Where the Heart Goes

Where the heart decides to go,
The feet must go along.
The heart is first to know
A thing is right or wrong.

The heart knows who to trust.
The heart knows who to fight.
The feet go where they must
Into the mists of night.

Be careful with your feet
That they don’t go astray.
Just listen to your heart,
And what it has to say.

Pride says be responsible.
Experience says tsk, tsk.
Reason says “Impossible,”
But heart says “Worth the risk.”


In the Silence of the Evening

In the silence of the evening,
As the sunset is receding,
Nothing more that I am needing,
Than a memory that’s creeping
Just before my mind is sleeping.
Paramour and so much more.
As the French say, “je adore.”

Fond remembrance halfway dreaming,
Keeper of my dreams is weaving.
What is that I am conceiving?
Fields of lavender receiving?
Is that you, I am perceiving?
Are you waiting at my door?
Memory please show me more.

Fluid fountain languid flowing
In the courtyard flowers growing.
Gentle wind is softly blowing.
Birds are sleeping; no more crowing.
Weaver of my dreams is showing
Beauty I have seen before
Coming through my study door.

Suddenly, soft zithers zinging,
Tympanic bells lightly ringing,
Angel fills the room with singing,
Mesmerized I sit unblinking.
Can you guess what I am thinking?
May my love who I adore
Be my love forever more?

Comely, shapely, so appealing;
How dare I describe the feeling;
Fills the room from floor to ceiling;
Out of chair I now am kneeling;
Just a kiss and senses reeling.
Let me close the study door.
Stay with me forever more.

But the night too soon was fleeting;
Came the sunrise with its greeting.
While my heart continued beating,
Fell back in my leather seating
As my vision was retreating.
Though the heavens I implore,
Empty study nothing more.

When by day the winds are wending,
And the temperature is bending
Downward in a spiral trending;
Sleet and snow and ice are pending;
As another eve’s descending,
Guess what I am waiting for?
Just my love and nothing more.


If I Could Paint a Portrait

If I could paint a portrait
Of an angel, I’d paint you.
A gossamer winged rendition
On a sky of cobalt blue.

A white-robed heavenly vision,
Feet in slippers of ecru.
A golden halo shimmering,
In your hands, red roses too.

Then I’d need the Western sunset
With its fiery orange and red,
To paint the gemstone necklace
That you’d wear around your head.

I would paint a silver lining
On the few clouds that I’d spread.
Then hang the sun, and moon, and stars
From another silver thread.

For your lips, I’d need pink fantasy,
A color close to rose.
For your eyes two drops of Baltic Blue
In the winter, I suppose.

I’d choose the color for your hair:
Red, brunette, blonde, yes, one of those.
I would paint you in a garden
Lying softly in repose.

Although I’m no Michelangelo,
I dream in Kodachrome.
I’d love to paint my angel,
And hang you in my home.

I’d love to share sweet holidays
Where we would be alone.
Then we could paint together
Sweet memories we’ve known.


Roy E. Peterson is a writer and former U.S. military army intelligence officer who currently resides in Texas. 

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13 Responses

  1. E. V.

    Good Morning! Thank you, Sir, for your service to our country. All 3 of your poems are nice; however, in my (amateur) opinion, I believe the 3rd (If I Could Paint a Portrait) is the strongest. Evan, on this poem, the 1st line of the 2nd stanza should be “robed” not “robbed”. I think it’s a good idea to make this small correction because even though readers will be able to figure it out, initially reading the word as “robbed” disrupts the poem’s flow. It did trip me up the 1st time I read it.

    • C.B. Anderson

      In my opinion, E. V., the first poem was the strongest. It was concise and went right to the heart of the matter. Roy speaks from a position of moral authority, and I thank the Lord above that the world is inhabited with minds as steadfast as his.

      • E. V.

        In my comment about the last poem being the strongest, I was not addressing “moral authority”; merely poetic art. It was not my intent to minimize Mr. Peterson’s values.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    I completely agree with E.V. but would add a hyphen to “red-robed.” If I were the woman who inspired these verses I would be tickled to have them presented to me by my paramour on blended knee!

