Poems -- November


                                     Dedicated to the works of John Henry Van Ert, Jr.


                IN MEMORIAM:         JOHN HENRY VAN ERT, JR -- born September 22, 1958   

        Despite his reminder to us all that "the road to heaven winds through hell" John is NOT a 'tortured

    soul' poet.  Instead, John reveals praise and criticism both as acts of heartfelt love.  John's soul is in the

    room as he shares his intimate vision of love, life and natural beauty.  To hear a man's heart so clearly can only

    make another heart cry with joy -- and loss.  John says what WE also feel--that's the poet-prophet role all

    cultures have needed to heal. 

            Last night, sitting in our backyard looking up to the heavens at midnight, the full moon blinded us to all

    but one of Perseid's show: a huge, blazing swath of sparkling light rushed headlong across the black backdrop--

    and just as suddenly was gone.  "Wow!  That's the first real shooting star I've ever seen," said Larissa, "I guess the

    other ones were just my imagination..."  Exactly how I feel after reading John'spoetry.             --Tim Van Ert


                                                A VISITOR


                            My father, for example,

                            who was young once

                            and blue-eyed,


                            on the darkest of nights

                            to the porch and knocks

                            wildly as the door,

                            and if I answer

                            I must be prepared

                            for his waxy face,

                            for his lower lip

                            swollen with bitterness.


                            And so, for a long time,

                            I did not answer,

                            but slept fitfully

                            between his hours of rapping.

                            but finally there came the night

                            when I rose out of my sheets

                            and stumbled down the hall.

                            The door fell open                   

                            and I knew I was saved

                            and could bear him,

                            pathetic and hollow,

                            with even the least of his dreams

                            frozen inside him,

                            and the meanness gone.


                            And I greeted him and asked him

                            into the house,

                            and lit the lamp,

                            and looked into his blank eyes

                            in which at last

                            I saw what a child must love,

                            I saw what love might have done

                            had we loved in time.


                                        Mary Oliver



November 24, 2012

                        THANKS GIVEN


                        Lord, we don't need the sight of yellow leaves

                        falling to pile with the scarlet and orange

                        to signal another end of long summer days.


                        The same frost that melts to a black tar

                        last month's brilliant morning glory blossoms

                        has us huddled here before the hearth.


                        You know it's not our nature

                        to give thanks during the hotter days--

                        long, cold nights slow our hearts down to pray.


                        Seeing summer's sugars stored

                        on branches bare but for buds

                        waiting the winter to be next spring's blooms,


                        our hearts bulge in booming thanks

                        for the reserves of energy you provide us

                        through faith, family and friends.


                        --if you live, your time will come


November 11, 2012

                    John, I Rememeber You


                    Asking me to spread my arms

                    To lift my eyes

                    To reflect the blue

                    Where the eagle flies.


                    Like me, I know you

                    Did not spend much

                    Of your time there either,

                    For you have eagle heart

                    Not eagle body.


                    Still, when I look in your eyes

                    Always scanning yet focused

                    I imagine a beak sharp

                    For bringing back home

                    The day's wriggling prey.


                    Baby John we used to call you

                    And still we call you

                    And still we all are babies

                    For these fifty-two years

                    Crying with you.


                    Now we cry over you

                    --No, we cry under you--

                    As your Spirit released

                    From its broken body vial

                    Rises to heaven above.



                    Thank you for showing me

                    --Yes, showing all your world--

                    How the human heart

                    (Though of vulnerable

                    Muscle and sinew, too)


                    Can carry us to the dawning day

                    We'd thought we'd lost


                    To incessant tripping

                    Over these feet of clay.



                    Like your beloved blue sky

                    I produce rains as I cry

                    To see your nest unattended.

                    Then the storm is moved along

                    With wing-beat winds strong


                    From your eagle spirit.



                    --if you live, your time will come



November 25, 2011



                        TRYING TO



                        SEEKING THE WINDOW TO MY SOUL


                        I AM LOST


                        MOTIONLESS, EXCEPT THE TEARS


                        MY HEART POUNDING OUT THE COST


                        KNEES BUCKLING TO THE FEARS


                        THAT RISE SO READILY THESE DAYS


                        IN THE LATE EVENING HOURS


                        THOSE FEW MOMENTS


                        WHEN I STOP AND GAZE


                        ACROSS THE WALLS AND TOWERS


                        THAT KEEP ME FROM HOLDING YOU





                        SEEMS TO EXPAND


                        STREAMING FROM BENETH MY EYES


                        RAGING MEMORIES THAT LEAD ME TO YOU


                        CASCADE INWARD, REVEALING THE LIES


                        THAT SPEAK TO THE VERY SOUL OF ME


                        THOSE THINGS


                        BOTH BIG AND SMALL


                        FOR WHICH THEY SAY LET IT BE


                        THEY’RE AN ORDER MUCH TOO TALL


                        I CAN’T FORGET YOU



                                                John Henry Van Ert, Jr



                        UNPUBLISHED COLLECTION




November 20, 2011


                            Oceans Lament



                            Shadows black and primal green


                            Rush the water, and then retreat again


                            Into the depths of what I feel


                            Regenerative force to me revealed


                            Sketch the houses climbing the hills


                            Trees wind dancing, never still


                            Thrown like linen over summer’s bed


                            Clouds race, part and spread



                            Cormorants sing an eternal tune


                            From rocks below, jumbled, strewn


                            Calls that echo Leviathan deep


                            Awake my soul from mortal sleep


                            Scatter blues in sky and sea


                            Varying moods chant harmony


                            While diamonds float beyond the foam


                            To crash the shore and claim their home



                            Oh that you could see this too!


