Monthly Archives: September 2011

Circles of the Merry Go Round

Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          – John Keats

Circles of the Merry Go Round

The ride just goes round, never ending turn
it goes and goes and where it started
no one can say
But its end shall have us all, some day
some summer, some hot summer day

Step right up!  Pay your ticket!
climb on the shiniest, golden horse
let the motors grind and the music play
your greatest find that it should last all day,
all on a hot summers day

Ice cream melting, trickling
sticky fingers grabbing mommas hand
passing crowds eagerly longing for just a taste
swallowing their own lives in the terrific haste
passing by, not seeing, on a summer day

Momma’s attentive, loving to a fault
always in reach, that most soothing reach
the hawker cried with such force: Guess your weight!
I should have peed myself, nearly too late
on a sticky, sticky summer day

Father never caring, another mouth to feed
his cold eyes looking but never seeing
he grabbed the great mallet with eyes on the prize
looking through me as he swung, my insignificant size
and the bell rung on this lonely, lonely day

Quit lagging!  he yelled, me just a nuisance
nothing but another stupid bill to pay
must hurry on to the next great trick to amaze
but daddy, I just need to be loved these days
on this awful, sad summer day

Mother, don’t go, I need you so
you musn’t leave me alone
you’ve melted away, drop by drop, ending my wonderful dream
sticky fingers reaching for yours, colder than this dripping ice cream
on this terribly cold summer day

And so I ride this ride, round and round
music piercing, gears haunting, horses snarling
years passing by, more blurry than the spectators outside
them thinking what fun, me shouting “But they lied!”
Mother’s gone….  and I have bills to pay, on this non-day

As you have already discovered, this poem is a metaphor about the circular nature of life.   It’s not really about a summer day or a carnival, nor even a merry go round though it certainly is suggestive of all of those things.   It is about a man’s life, a love for his mother, a misunderstanding of his father, who he regretfully finds that he has turned into.  I hope that you enjoyed my little carnival ride….  Thank you for stopping by…..

The form of this poem:    It is constructed on eight stanzas of five lines each, also sometimes called quintets.  Lines three and four have a tail rhyme.  The last line of each quintet ends with the same word and repeats the theme of the poem,  in this case, very simply – a summer day.  This form has no set metre, except the poet’s eye.

Please visit the work of this wonderful photographer, Mr. Damien Franco at

© 2011 John Richter

Burnt Roses

This is a picture of a beautiful rose captured by Yvette
                    This image of a beautiful rose was captured by a new friend, Yvette.

                             Merci beaucoup Yvette, cette photo d’une fleur est absolument magnifique ……



Burnt Roses

You picked roses, cut their nursing
stems.  Their cradled, vital blooms
slashed into slow death.  That
crystal vase, a mausoleum, a glass
casket to watch them slowly fade
away, designed to wither and
decay for your enjoyment.
Their petals blacken and you smile.

And what of my heart?  Can
your shears pierce it too,
prop me in a jar and watch my
essence drain away?  Has the
foulness of your death breath
blown upon me?  Do the remnants
of my rotting, sloughing
soul please you?

But roses will die anyway,
at season’s end you say.
What’s a month or two?
Or a decade given to the realm of beauty?
What beauty is that, dearest?
My crystal urn clouds the view,
this misty grey once called my life
grovels upon the shards of it.

I long for what once was,
the glory of that single moment in time
when I lived upon my stem.



© 2011 John Richter

Sandman Words

Mouthfuls of juicy little glow-in-the-dark wads
prancing through unknown fields of taste.
I chomp them, like bits of swollen,
ripened apples falling from the trees of my hidden places,
trees that harbor what was and what might yet be.
They fill me with wondrous pleasures of things, mightily
capturing me away, or slicing my soul’s flanges
to find my heart in a scream.
My dreams.

I rush into wakefulness at the speed of confusion
to find him, maybe, still finishing his copious spell.
But never there, that punctilious little Dreamer man,
who brings us everything but punct,
and whose brim exceeds his girth by a foot,
except his nose, that comically barnacled schnozzle
that could hook the stars on a clear night.
He escapes my wary each and every time,
tricking me into his yellow sublime
with the yak of his klackity klak.

He must oil his shoes, I think
for never have I taken a peak
of his awkward little self, sneaking and speaking
into my imagination of away-ness,
the empty me, who lives alone when
I close my eyes and the Dreamer steals me.
Yet he brings me things of happiness,
towering above life’s sappiness,
-sometimes.  Other times he reaches into me
and takes little parts away, parts I don’t remember.

I think he is Mr. Flaggarty.
The church organist.
He always looks at me like he knows.
And his shoes smell of oil,
the kind they used in Europe in World War II.
He might be a Nazi Dreamer.
Or a French resisting screamer.
But he always brings the most beautiful women,
and leaves me with my own little apple tree.
Tickled Pink, I should think.

A dream.

This poem was written in a form unique to it.  Ten-line stanzas with a floating rhyming couplet within.  The first stanza has the ryming pair as lines 9 and 10.  The next stanza, the rhyming pair moves up one line, to 8 and 9. The next, 7 and 8, and so on.

© 2011 John Richter