Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Looking Out to Spectacle Island in April--By Marianne Szlyk--United States

Looking Out to Spectacle Island in April

The beach this time of year
is nothing but rocks.
She ignores the man
who is placing one
on top of the other,
trying to balance them.

She ignores his dog.

She is waiting for the summer
of swimming in shallow water,
baseball on the radio,
and the reggae ice cream truck
with its flavors
of soursop, mango, and rum raisin.

She is waiting.

Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... , an associate poetry editor at Potomac Review, and a professor of English at Montgomery College. Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press. Her poems have appeared in a variety of online and print venues, including Silver Birch Press, Cactifur, Of/with, bird's thumb, Truck, Algebra of Owls, The Blue Mountain Review, and Yellow Chair Review. Her first chapbook is available (for free) through Kind of a Hurricane Press: http://barometricpressures.blogspot.com/2014/10/listening-to-electric-cambodia-looking.html   

Freedom--By Diana Dalton--United States


Free your mind one belief at a time
Letting them flow in love's glow
Just a movie scene upon a screen
Relax, let go, enjoy the show

Diana Dalton was born in England. She grew up loving the county side which later developed and inspired her desire to capture those beautiful moments which she does through her poetry, her spiritual nature and photography. Though not a prolific writer Diana has had her poems read on Dutch radio, and has been featured in some American compilations of poetry. She will dabble and challenge herself with some recognized forms, yet most often, Diana likes the freedom of words and will take some poetic license even to inventing nonexistent words together with her husband and fellow poet, Yancy Dalton.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Partners in Poetry--ayaz daryl nielsen and Peggy Dugan French, United States

can’t turn away
By ayaz daryl nielsen and Peggy Dugan French, United States

things will blend together, as they do
you can’t turn away
new beginnings approaching
true Spring has yet to set in
your memory returns with the iris
endowing and inhabiting
I smile at the thought of us…

Porcelain--By Darrell Herbert--United States



            perfect porcelain skin


Rivulets nice down cheeks

The night         mare’s  steady              gait punctures the day

Dreaming of an end

                                                            to the   e n d l e s s

Crawling out, crawling

Blinking under the bright fluorescent lights.

Darrell Herbert is a poet-songwriter, humanitarian, author, and activist. He is a nationally recognized poet.

Beyond the Mirror--By Glenda Frazier--United States

Beyond the Mirror

Looking through a distorted mirror
I stare closer to see my scars
People told me I was beautiful
But they couldn’t see my tainted heart

As I peer deeper into my eyes
My flaws manifested through my flesh
All my blemishes from life’s struggles
Brand me from my painful past

The fear of rejection, sicknesses and failures
Bruises inflicted from everyday stress
Yet my image couldn’t portray the peace I felt
Despite my ordeals, I held on tightly to my faith
At last I saw my true beauty through perfect eyes
Displayed was my perfection from a loving God
Who told me my scars gave me tough skin
Scars far more valuable because they were deep

He showed me how Jesus healed my many wounds
I wear them now as a badge of honor
A vision of loveliness far more stunning to behold
My tough skin can no longer be broken                                             

Glenda Frazier and her husband Andre reside in Pace, Florida.  She has been writing poetry for over 20 years and has finally compiled some of them in her most recent book, Poems that Bleed.  She enjoys writing and spending time with her family and friends.  God has instructed her to share her book of poems as an inspirational tool to witness to the lives of her readers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

mosaic of dreams and hope--By Jeanette Nel le Roux--South Africa

mosaic of dreams and hope

if restlessness never ceases in the soul
how do we know when the circle of youth is complete -
at what age are we defined as old
old enough to die?

life and love - an exciting epoch
beautiful, like flowers in springtime
but they never last without rain
and weather in storms

endless graveyards are built by man -
some are parthenons for the dead
but what should be erected for those
who are dead but still exist?

let's build a mosaic of dreams and hope
on a pedestal of non-death –
a catharsis - a jubilation
for being alive

Jeanette Nel le Roux lives in the tranquil town of Mossel Bay on the beautiful Garden Route in South Africa since 1990.  She is a real estate agent since 1976, divorced in 2007, has 3 daughters and a son.  Jeanette's home language is Afrikaans, but she writes in both English and Afrikaans.  She has a poetry group on Facebook called "Jeanette Nel le Roux Poetry".  Jeanette seriously started writing poetry when her soulmate died in 2009.  She is published in several poetry books, together with other poets, but she will publish one of her own in the near future.

