voice calmed it.

Waving, beckoning, then spread on the ground,
Upturned palms gently cradled the colt’s hooves
As it made its first trip to the city.

Much too soon, the excitement was over.
The Master stepped down; the colt didn’t know
A burden awaited Him a week later.

All it knew was it was thirsty, and with
Upturned palms He offered it water, then
Fed it and returned it to its mother.

The Master had been no burden at all.
Even a simple colt could understand
Upturned palms as a way to bless others.

Friday, March 26, 2010

No Comment

Inspired by those who say that Tiger Woods
Cannot give a direct answer, I thought

To answer sordid rumors from my past.


‘Tis rumored that my many lovely sonnets
Were writ for men, and my affections… wayward.
The rumor’s false; my heartfelt sentiments
Were written, one and all, to lovely ladies
Portrayed by men upon the English stage.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Artifact

Buried, forgotten, then rediscovered…
By chance? A remnant of my past emerged
While cleaning out some garbage. I was sure
I’d thrown it out; after all, I had changed
And it was an embarrassment to me…
So I ditched it. At least I thought I did.
But there it was – still a slight gleam, even
After so many years of cold neglect.
Amazed, I dug it out and studied it.
I couldn’t believe it still shined so much
After so long. But I guess artifacts
Survive because they have worth. I kept it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Too Fresh for Fantasy

For pepedogg: An infatuation
With burgers leads to questionable acts.


Hunger has driven me mad; in my sleep
I dream of cattle, bumping and grinding
Through a hand-cranked mill, lounging shamelessly
On a sensuous white sheet of butcher
Paper, as yet too fresh for fantasy…

In darkest night, when no one else can see,
I text: “R U hungry? When last I 8
U were on my mind” Risque recipes
Pass from my fingers to other would-be
Grillers, our minds marinating in the
Lust for burgers too fresh for fantasy…

The kitchen director calls for action.
The camera rolls, the director cries “Cut!”
And we do – luscious cuts of grade-A prime
Are primped and patted and escorted on-stage,
Awaiting their lines. The grill is prepared;
They deliver a sizzling performance.
Their time has come, and all can see they are
Not too fresh for fantasy anymore.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sun Tzu for Poets

Sometimes writing poems is a battle.

Poetry is the greatest work. It is
The breath of life and death for the people,
The source of hope for a struggling nation.
It must not be ignored. Is the poet
Skilled? He will woo the hearts of his readers.

This is how the poet shares his passion:
What he speaks is scribed in calligraphy.
What he weeps is painted in watercolors.
What he loves is sculpted in Burmese jade.
Many thoughtful edits quicken its pulse.
By these alone, I can foretell triumph.

Friday, March 19, 2010

To Hershey, My Special One

Inspired by an ingredient panel.

An ode to chocolates dark; I write this day
Of sweetness tinged with bitterness sublime,
Like life itself. You draw my hungry gaze.
Impassioned, overcome, I lust for you.
Despite your grams of fat – in number, twelve,
And of those, seven saturated are –
Yea, burdened though you be with sugared vice,
These you transcend; your soul is naught but health.
I revel in your fiber – healing balm
So swift to move, assuaging ills within!
The demon called Cholesterol you mock;
Freed from his grasp, I melt in your embrace.
Should I let fools deprive me of such joy?
Speak not such folly. Fill me now, my love!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On Not Planning Ahead

The ides of March are come… and also gone;
The nearness of it somehow slipped my mind.
Last week I left a note: “To Self: Beware,
The ides of March approach. Prepare a poem.”
Such timeliness comes only once a year;
But now its time is past, its sooth is said,
And nothing can be done to bring it back.
The best that I can do is let it go
And promise not to err again. But then,
I should have foreseen this coming… et tu?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Parable of the Lost Sleep

A silly poem for Daylight Saving Time.

One spring, a shepherd with a hundred sheep,
His body tired from duties of the day,
Spread out his cloak beneath the cloudless sky
And tried his best to sleep. Sleep would not come.
He gazed upon the quarter moon, so bright
Amid the starry host; sleep would not come
And so he rose, to seek the sleep he lost
Amid his shaggy host. He counted them
All, one by one, and then did so again,
And yet a third time. Still, sleep would not come.
He sought it many months, until at last,
As summer found the chilly rest of fall,
The sleep that had eluded him so long
Came back to him. Rejoicing, he returned
To celebrate his find with all his friends.
He called them all, and bid them join his feast;
But when they came, they found him sound asleep
And, being friends, did not disturb his rest…
But still, they ate him out of house and home.
Friends they might have been, but they weren’t stupid.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mrs. Cain

A fairly self-explanatory tale.

“So Cain went out from the presence of God
To live in the land of Nod.” With his wife.
Many may question: Where did she come from?
But very few wonder: Where did she go?
We all know the story; perhaps she was bored.
God marked Cain – quite clearly – “Danger: BEWARE!”
But marked as a killer, the power of his
Darkness seduced her. She wanted him badly
And the gene pool was shallow; blindly she
Jumped in. How soon did she regret her choice?
The two got hitched; then, leaving home, they headed
East of Eden. Away from those she knew,
Life was tough. They had a son named Enoch.
Mr. Cain became a mover and shaker,
Built a city, named it after his son…
And Mrs. Cain was lost along the way.

