Poetry In Motion: A Collection

Writing poetry comes easy for most people

A well-written poem comes alive. It has the power of movement. It moves the reader through a rhythmic pattern of mental images of things never seen and ignites emotions that can provoke in the reader laughter or tears, joy or sadness, a call to action, or feelings of admiration and love.

Imaginative, intensity, metaphorical, and rhythmic are the qualities used to describe good poetry. That means the writer should be good at visualizing things that have never been or she has never experienced directly, passionate, able to write in figuratively language, and able to write with a regularly recurring beat or pattern.

I think writing poetry comes easy for most people. It’s that one genre of writing that is not constrained by rules and structure like it is when writing an article or story. As a former teacher, I used to read poems written by young people that blew my mind. Their work was exceptional.

We turn to poetry to express a range of emotions like to break up with a boyfriend. We write poems to say I love you, I hate you, I want to be with you, I don't want to be with you. We write them to acknowledge, to honor, to encourage and inspire, to say good-bye. Writing poetry is a quick way to get things out, to release your emotions in a creative way.

I started writing poems in middle school, and that was well over 40 years ago. I didn’t know then about the mechanics of writing poetry. I just put pen to paper and wrote what was in my heart, on my mind, and I expressed it like I felt it. Sometimes I wrote poems that rhymed, and other times I wrote prose to express a deeper, more emotional issue. Writing poetry came easy for me. It was much later in my life that I actually learned the mechanics. To date, I have written well over 150 poems and most have been published either online or in some publication or book.

This collection is some of my favorite ones in no certain order.

Maxx (left) Angela (right) 1996
Maxx (left) Angela (right) 1996

MONA LISA YOU

I wrote this poem especially for my youngest sister Angela, who is also my best friend. I used the title Mona Lisa as a metaphorical comparison of a famous and valuable 16th century portrait painted by Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci to that of the value and worth of Angela to my life. She is the quintessential of goodness and love.

Undepict a gem
An emerald
A diamond radiating beauty
In some mystical pattern
There, I will find the beauty in you
Liken that of a sparkle of light
Twinkling and dancing through life

Unpaint the painting of an angel draped in white garb
With wings of white feathers
And the essence of love in her eyes
On the canvas will be a silhouette of you
Liken that of a handcrafted treasure
More precious than gold and silver
Liken that of an angel in ordinary clothing
And with wings that no one can see

Replay the days of yesterday’s hopes
There you will be
Making me laugh with your funny jokes
Liken that of a fortuneteller
Dispensing futures of happy days, God, and heaven

Uncry the tears of a broken promise
There you will be
Trustworthy and honest

Unbless the day that we became friends
And there you will find me
Lost within.

Copyright © 1996 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

1998, Greenwich Village, New York  Jennifer Digennaro (on right)
1998, Greenwich Village, New York Jennifer Digennaro (on right)

FLY FREE SPIRIT, FLY!

I wrote this for my friend Jennifer Digennaro. We first met in Philadelphia in 1996 and became instant friends. She was the passionate painter, and I, the passionate writer. She was the free spirit that I needed at that particular time in my life. My last child had turned 18 and was off to college. I was experiencing the empty nest syndrome. I was free to pursue my passion any way that I wanted, and Jen was the inspiration that I needed. We both came to Philly at the same time, and we left at the same time. I wanted to capture the essence of her spirit in this poem. She now lives in the South of France with her husband and beautiful little girl.

You are the beauty of the wind
Your soul has lived once
And now it’s living again
You are the essence of ‘free’
How do I know?
I know it by the tone of your speech
I know it by the rhythm of how you move your feet
I can see wings of an eagle
That only spiritual eyes can see

It’s the journey of your soul-
Searching, knocking, and seeking truth
The spirit of kismet hovers over you

It’s the challenges you meet with such dignity and grace
It’s the risks you are willing to take
It’s the places you have been
And the people you have befriended

Your sense of adventure creates challenges
That only your unique courage can take
Take flight, ‘free spirit’
Fly, fly away
Into the unknown
And watch your spirit soar
Don’t fret
Even if dark clouds appear
Take comfort in knowing
That the spirit of kismet is near

I’ll be watching
Missing your smiling face
Waiting for the day that I’ll see you again
I’ll know when you’re coming
For your energy is ‘one’ with the wind

So for now ‘free spirit’ - my friend
Flap your winds and fly
The spirit of kismet is waiting
To take you to places
Where your heart has never been.