  3. C.B. Anderson

    I don’t discount the sentiment here, but, if you are willing to listen to some technical advice: in “In the Silence…” you pile rhyme upon rhyme, and as I have noted in previous threads, in stanza 2 you rhyme “conceiving,” “perceiving,” and “receiving.” But these are not really rhymes: they are selfsame repetitions of “-ceiving.” True rhymes would, for instance, be: “believing,” “grieving,” or “leaving.” Do you see the difference? Maybe I’m nit-picking here, but the field of prosody is as tense a battleground, in its own way, as the theater of military engagement.

    • E. V.

      Well, a tutorial from C. B. is as rare as it is valuable! Thank you, C. B. I’m going to paraphrase what another poet (not C. B.) once told me. Sometimes poets are blind to flaws in their work because our inspiration is a rose-colored lens through which we review our composition. Therefore, another reader/writer may see a problem we miss. For example, I recently submitted what I believed was a “fully baked” poem. Evan sent it back to me suggesting I fix the ending. Of course, Evan was right. I was able to see the issue only after he called it to my attention, and I’m grateful to him for doing so. (The poem’s been successfully revised, and it’s currently on the cue.) My purpose for sharing this is to stress that being told a piece needs revision is not the worst thing that can befall a writer. Actually, it’s just the opposite; NOT being told to revise an inferior composition is far worse! Remember, it’s only the FINAL draft that counts! Have faith/confidence that the same inspiration which motivated you to compose the original version will revisit you and guide you through the revisions.

      • C.B. Anderson

        Right E. V.,

        I would much prefer harsh criticism to sugary praise.

      • C.B. Anderson

        And BTW, E. V., your revised poem is not on the “cue”; it’s in the queue.

  4. Monty

    In the context of the poem, I’m assuming that the patently alien-looking ‘tsk’ is to be pronounced ’tisk’.. yeah? I’m glad to say I’ve never heard it used on this side of the pond; we just write ‘tut’.. or ‘tut tut’, for the simple reason that it’s in keeping with the sound we make when ‘tutting’ . . but ’tisk tisk’? Surely no one (even on that side of the pond) makes that sound when berating something, do they? Do people over there really say: “It looks like rain again today, tisk tisk”..? It can’t even be said in quick repetition (as ‘tut tut’ can).. it’s so awkward. And tsk (in its written form) has got all the appearances of teenage-texting.

    I consider all 3 pieces to be decent, presentable efforts, Roy; and all 3 to be good ideas for a poem. But, apart from the above Commenter’s given example of some of the rhymes being inadmissible; I feel that the diction is lacking in some areas . .

    a/ 1st poem.. 1st stanza.. the word ‘if’ should be inserted, to read “The heart is first to know ‘if’ a thing is right or wrong”.

    b/ 2nd poem.. 2nd stanza.. the word ‘it’ should be inserted, to read “What is ‘it’ that I’m conceiving?

    c/ 2nd poem.. 3rd stanza.. the word ‘the’ should be inserted, to read “‘The’ weaver of my dreams is showing”.

    d/ 2nd poem.. 6th stanza.. “But the night too soon was fleeting” makes no sense to me. The correct use would be either “But the night too soon was over”.. or “But the night was fleeting”.

    e/ 3rd poem.. 5th stanza.. the words “I suppose” seem redundant (just there to rhyme with ‘rose’).

    f/ 3rd poem.. 6th stanza.. I can’t be certain, but the words “Yes, one of those” also seem redundant (just there to rhyme with ‘repose’).

    • C.B. Anderson


      A couple of comments on your comments:

      The problem with “tsk,” “tisk” and “tut” is that they are all attempts to represent a sound that cannot be represented with alphabetic letters any more than a glottal stop can be. But at least “tsk” has some general broad provenance in American letters.

      Regarding the insertion of “if,” the proper word would actually be “whether.” This has to do with the if/whether distinction. But of course “whether” has too many syllables. In any case, I feel that the sentence as it stands employs a permissible omission of an implied conjunction. This happens all the time in poems, usually for the purpose of scansion.

      Regarding the insertion of “it,” this would also help the meter along. Likewise for your following comments, until we get to the matter of redundancy. It’s not that the phrases to which you object are redundant; they are “filler,” as you imply, used to make a rhyme, without adding anything to the narrative. Leo Yankevich, the champion of concrete nouns as end rhymes, would have frowned darkly on these two turns of phrase.

