Thursday 17 November 2022

Five Poems by RC deWinter




time is invisible but for its aftereffects

marking the earth with everything we put on it


marking us too


the earth’s a visible record of triumph

desecration and everything in between


we are too


so we plaster and paint

and try to repair what we’ve built

what we’ve become


the land is indifferent

buildings and sidewalks have no feelings

no river cries when it’s dammed 

and if trees sigh when an axe blade bites

we never hear it


but we’re blessed and cursed

masters and servants of sentience and feelings


love and hatred

desire and fear

admiration and jealousy

pride and shame

and every other attribute of the human condition


and in our foolishness we worship youth

and when it flees

we disguise ourselves with powder and paint 

and the surgeon’s knife that pulls years from the flesh


but never from our minds

never from our hearts


the one constant in the ongoing tragicomedy 

of the human condition is that we learn from our mistakes

yet keep making them too

Christmas Corpse

This morning – this great day
of feast and celebration,
I got up, looked in the mirror
and didn't recognize
the creature staring back at me.
Pale to the point of transparency.
The face of someone I once knew.
Eyes black holes in a face
more dead than alive.
Is this what i've become –
the ghost of my own past?
Somebody call the coffin-maker.
Order up the hearse.
Take shovel and spade
and put me in the ground –
I’m the Christmas corpse.


upon close inspection

no one escapes this life
with clean hands
unstained by error
unsullied by regret
not even saints
and there’s no halo
hanging ‘round my head
i lie awake at night
old film in black and white
runs in a neverending loop
around my bed
i sit up
to shut that movie off
and hold my hands close
before my uncorrected eyes
they are dusted
these hands
with unkindness
these hands
with wrongdoing
these hands
with the if only heartache
these hands
with fault lines
yet in my palm
i catch a glimpse
of the clean smooth skin
of redemption

starting over

there is no moonlight on the crossroads
no shining silver shaft
favoring one path over another
this is no voluntary hejira
nothing points the way
no map no compass but the courage of the heart

the loam of my life has been sown with salt
so i stand a solitary pilgrim
on a dark and windswept plain
reduced to nothing but the gifts
with which i was born
having to choose which way to go

lullaby for ukraine


the angle of days has been fractured
smelted into orthogonal tunnels
leading away from the sea
into the dark mouth of a cavern
where we lie thousands of miles apart
yet right next to each other
as bombs awaken us to smoky mornings
and bullets sing lullabies that atomize our dreams

the only language we share
is the wish for peace
but we’re captives of the captains of industry
and the machines of war
fueled by the spiraling madness
of a would-be king determined to assert
le droit de seigneur by fucking the world
into the submission known only to slaves

we have the numbers but they have the guns
and survival no matter how bleak
is hardwired into our genes
so we huddle and pray the gnashing of our teeth
echoing in the brief silences between assaults
as the children of the dead
look at us with frightened eyes
the word WHY echoing in every tear

RC deWinter’s poetry is widely anthologized, notably in New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2/2017), easing the edges: a collection of everyday miracles, (Patrick Heath Public Library of Boerne, 11/2021) The Connecticut Shakespeare Festival Anthology (River Bend Bookshop Press, 12/2021), in print: 2River, Event, Gargoyle Magazine, the minnesota review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal,  Night Picnic Journal, Plainsongs, Prairie Schooner, Southword, The Ogham Stone, Twelve Mile Review, York Literary Review among many others and appears in numerous online literary journals.  



  1. I admire your use of imagery, in capturing a mood, feeling or acceptance of existence. Quite a collection you have put together. Thank you. Vaughn

  2. 5 concise gems. There is a lot going on in this small space.

  3. Thanks for your visit, Jack, I’m glad you found some things to ponder.

  4. Thank you both, gentlemen for stopping by and for the kind words


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