Copyright © 1997 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

THE WORLD IN YOUR HEART

This is a performance prose.

Come with me to a place that only your heart can see
A place that only your imagination can experience
A place that’ll inspire and uplift you
Close your eyes to this world
And travel by the rhythm of your heartbeat—

In the pitch of darkness see yourself standing atop a green grassy hill
Immersed in a field of flowers so brilliantly created
Beauty so eloquently expressed
There are no human adjectives to describe what your heart sees

Where is this place, your mind wants to comprehend
Open your heart and not your eyes
If you want to understand
Open your heart and not your eyes
Only then does this world materializes

Walk into the midst of wonder
Feel serenity embracing your very being
A cloudless sky so blue
Gloriously hovering over you

Now turn around—
But don’t look down
There’s a crystal clear river beneath your feet
It’s warm but cool
The temperature is perfect for you
There’s no oil spill or foul smell
All you see are beautiful fish
Swimming to the surface just to greet you

This world that only your heart can see
Opens the door to your soul and reveals hidden mysteries
You are the architect—it’s everything you want it to be
It’s you perfectly created
Free from heartaches and human weaknesses
It’s you the way you were created to be—
A vessel of pure light spreading love to all you meet
It’s the world in your heart and imagination
Open your heart and not your eyes, and see.

 Copyright © 1997 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

JUST SIMPLY. . .

Listen to this song in my heart
And feel the rhythm of its beat
No criticism
No judgment
No interruption
Just your caring ear
Listening to what I feel

Things have been tensed between us
And it seems that we’re drifting
Further and further apart
You say it’s me
I say it’s you
I get angry
And you’re quick to leave

My feelings for you are very real
And emotionally this strain between us
Is causing me concern and pain
It’s overshadowing the sweet memories
Of how things used to be

If you can let me go without a second thought
And I can do the same
What do we have
What remains

Do you have a vision of a near or distance future without me
Do you desire things that I cannot give you
If you answer yes, then just simply…go
I won’t beg you to stay
Go…if you don’t want me no more

No harsh words
No speech
No long explanation
Just simply…go
Spare me the heartbreak and the drama
Go…if you don’t want me no more

I’m more than a physical being
I’m a kindred spirit within
I’m passionate about many things
I’m looking ahead to days of splendor
Laughter, joy, and remembering
If I look beside me
And find that you’re not there
I’ll just simply, smile
And remember that you did care

No harsh words
No speech
No long explanation
Just simply…go
If you don’t want me no more.

Copyright © 1997 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

CATCH A FALLING TEAR

Who said ‘love’ tears are colorless
When the heart breaks down
And sings a soft sweet melody
Asking, wondering, pondering
What should you do
About love that makes you
Feel inspired, happy, but also blue
Do you shut the heart up
And stop the music from playing
When the tears roll down your cheeks
Cause your heart no longer understands
And your tear-stained face knows that
Love controls everyone and everything
It’s out of your hand

‘Blue’ tears confuse the situation
They question the magic
Of love’s participation
In moving you to the break of exhilaration
Then lowering you
To the depth of exasperation

‘Happy’ tears come out of nowhere
When the heart is overcome
By the realization that love truly cares
They embrace the magic
Of love’s participation
In moving you to the center of exhilaration
Then lifting you higher
Until your heart is exuberating

Catch a falling tear
And examine the color of it
If it’s ‘blue’, love is testing you
If it’s ‘happy’, love is consoling you
If no tears fall, love is calling you.