      • Monty

        I agree that the actual sound we make when ‘tutting’ cannot be FULLY represented with any given letters; but I ask you to say the word ‘tut’ to yourself breathing INWARDS (not outwards as we normally would when reading a word). The reason for this is that we naturally inhale slightly during the actual act of ‘tutting’.. which produces a slight clicking sound. So when one says ‘tut’ breathing inwards, the sound that this produces (also with a slight clicking-sound) ain’t that far off the actual sound of ‘tutting’; it may be as close as we can get with the 52 letters at our disposal!

        My point is: Over there, you evidently pronounce ‘tsk’ as ’tisk’, otherwise the author wouldn’t have rhymed it with ‘risk’: so how can the sound of ’tisk’ be in any way representative of the sound we make when ‘tutting’ . . whether one says it inhaling or exhaling? It seems to me that whoever originally devised the word ‘tut’ . . did so for a valid reason. But whoever devised the word ‘tsk’ (or tisk) . . had been on the rum that day!

        Regarding the word ‘if’: I feel that ‘if’ would work in there.. but, you’re right, the word ‘whether’ would be the perfect insertion. I must stress that none of my above suggested insertions (if, it, the) were made with any regard to either maintaining or disrupting the meter. They were made in the interests of CLEAR DICTION. That (to me) is the first responsibility of a poet: get the diction right . . then find a way to make it fit the meter (or vice versa). To me, it wasn’t permissible to omit the word ‘whether’.. ‘cos the diction suffered. Especially given the fact that it could’ve been so easily remedied with:
        “Whether something’s right or wrong”.. which is equal (in meter ‘and’ stress) to the first line of: “Where the heart decides to go”. If I can think of that remedy in seconds . . then only the author’s laziness could’ve prevented him from finding a solution. Also, there’s no consistent meter to maintain in the poem, anyway: so there are no mitigating factors.

        In a Comment a cuppla weeks back, I referred (maybe controversially: but I stand by every word) to the fact that of all the poems I see on these pages . . only about a 3rd are written by “poets”; the rest are written by “those who write poems” . . to me, there’s a clear difference between the two.
        “Those who write poems” always seem to be the ones who take liberties with one discipline or another; disregarding diction, for example, in order to fit a meter or find a rhyme . . robbing Peter to pay Paul. The seemingly lazy, dismissive attitude of: “Well, I know what I mean by that line, so that’s good enough; on with the next line”. There are a few examples of this in the above poems, none more so than in S2 of the 2nd poem: “What is that I am conceiving?” How much more effort would it’ve taken to come up with: “What is it that I’m conceiving?”..? See? It’s pure laziness.

        It’s the same with what I referred to above as ‘redundant’ words.. which you describe as ‘fillers’. To me, ‘redundant words’ and ‘fillers’ are one and the same thing. As you say, they’re ‘fillers’, ‘cos the author used them out of convenience to ‘fill’ a gap, or make a rhyme. In that sense, those words have no right to be there: hence they’re ‘redundant’.

        Another example of such laziness that I’ve noticed from over there: “Those who write poems” will think nothing of inserting the word ‘too’ at the end of a line, just to rhyme with another word; thus we find such as: “So we moved a little closer, to get a better view/And noticed there were police-cars, and ambulances, too.”
        Although I obviously can’t be sure, I’ll venture that many of the “poets” at SCP have never used the word ‘too’ at the end of a line.

        Another major symptom of all the above.. is ‘rushing’. Many poems of “those who write poems” seem blatantly rushed, hence not adequately revised. It’s not unknown that in America, immediacy rules; everyone wants everything NOW. And it seems that many there “who write poems”.. do so impatiently to produce an immediate result. It’s like a chant one might hear at a street-demonstration: “I’M GONNA WRITE A POEM . . when am I gonna write it . . NOW!” Contrast that with poems on these pages written by “poets”: which are generally faultless in every discipline. And the reason they’re faultless is ‘cos the author will never take the easy/lazy option of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ . . they pay both! Equally! Every time! And they’re perfectly happy for the poem to take as long as it takes to complete. And then perfectly happy to keep re-reading it for many days if need be. Only such dedication and discipline can produce pure poetry.

        If anyone reading this cares to study recent poems on these pages by “poets” such as (just to name a few) Leach; Fuller; Foreman; Salemi; Anderson; Hartley; McKenzie; Moore; . . they’ll find that none of their work contains the merest hint of any of the above faults.

        There are poets; and there are those who write poems . . . just the same as there are guitarists; and there are those who play the guitar.

  5. Patricia Kitchen

    Sir, I like your poetry. Wouldn’t change a thing. The first is my favorite.


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