Children in the Sky--By Michael Lee Johnson--United States

Children in the Sky 

There is a full moon,
distant in this sky tonight,

Gray planets planted
on an aging white, face.

Children, living and dead,
love the moon with small hearts.

Those in heaven already take gold thread,
drop the moon down for us all to see.

Those alive with us, look out
their bedroom windows tonight,
we smile, then prayers, then sleep.

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 880 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago.  See his website for more about him http://poetryman.mysite.com/     

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Dear Whispers’ Family,

The April writing activity has featured a two-pronged emphasis: writing about a specific theme: Springtime, as we sharpened our skills in the art of Rhyming Couplets. I expected a robust response to this fun activity and this was truly the case. Thank you to all who sent in poems. Let’s enjoy the happiness of the season wrapped in ribbons of poetry. Please join in the fun by clicking the “reply” button and commenting.

Michael Escoubas, Whispers’ Features Editor

On the Eve of Palm Sunday

Shoppers pause by the garden store –           
green-fingered incentives galore

By the plants, one woman gazes
then chooses white saxifrages

“The fragrance will evade his smell,
They’re for my husband’s grave, she tells.”     

Mary Gunn, Ireland

Spring Warning

All birdfeeders must now come down
Now that the bears have come around

They’re hungry, looking for a feed
They’ll flip the feeders, spill out seed

And make a mess of your new garden
And never ask you for a pardon.
Kelley J. White, United States

Walking Through Woods in Spring

Cool rainy Spring, firm harbinger for days
of heat and humidity ahead, stays
third place on my chart of pleasing seasons.
Hopelessness quickly sprouts two more reasons:
Ticks, sand fleas come out leaping and hopping.
Of their itchy bites, there be no stopping.

Barbara Robinette--United States


Little Bird!  Little Bird!
Have you heard not a word

It’s Absurd, Little Bird
Tom Cat stirred, Tom Cat purred

Not a word have you heard
Silly Bird!  Silly Bird! 

Elizabeth Howard, United States


Snow is on the crocus now.
It will not last. I wonder how

The flowers know it’s time to grow
And then to splash a splendid show

Of springtime beauty all around
while firmly anchored in the ground.

Mary O. Monical, United States

Spring Hunt

Vacant chair at the table, empty swing out back
no light at the windows everything's all black.

The house is locked and shuttered closed tighter than a drum
nothing but the mountain breeze, summer's yet to come.

Lantern by the kitchen door no longer can be found
Grandpa's gone a huntin' the echo of the hounds.

Barbara Tate, United States

Spring Invigorates

Compared to other seasons Spring is the king
Most adored; remains above all rating.   

Colorful in sky sweet smelling on earth
Caressing the body with subtle touch

Spring brings short changes in our lives
What is lost through other seasons it revives. 

Aju Mukhopadhyay, India

Spirals of Energy

Witch hazel you free spirit
shining yellow you're twilit.

Curving and curling
your branches whirling.

Bending your pliant limbs
divine me a dowse when the moon dims.

Pat Geyer, United States

Spring Fever

The scent of flowers as they come to bloom
Retreat the snow, the grey and gloom

Rays of sun, beam bright and warm
Bringing to life the buzz and swarm

With spirits now free, we sing a new tune
As we are thankful for this, this sunny afternoon

Langley Shazor, United States

Wild Roses of Spring

The wild roses bloom in the April sun,
But droop and fade when the spring is done.