Copyright © 1996 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

PEACE OF MIND

We all thrive for peace of mind, which is attainable if we can rid our mind of negativity. It is an ongoing process. Peace of Mind today does not guarantee it tomorrow unless we detox the mind daily.

Awake ‘soul’ that has lived in chaos and confusion
Celebrate ‘heart’ that has overcome an irremediable life
Praise Spirit’s unconditional love
Question not what will come tomorrow
Be content to wait on ‘one day’
Delight in the many choices for extraordinary living
Comprehend the aspects of life as new beginnings
Be enamored by infinitesimal things
Disregard frivolities undeserving of adulation and applause
Disengage the war between emotions and intellect
Let serenity remove obstacles to ‘letting go’
Test the movement of time
Develop mind, body, and spirit
Seize happiness
Anticipate the parturition of joy
Rebuke ‘self-ego’
Arise ‘Self-Divine’
‘Peace’ unearth within the mind.

Copyright © 1998 Shar’Ron Maxx Mahaffey

 

MARY'S STORY

Published in my first collection of poetry titled "When Darkness Covers The Light”. This is my favorite poem of all the ones that I’ve written. “Mary’s Story” is a performance prose depicting the extent of a child’s broken heart in the absence of love and nurturing. In 1991, a group of sixth grade students at my daughter Terrie's school took verses and performed them in a school production that I wrote and directed, and students in the audience were moved to tears. They felt empathy for "Mary". Students also cried when I performed it 12 years later in front of my daughter Terrie's seventh grade students at IS-77 in New York City.

Mary curled up to sleep in that corner one last time
She had been out there for so long
She claimed it as her home
The streets, that is—
You know, a storefront
A cardboard box in the alley
Just some place to keep out the cold
Did Mary just fine.

I can’t remember when I had a good night’s sleep
She said, tugging on that old worn out coat
It had too many holes in it to be any good alone
So Mary wore three or four dresses underneath
To help keep her warm

She left home at the age of sixteen
Because her momma and daddy treated her so mean
Beat her with a whip
Dismissed her needs as a bad mistake
Cursed any words that came from Mary’s lips

She took to the high road
But stumbled onto the low road
And that’s where her nightmare began
She was alone and afraid
Searching for someone’s love to need her
Some place to call home
Some place to belong

She said love failed her
It never came to her rescue
Never freed her to know
What she could really be

She found people to be cruel and unkind
Alcohol and drugs aided in the destruction
Of Mary’s valuable mind
Valuable, yes, I say
She could paint a picture
Of the sun, sky, and heaven in perfect harmony
And bring to life on a brown paper bag
The face of a young girl crying for her mommy.

She didn’t remember her age
Or when she was born
I must be about fifty now, she mumbled
Yeah, about fifty, I guess
But Mary was only twenty-five
Nine years of simply not being loved
Had transformed her face to look that age

She was still a young babe
That should’ve had more to learn
Yet she spoke wisdom like the old ones
She’d been raped four of five times, maybe more
Mary stopped counting
Cause she had to let the memories go

Blood covered her wound
From the bullet that snuck up in the night
And whisked Mary away
Beyond the stars and the moon
To a place created by the Master of all masters
Where love will never forsake her

Mary’s story is not a pretty one
And it’s a crying shame
That this can happen to anyone
When love fails to rescue,
The one crying, I need you to love me.

 Copyright © 1990 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

 

REAL LIFE

Real life is the curve of the river
The strength of the ocean
It’s the swaying of trees
It’s pouring rain and bright sunshine
It’s relaxing with a good book
The warmth of a roaring fire
It’s the sweat of textile workers
The smell of apple pie

Real life is the laughter of good friends
The giggling of little children
It’s the sky so blue
And even when it’s cloudy too
It’s the moon high-above
It’s falling in love
It’s skipping stones in a country creek
It’s smiling at the people you meet
It’s watching geese flock away
And people playing in the park on a sunny day

