Tag Archives: Poet

Where Has Time Gone

Time does not keep
nor can time tell.
It does not fly
or toll any bell.

It passes quickly
when you are well
So much slower
as you waste in hell

We can not see it
It’s invisi-bell
We can not buy it
It’s not for (sell)

Time is not a master,
Nor is it a slave
It is merely a witness
From birth to grave

Copyright, John Allen Richter

“Forever – is composed of Nows”
Emily Dickinson

My Friend Joe

It was so many years ago
I once had a friend named Joe
Listen to the words of the king
who loves his mighty Queen
Talking about Joe
You know I’m talking about Joe

Come and smile and drink some wine
Laugh and talk and pass the time
These days are sure lovely too
But when they’re gone I’m gonna miss you
I’m talking about you, Mister Joe,
I’m talking about you.

‘Cause ten years from now I’ll say
There was a friend from yesterday
We always laughed and passed the time,
by talking and sharing that wine…
You and me, Mister Joe,
It was me and you.

Now when i see you on the road
I’ll smile and laugh and say “Hey there, Joe!”
But you won’t remember when
‘Cause we’ll be different men,
all those years ago,
Mister Joe,
It was all those years ago.
I had a friend named Joe,
Good ole’ boy,
Talkin’ about you Joe
You remember when
Talkin’ ’bout Joe…..

© 2015 John Allen Richter


My White Pages

Here my tiny being lays within the whiteness of
this page.  I tried using my fork to tiddle-wink
the words onto it – to tattoo them like a tiny
tear drop on a felon’s face.  Failure, again,
my face cries and the whiteness glows on it –
ghostly face white with nothing to say.  Words
tiddle-winked completely over – or – failed
to tiddle at all.  Or should it be winked?
Should I know – with no words to show – at all?
My blank face and blank mind – so much less
than those others, who speak, and write – and never
leave white glowing trails from empty words
behind them.  My glowing trails are blank spaces.
“Answer me, boy, answer me!”  I don’t and I can’t
and I won’t!  The words are gone – and I can’t
squeeze them out of a turnip.  Perhaps if I
could boggle the words across the page and –
some might melt into it, saturating it through,
leaking into pages beneath.  There’s always
pages beneath, pages hiding and waiting to
prove me blank, just waiting there, waiting
to strike when my aloneness is multiplying
numbers, like Yahtzee scores, always counting
words that aren’t ever there – not to me, but
it’s only a game, they  say, they say – But
I say it is only a long, desperate, awkward
pause that shakes my soul beyond these bones –
and they say “Spit it out boy!  Are you just
dumb? or Stupid”  —  haha – laughter laughter.
I’ll take my words, my turnip and felon tear and
climb down the hole – my away place – and hide.
Some day my page will flower like a turnip patch.
And my glowing spaces will be them – trailing
behind in dirty glowing spaces.  And the spotted
baby deer will fill his tum with my
colorful memories……  my some day page.

© 2015 John Allen Richter

Where Did You Go

What happened in the coldness
of that room? Could I remember
ice skating?  or was that
a painting on the wall?
Do I still have my skates,
rusty blades made me fall – down
in snow tornadoes- slow –
through the sea of puffy coats –
and knit caps with balls on them.
Rosy cheeks going past – saying
something – or other.  Something –
certainly something I think –
come and play, play – but falling.
A room with a view –
happy skaters going ’round.
But only on the wall.  Madness –
happiness – something –
certainly something –
Something – made me die
in the room with the wall
and the painting said
when you were coming –
and I waited – waited
but they skated and skated.
And so I forgot.
I forgot that I love you.
The painting knows I do.
But it’s gone.
© 2015 John Allen Richter

Heart’s Memories

A moment, such a funny thing.
Often minds and eyes fall upon
those lost moments ago….

When songs were sung, and laughter hung –
in the prism of yester year…

And the scent of Grandfather’s billowing pipe
brings the essence of forgotten tear.

And sitting upon the lap of he –
who I came to know as Dad….
and though our years are history
they are the best we could have had.

Sweet mum, sing me softly to sleep
songs of once upon a time…
Allow my heart to forever keep
cherished moments as these sublime.

And children’s games did play and play…
Kick the can in the dark.
What other things stay, in mem’ries array –
to bolster my aging heart?

The heart is where we keep our love,
those precious moments tucked away…
Where doldrum is nere worth speaking of –
and open hearts will save the day.