When the spring is gone, they fade and die,
And no one knows the reason why,

Or why beauty's gone while it's still so young,
And why spring's song is so quickly sung.

Kathleen Murphy, United States

The Sweetness of Spring

Honey bees carefully carried in their home
beckoned by batons of wind they roam,

new spring flowers to see and savour
hair bells and bluebells, laden with nectar,

creatively combined in a busy hive
impatiently I wait for honey to arrive.

Annie Jenkin, England

Falling into Season

The sky above is the brightest blue
Mountains shine through with a sunlit hue

I feel the ripples of soft sweet air
My fingers touch grass naked and bare

Feeling the body not on the ground
I want to dance around and around

Isha Wagner, New Zealand


The many-hued flowers of spring, 
What delight to my soul they bring!

Flowers of the Kachnar* trees, 
Gift their fragrance to the breeze.

A time for rebirth and release -
Sing the butterflies and the bees.

Neena Singh, India

*Kachnar - Bauhinia Blakeana is an evergreen tree,  with large thick leaves and striking purplish red flowers. The fragrant, orchid-like flowers are usually 10-15 cm across, and bloom from early November to the end of March.

Birth of a Season

We all welcome the longer days
of Spring and her blossoming ways.

But her storms are filled with wonder,
lightning and abundant thunder.

These labor pains of creation
wreak havoc across the nation.

Candace Armstrong, United States

Spring Time

Wearing emerald skirts, here comes stunning spring.
Hark! You can almost hear the lovely bluebells ring!

Pretty pink blossom dresses the Sakura trees.
It will fall like confetti on the zephyr breeze.

Daffodils raise their sleepy heads in a blaze of gold.
Colourful crocuses and irises are a joy to behold.

Jan Allison, Isle of Man

Spring's Return

I've waited for this since the last autumn color
fled from our tree to become ground cover.

I longed for this through all the gray days
of short winter sun, feeling cold always.

Now green beginnings, warmth, colors abound,
birds fill my garden with bright chirping sounds.

Joan Leotta, United States

Seasonal Splendour

Amid a misty new day dawning
dewdrops settle on petals forming
Birdsong echoes in fields of green
newborn arrivals herald the scene
Colourful hues of seasonal splendour
filling my heart so graceful and tender.

Allan Ball, England

Joys of Springtime

The flowers that grow, the birds that sing,
I enjoy all that Springtime brings!

David Fox, United States


The daffs abundant in the ground
and lambs are gamboling around

to show that Spring is here at last—
hard winter days are in the past!

Jack Horne, England

Hello Beautiful World

The world is filled with flowers and trees
with green grass and honey bees.

Oh how I like the beautiful sky
when all the birds come flying by.

With tall trees and little squirrels;
Oh how I like this beautiful world.   
Glenda B. Frazier, United States

Evening Fade

The scent of lilacs wafts across the air
like rainbows fading to pastel flair.

With cloudy background splotched in darkest gray
the weeping willow brightens green to stay.

And frogs begin their moonlight serenade
as breezes ripple shadows to fade.

Diane Webster, United States

Le printemps

Before we see the burgeoned bloom,
it preens in Nature’s own Green Room.

Richard Carl Subber, United States

Spring Sprung

Warm sunny days, but a distant memory.
Like a prisoner held captive, I just want to be free.

Blossoming flowers, and budding trees.
Soft gentle rain, the birds and the bees.

These are the things, I’d love to see.
If Spring would only come, and rescue me.

David LaRue Alexander, United States 

First Signs of Spring

I woke to the tinkling of melting snow,
flowing from my roof to the ground below.

And a robin's chirp, in a nearby tree,
sounded like he was serenading me.

I opened my window to sniff the air,
and sure enough it smelled like spring out there.

