"Preludes" by T. S. Eliot (The Collected Poems ) like much of Eliot, I fear, has fallen from favor these days. He seems to be read only in classrooms. Which is a shame. "Preludes" has some wonderful, memorable lines. The 4 parts (in the manner of the short, Romantic piano pieces for which the poem might be named) have always seemed to me to be 2 preludes to night, and 2 to the morning. I, too, am "moved by fancies that are curled around these images."  Try writing a prelude - a poem that introduces a performance, event, action - musical interpretations are a possibility, as well as anything else that comes to mind from this prompting word that was preceded itself by the Latin praeludere - to play beforehand.


The cry means this other thing:
it's not what you think.
You think that this child
you've carried inside you
like another heart
is wailing hello, but he's not.
What he's saying is, goodbye.
Goodbye to the untrammeled
bottoms of feet,
goodbye to the Eden
where he slept the nine month dream.
Your arms reach for him
to begin the long unknowing,
and the nurses are already carting him off
in his little clear box.
When they bring him back
he will be different, older,
and wearing a white flannel shirt.
They will have brushed
the muss of his hair.
You will have to check his tag
to make sure that he is yours.

Mary DeBow

The cat on my bedroom
screen has come alive
playing games, no more

sleep tonight, outside
there is no returning
sail from the balcony to

welcome home, ten
thousand mountains rise
up, the single pool of ocean

drained into a cup. I have
no map. Nothing but the name
of a drifter, the taste of

salt, the press of myself
against the bed, the roll
of the waves.

Lianna Wright


Life is full of firsts
kisses, steps, smiles
first tooth, first report card
first time trying not to be too soft
first time standing up for yourself
and each is a step
each will make your palms sweat
and all will make your heart race
and walking alone for the first time,
and managing your troubles
and quelling your own fears...
stepping back, biting your tongue
drying your own tears
for the first time
while it may be just the only time
you ARE allowed to breathe.
allowed to make an error,
or take a false step
it is just a prelude to the rest

Brandi Semler

Before Sunset

Circling the paths of the mountain,
an American gazes skyward
and the blue becomes his eyes.

Chuang Hsu - he has come to find you.

Comfortable in the sky, Pacific blue,
with shores in the East and West,
still, he looks down to the artist
slowly turning the brush to find a man
and they both pause when a cloud passes
and changes the light.

Complete but for the eyes,
the blue eyes are blank,

staring at a bird turning above
this man standing at the center,
and unable to move.

Charles Michaels

I sit alone, waiting
my life is on hold
until the sound
my heart is fondest of.

I wait for the first
pluck of chords
the tinkle of the flute
and again, I am alone.

The curtain waves ever so slightly
someone checking the audience
yes, we are here, alone,
waiting for the moment we
will be alive and young again,
when we danced
in the "Nutcracker."

Kitty Jarman



Dawn fragrant, cool, with
promises of adventure.
The earth bursts with life.
She awakes to claim her kiss,
and we begin our journey.


I watch her back flex
as paddles stroke in rhythm,
bringing cool repose.
Sensing my gaze, she turns with
a smile to seal the promise.


Like her namesake, Eve,
she delights in her garden,
gleaming with dahlias.
Soft touch of her hand bespeaks
the warmth of a quilted nest.


Shadows of birch trees
falling across snow white paths,
a kiss to warm us
before we resume our trek:
My lady knows I love her.

Jim Dette



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