The Signs

I saw the signs,
They read, This Way.
I followed them
For half a day,
Until my feet grew tired,
I sat.

I sat to rest,
The time flew by
Till all the birds
Had left the sky.
A million stars
Above me played…
I prayed.

I prayed for signs
To give me hope,
To pave the way,
To help me cope,
To help me not
I wait.

I waited for
A while before,
A sign appeared
Upon a door.
Enter In
Is what it bid…
I did.

Through the door
I softly stepped.
It closed behind me,
Then I wept
At what I saw,
No turning back…

I saw the children,
Watched their tears,
Felt their troubles
And their fears.
How to help them
Find their way…

I saw the people
Full of woe,
Running faster
To and fro.
Never happy,
Not enough…
Of stuff.

I saw the world,
Chaos abounding,
Who amongst us
The signs?

The signs are there
For aged and youth,
To not be sheep,
To search for truth.
What evil hides
Behind the mask…
I ask.

The people call
But no one hears,
Their troubles fall
On deafened ears.
And no recourse
As one by one…
They’re gone.

There’s no solution
At this time
And no sufficient
Just like the little
Children trust…
I must.

We see the signs
But life goes on,
Like springs and falls
Of Babylon.
Until the entity
I dream.



The Secret

The biggest secret
Of all time,
Is never-ending.
There are no theories
In this rhyme,
No thoughts transcending.
Assumptions grow
Of our beginning.
We die to know
But are we willing?
So much we’ve learned,
We are so clever…
Our fingers burned
With each endeavour.
The world once flat
Was our fixation.
Let’s dwell on that
If truth be told,
We know so little.
Our hearts turn cold,
Our bones get brittle.
New lives are born
To take our places.
New day; new dawn,
New puzzled faces.
And on it goes
And goes eternal,
And mother earth
Remains maternal.
The seasons come;
The seasons go,
And none of us
Will ever know,
Until whatever
Way we pass,
Beyond the ever-
Greening grass.

You know the score…
Then make it terse.
What was before,
The universe?



Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.

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18 Responses

  1. Peg

    “Just like the little Children trust…I must.”!! Yes
    “If truth be told,
    We know so little.” Amen.
    Thank you!

  2. Paul Freeman

    I was just about to quote the same line as Peg.

    Two deceptively profound pieces of writing, Norma, that encapsulate the current climate.

  3. Russel Winick

    Norma – as with all good poems, I was moved to read both of these several times, enjoying them even more each time. The rhyming, meter, and underlying messages – all excellent! Thanks.

    • Norma Pain

      Russel, I was very moved that you re-read my poems several times. I am overjoyed. Your comments are so much appreciated.

  4. Cynthia Erlandson

    Your fascinating short lines are unusual, and work to bring emphasis to the important things the poem is saying — especially each final, two-syllable line of each verse of the first poem. I love the consistent and original rhyme scheme, too.

    • Norma Pain

      Cynthia, I really appreciate your comments on the style of my poem. I am very happy that you enjoyed the rhyme scheme. Thank you very much for commenting.

  5. Jeff Eardley

    Norma, I’m with Russell on the re-reading of your two super philosophical, thought provoking poems.
    Most enjoyable, and disturbing at the same time.

    • Norma Pain

      Jeff, I am so happy that you found my two poems thought provoking and disturbing. Exactly what I was hoping for, so I am grinning ear to ear! Thank you very much.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Norma, I always know I’m in for an uplifting treat when I see your name on these pages and I’m never disappointed. I particularly like “The Signs”. The short lines showcase the repetition of key words beautifully. What an intriguing form. I love the musicality of both poems and the messages are spot on! Thank you.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you so much Susan. I enjoyed trying out a different style this time and appreciate Evan’s accompanying picture.

  7. Margaret Coats

    Two very thoughtful and serious poems, that both proceed in the same manner of laying out spiritual or psychological or philosophical difficulties–and just barely implying or suggesting where to go beyond these profound short lines. The one real answer, in “The Signs,” is “to search for truth.” But that is hardly enough, as the poem proceeds onward with no change of tone, just observing problems and questioning. I am unclear whether the poet means this to be a missed opportunity (i.e., a missed sign), or an expression of frustration that the search is necessary. “The Secret” is more sardonic. It seems to hide (without really concealing) the idea that philosophy is unavailing and therefore useless. These are good, easily readable expressions of the modern malaise that turns so many to escapism, if not to unalloyed selfishness.

    • Norma Pain

      Margaret, thank you so much for commenting on my two poems.

      “The Signs” began with the first few lines arriving in my head from nowhere in particular and I have to admit that, at that point, I didn’t have any ideas in mind. I just know that I am very troubled by all that has been happening these last few years. I think perhaps I was just musing and searching for answers for myself, as are so many people. Then I started enjoying the rhyme/line pattern and decided to try to keep it going….somewhere!

      “The Secret” was put together over a few years, because what I was trying to say was very difficult to get across without sounding preachy. I am not sure if I accomplished this.

      Your poetry is amazing Margaret, and some of it way beyond my education level, so I am honored that you took the time to critique my writing.

  8. Sally Cook

    Norma, These are two very successful poems.
    You have a remarkable talent for going right to the point !

    Just as my grandmother could send that steel tipped arrow flying through her Edwardian verbiage to embed itself in my brain forever, your short lines, like darts, stick there, to, as it were, to make a point. I see you as a poet who iws ;able to experiment , but knows how and when to stop.

    • Norma Pain

      Sally, thank you very much for your lovely comments. Your opinion means a lot to me. I noticed a poem of yours published here on May 17, 2022 called “A Brief Geneology”, which tells about your English Royal Dynasty from Liverpool which got me searching the internet. My parents are buried at Childwall Abbey Church in Liverpool. This beautiful, very old church was mentioned in the Domesday Book of Records from around 1086.


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