Emile Pinet, Canada


People wearing calico short-sleeved shirts
The streets are embellished by bare-legged skirts

The amiable April sun does its ultimate best
And even my thoughts are airily dressed

Inge Wesdijk (Daginne Aignend) the Netherlands

A Calming Connection

An untouchable soul mate
A friend spiritual and intimate

A renewal and a release of stress
When the day`s discordance`s senseless

The body`s bushed and the mind`s whizzing
It takes the magic of a melody to get life soaring   

Ndaba Sibanda, Kuwait

Spring Flowers

At last the tiny buds have shown their heads
And catch the sun that warms the flower beds

The snow is gone, the grass is growing green.
A sense of new life permeates the scene.

They dance in wild abandon in the breeze
That teases them with random melodies.

Pam H. Murray, Canada

Odiferous Omen

My first clue we’re done with winter’s ravage
The yellow blossoms of the Skunk Cabbage

My heart sings when I see their beauty swell
Their golden hues emerge before their smell

Yes, their putrid odor makes my heart sing
The irony of their stink brings us spring

Jim Teeters, United States

Spring Springing
Sweet smell in the air shows springs sprung
Birds sing through spring air with bird tongue

Feel of happiness is everywhere
Could it be, spring is what we share?

Spring time comes only once a year
Yes springs sprung for our joyous tear
Yancy Lee Dalton, United States

Springtime (English)

And after cold days now the sun
Delights the heart with graceful fun

Now fresh grass in the spring breeze swing
Birds somewhere in the distance sing

The sky before yet gray not new
Changed now to vivid royal blue


Frühlingszeit  (German)

Nach kalten Tagen jetzt die Sonne
erfreut die Herzen voller Wonne

Und frisches Gras im Frühlingswind
sprießt überall und recht geschwind

Der Himmel kürzlich trist und grau
erstrahlt erneut in Königsblau

Gert Knop, Germany

spring lane

as I drive the river road at dawn
I catch the scent of freshly- cut lawn
from the bank daffodils wave their greeting
true sweetness of our words on meeting
pink cherry blossoms ripen branches
as you and I decide to take our chances

Anne Curran, New Zealand

Spring Seeds…

planted with vision
not indecision

each step with the Lord…
mutual accord

Karen O'Leary, United States

April’s Music

Here I stand listening as you sing
and dance with lilacs in the spring.

Petunias and bluebells clap their hands
as the rose and red bud join the band.

Your yellow hair shifts in the soft breeze
as lilacs tinkle like piano keys.

Michael Escoubas, United States

Morsels--By Mary Ricketson--United States


Today my fear comes
in a covered dish
disguised with herbs and spices,
made palatable by bits of beef
braised in burgundy,
best features forward.

Starting to love this fear,
I name it Respect,
Sprinkle with safety, trust, and hope’
place the casserole in a slow oven.

Fine cuisine, seasoned and cured,
quiets less welcome morsels
of shame and humility.
Integrity rises, meringues the surface,
tempts taste buds past tradition.

As a therapist, Mary Ricketson works with people with all kinds of feelings.  She helps them integrate the wonderful and the painful to somehow make a life that works and thrives.  This poem reflects how Mary finds creative ways to help others.

Pantone 021*--By Scott Thomas Outlar--United States

Pantone 021*

like a pumpkin
ready to ripen
upon the vine

like a flower
more lovely
than a rose

like red
kissing yellow
until they merge

like carrots
giving sight
to the heart

*Pantone 021 is a shade of orange used in printing

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and books can be found. He recently received three Pushcart Prize nominations for his work in 2016. Scott serves as an editor for Walking Is Still Honest Press, The Blue Mountain Review, The Peregrine Muse, and Novelmasters.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Haiku--By Robert Epstein--United States

red moon sirens
her old dog teaches
the young one to howl

box lunch
I’m not giving any
secrets away

inspired by
the public fountain
her ballet poses

late afternoon
he repairs the 6 o’clock
side of my watch band

shell fragments
where can I find
my mother now?

