Example Poetry (J.D. Isip)

Example psalm by J.D. Isip

Psalm to Walt Disney

O Last Utopian!
Can you, in the dust—the unturning,
unreturning, unfrozen dust—
hear, there in Glendale
by the silent soldiers
and the stone, voiceless mermaid—
Can you hear them
trapped in Audio-Animatronic
heaven-hell of birds and dolls
that sing and sing
and sing and sing
and sing?

O Castle-Mountain-Mouse Builder!
Do the dead dream
as you dreamed
of elephants up high, of submarines
that dive into the deep, unknown
worlds of sound and color and dwarves…
who, like you, have sunk
and become an icon
a sepia-toned facsimile
of something that once
was? Do the dead—
like the rebel without a cause
(a few stones away)—
ask how the host of your hands—
the pirates and bears and ghosts
(the bears are gone, by the way)—

O Namesake of the Land!
O Namesake of the World!
Whose empire, from Paris to Tokyo to Hong Kong,
the sun never sets upon—
Do your unseeing eyes see
your worshippers are fat, diabetic,
pseudo-disabled, motorized minions
who use your name in vain
calling from the ideallyc street and toy castle
to the god of celluloid, paint, and synergy
to gather up your dust,
descend from the heaven
of successful white men
and save your dream—
the old one—
from the change, the progress,
the future
that you
in life

Example kyrielle by J.D. Isip


I have fears that I have failed,
like the grass, my spirit bends –
bending, failing, I get help
when I call on You again.
          In the good times and the bad,
          with the changing of a wind,
          when I’m weakest, I am glad
          I may call on You again.
Though I’ve conquered enemies,
and I’ve gathered many friends,
when they seem the same to me,
I must call on You again.

There are those who point and laugh
when I say that You’re my friend;
and when I have had enough
I must call on You again.
          In the good times and the bad,
          with the changing of a wind,
          when I’m weakest, I am glad
          I may call on You again.
Like a ship, I’m tossed about
in an ocean without end;
without luxury to doubt,
I must call on You again.

Example haiku by J.D. Isip

Seasonal Haiku

Bitter gingerbread,
Spiced and iced, can add some sweet
To the bland, gray days.

Creeps out in sharp emerald blades
Like a new kingdom.

Sizzle on the grill
And the scent of flesh burning
Seems to please the gods.

The taste of apples
And pears reminds them of Fall
And knowing too much.

Example sijo by J.D. Isip

July 4th
Here’s how we tear down the heroes we made so hastily:
Pretend the lives and liberties they saved did not matter
And vote away the veterans cluttering the streets and the sidewalks.

I guessed at how long I could hold my breath under water
When I saw you as an ocean and the tide of your arguments
Made me long for a staff to stretch out and split you in two.

Example canzone by J.D. Isip

Aviano, 1996

I see how easy it is to forget –
Winter days in Venice: cobblestone streets,
Nuns milling beneath a cloister, regret,
Cracked stucco walls, large oak doors, our defeat.
What I couldn’t tell you then, though I knew
That night you picked me up at the airport,
I could care less for Italy, but you
Were the main attraction. Sure, my passport
Had a stamp, and the gondolas were cool,
But I only came to discover you.

I’m losing all my memories, you see –
Each detail of that trip: your apartment
At the edge of town, Italian coffee –
Strong and smooth, hording our every moment…
Skiing in Cortina, you patiently
Guiding me down the cold and silent path –
Stopping in the snow, you looked back at me,
“The answer is: I hope you will not ask.”

I never did, and now it’s in the past.