Monthly Archives: September 2020

Man Is Gray

Man Is Gray

By Joel Howard


The worker passes in still grayness along sun-anointed days,

a laboring dot on the shared map of ordered progress;

his routine’s ‘ever rutted in familiar hours and ways,

a bit-player who seldom from the straight path dares digress;


xxxxxxMuch as the imprisoned marks his x ‘cross his long-scripted day,

so goes man’s existence: up fast at job’s clamorous call,

his time ceded anew to toil and tiredness with no say.

March on! March on! Work winter – spring – summer – and, at last fall;


xxxxxxOn days with promising overtures, yet was the worker seen

a sand-speck traversing that oft-journeyed ancestral trail,

now to collective eyes he stands mere, a broken once-been,

his star-crossed dreams mottled and odorous, faded and frail;


xxxxxxNow as midnight settles itself about, where can be our man?

Look there! his fellow hourlies wending obedient this way

pallbearing in weary lockstep, stooped on the well-worn plan,

the worker’s life-coffin carried tired and so sombrous gray;


xxxxxxand on the world spins,



man’s worth ill-measured –

if measured it is –  our

planned next days, next weeks, and far years

lie already mocked and forsaken, as we

simply forfeit that spirit which ever speaks of life

rich and joyous

Divided We Stand-off

This post is a poem written as a villanelle. Perhaps the most famous example of such a poem is Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night”.  I posted the Thomas poem recently, allowing that it is one of my favorites. My villanelle, while nowhere near the quality of his (understatement), was written with thoughts of our current struggles as a nation. The era of Trump has been fraught with division. And while a true villanelle is nineteen lines with two rhymes throughout, I made a slight change in the last line, adding “oh sweet angels”. Anyway, here is my little poem…

Divided We Stand-off

by Joel Howard


Friendships bloodied amidst a fury blind,

on freedom’s meaning we rage and foment,

to chaos and regret we’re now resigned


only yesterday one could easy find

comfort born of closeness which now’s misspent,

friendships bloodied amidst a fury blind


loss upon loss leaves prized kindness behind

untold victims of rotting resentment,

to chaos and regret we’re now resigned


on ob’lisk to heaven we’ve grief-signed

echoing our long recurring lament,

friendships bloodied amidst a fury blind


fistful words, vengeful cries, quick to remind

we’ve drowned this land with relationships bent,

to chaos and regret we’re now resigned


oh Camelot! How once we dined,

as all about us the future shined!

friendships bloodied amidst a fury blind,

oh sweet angels, to chaos and regret we’re now resigned