                            Blonde shoreline stretch the endless view


                            Every element become as one


                            Christened gold by afternoon sun


                            Words, they fail to represent


                            The wonder, the soul of His intent


                            Thus my wish is cast and spent


                            To have you here is my lament



                                                    John Henry Van Ert, Jr



                            UNPUBLISHED COLLECTION




November 12, 2011


                            Inclement Weather



                            Opened my eyes to an empty bed


                            Wondered out loud


                            What the hell I’d said


                            That made you go away


                            Jumped to my feet


                            Searched through the house


                            Not a trace was found


                            In the lonely cold truth


                            A door opened to a frozen world



                            As hard as I tried


                            I could not see my girl


                            Up above there was familiar sound


                            A flock of geese had taken wing


                            I watched as they flew by


                            It was then I knew you had gone


                            To search for solid ground


                            To let your spirit fly


                            Though I still wonder why



                            Is it inclement weather


                            Or nature's call


                            That sends you running


                            Just leaving it all


                            Sometimes I think


                            Life is so unfair


                            Why do you start yearning


                            When there is a touch of chill in the air


                            The days are warming


                            Though you are still not there



                            Just when you get next to me


                            I feel the pull, I watch the slide


                            Gently at first, then stronger


                            A few moments, then longer


                            Is it fear that drives you


                            Or the anxiety of something real


                            Bolder than before


                            Tell me, does it hurt to feel?



                                                    John Henry Van Ert, Jr



                            UNPUBLISHED COLLECTION






November 6, 2011




                            Nobody Knows



                            What makes me so sure?


                            When I look into the eyes


                            Of our children I see


                            The innocence has been


                            Replaced with responsibility


                            We ask so much of them


                            In this day and age


                            Before they are done reading


                            We expect them to turn the page


                            Latchkey and the TV


                            Have replaced mom and dad


                            How do we return to


                            The good times we once had?



                            Nobody knows how to love anymore


                            To stand by their beliefs


                            See their ships return to shore


                            It is easier to get by


                            Day after day


                            Making excuses and walking away


                            Divorce is so common


                            No one even blinks an eye


                            When two good people


                            Lose their will to try


                            Dedication and commitment


                            Are things of the past


                            What good are vows


                            If we don’t make them last?



                            Nobody knows how to care anymore


                            We hide in our houses


                            And lock our doors


                            There is someone who is hungry


                            Down on his luck


                            We criticize his misfortune


                            Never sparing a buck


                            Down on the corner


                            A man crawls on all fours


                            We stop for a traffic signal


                            But we won’t open our door


                            How would it feel if this man were me or you?



                            Nobody knows how to trust anymore


                            Remember when neighbors still talked


                            And kids played outdoors?


                            When lovers still walked


                            Dreaming of more


                            Remember hoping for the best, working hard


                            And letting God take care of the rest?



                                                          John Henry Van Ert, Jr



                            UNPUBLISHED COLLECTION




November 1, 2011


                                    Only You



                                    The still of an angry afternoon


                                    Bounces off the hanging linen


                                    In this cauldron the hours scorch


                                    The colors off a million leaves


                                    Cracklin’ silver green


                                    In the summer’s breeze


                                    While I stare a message burns


                                    In the whisper of the trees


                                    Relentless the sweat breaks off brow


                                    I cry out, please come home now


                                    Sitting patiently I await the answer


                                    While days drag on like lingering cancer


                                    Through dog days and sultry nights


                                    Faith endures in testament


                                    To the passage of its last rites


                                    Suddenly in a waking dream


                                    There comes a horseman blazing across the sky


                                    Seemingly on course and


                                    Staring me directly in the eye


                                    He tells his tale while flying by


                                    The blazing star screams


                                    It is you, it is I who love only you



                                    Once again I try to explain


                                    While the emptiness


                                    Laden with driving rain


                                    Is chased away with your smile bright


                                    Darkened tunnels burst with morning light


                                    Over obstacles both big and small


                                    This crippled heart


                                    Rises straight and tall


                                    To trust once more, though


                                    I thought I never would


                                    Somehow I think you knew I could


                                    Lovely lady this much I can tell


                                    You hold my future in your wishing well


                                    When reasons to go on


                                    Are hard to sell


                                    The road to heaven winds through hell


                                    Separation is a demon


                                    Its motives untrue


                                    All others forsaken


                                    I whisper it is you


                                    It is I who love only you



                                                            John Henry Van Ert, Jr



                                    UNPUBLISHED COLLECTION