© 2014 John Allen Richter

Frosty Muse

I often felt that Robert Frost –
was in my own inflamed heart –
For when all else seemed harringly lost –
my pen had no trouble to start…

And when I oft did wonder aloud
if his spirit was slinking around –
the words simply came – proper and proud
as if he were I –  pound for pound.

And thought I should test this wise –
to prove it bullduggery or not…
I sat at a table three times the size
with nere miniature pen to blot!

And what upon my parchment wrought –
these magical words appeared –
“’tis just you, you flaming idiot!”
and to myself I’ve come so endeared…
© 2014 John Allen Richter

Autumn Again

If ever you should find,
through comfort or peace of mind,
a day so crisp as autumn kind,
shout it out, as loud as may –
send forth the winds as if to say
come friends, with me, and play –
on this glorious, beautiful day.

Then hide and wait to see,
from ‘neath shadow of poplar tree,
the glimpse of childrens games –
yon hither from eternity.
As those of us who’ve gone before,
come back through years and misty lore,
to play and spin the dust of yorn –
and thank thee to share this day just born….

For thee and autumn doth pierce all time
in yours, and mine, and other’s minds….

Ashes, ashes, we ALL fall down…….

© 2014 John Allen Richter

Ode to Emily Dickinson

Lately I have toyed with the idea of writing an ode to my favorite poet of all time, Miss Emily Dickinson.    A quick study of odes found two poets that really stand out to me. Keats and Shelley.  Keats mastery of assonance is simply not attainable, so here I focus on Shelley’s style that he used for at least two different odes that I know of.   The ode inspiring my own attempt below was his “Ode to West Wind,” (Click here to see Shelley’s Poem) and it was written in terza rima, rhyming scheme a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d, e-f-e, f-g-f, g-g.



Ode to Emily Dickinson

Oh dearest Emily, thou crafty pen aflare,
thine eyes once fell on nature’s things,
whose tamed songs you sang aware.

And in this world of hushed flusterings
where strife once owned thy soul
we’re left to dredge meanderings

to find thy rhyme of rhythm bold.
Whence thy soul passed thru those golden gates,
with lost loves safely a’stowed,

and earthly devils cracked thy crates,
and spil’t thy lifetime of prose,
did you think them once confederates?

Or old friends in beggars clothes?
That they should traipse your savored scripts
and in your death did’st fame arose.

My Emily, sleep thou safe in crypts,
Eternally rest thy tempest soul
Allow promises from my sparing lips:

That ever most dear my heart shall hold,
Thy words closer than any love e’er told…



Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts,  and lived in the family home all of her life until she died at age 55 in 1886.  Having spent her younger years at different learning institutes where she met and became friends with other poets and writers, she moved back to her family home and slowly became reclusive, communicating mostly by letter with her dear friends.  Except for a younger sister, most of her family and friends passed away early in her life, leaving her sad and somewhat fixated on death.  But I don’t think her poems are dark, just incredibly sensitive and emotional.  She is my favorite poet who has ever lived.  While alive she was able to publish only a handful of her poems, which were edited heavily by the publishers.  Emily’s style was way before it’s time, and her poetry did not follow the normal standards of poetry in her day.  So basically she was shunned in the field of literature, which is what irritates me about those who would attempt to define what poetry should or should not be.  Emily was a prolific poet, anyone who knew her knew this about her.  But after her death, everyone was surprised when two of her acquaintances found nearly 1800 poems stashed away in her home.   The two published her poetry almost immediately, however they edited it heavily again to meet the poetic standards of the day, or they thought they were.  In 1955 a historian Thomas Johnson published what what he believed to be a complete collection of her unedited poems, but no one really knows that for sure.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born fairly aristocratic in England in 1792 and died at age 29 in 1822.   His fame was due in large part, (I believe) to his close friendship with fellow poets John Keats and Lord Byron.  Shelley was a bit of a non-conformist as a young man, and even was expelled from college for his views.  He married and his wife became pregnant, at which time he abandoned her and actually met and moved in with lover Mary Godwin, who later became his wife Mary Shelley.  You might recognize her genius name as the author of “Frankenstein.”   At some point his first wife was found dead, floating in a river, I think, which freed him to wed Mary.  I think Percy was a bit of a social blundering idiot, even Mark Twain derided him publicly for abandoning his wife.  I am of the same mind.  I also think that he took his position in the literary world for granted, approaching it in a non-chalant way as if it was a natural order of things.  Percy was an incredibly talented poet.  But his life as a human is just sad to me. 