Real life is praying to an empty sky
It’s a meow of a little kitten
The bark of a dog
The roar of a lion
The moo of a cow

Real life is snowflakes
And even an occasional heartache
It’s the gentle touch of a hand
A kiss on the lips
It’s a brisk walk on a fall day
It’s leaves changing colors
And horses feeding on hay

Real life is caring and sharing
It’s watching the children play
It’s chaos and glee
It’s a loved one lost to the sea
It’s tragedy
Death and destruction
It’s fatal diseases and people who hurt you
It’s complicated
And sometimes even suffocating

Real life is all these things
And even much more
There’s nothing more mysterious
Or sometimes less forgiving
But it’s in all these things
That makes life worth living.

Copyright © 1996 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

TEARS IN HEAVEN (for the People of Darfur)

The genocide in Darfur disturbed me greatly. I cried an ocean of tears for the children, and wrote blogs and letters challenging world leaders to call it for what it was and do something about it, and I supported Bono’s organization “ONE”. A half million people perished before the world became outraged enough to call it genocide.

Mayhem and murder came upon them one hot African day
One by one they came face-to-face with evil and not all of them escaped
Men, women, and children all suffered the same fate
Of murderous persecution of those with black skinned faces

Four hundred fifty thousand dead by last official count
Entire families snuffed out that will never procreate
How can world leaders just sit back and wait

Helplessness besiege their once hopeful hearts as
They languish in camps fearing men with big knives
Will come back to finish the job
Shouldn’t the love for all of humanity be more powerful than any mob?

While world leaders meet to debate and discuss their fate
Hunger ravishes their bodies
The uncertainty of their future weakens their resolve
If genocide is not an urgent cry to act without delay
Which ethnic group will be next to face a similar fate
Save the children of Darfur! Why do we wait?

Copyright © 2006 Shar’Ron Maxx Mahaffey

REFLECTIONS OF YOU

This poem was the signature poem for “Reflections of You® Journal” (ISSN 1087-4086) and appeared in every issue from 1995-1998.

My thoughts, someone has spoken them
My ideas, someone has conceived them
My revelations, someone realized them first
My experiences, someone has lived them
My hopes, someone has rejoiced in them
My fears, someone has overcome them
My tears, someone has cried them
My understanding, someone understood it first
Therefore, my soul is the reflection
Of someone whom I may or may not know
Reflections of you…

Copyright © 1996 Shar'Ron Mahaffey

YOU CALL ME CRAZY

Published in my first collection of poetry titled "When Darkness Covers The Light”.

You call me crazy
Because I believe in my dreams
Sure they sound ridiculous
But they’re my dreams to dream.

You call me crazy
Because I talk to myself
But you won’t listen
You don’t care.

You call me crazy
Because you don’t understand me
You judge me unjustly
Because you can’t command me
To change my thinking
To stop me from wishing
My gosh, why do you refuse to listen?

Well, if I’m crazy
Then that’s okay
For I rather be called crazy
When I’m know that I’m sane
Than to be so negative and lazy
And do nothing but complain.

Copyright © 1990 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

 

JUST AS I AM

Published in my first collection of poetry titled "When Darkness Covers The Light”.

Lovers find it hard
To accept their lover without change
A ‘chill’ signals that the love is real
But the picking starts
Then the feeling is no big thrill

My love is not a fantasy
Acceptance is the key
To a relationship that doesn’t
Make selfish demands on me

I know you love me
And for that I’m blessed
But you can’t try to change me
To be like all the rest

I am what I am
I will be what I will be
Don’t try to make me over
Into someone other than me

I spent a lot of time
In search of my true ‘self’
I can’t be what you, she, or he expects
I can only be what my heart directs

Don’t criticize me
Just mesmerize me with your love
Show me a better way
Don’t judge my way
See me for me
Just as I am!

