“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance”

  ~An Essay on Criticism (Sound and Sense) Alexander Pope

The heart expresses all that its eyes can see;
it is a voice that’s clear and speaks to all who wish to hear.
So, do not close your mind to what is possible. It can be
that a heart so blind will make love disappear.
But pens that stroke in broad and heartfelt hues,
will yield a master work in the words you choose.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2018


“Tarnished and dented; a bauble from a bygone day”

Tarnished and dented; a bauble of a bygone day.
In a wooden cigar box; keepsakes both, with
little more function than that. The stem fused
to the casing, the workings have retired. But,

it has inspired me to find the link. The contents
of the box play like a road map; clues to unravel
the mystery that is my history. The key, worn and
encrusted with years of dirt and oils from feeble fingers.

It lingers in my hand for a moment, its uncertainty secured.
Papers, folded and bound with a frail rubber band
line the bottom of the box. A visa document,
possibly a first issue wrapped in a tissue to protect

what it meant to an old Polish immigrant determined
to become all that America had to offer. Naturalization
documents, meant to pronounce his acceptance
of a lifestyle long sought, and their acceptance of him

as one of the free and brave. The camera buried amongst
the treasures, bellows cracked and torn, a forlorn
instrument with which a part of his life had been preserved.
It all deserved a better fate, but it is too late to shed

a single tear from your eyes for its demise. The puzzle
is splayed before you, the detective of your past.
A torn swatch of a fabric, hues faded but shades
of blue and red and white pressed between pages.

Finally, one last piece remains. A photograph.
a dark and handsome young man; heavy jacket and
a fedora pulled down across the brow. Intermingled
with other similar folk unconcerned for their purpose.

But the subject stands tall. Proud. Posed to save
this moment in memory, and upon this daguerreotype
for long after. In the background, Lady Liberty stands strong.
In his hand an American flag clutched to his chest.

A chain from buttonhole to vest pockets and a key as a fob,
a cinch to keep his pride from bursting. It insinuates
the only part missing was the watch that sat tucked
close to his left hand. A trinket; a remembrance

of the father he had left behind in Igolomia, Poland
to claim his dream. It remains strong in your own heart
as the box that holds your Great-Grandfather’s declaration secure.
You are sure the timepiece marked his life as well as your own.


Presented at dVerse Poets Pub – OLN Week #104


Evening falls from the heights of darkness,
the starkness and contrast fast becoming apparent.
A day left languishing in the warmth of the sun,
the one thing I’ll miss when the transformation
is complete. My feet feel the dew, grass between
my toes and I know the stars will stretch infinity.
In the vicinity of midnight and morning,
storm warnings announced as the clouds pounce
obliterating the light of day!

Taken from my poem: UNDER THE VALANCE OF NIGHT

© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik – 2013

Prompted by POETIC ASIDES – Day 29 – A line from your poem…


The trouble with snowmen…
A snowman with “appendages”
is rather quite HOT,
until he gets hot
and then, he is not!

© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik – 2013

First line taken from “The Trouble With Snowmen” by Roger McGough

Written for MIZ QUICKLY’S IMPROMPTU POETRY – Day 25 “Poem starting with a line…”


“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance”

  ~An Essay on Criticism (Sound and Sense) Alexander Pope

The heart expresses all its eyes can see;
a voice that’s clear and speaks to all who hear.
So, do not close your mind to what can be,
a heart so blind will make love disappear.
But pens that stroke in broad and heartfelt hues,
will yield a master work in words you choose.

© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik – 2013

MIZ QUICKLY DAY 2 – Iambic lines


(A found poem)

I’ve been mad for fucking years;
been over the edge working me buns off…
I know, I’ve been mad like most of us
(even if you’re not mad…)

All you touch and all you see,
a race toward an early grave
is all your life will ever be.
Waiting for someone

or something to show you the way.
You are young; life is long.
There is time to kill today,
plans that either come to naught,

or are half a page of scribbled lines.
Hanging on in quiet desperation,
it came as a heavy blow,
yelling and screaming and telling him

“Grab that cash with both hands”.
It is the root of all evil,
but we sorted the matter out.
I was really drunk at the time!

“Listen son, don’t give me that do goody good
bullshit”, said the man with the gun,
God only knows it’s not what we choose,
but which is which and who is who?

There’s room for you inside;
only a difference of opinion.
Good manners don’t cost nothin, eh?
Got to keep the loonies on the path

And if with dark forebodings
your head explodes, raise the blade.
Make the change. Lock the door and
throw away the key. The old man died.

All you hate,
all you distrust,
all that you deal
beg, borrow or steal…

There is no dark side of the moon!
It’s really a matter of fact it’s all dark.

***The poem was culled from the lyrics of the songs on the Pink Floyd album by the same name.


(Thoughts Escaping)

Random phrases float effortlessly in my mind.
Thoughts and ideas left from other mad fits of genius.
(Or not). But, I’ve got all these things to say
that in a way gives life to my minutia.
I run each one up the flagpole and salute you
for being interested enough to read my mind and worry.
(Wouldn’t life be easier if spoken in cloud-like bubbles;
all your troubles and emotions suspended
in an unending tirade or titillation?) There is no greater
frustration in speaking your mind only to find
yourself looking like an ink drawing (in a four panel spread).
I would dread the moment my eye wanders and
the onlookers can read my lascivious letching.
So, I’m left fetching my gum eraser and removing
any trace of thoughts (in an effort to save face).
But if you float it out there, your muse ever-hangs in mid-air.
An animated existence in this surreal deal called life (punch line not included!)


(Time line)

Score and fifteen etched the faces,
some coming from most distant places,
just to bring the circle closed.

Youthful memories to the fore
for men and women who before
were classmates on the brink of aging.

Over time we’ve gotten older,
mellow now, where once were bolder,
with wisdom lacing our decisions.

Parents now, some grandkids too,
and pride in everything they do,
at this stage of life we share.

And share we did, through the ages,
faces posed on all the pages,
come to life to touch our histories.

Recognition brings a smile,
sadly thinking all the while,
“What the heck is that guy’s name?”

Grouped together with familiarity,
cliques of old held high hilarity,
now accepting, all were welcomed.

And me, a bookish nebish then,
stood abreast with these old friends,
who remembered me with some affection.

Why do situations pose,
a change of manner, do you suppose
I could have been a different man?

For back in High School where life bloomed,
blossoms of beauty in every room,
the directions chosen were our own.

Some, the choices were not theirs,
and death had sadly nested there
to take old comrades from this earth.

Surely in spirit they raised a glass,
to celebrate this reunited mass,
the storied Class of Seventy-Four.

I regret to say, through faults of mine,
I met old classmates for the first time,
thirty-five years past the bar.

The smiles and hugs will surely linger,
and I can count on just one finger
the seconds I’ll hesitate when forty calls.

Long live Lackawanna High School Class of 1974!