DOUGLAS J. LANZO - POEMS
“Musings Informed by the Crows”
One day, I wondered, gazing at the setting sky,
Why doth the crow, raven and cousin magpie,
crave objects that shine and sparkle to the eye?
What motives doth this strange behavior belie?
Do crows perceive value intrinsic in gold
or crave things that humans dearly behold?
Do they believe friendship is bought and sold,
or treasure more jewelry than wisdom of old?
Do ravens see silver as currency of choice,
or sing odes to its beauty in rapturous voice?
Do they see getting rich as a cause to rejoice,
or view robbing others as permitted exploits?
What crosses the mind of a magpie in flight,
as it veers for a bottle cap barely in sight?
Is it drawn by its glittering pulses of light,
or fearful lest rivals first claim it by right?
Do these fine-feathered birds let emotion creep in?
If so, selfless and lofty, or tempted by sin?
To crown with fine metal their fast-beaked kingpin,
or gift to their families gold, copper and tin?
Then it struck me that questions of this nature bear,
relation to things that each human holds dear,
from fame and great fortune to kind, loving care;
A lesson to ponder, as I continued to stare…
“Watery World of Wonder”
As we venture beneath the waves, unearthly sights transfix our gaze,
Woven from tapestries, wondrous creatures do emerge,
From hidden crevice, exquisite beauty doth submerge,
Beneath sundrenched waters filled with gold, illuminating rays;
Be-speckled black and white Panther Groupers troll the sea,
Disguising shape and size in polka-dotted splendor,
'Til draped in majesty, one Angelfish doth render,
A backdrop of bright orange and blue -- royal destiny.
In glorious arrays of light and hue, anemones and corral,
Bestow luxurious refuge, nourishment and shelter;
Eluding Goliaths of the reef marauding helter-skelter,
The David of the shallow depths doth illustrate the moral,
Of symbiotic strength derived from chemistry and aid:
The orange-white Clownfish protects anemones from fish,
To whom their fan-like polyps would prove a tasty dish,
In exchange for immunity from venom and predatory raid.
Primordial elements of bygone age: water, earth and fire,
Do mix with ocean-forged character and resplendence,
In an eco-system of life-death inter-dependence,
Constructing an underwater cathedral to truly inspire
Worshippers to assemble within the sanctuary of the reefs,
Imploring mankind to wisely steward this fragile web of life,
Eschewing manmade sources of oceanic strife,
Preserving rainbow polyps, green corals and regal fiefs.
“My Grandfather’s Walking Stick”
When I was a boy and still
a few years - but one dream - away from becoming a man,
my grandfather presented me with
his prized walking stick,
trimmed with his pocketknife from
a handsome stick of cherrybark oak;
Clasping it, I felt an instant connection
to my beloved yet mysterious grandfather and
to his daring adventures and expeditions,
those told over campfires, and
those only this stick knew;
Its surface was cold and smooth, almost
icy to my tender fingers;
I shivered as I heard a sharp crack –
When I looked forward
I saw, not a forest, but a vast cloud
of snow crystals – whipped, wrung and stretched out by
blustery winds that sheared through the frozen tundra
with unrelenting fury;
More crackling sounds –
coming from right beneath me;
Startled, I looked down, finding
myself on a sled whisked forward,
thrust across the icy terrain by
Alaskan Malamutes, expending every
last ounce of strength as
they tasted victory, and
pounded forward, racing for glory;
The night clouds broke and
the Nome sky opened with
stars so fresh and crisp
that I pried my frigid mouth
slightly ajar to test
whether they might melt on my tongue;
I blinked as an icy snowflake
touched my tongue and relinquished
its delicious spirit ;
Opening my eyes, I beheld
the walking stick thrust high into
the air by my outstretched hand;
Suddenly, the firmament
erupted in a shimmering green blaze
of brilliance burning
piercing blue and dazzling purple
incense in a sacred fire across
the dark altar of the bending sky;
Turning my gaze to the earth, I
beheld a brilliant tapestry of colors:
gold, burnt orange, scarlet and purple,
as my eyes feasted upon
autumn’s lavish arboreal celebration
of the harvest;
My grandfather’s eyes glistened
as he peered into my soul and asked,
“Are you ready to accept my walking stick?”
“The Great Debate between the Silkworm and the Spider”
A young silkworm friend of a spider from birth,
Approached solemnly, without his usual mirth:
“Dear spider,” said the silkworm, “My father hath taught me,
That silkworms are unequalled in our majesty.
We spin cocoons that are the richest in silk,
Fit for tapestries, dresses and scarves of fine ilk.”
“Dear misinformed friend,” responded the spider,
“Our webs are more intricate, thoughtful and wider.
Their crystalline threads grow stronger with strain,
Surprising intruders, who struggle in vain.”
“Perhaps,” retorted the silkworm, “You did not yet hear,
That we silkworms were safeguarded year after year,
Our weaving of silk a state secret held tight,
By decree of the emperor, sealed with his might.”
“Please pause for a moment and let me explain,
Why webs serve a purpose, while cocoons seem quite vain.
Our invisible threads capture unwary prey,
Virulent pests spreading fear and dismay.”
“Why,” exclaimed the silkworm, “That only befits creatures of the wild.
We are raised on mulberry farms, whence arachnids are exiled.
Among insects, we rank alongside the bees,
As the only ones tamed by humans with ease.”
“Why our order is higher than insects my friend.
Indeed, we harvest bug vermin with webs that we tend,
Which are stronger than steel for their size and weight,
Some strands sticky, others not - to avoid insects’ fate.”
“You’ve forgotten my friend that our mothers fly high,
As wild silk moths in the quiet night sky.”
“Alas, silkworm, I hold a trump card that cannot be topped!
Once played, all further debate should be stopped.
Behold, I am Arachne, the greatest weaver on earth,
The beauty of my web proclaims my glorious rebirth!”