Copyright © 1990 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

 

HE IS THE EAGLE AND THE OWL

This performance metaphorical prose portrays the uniqueness of the eagle and the owl and how they reflect basic characteristics of mankind’s role in the world—to be fearless and strong, live free, show grace and dignity, encourage and inspire, be clear-sighted and wise. Written especially for my uncle Charles E. Paige to honor over 50-years of ministry on his 92nd birthday in 1995.

Characteristics of The Eagle
He takes flight with powers greater than a seven-forty-seven
Carried only by the force of the wind under his outspread wings
He empowers strength not known to human beings
He flies with the grace and dignity of a divine entity
He travels beyond boundaries and limitations
None has been set for him.

He soars across bright blue skies
Feeling the air gently breezing through his soul,
He seats himself up high
And with exceptional keenness of vision,
He looks low and he sees . . .

He stares firmly out over the land
Resting in a pronounced posture
He stands ready to command
Not a whisper
Not a sound
Not a voice
His powerful magnificent presence speaks without words—
‘I am the eyes of the DE-I-TY!.’

He sees beyond the day
Beyond the night
Beyond the distance of man’s mind
He is the eyes of God
The Eagle is his name
He reigns on every continent
and make no mistake…
He is the power—
The strength!

He communicates with the angels
That carry his visions of hope
Visions of destruction back to man
He fore-warns—
That is his job
One he per’forms, EF’FEC’TIVE’LY!

He offers no solutions
No suggestions
And when the angels ask, ‘What does this vision mean?’
This graceful figure of great size
Tucks his wings firmly to his side
and with that aristocratic stare
He says with his eyes, ‘Those with eagle-eyes will know what it means.’

I am REV’E’LA’TION, he shouts
I signal PREP’A’RA’TION
I offer PRES’ER’VA’TION
Stimulating the imagination is my ON’LY claim
Take your questions of meaning to the owl—
That is his do’main.

Characteristics of The Owl
The eagle leaves inspiration to his fellow bird of prey
An anatomical oddball without power of flight or foresight
Mo’bile mostly at night
He has that same directed stare
Most noted for his hoots echoing eerily through the air.

He’s the interpreter of dreams
All manifested on his watch
If you seek inspiring conversation
Look to the owl for inspiration
He’s the Spirit of Wisdom
The voice of common sense.

Age is his power
Time is his teacher
He knows the inner strength of every living creature
An ugly beast
Frightening at times
Just like wisdom, hardly ever welcomed by man’s mind.

But he is the owl
The wise one
The all knowing one
The all knowledgeable one
He, too, communicates with the angels
That carries his message of forgiveness
Love and kindness
Honesty and truth
Qualities all symbolizing the characteristics
Of a clear-sighted human being.
And when the owl, too, is asked by the angels, ‘What does this mean?’

The Man
The owl hoots
‘A man soars when he sees with eagle-eye
When he understands the power under the wings of the eagles
And when he can save his own soul with wisdom gained from his experiences
It is then that he comprehends the meaning
He is then—the eagle and the owl.

Copyright © 1995 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

 

For Everything There is a Reason

There’s a reason
Why the sun rises in the East
And sets in the West
Why every task requires our best
Why the sun shines
At the same time the rain pours down
Why there are sad tears
And glad tears
Why twelve months equal one year
Why every direction requires a map
Why baby loves bouncing on mother’s lap.

There’s a reason
Why a person lives to be ninety
And a baby dies at birth
Why we mourn when life is gone
And rejoice when life is born
No matter how strange it may seem
Or unbearable the pain
There’s a reason for everything.

Copyright © 1990 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

Did you . . .?

Before the clock strikes midnight
And tomorrow becomes another day
Ask yourself, did I show love for my fellow human
In a kind and loving way today
Did you give a smile to someone in need of one
Did you hug someone whose heart was breaking
Or did you turn away and say, it’s not my concern
Did you offer an elderly person your seat
Or did you lower your head
Because you needed to rest your own tired feet

What about the children
Did you see a child’s face looking up at you
Asking without speaking, please care for me
Or did you turn away so that your heart would not see
Was there a blind person waiting at the traffic light
Not sure if it was safe to cross the street
Did you offer your eyesight to help them see

Even if you didn’t leave your house today
Did you pray for the families on the evening news
So broken-hearted and overcome by grief
Did you whisper quietly, my prayers are with you
Did a loved-one call you on the telephone
Desperate or in need of comfort and support
Did you stop what you were doing
And hug him or her in your heart
Did you ask God to send down a blessing of solace
Or did you say, I got my own problems

If you’re content with your human interactions today
Then it’s okay when you pray
To ask God for things to go your way.

