Sunday 5 February 2023

Five Poems by Nolo Segundo




Then… it was a time of true magic,

When the world was small and soft.

It had to be magic, my mind of five

Told me: how else could my brothers

And I go to sleep on an ordinary,

Dull and quiet night, to awaken in

Sheer joy the next morn as though

We had been zapped by a warm

Bolt of harmless lightning, setting

Our now restless bodies tingling….


Like racehorses at the gate of magic,

We stood at the top of the stairs,

Pulling at whatever patience we

Could muster under the admonitions

Of Mom and Dad to wait! wait! the

Camera must be loaded—but how

Painful to be still when we knew

Children’s paradise was only a

Stairway away—and what a

Paradise we saw unfolded in

Our now unfamiliar living room!


The tree drew our eyes first—

It was big and fat, with its

Branches sagging under all

Its myriad ornaments: glass

Balls, plastic candy canes,

Tinsel drooping as though

It hung on a weeping willow

And not a proud Blue Spruce.


And hundreds and millions of

Coloured lights, some blinking,

Some staid, made our tree

Sparkle like the royal crown

Of a giant king—perhaps

The King of Toys, for they

Were seen in abundance

Wherever we looked: trucks

And bikes, and bats and games.

Each brother had his own pile

(we marvelled how thoughtful

Santa must be) and we knew

In each stack there were boxes                                     

Beautifully wrapped but sans

Treasure, alas, hiding only socks

Or shirts, perhaps a sweater.


Well, even the jolly fat man

Could not be perfect—still,

He would bring magic to our

Home every year, overnight

Transforming our prosaic lives

By wonder, by magic, by love.

And after he went away,

When I was an ancient six,

The world grew much bigger

But colder, dull and empty

Of that special joy that

Can only come to those

Children who believe….



You saw the lines weren’t too long

so you went for the gas first---

spend a little time, save a lot of

money you thought. But it took

longer than you expected [too

many ‘tanks’ as you call SUVs

filling up their 50 gallon tanks]

so by the time you went into the

giant store, you were feeling like

a crab trapped in a net as you

wrestled through the weekend

horde of bargain hunters….


Finally at home, you plopped

down in the comfy chair as

the nightly news came on and

sipped the fresh brewed French

roast and ate a piece of rich

chocolate cake you bought at

Costco and felt a bit sad for

those poor people in Ukraine

as you watched war in hi-def.


Still, the thought uppermost in

your mind, as your eyes scanned

so many dead bodies lying quiet

in the streets like stones thrown

randomly, was just how damn

good the coffee was and how

much you had saved going to

the big box store….





Love is not known, and

can never be known.

Love cannot be weighed

Like bullion or flour.

Love cannot be roped—

A wild mustang running

Free, never tethered,

Never corralled—freer

Than the North winds.


Love has its own mind:

It comes when it comes,

Will not hear entreaties,

Will not beg its bread, 

For love rules all worlds

And love soaks all life.


Love is a gangster,

Obeying no laws,

Taking what it wants.

And love is a priest,

Making holy life’s dirt,

Redeeming then the

Wreckage of hope by

Pouring its holy water,

Quenching all longing


Love is a magician,

Appearing in two

Hearts at once,

Transforming the

Beast into a man,

Girl into woman--

An alchemist

Changing lead

Into pure gold….


And love can never die.

When the heart it holds

Beats its last beat, then

Love will soar with soul

To the next world, for

Love is the only key

That can pry open

Heaven’s heavy door.





I saw it then as my own little Shangri-La,

for I was very small and knew nothing

of the big world, the grown-ups’ world.


And for the child-me it was nirvana,

that little town on a barrier island

between the grey, cold, untamed and

endless Atlantic Ocean and the quiet,

near somnolent bay where the boats

of the less brave could sail safely….


I could ride my bike from Nana and

Pop-pop’s little house on that bay,

feeling as free as the myriad seagulls

swirling forever above my head--

I ‘d ride ‘cross town to the boardwalk

and if I had a dollar, see a movie by

myself, feeling like a proud little lord--

I remember as though yesterday, and

not 60 some years, my favourite theatre,

with its long darkish hall that looked

like the entrance to a pirate’s den,

lined with displays of model sailing

ships, mostly men-o-war chasing, yes,

pirates, but never catching them….


But most afternoons I was happy to

just sit quietly on the porch of my

grandparents’ house, smelling the

dinner Nana was making while I

read of countless dreams in books,

books that captured like a pirate

his prey, and took me round the

world in the finest and fastest

sailing ship of all—imagination!


Tasting Eternity


My old friend and I went to a restaurant for lunch,

a ramshackle little place, but my friend told me

the food was great—and it was! Three different

chicken curries, a lovely lamb curry, and a half-

dozen veggies, and mango drinks to wash it down.


I suppose we visited the buffet more times than we

should have but we were talking philosophy as we

always did when we got together and speaking of

God and the soul and the meaning of life really

can make you hungry--then my friend said he

believed in God but had trouble with Eternity--

it seemed scary, terrifying even to think of time

going on forever, endlessly, a road never ending.


I laughed a little, then smiled at my old friend--

‘THIS is eternity! ‘ I told him, ‘Right now, this

moment as we eat this delicious curry and try

to figure out the meaning of our existence’.

I swallowed a mouthful of lamb korma and

laughed again-- ‘wherever we exist is eternity,

and we always exist somewhere, and time is

an illusion, time does not exist, except as a

moment’-- And the next moment, I asked him

if he had room for the rice pudding….

Nolo Segundo, pen name of retired teacher L.J.Carber, became a published poet in his mid-70’s in over 120 literary journals/anthologies in 11 countries and 3 trade book collections: The Enormity of Existence [2020], Of Ether and Earth [2021], and Soul Songs [2022].




  1. Lovely poems, and a good read. I enjoyed them, thank you!

    1. I know I am a little late but thanks, Ursula…


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