Robert Epstein is a licensed psychologist who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has edited several anthologies: The Breath of Surrender: A Collection of Recovery-Oriented Haiku; Dreams Wander On: Contemporary Poems of Death Awareness; and The Temple Bell Stops: Contemporary Poems of Grief, Loss and Change; as well as two books of haiku: Checkout Time is Noon: Death Awareness Haiku; and A Walk Around Spring Lake: Haiku.  His most current anthology, The Sacred in Contemporary Haiku, was released in 2014.

Arthur Rehbein (pseudonym Atz vom Rhyn)—In Memory 1867-1952—Germany

Spring Rejoice

Spring sun – and nature
bloomed in the morning light,
And evening dew still rested
On the grass, fracturing rays.
Laughing, colourful flowering May
And early summer's resplendence -
Will come yet and not ended,
Not even died away in dreams

There is no time for woefulness,
Nice hours rest like a saved treasure
In deepest bottom of the heart.
Gracious are the memories
- The mouth may not be silent -
Forever young, yes, forever young,
Remaining our own

(English Translation by Gert Knop)



Frühlingssonne – die Natur
erblüht im Morgenlicht.
Und sich der Abendtau
noch auf dem Gras
die Strahlen bricht.
Lachend bunter Blütenmai
und frühen Sommers Prangen -
das kommt erst noch, ist nicht vorbei,
auch nicht im Traum vergangen.

Und auch für Wehmut ist kein Platz;
die schönen Stunden
ruh'n wie ein gesparter Schatz
im tiefen Herzens Grunde,
Freundlich auch die Erinnerung
- Da mag der Mund nicht schweigen -
Ewig jung, ja ewig jung
Bleibt sie unser Eigen


Arthur Rehbein, also known under his pseudonym Atz vom Rhyn, was one of Gert Knop’s grandfather's brothers. He was born on October 26, 1867 in Remscheid, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and died on February 29, 1952 in Berlin, Germany. His son Max H. Rehbei was a journalist, TV-editor and producer for the NDR (North German Radio).
Arthur Rehbein was a journalist and author. He did extensive travels around the world and published many books including three volumes of poetry.


(shared and authorized for publication by Gert Knop—a Whispers’ contributor since 2013)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Partners in Poetry--Yancy and Diana Dalton, United States

All is well that ends well
By Yancy and Diana Dalton, United States

No T.V. to break the sound                              
Lost in books we've found
Painting realms in our mind
Reality & magic entwined

Living the tale, we tell
In faith, it will end well
Yet, dragons under our bed
Move inside our head

Our story projects our lives
As our fairytale thrives
Dragons, daemons & heroes
So, a mythical fear arose

Projected on life's screen
Plot appears to be mean
We become so engaged
We are blindly enraged

"Hey! You, way up there
You're supposed to care"
Yelling & screaming, Oh God!
Then things start feeling odd

Gentleness infuses our mind
Warm, enticing & kind
"You can't see the Master's plan
Fear is blindness of man

Script is written, story won
You too are my beloved one
Follow the plan with me
I'll show the way to victory

Endless is my being in you
Express our essence true
Come within for the allowing of
Never ending, peace, joy & love"

Old Soldier--By Ann Christine Tabaka--United States

Old Soldier

A leaf...a soldier
Survived the winter
Tenaciously hanging
Onto bare branches

The heavy snows
And howling winds
Could not budge them;
They remained resilient

Now spring is here
And the old yields
To the green buds
& pushy young men

The soldier and leaf
Both stand with pride
As life cycles continue
They boldly step aside

Ann Christine Tabaka, is better known by her middle name, Chris. She has been writing poems and rhymes since she was fourteen. She was an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer.  She recently had 4 poems accepted into the upcoming Contemporary Group’s anthology Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, and 2 poems accepted by The Society of Classical Poets, and will have poems in the summer 2017 issue of Halcyon Days Magazine.