Copyright © 1997 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

SAIL ON

“Sail On” is about making sacrifices to help someone else. I love this prose. Published in my first collection of poetry titled "When Darkness Covers The Light”.

Two ships met in the middle of the sea
One stood tall and strong as can be
The other was weak
Its oar was broke
The ship moved much, much too slow

The strong ship blew its whistle
Warning the weak ship to move out of the way
The captain of the weak ship yelled
Go around me
You can maneuver your ship
I can hardly see
Better yet, stop and help me

The captain of the strong ship
Arrogant and boastful
A man full of pride
Yelled back, get that wreck
Out of the great big sea
Sail it in shallow waters
This is no place for a little ship to be
I got to keep on schedule
Or I’ll lose thousands of dollars
If I stop to help you

The captain of the weak ship
A humble man
Replied, thank you Captain
I’m sure I’ll find a way
To fight the ocean’s currents and high tides
But when you get to your destination
Come back for me
Don’t forget that I’m in need of help
Or the sea might swallow me up
Yeah, yeah, sure I will
The captain of the strong ship said
He sailed pass the weak ship
Nodding his head

Days went by
A raging storm came
Tossing the weak ship to and fro
Heavy fog hid the weak ship for miles and miles
The crew started to complain—
What will we do Captain
We won’t make it through this thunder and rain
Sail on, the captain said
Keep your eyes straight ahead
We’ll make it together
Just don’t be afraid

So the captain and his crew sailed on
Morning came with a bright sunshine
Clear skies and a calm sea
To the captain’s surprise
Washed upon the shore
Was the strong ship capsized
Not a strong ship no more
Debris from the wrecked ship
Was scattered over the sea
The only thing survived
Were the captain and his crew

With anger in their hearts
The crew of the weak ship
Insisted the captain leave them stranded
But the captain shrugged his shoulders
In protest of their demands
We can’t leave them stranded
For they need a helping hand

The crew expressed concern
About the extra weight
Their ship wasn’t a very strong ship
In the first place
The extra pounds could slow them down
But the captain of the weak ship ignored their concerns
He helped the crew of the strong ship
Onto his ship and he did it with a smile

The captain of the strong ship
Said in an ungrateful tone
What will you do when your ship
Is not strong enough
To carry you to shore and me too
When it starts to sink
From the heavy weight
You’ll do like I would do
And through me overboard

The captain of the weak ship
Spoke in a gentle voice
I won’t toss you overboard
Not for all the jewels and gold
In the whole wide world
I’ll do my best to help us both
Despite the wind, rain
Weight or mighty storm
I wouldn’t leave you behind
Helping you is the right thing to do
And that’s the only assurance
I have that my ship will make it too.

Copyright © 1990 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

AM I MY SISTER’S KEEPER?

Am I my sister’s keeper?
Let’s see if that’s true . . .
He uplifts my spirit for me to uplift you
He gives me understanding
So that I can understand you
He challenges my beliefs
To be a teacher of His Truth
He wipes away my tears
So that I can cry with you
He uses me to appease you
So you can please Him
He watches over me
So that I can wait and watch with you
He empowers me with wisdom
To help you set your spirit free
He blesses me to bless you
And for you to bless me
Charged with those things,
I say yes, I am my sister’s keeper.

Copyright © 1996 Shar’Ron Mahaffey

Notice of Copyright

All rights reserved.  No portion of this collection may be used for commercial purposes—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without prior written permission from me, the author and owner of the copyrights. 

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