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Poetry by TOPS members selected for presentation on this website is changed
regularly so come back often to see what your fellow poets are writing.

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Checkpoint: Khyber Pass

on a stone wall
gekkos, quick, clever. . .
barbed legs,
land-locked tentacles,
but quick

over there
left from the last invasion
another dying beast
stay clear
not yet dead

nightfall, watch them
this, too, ends
when legs
fall off
who knows when

bury the dead
more than earth
is disturbed
when it's been turned
too often

Maureen Korp


Phaethon

streaming fire
the demigod burned
right through
when he fell from the sun
amber
and slippery mercury
are the evidence
and consequenc

Maureen Korp


Pelicans in Flight through Time

frigate birds fly
over lovely aquamarine waters
of this small Caribbean island
dropping their shadow bills in waves
to pluck life's end so like a liquid thread of water breath
it's drifting down to mend the distance as they rise
and we are thrown like momentary pebble daps through time
to when such ancient creatures
bent the wind
like saw-toothed lizards of the air
these primordial shapes
mere dreams of God
when man was but a thought
of that yet to come sixth day
in dust shaped forms within his palms before first light
we woke and named the darkest stones beneath our very thumbs
then running from within the garden's knowledge
with its guilty fruit spoil on our tongues
and clad in skins
we killed the berry-eating beasts
we found with fire-sharpened sticks
the cousins of our loins
surviving in the crawl and tumble
of the welk emerging from its shell
and the lovely blue exhaustion of the dying man of war
stranded in the sand
a birthday wish from when
enlightened Eve crisscrossed her hands and locked her womb
to hide her shapely nether heart in shade
sub rosa to the secret beauty there

John B. Lee




Peace Seedlings

Each Peace poem is a dry speck until spring rains,
then an acceptance flows, then a shell cracks,
until one root begins to stretch and multiply -
Each Peace public statement gains
from open positive nourishment,
from added fertilizer praises,
so roots flourish more and more -
Each Peace rally adds sun warmth
to coax this first stem to burst up,
to sprout tiny, green leaves,
to subdivide again and again -
Each Peace song that sings,
each Peace music performance,
again and again until many voices
caress lush buds on multi plants -
Each Peace prayer, one recites
in private or in parliament,
encourages and supports blossoms
of all colours to bloom,
causing scents of Peace
to inoculate the world,
encircle the globe.

Bernice Lever - "Small Acts" - Black Moss Press, 2016

On All These Walks

A solitary creature first, then social,
I must relocate myself where an open ground
permits light steps leaving no harmful mark.
I come and go, aware the link is fragile.

Liking that they ignore a mild eccentric,
I'm pleased my fellow walkers are at ease here too,
inside earbuds or thick in gossipy talk.
I smile at the dogs, echo the sparse hellos.

My most constantly new relation, though,
is with whatever in this atmosphere gives off
that spirit of letting be which not only secures
a communal refreshment but is other.

Just enough habitat, with living water flowing,
for one to spot kingfisher, heron, hawk,
vulture; hear common songbirds - oriole
to whitethroat. Bats at dusk. A wary rabbit. Fox.

Fresh flora drawing bees and butterflies.
Beetles and snails, if you look close. And, yes,
summer's mosquitoes. Even the winter plies
a symbiotic, greening consciousness.

Protean language, spoken through quiet signs,
will sprout and breathe into and moisten mine:
most by provision merely for a wild outgrowth
channelled across each widened moment's portal.

Free of the yen to translate or pin down,
drawn principally toward praise, in gratitude,
I go and come back - sensing all is mortal;
resolved, still, with a livelier attitude.

Allan Briesmaster


Pencil Crayons: Sharpened

You are brighter now
perhaps sharper than a tack
a cliché lying on its back
your colorful personality
a poppy red or emerald green
peacock blue or sky magenta
despite your wood coffin shell

Each day you blaze a trail
like graphite skating on ice
the marks you leave
still etched on my mind

Your twirled shavings
like treble clefs bounced on the floor
and I hear your favorite songs
on the transistor radio
Color My World…
Petula Clark
Chicago
Procol Harum’s A Lighter Shade of Pale
a kaleidoscope of bright and pastel notes
even Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors
brushes the chalk dust off the walls
allows the memory clouds
to waltz above your head
and dance across
a tasseled
black cap

Previously published in Chalk Dust Clouds (Beret Days Press, 2017),
First Prize Winner in The Ontario Poetry Society’s 2017 Golden Grassroots Chapbook Award.

Debbie Okun Hill



TANKA for SPRING

A bud bursting through
single yellow daffodil
under maple tree
where grass turns carpet lush green
fills me with energy

Najah Shuqair

All poems of the authors