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

© 2011 John Richter

Captain and Mother Too


My cleve poem (actually two poems that can be read together to create a third poem)  here is dedicated to the memories of Bob Keesham, my mother Valerie, and the magic of childhood imagination.  Bob is better known by all my countrymen as Captain Kangaroo, a friend and icon in children’s television long before Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers came along.  He once said that as a child he would play with his mother’s box of stray buttons in the sandbox and pretend they were “ships at sea or Hannibal moving across the Alps.”  Imagination is so very important to everyone, but especially to us, the poets.

I hope that you will enjoy my first attempt at a cleave poem and please tell me what you think…..  Thank you for stopping by…..   – John

P.S… Please accept my apologies..  anyone viewing this with MS Internet Explorer might have had problems seeing the poem itself, which is in a table and was a bit off center in MSIE…  It should be corrected now…  I’m a Firefox fan and didn’t check it in MSIE before publishing…

Listen along as I read this poem………     

Captain and Mother Too

Imagination, gorging my mind like A box of mama’s buttons
Shimmering bits of ivory and wood, Scattered across the sand.
Telling tales of brave adventure, Of life, of love, and dreams,
As sailors rage the seven seas. Drowned away in a distant time.
Teddy’s soldiers atop San Juan, Singing songs of blue despair,
And Napoleon’s great flare, Ending in tragedy,
Oh the realm of quest and glory! A soft copper casket lowers,
A thousand men before me cried And her buttons fade away,
If only to be a child, forever My friend, forever.



Any poet, if he is to survive beyond his 25th year, must alter; he must seek new literary influences; he will have different emotions to express.

–          T. S. Eliot

© 2011 John Richter

A Lost Child

Please forgive this prologue to my poem, it’s necessary.

Some things are hard to write about.  Some things are hard to read. As a poet I don’t control what inspires me, words are the canvass, life the brush, and emotion the color.  I believe poetry and passion are gifts from God, as is everything in our lives. – Everything. I want you to know that the following story is true, and it is sad.

I was only in my second or third year as an Accident Investigator for a police department in a large Midwestern city when this happened.   She was eleven, holding hands with her younger sister as they crossed the crosswalk. The notes you will read about were folded and apparently kept in her little purse. I surmise they were notes passed between her classmates. The poem’s ending describes an image of this girls mother that will stay with me forever.  This memory is one of the most powerful, prevalent emotions that I have ever endured in this life.

A Lost Child

Disappointments will never come.
Glory of a heart’s dance sent forever
to the faint shadows of what might have been.
Her life song once trumpeted by legions of Cherubim,
now lays hallowed, trapped in the distant echos of memory.

Her little papers flapped in the breeze.
Their comeliness waved me to hither and see.
Duty eroded compassion, a grisly task prevailed
and only my glances could answer their beckoning wail.
And then my flashbulbs bit into the cool autumn night’s air.

Flash!  An old burgundy pick up truck.
Flash!  Bloodied clothes and a medic’s gloves.
Flash!  A child’s purse, strap snapped and dangling.
Flash!  Little folded notes, stark against the pavement.
Flash!  A lost night, a lost child, a mother’s love denied…

Odd the quiet that ruled this street,
Once bustling with the business of busy.
Yellow crime scene tape kept us, swept us within,
while witnesses cried that sisters held hands at death.
Giggling, and smiling, running through the striped crosswalk.

The little one thrown clear by brunt,
the other went under, a quick loss of life.
And her notes hailed me now, screaming of love,
amidst the spilled contents of her purse’s mysteries.
They laid aflutter, holding the secrets of a sixth grade girl.

A voice barely whispered over the tape,
“What should I do,” under the soft breeze bellow.
“She was my daughter.  They called and said she’s dead.”
My words wouldn’t come.  I lifted the tape, grabbed her hand,
and walked her to the middle of that closed lamp-lit intersection.

I gave her a paper bag.
I watched her silhouette kneel
in that barren street of scars and tears,
to pick up those flapping notes and other things
that filled the life of this dear young child.
When my soul unfroze from that sight,
I knelt down beside her beauty
and helped collect them.

A kite is the last poem you’ve written
So you give it to the wind,
But you don’t let it go.
        –Leonard Cohen

The form of this poem:  This poem is written in a visual form, some call it “shape” or “concrete” poetry.  Mine is intensely simple, showing nothing more than 45 degree trailing edges.  If you didn’t notice them then it means I did a pretty good job as a poet.  And if you cried like I did, then it was an even better job.  Thank you for visiting my blog and peeking at my soul.  

© 2011 John Richter