Where did she go? She raised Cain’s son, and then…
Silence. Was she a liability?
Did she “vanish” because she knew too much?
Did he replace her with a trophy wife?
This much is very clear: He had so much
To save and she was so little to lose…

So this is the story of Mrs. Cain: She
Married a murderer, moved east of Eden,
Got knocked up with Enoch, and disappeared.
We all know the story. Is the story all?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Air

A poem is like a basketball playoff…

The clock is ticking. I run the sidelines,
Hoping he sees I’m in the clear. My muse
Feints left, then hits me with a crosscourt pass.
Frantically I clutch at inspiration,
But the pass is good; I see the play clearly now.
I make my move and drive into the paint.
The opposition smothers me; I’m in
Too deep. I struggle to get the shot off.
It arcs gracefully over their outstretched
Arms and touches neither net nor hoop. AIR.
The buzzer sounds, the other team goes wild.
I watch in disbelief, then hang my head. I had
The chance, right there, but faltered down the stretch.
I turn away and start to leave the court
When my muse calls me back – I was fouled!
I take my free throws, and drop them for the win.
We celebrate… then start a new poem because
Madness isn’t confined to the month of March.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Terminal Velocity

Could college physics get more interesting?

The professor says it’s pure physics. It’s
“The highest constant speed a free-falling
Body can possibly hope to attain,
No matter how long or far it falls.” Then
He marches us up sixteen flights of stairs
To the top of the tower, where he produces
A melon, rather large and ripe, which he
Unceremoniously pitches off
The side. We all strain to get a good look
As it arcs slightly away from the tower
Before hitting the ground and splattering
Into a zillion inedible bits
And pieces, soaking several terrified
Coeds who became unintentional
Participants in the experiment.
They erupt into angry epithets
Aimed at nobody in particular.
When the coast is clear, we all run downstairs
To glimpse the true price of scientific
Progress. The professor launches into
A rambling explanation of how much
Farther the melon’s guts would have splattered
Had it reached terminal velocity
First, before reaching the ground. But I think
It’s not the falling, it’s the sudden STOP
At the end that makes the speed terminal.
If only the professor’s lecture could
Reach its own terminal velocity…

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Snow Angels

For Vonn and Mancuso and all the angels
Who ski for the U.S. Olympic Team.


In the quiet white of a winter day,
Snow angels joyously descend to earth
And press their tiny forms into the snow,
Stenciling memories on the hillside.
With measured wing-flaps and scissored leg-swipes
They leave dimples where giggled blessings pool.

In later years, their innocence gone,
Fallen angels plummet headlong to earth
And punch ragged holes in the pristine white
Mountainside, blemishing its sculpted face.
What harsh “blessings” the earth receives from them now!
Undaunted, they rise again and spread their wings,
Enticed by the seductive power of flight.

At last, full-grown, the Valkyries appear;
Battle maidens all, they ride the lightning
Flashing from their heels, zigging, zagging;
The mountain shudders at the thunder of
Their descent. Bravely they carve victory
From the edges of defeat, streaking ever
Earthward from the heavens. The battlefield
Is theirs; they claim their prizes, defiant,
Already preparing for their next flight.
This truth is eternal, and clear to all:
Snow angels do grow up to be Valkyries.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sixty

We had a respite from the bad weather.

We asked her to leave. Winter merely sneered,
Arthritic joints cracking as she prodded
The cold log with one gnarled finger, then rocked
Back in her chair to stay “a spell longer”...
And our tears fell like sleet to the carpet.
Then she gasped; we turned and saw the faint glow.
A tiny flame flickered; she jerked back as
It burst from the cold deeps of the fireplace,
Ripples of heat swelling into breakers
That crashed against the frigid hearth and walls.
We rejoiced as the waves swept over us,
Winter’s stumbling exit barely noticed.
A foretaste of spring was never more welcome.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Something Rotund in Denmark

Pacman portrays the drama of Hamlet.
An act in one play; ‘tis worth the quarter.

As I patrol the flick’ring castle walls
Within my kingdom, vigilant, cautious,
He comes to me and warns that dangers lurk.
My father wears a ghost of many colors
As he comes; nervously he shifts his gaze
From side to side. The colors tremble, blur
From one to many, to one again; then
He speaks. “Betrayed I was; insatiably
My hunger grew, and careless I became.
Prepare, my son; your course of action choose
Or die you will.” And as I brood, perplexed
By his decree, his colors ebb and flow
Around me, distinct now, and recognition
Comes too late – his murderers have left me
No escape. To be or not to be, there
Is no question; the curtain falls. GAME OVER.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Evolution

I ponder changes in the mother tongue.

As I attempt to resurrect my life
And speak anew, my meter stalls, perplexed.
This new age, this “opportune time” does not
Seek words, as once my hearers did, that urge
The heart – or better yet, the soul – to take
Wing and soar ever heavenward… You have planes.
Your language lacks the music I once heard;
Not mother tongue, nor even father tongue,
But a poor bastard child who knows neither
Family nor name. How am I to train him?

Lines I once fired with tautly-drawn meter
Fly neither straight nor true; I watch them drop
From the air, short of their intended mark.
I need a bow formed from more modern wood,
Fresh and strong and made to fire these arrows
So unlike the trim, finely-fletched missiles
I once possessed. So I will go, quiver
Well-stocked, bow in hand, and practice my aim.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dead Lion: Nemea

Today, the First Labour of Herakles
Was on my mind. I did violence to it.

Reported by the Nemea Gazette:
The Son of Zeus today was apprehended
By Nemean officials in a raid.
He claims he acted under royal orders…
But rumor says he poaches on the side.
“The lion that he murdered is the last
One of its kind. Will none protest this loss?”
Asked members of the Rights for Monsters League.
A spokesman said that Herakles was framed.

Tradition says the lion’s golden pelt
Bestows upon the wearer magic powers;
The hero had it girt about his loins
At his arrest. No bail bond has been set.
Arraignment will be held in the Agora
In a week. The public may attend.