.

The Calendar

You are the festive dregs of January,
you liven February with Valentine’s.
You are the March that gives spring sanctuary,
you are the splashing rain April confines.
You entertain the shaken buds of May,
then are the shining June that bronzes all.
You’re endless July—every holiday,
you’re balmy August thwarting autumn’s pall.
You are September’s time of education,
you are the hugging scarf October needs.
You are November’s clear night sky explosion,
you are December’s excess, its misdeeds.
__You are the calendar in all its prime,
__a force of nature weathering my rhyme.

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Philip II of Macedon’s Victory Speech

If you can stand, stand proud and hear me speak;
if by your wounds you’re low, lie on, unshamed,
with no disgrace, for we have taken the day.
Those fateful Moirai, sent from Zeus’s throne,
did thread us well, now under fading sun
the wares of war allot us all. Oh men,
great bent and boar-like battling have I seen
as you for me set-to to end our foe.
And on and on you went, until each spear
was by its enemy’s bone blunted and
could stab no more; but then you did, more!
And so we’ve vanquished fast and firm this knitted
Athenian-Theban consort and by gracious
hand of gods receive into our realm
this place of Hellas. The land entire is ours.
In time we’ll march unto the Peloponnese
where all therein will either overgive
themselves to kingdom new or suffer similar
expiration as we have seen today.
But heed, bright men, courageous men, refresh
your battered frames, do take a time to bathe
and heal your mottled flesh, for you have earned
respite, each and every one of you,
you multi-charactered beast, you scything choir;
you have fought and filched us Chaironeia!

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Jez Punter lives in London, UK. When not working as a professional chef he writes poetry and plays. He has staged two verse plays – The Duke and the Architect and The Great and the Cynical – at London fringe theatres. His poetry has appeared in physical and online publications such as First Time; Popshot; Bunbury; Eunoia; Snakeskin; Riggwelter; Dream Catcher; and theCRANK. He is currently writing a commentary on Shakespeare’s Sonnets.  


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8 Responses

  1. Roy Eugene Peterson

    “The Calendar” reminds me of an old American rock and roll song, “Calendar Girl” by Neil Sedaka. I thought you had a great ending, “a force of nature weathering my rhyme.”

    Reply
  2. Jeremiah Johnson

    Enjoyed the sonnet on the months and plan to share it with some of my college students!

    “December’s excess, it’s misdeeds” – that just really works for me acoustically, and nicely sums up the heart of the month, if we’re being honest, for many.

    “October’s scarf” somehow reminded me of Tony Hoagland’s “scarf of resignation” in his poem, “Disappointment”

    Thanks again for this one!

    Reply
  3. Paul Freeman

    You certainly cooked up some fine poetry for us, Jez.

    Thanks for the reads.

    Reply
  4. Paul Buchheit

    Loved the Calendar poem, Jez! And I enjoyed the Macedonian history lesson.

    Reply
  5. Margaret Coats

    Jez, I’m delighted to see a new calendar poem! The calendar certainly is a force poets love to contend with, and your definition of it in the couplet of your sonnet is impressively expressive. If you like, check out some others of varied kinds at my Calendar Poems essay (found in the column to the right). In the Victory Speech, I especially like your unusual description of the Macedonian phalanx as a “scything choir.”

    Reply
  6. Cheryl Corey

    I love your calendar poem with its descriptive lines for each month, and the closing couplet as well.

    Reply

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