I’ve lost the ship I banked upon
to shield me from this stormy world.
For I’ve since crossed the Rubicon
and sails no longer loom unfurled
that marked my navigating days.
My schooner scarcely can escort
me from my maritime malaise.
The stalwart craft I’d bring to port,
with either treasures to unload
and share with members of my crew,
or tales of some rough episode
that they would help me travel through,
is lost. Now stranded on the shore,
I’m tortured by the ocean’s roar.

For it implores me to embark
on journeys that meant much to me
against the backdrop of my stark
environs. Now a memory
of bustling lands I once explored
with enterprising waves of bliss,
it mocks a heart forlornly moored.
It’s social industry I miss.
The camaraderie of hands
engaging in a common chore
that seemed to stay the flowing sands
of times disbanded. Stevedore
of stored-up cargo from the past,
my body’s anchor has been cast.




Forget the slanders of a wicked tongue.
For foolish people think what they will think.
It’s when their vile effluvia has wrung
from you approval that your feelings sink
in ways that reinforce their sick conceit.
You have too many measures still to sing
to let some madcap make you skip a beat.
Nor should you waste your time considering
what people say who are so far obtuse
that they can’t tell the difference between fact
and being hijacked for another’s use.
Your mission is to keep your mind intact,
and heart and soul courageously at odds
with those who are opinionated frauds.



Born and bred in New Jersey, Frank De Canio worked in New York City for many years. He attends a Café Philo every other week in Lower Manhattan.   

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10 Responses

  1. Julian D. Woodruff

    These are masterful, Mr. De Canio. Your observation at the beginning of “Rumors” embraces many contexts and applies to all of us sooner or later, I dare say.
    A question: is “effluvia” the singular and “effluviae” the plural, or is “effluvia” the plural of “effluvium”?

    • Frank De Canio

      Hi, Mr. Woodruff, Frank here thanking you for your kind comment on my poems. As for the word effluvia I refer you to Webster’s definition of effluvium:

      noun, plural ef·flu·vi·a [ih-floo-vee-uh], ef·flu·vi·ums.
      a slight or invisible exhalation or vapor, especially one that is disagreeable or noxious.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Both poems are splendid poems. “Rumor,” like rumors, proceeds slowly and gets there in the final few lines. I favor “Retired” for the extended ship image that finds exciting new applications every few lines, with a powerful turn at the center break.

  3. James A. Tweedie


    I also enjoyed your two poems and consider them both to be well-crafted. You manage to strike a difficult balance between thought and feeling in them both. The sonnet is particularly notable for flowing so smoothly, almost effortlessly from line to line and thought to thought.

    As an aside, the word “effluvium” always triggers associations with the name of some imaginary roman emperor with the name, Justin Effluvium Caesar.

    But back to the point: Thank you for sharing these marvelous poems. I hope you are now settled into a happy retirement!

    • Frank J De Canio

      Thanks so much Margaret for your comments. I especially liked your “Rumor” like rumors, proceeds slowly and gets there….” Indeed. Sorry, for the delay but I sometimes forget to check what’s up.

      • Frank J De Canio

        Thanks James. Actually Justin is one of my ancestors! Aside from kidding. I like that you say I balance thought with emotion. It brings that concern into relief for future endeavors.

    • Frank J De Canio

      Actually James I never liked the concept of retirement. If I had my choice I would die with my boots on at my job, enjoyable as it was. But barring that, I prefer just being jobless, since retirement connotes segregation from the exigencies of life. As G B Shaw put it, we should spend ourselves so that at the end there’s nothing left behind.

  4. C.B. Anderson

    In line 3 of “Rumors” “vile effluvia HAVE wrung is proper English. Or else “vile effluvium HAS wrung.” Either way, gossip stinks to high heaven.

    • Frank J De Canio

      Thanks Mr. Anderson. Shame on me. I’m usually very careful with this kind of grammar. I guess in the arduous creative process we sometimes over look these things. I need to make a correction. Thanks for pointing that out to me.


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