By Dillard K. Henderson, QH’s Poet Laureate

Sonnet Number Fifty
All in one flowing moment free from time,
I sat upon a mighty mountainside
Beneath great metal booming wind-blown chimes
Above Zen terraced gardens with my guide.
I saw below, beyond the knoll and stream, 
Another mountain breath and undulate.
Awaking slowly from delusion’s dream,
I entered then a much more mindful state.
Then beauty’s beings, radiant as suns,
Each sang her sacred spirit song to me.
The spirit world and this one too were one.
The moon arose, and I began to see.
I heard all music, then, in but one chime
And knew forever, then, in Earthly time.

IF by Lyra Fiske


A delicate high wire act
How much
Should others know
Maybe they already do
Not sure I care
My heart can't
Stay contained
I think you're lonely too
Letting you get
Inside my head
Your eyes
Your words
Your smile
Seeping into cracks
That aren't airtight
My mind's in overdrive
Hoping we kiss
I didn't sleep last night
Imagining us
I wanna pursue this
With all my might
Then saturate my senses
And step away
I think
We're both ready
To drink in all of life
Mixing imperfections
Blending contradictions
Something wonderful
And terrifying
And then
I wait
In that vulnerable place
I thought I'd never
Empty and uncertain
Hoping in vain
To be proven right
This time


Born in ’69


By Lyra Fiske

Born in '69
A foot stepped
In moon dust
And breaths were held
As all stood on the edge
Of something great
Half a million gathered
In a meadow
And breaths were held
As hope took the stage
A new dawn perhaps
Or more doom ahead
We swung towards brotherly love
Then back again
Inheriting troubles like Ozzy said
The worst generation emerged
With an X on our foreheads
Branded like Manson
Born amidst conflict
And shifting values
Coming of age
With deadly disease
Losing possessions
And our souls
Amid chaos
While receiving
All the blame
Our parents began the decline
And we followed
Our hopes were silly
Our shattered dreams weren't real
We rose like a phoenix from the ashes
Only to fall again
But we were neither the beginning
Nor the end
And the pendulum swings
Back and forth
As we all
Hold our breath

July 2017

Alma Mater


by Lyra Fiske
Alma Mater
I have almost forgotten
What free thought is
Forgotten the smell of incense
Of blueberry-scented candles
The taste of tart-sweet autumn cider
And bitter winter in the Berkshires
I have almost forgotten
Of acrimonious debate
Absolutism while challenging absolutes
Fleeting kinship
I was finding me
Yet eclipsed by others
Mirroring what I was running from
Of raw delivery
Screams both pleasure and terror
Rape poems, so many of them
Hiding in plain sight
Of confusion so profound
The dangerous lines had been crossed
Into more danger
It was all up for grabs, anybody’s game
Or so it seemed within those walls
The oppressors became everyone
Mistrust gave way to censorship
Same as the dreaded traditionalists
But you mustn’t speak of this
How far can you go?
Can you hate enough?
Can you love enough?
Question everything
This is how history is made
But also repeated
This is how we destroy and build anew
We didn’t learn in high school what really happened
To Native Americans
To Mexicans
To Blacks
To slaves
To South Africa
To Jews
To Japanese Americans
To Latin America
To Puerto Rico
To women
To gays
To assassinated leaders
What we couldn’t change became torture
Please stop, no more
An unknown fear gripped me
Turning away classified papers
I don’t want to touch or even look
And meet the fate of Hoffman, Silkwood
Who knows what is known
Who knows what was done
The monster sleeps for a time
Then awakens
Some are brave enough to face it with swords drawn
And some don’t survive
But passions create other monsters
Righteousness turning to fists
Awareness accelerated, driving people apart in paradox
And who will slay these monsters?
To rectify the last 500 years
The last 5,000 years
A daunting task
That needs to start small
In the sandbox
I have almost forgotten
What free thought is




by Lyra Fiske

I thought you came alone
But now I see it
Peeking out behind you
The large bag you’re dragging
On the ground
With strings
Of bottles and cans
Clanging off of it
It’s mangled
And tangled
And I can’t see
Where it ends
And where it begins
By the looks of things
I don’t think
You can either
Did you ever try
To go through this stuff
And throw some of it away?
Do you even know what’s in it anymore?
Man, what the hell is all that shit you’re carrying?
Is that from the last woman?
Or the last several women compounded?
Now you wanna come talk to me about it
And have me help you
Sort through it all
Do I look like your shrink?
You shoulda got rid of it
Before you met me
I don’t wanna help you
Recycle your bottles and cans
And throw away your garbage
I had to do that
With the last man
And then you wanna point out
The little plastic bag I got
With maybe a few things in it
Why haven’t you got rid of that already,
You say to me
While your crap’s taking up
Half the street
Better look in the mirror my friend
Before you go running your mouth
Sayin’ your stuff’s more important
Than mine
You need to keep every last bit
You even try to blame me
For some of it
But I didn’t put it there
You should do something about it
It’s starting to stink
So let me make it easy on you
I’m gonna turn around
And not add to your pile
And take my little bag away
So you don’t have to look at it
I might still have it
But I plan on getting rid of it
I won’t trouble you
Since you have
Much more you need to do
Much more than you think