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

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My world
reveals itself
in small fragments

a bird-song here
a headline there
a thought

dung hill

you know –
Each a jagged shard
with puzzle edges

it is part
of something

Coming to terms
with the evidence we have
thus far

Homo Sapiens Sapiens,
sole manifestation
of self-awareness
in this astounding Universe

We alone ponder the fireworks
we see above, around, below
and in us

We alone fall to our knees
in wonder, terror and awe

We alone ask,
how? why? whereto? –
gathering in small circles
to hear poets, priests and physicists
morph our questions into stories
Black Swallowtail
I believe in the visible world
there is no creature softer,
more silent in flight,
more gentle in its brush with life
than this Black Swallowtail
who has, uninvited,
joined me for lunch

Glamorous in black
accessorized with yellow,
blue, orange and white,
she flutters in and out
of purple petunia trumpets
draped profusely from hanging
baskets on the porch

In my tattered gardening trousers
and t-shirt, I am underdressed

Her probing tongue searches
deeply the heart of one blossom,
then another and another.
Now, as if satisfied, she lifts
into the warm humid air
to float away –
only to drop and thrust
again into other blooms
ready to yield their ambrosia

Ice cream is on my mind –
and the ten thousand ways
in which the intoxicating sweetness
of our world calls us back for more
Sooner or later
he was bound to wake up

Almost everyone does, if only
briefly, at one time or another

What no one would have predicted –
Siddhatta Gotama has not slept again

since the searing agony
of his awakening to the world’s

suffering which, to his dismay,
he finds is his suffering also

Madness grips him – Empathy Extremus
Talk therapy and pharmaceuticals fail

Though lured by Siren Denial’s sweet
song, he refuses retreat back into sleep

Awake, alert, agitated, alive,
all accepted wisdom set aside

He says goodbye to wife,
children, all he’s known

Across vast stretches of land
and time and soul he roams

One question drives his quest –
In this astonishing world

of beauty, awash in pain,
where is peace found?
In Early Morning Hours
You find me
in early morning hours

whether it be first light
of summer dawn

or winter darkness
lingering far into daytime

Whatever flux of light and shade
given by earth's slant and spin

you come from the vast silence
of beginnings

a presence beyond lip's mumble,
pen's scratch, mind's fumble

In early morning hours
something Other
Schoodic Point, Maine
six years old
first time here

thunderous collision
of waves against cliffs –
light-dazzled towers of mist
soar high above his head

WOW, he shouts – and leaps
wave after wave after wave
wow/leap wow/leap wow/leap
launch startled seagulls
into flight
Psalm 152
High Mystery,
did you arrange the Universe thus
with all of its intricate workings?
Or did it arrange itself?
Is there a difference?
Is this all from you?
Or are you All?

Like a small child
my questions are endless –
but I do not expect an answer
nor do I want one

Were you to address me
in the language I know
you would be less than I imagine,
far less than I desire

Your silence
your darkness
your absence
hold me in their thrall
Homs, Syria
March 3, 2012
she stands amidst war-ravaged
rubble of her home.
Her child is dead.
Her husband gone,
some battle front,
his whereabouts unknown.
She prays angels may protect him,
yet thinks death may be
a better place than war

She looks deep inside herself
for solace – finds none,
asks impenetrable darkness,
How do I go on?


She waits
amidst the rubble.
Poetry by Charles H. Harper
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