Biographical--By JD DeHart--United States


Small town, of course,
like a Mellencamp song, where
not even a red light hung,
forming away from the herd,
hiking daily, learning about
animals and land, never quite
seeming to fit in a particular
place, though trying, attempting
parlance but sounding somewhat
out of kilter, then a pathway
to education and reading,
subsuming self in books, finally
finding a voice to teach,
some words to script and share,
a path among dense undergrowth
of metaphor and intended meaning.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He is currently at work on a collection of his best poems from the past five years, which he hopes to make available soon.  DeHart blogs at jddehartpoetry.blogspot.com

Monday, April 17, 2017

“You Can"--By Nell Dalton--(In Memory)--United States

“You Can"

In the depth of my despair I cried
"I can't live without my man"
But I look at his beautiful pine trees
And the branches say, "You Can"
Feeling so sad and lonely, I cried
"I can't make it without my man"
But looked up to our beautiful mountain
And the horsehead said, "You Can"
I prayed to our Heavenly Father
"Can I live without my man?"
Then I looked at our wonderful family
And the Father said, "You Can"!

(Published in the San Juan Record, Aug 29, 2007)

Nell Dalton is the beloved mother of Yancy Dalton.  She wrote poetry from his youth till she died.

Cherita Poems--By Lavana Kray--Romania

migration – 

the scud of birds
before the wind

amid a swirl of leaves
I do my plans to leave home
as I did every year

broken hourglass –

the humming table fan
spreads units of time

and I pretend
I meet you right now
falling in love again

Lavana Kray is from Iasi – Romania. She is passionate about writing and photography. She has won several awards, including WHA Master Haiga Artist 2015. Her work has been published in many print and online journals, including Haiku Canada Review, Haiku Masters, The Mainichi, Ginyu, Frogpond, Acorn, etc. She was chosen for Haiku Euro Top 100, 2016. This is her blog: http://photohaikuforyou.blogspot.ro        

His Image--By Marc Livanos--United States

His Image

Forgive my transgressions,
for my sins are against You.

In realizing my sins,
I sense Your pain.

Teach me kindness
to cleanse my heart.

In learning compassion,
I find inner peace.

Fill me with truth
to become genuine.

In being unpretentious,
I walk with You.

Marc Livanos’ poems have appeared in Straylight Magazine, Poet’s Espresso Review, Stray Branch Magazine, Old Red Kimono, Ship of Fools, Song of the San Joaquin Quarterly and others. His chapbooks “Panhandle Poet - Solitude” and “Panhandle Poet - Second Helpings” are available online at barnesandnoble.com.    

Saturday, April 15, 2017

From the Archives—Featuring John W. Williams and Eleanor Michael

Dear Whispers’ Readers,

Our poetry community is blend of many voices, sharing the joy of words.  Today, I would like to honor two talented, award winning writers that do not have computers.  It takes a lot of time to prepare manuscripts for postal submission, yet they continue to grace our journal with their poems.  Both John and Eleanor encourage other writers and have been supporting our online journal since 2013.

As we look to the future, it is important that veteran writers share poetry to help others hone their writing.  Both John and Eleanor use a variety of literary elements as well as artistic visual presentations to convey their thoughts. Congratulations my friends!  It is gift to be able to showcase your delightful poems.


Karen O’Leary—Whispers’ Editor


Nature’s Reflections

By John W. (Bill) Williams

Simple things are miracles.
I hold them up to a mirror
     in praise;
with each reflection
I see the face of Nature…
simple things created
     by the Master’s hand:
like sunshine at the beginning
     of a new day,
     daffodils in spring,
and rainbows after a sudden rain.
Simple things are easy to find:
I see them in the meadows of wildflowers;
I hear them in melodies of birds…
when I reach out to Nature’s Miracles,
     it matters not the season.
I always find perfect and simple gifts…
silent reflections waiting to be discovered.


A Time to Sing

By Eleanor Michael

Too shy to show
     her gift –
her “light,”
     she hid her voice
“under a bushel.”
     She always found
other things
     she needed to do
to help someone.

After a long life
     – too late –
she realized
     her gift was gone.
But she smiled
     when she died.
She heard a voice,
     “Now, you’ll sing
with the angels.”