Night and Moonlight

What more can be said about the full moon
that hasn’t already been said before?
The queen of tides, now glaring at the shore,
sits on her throne as if midnight were noon;
a Janus-faced sovereign the lovers swoon,
the ages measure, the rich praise, the poor
lament, and mad men rage—her suckled lore
won’t fix this sordid world come late or soon.

But she is wrapped in double arms tonight,
embracing the shade as well as the shine,
for nobody who comes to meet the light
can lack the other side and still be fine.
She turns a golden star of jaundiced health
into a poverty that holds true wealth.

 

The World Turned Upside Down

I
on lexington green
we unfurled the dream
when yorktown was done
the war had been won
the redcoats all sang
their drum and its bang
the world turned upside down

II
in brotherly love
we fashioned a dove
with liberties ten
by absolved white men
who didn’t take note
what reason had wrote
the world turned upside down

III
with hickory brooms
the indians’ dooms
were swept to the west
without a fair test
an ominous chime
played out in quick time
the world turned upside down

IV
in a sweat shop room
the lowell girls loom
the kids did not play
they labored all day
while barons got rich
off the brat and bitch
the world turned upside down

V
on our killing field
our brethren were sealed
but jim crow would dance
on any quick chance
for righting the wrong
declared in this song
the world turned upside down

VI
when colonial minds
pushed outward to find
our bull on the hill
like a rabbit could kill
a spaniard or two
for red, white, and blue
the world turned upside down

VI
american pax
fought over the ax
from rome to berlin
the jews were done in
but our “japs” behaved
while our rosies saved
the world turned upside down

VIII
this century half
spectators would laugh
at fruit in the trees
with dirty black knees
while progress would speak
for the young and weak
the world turned upside down

IX
the new deal was done
the fair deal begun
the hot war over
the cold war shoulder
forgot about us
when asia’s a muss
the world turned upside down

X
when justice was kind
the masses were blind
their ignorant fears
left mothers in tears
for moments they saw
when riots were law
the world turned upside down

XI
the past several years
we’ve played with arrears
we’ve glorified stealth
and deified wealth
now we armchair war
that knocks at the door
the world turned upside down

XII
this history passed
so simple, so fast
what soon has begun
will soon be undone
if people won’t learn
the world cannot turn
the world turned upside down

 

 

Gregory Palmerino’s essays and poems have appeared in Explicator, Teaching English in the Two Year College, College English, Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, International Poetry Review, Courtland Review, Shot Glass Journal, The Lyric, the fib review, and The Road Not Taken. He teaches writing at Manchester Community College and writes poetry in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Featured Image: “The Bay of Naples at Moonlit Night” by Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900)


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