Tuesday 2 March 2021

Five Wonderful Poems by Lilija Valis




Her house looks virtuous.

Flowers like butterflies

hover over clay pots

on the front porch.


An orange cat gazes out

a window besieged with ivy

bearing white stars.


I ring the doorbell.

Inside, a dog goes wild

but when I enter, she raises

a paw. We shake hands.


The woman who lives here

loves the sea. She has found

amber in her wood floors

the kitchen is tiled

in aqua and coral.


Home as an oasis

of filtered sunlight,

an escape from the endless

tunnels of hospital work.


After supper, she sits

at the slender virginals.

Sixteenth century sound

fills the house.


The gentle-faced beagle

leans against her leg.

She rescues beagles

for the same reason

scientists seek them:

their trust and patience.


‘Let me see the way things are,’

is her Celtic prayer.

She views the present

through history, and so

is aware that the peace

of her neighbourhood is fragile.


Her green eyes are shaded

by the future she sees in history.

You can no more change

the future, she says,

than you can alter the past.


She’s vaguely aware

of a history her cells guard.

In her dreams, stones

are hurled at her and she

has to flee her amber oasis.


Her long hair is red

the tradition is ancient.

She does not linger

on the front porch.

Unseen eyes are connected

to unknown desires.


Inside the house she sings

to an invisible flame.





     Hello, night callers

     to my favourite radio station

     and everyone listening,

     all of us in the dark

     in unknown places

     reaching out


you may be driving

along the highway

that seems to go on forever

or calling from some cabin

hidden in the Rockies

you may be stretched out

on your bed in the motel

along the way to destiny

or you may be in a mansion

where the only Other

is the live-in housekeeper,

maybe you are pacing the floor

while your family dreams


you with worries

for your country

and the planet

you who feel closer

to space aliens

than to your new neighbours

you who want to escape

the spiralling-down-present

you who fear the future

you who love this earth

who rescue those in distress

you whose song

floats across the desert –


     you have a family

     you don’t know –

     we are everywhere

     listening to your breathing

     hearing the unspoken


     we are stepping

     between you and the void

     here’s a hand – take it—

     to steady us both.





We are the silent ones

outside your sympathy


we dress to a different code

our speech evades your rules


the graveyard shift

was made for us


we do the dirty work

your comfort requires


our hands are rough

you call us trash


we fight the wars

you pretend to protest


we are the useless old

muted by your drugs


the unvisited patients

you let die in the hospital


we are the ones choking

in your wombs as you gas us


we have x-ray vision

we see what you can’t


we make no excuses

we expect no justice


your words sear our skins

and thin our bones


we no longer listen

as you talk, talk, talk…


we prefer dancing

and we do it furiously


no words is our bond

we pledge by the stars


we are the silent ones

we travel by night.





I’m no longer a human being

not that I minded being one

but have merely moved on

or out, not sure which


I don’t shop

don’t do bars or concert halls

no musical beds for me

no corporate smorgasbord

no activists’ accusations

no stealing from others

no admiring the leader’s mask

or watching wannabes compete

                              for power over me

no giving them money

for more guns than they know

                                      what to do with


don’t care who did what to whom

as an excuse to do it to a third party


I won’t cage life that flies, swims

                                  likes to explore

needs its family and some territory

and I won’t pay others

                                      to do it for me


I think we’ve reached our quota

of bulldozing other creatures’ homes


not interested in spiritual face-lifts --

               an increasingly big business


I’m out of here

the humanity part

not leaving though

love this planet too much

even some humans


I’ll hang around

mingle just as if I’m human





As you flee

and if you haven’t yet

                       you will

one thing or another


the mess you made of your life


some illness the doctor

will only make worse


gangs ruling your back alleys


a government following

your private words

and diagnosing your thoughts


armed military units, faces

obscured, going door to door


yes, you will try to escape

                              our lot here

searching for the Garden

which we dream about

or perhaps remember


flowers outside our window

light dancing in our path

songbirds healing secret wounds


the Garden located somewhere

west of where you live


and that’s where you head

following the sun


going over the edge

in order to start anew.

Lilija Valis, author of Freedom on the Fault Line, has lived on three continents, during times of war and peace, riots, demonstrations and festivals. She

has been published in literary and e-zine magazines and nine anthologies. Before the COVID pandemic, she read her work solo or with one or two musicians in bistros, at various literary, musical, dance and political/philosophical events, as well as in run-down theatres and private homes, in Vancouver and the United States. She has performed with a group at two Vancouver Fringe Festivals and, as one of the winners, at San Francisco’s Artist Embassy International Dancing Poetry Festival at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. She has two CDs out, one solo and the other with two musicians

Web presence:www.lilijavalis.com



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