Friday 16 April 2021

Four Stunning Poems by Lilija Valis




It’s not over

when you leave


the story carries on

who knows for how long

maybe forever


the tale of my great

great grandmother

when she was seventeen

blue eyed, dark haired

and the invading army soldier

who stopped her execution

continues in my life

with some updated twists

on a shared journey


the story did not

begin with them

and won’t end

when I go


we are always in the middle


don’t know when it began

nor how it will end.



You’re not

who you think you are

and neither am


the words we are using

are hiding our secrets


the place we call home

is a temporary shelter

to reach tomorrow


the beliefs we’re ready

to die or kill for

came in a package


the leader we’re following

is not taking us where

we envision we’re going


I’m not saying

take off your mask –

in a world of disguises

naked is risky


I’m suggesting that

what is important

is a wordless melody


drifting past leafless trees

into our wounded hearts.



a stranger among strangers,

all speaking different languages


even in families we pay for translators

having forgotten the language

words try to disguise


I look into your eyes

attempting to decode the signals

your energy sends to my skin


I want a report on internal affairs


I once heard a call for help

from someone I loved

who was slowly making his way

toward me through a forested

area miles away  


there were times I ignored

warning signs of what

was heading my way

preferring wishes of the way

life could be if only…

and almost lost my life


we draw mysterious maps

of hidden terrain –

one-way streets, dead-ends

highways and bridges


still, it’s easy, even map in hand

to get distracted by the music

of a language or a face

                     and lose our way



When you awaken tomorrow

winter will be gone


a warm sun will greet you

a blue jay answer your call


your mortgage will be paid

your heart arrhythmia disappear


mirrors will show the hidden face

-- always helpful to know


universities will ban cheating

and no longer sell degrees


doctors will stop using treatments

that ensure patients keep

coming back for more


politicians will return the money they stole

spiritual leaders living in palaces

will give away their wealth


all living creatures caged, drugged

and cut open for the benefit

of others will be freed


when you’re alone and sick

a kindly stranger will bring you food

and hold your hand


dance will turn enemies into partners

and music will replace arguments


yes, when you wake up tomorrow

the sun will hold hands with the moon.

Lilija Valis, author of Freedom on the Fault Line, has been published in literary and e-zine magazines and ten anthologies. She has read her work solo or with one or two musicians at various literary, musical, dance and political/philosophical events, 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 one with two musicians.



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