Charles Harper Poems Graphic
Making A Life
Here are a few samples selected from the eighty-seven poems in this volume.  If you decide to order this book, click the email address below.  Be sure to include the following in your message:  (1) title of book being ordered, (2) your full name and mailing address.

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Salt Spray
Neptune is at play
or war.  Which
is hard to tell
when figuring the gods

Tumultuous waves rumble
double fortissimo against
basalt/granite boulders.
Imperious Atlantic grinds back  
boundary cliffs, relentlessly
reduces them to dust
one micro-granule at a time.
Each surging hit shatters
into vaulting pillars
of light and mist

Salt spray
on my lips and the ferocious
taste of awe
The Way Our World Is
from dark, cold and gales
ruling our streets
this February evening,
I enjoy my scotch, and you
your glass of wine,
with smoked gouda and crackers
here by the fireplace whose enchantment
reflects orange and yellow in your eyes

Dinner is progressing in the oven.
Tensions of a hectic day
relax their grip as we settle
into home’s warm embrace

Long lines of refugees fleeing
one ravaged place for another
parade across the TV screen.
This is the way our world is –
for us, for them

We savor our drinks, speak of our day,
sort mail into piles of keep and toss.
This return address alerts us
to yet another appeal appeal appeal
to save a child – perhaps this emaciated
toddler with bloated belly and hunger-crazed
eyes in the endless line
still staggering in high definition
across our screen

We’ll write another check –
after dinner.  
It has been said, “To save one life
is to save a universe.”  Yes,
we’ll do this while we wait
for revolution
This yellow lab
leaves no doubt
that my arrival
at his door
is an occasion
of purest ecstasy

His whole body trembles
with jolt after jolt of joy
that, should he lose control,
would launch him into orbit

Weeks of obedience training
are utterly annihilated
by irrepressible explosions of mania
wracking his body.  
Who can obey the “sit” command
when your very being is on fire!

So, I brace myself
before opening the door,
prepared to feel the full
weight of his leaping

All of this at my arrival!
What an ego boost

even though its all over
in a minute

even though I know
he’ll do it again
for whoever shows up next
The Holy
“And the holy had its abode only in denial”
Czeslaw Milosz
no thing

a presence

an absence

a madness

a longing

as in all colors

as in no color



the unnamable
blessed be the name

Snow's Silence
gentle snow
full of light
drifts tranquilly
throughout this night

softens lamps
to muted glow
dims bright signals
of stop and go

reins in steps
to slower pace
subdues these words
to lower case

damps down talk
to proper place
gives night’s silence
a lustrous face
Next Year In Jerusalem
Conclusion of Passover Seder
There is no better world, dear ones,
than we imagine.  The best, still
to be, we carry in our hearts,
our minds and our tenacious wills

This comes to us from those who’ve gone
before.  They’ve left their soaring dreams
for us, unfinished.  Nor is it ours
to make complete their shining schemes

We add, subtract and modify
as best we can.  When our limit’s
reached, we give to those who follow
the work we’ve done – still incomplete

Thus is our world built, the heavens
also, brick on brick, cloud on cloud.
Somewhere in us utopia seems
encoded – glimpsed, as through a shroud

Moses, atop myth’s splendid peaks
saw distant lands he never reached
Count me among companions who will hymn
our awe outward beyond the blaze of stars,
far into the dark unknown – and soul-ward
into psyche’s deep caves impervious
to our probing beams.  Outward/Inward seem
about the same.  Look for me with those who,
eschewing hoary answers, will repeat
the old queries.  Find me in company
of those who rummage wizened texts and bones,
travel paths of DNA, gather rocks
from Mars, photograph light seconds this side
of the Big Bang – and just short of the soul.
Specks of astral dust, we spin in dazzling
light – hymn mystery on rim of great black Whole
A Poem May
A poem
may make you laugh,            
cry, think, change,
swear, wonder –
one or any combination thereof.
It may take you to vistas                                                                                        
never before seen
or habitations long forgotten

A poem may flare
into an ah-ha
moment, or slowly
persuade a reluctant wick

A poem may baffle you,
failing to ignite
even one small spark of recognition.
When this happens to me
I walk away –
and sometimes will visit it again
to see if I have learned its language
or it has learned mine

A poem may be
brief or wispish,
but if it is real
it is never trivial
or unnecessary

I could tell you a story
from my youth – how a poem
magically morphed into an icon
that, over all these years,
has never stopped whispering

I am more
Look deeper
Poetry by Charles H. Harper
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