Winter 2006 Edition
January through March

 © 2006 Sol Magazine

Sol Magazine, A Quarterly Poetry Journal:  A ten-year project of Volunteers interested in the education of poets.  E-mail us at Sol.Magazine@prodigy.net

IN MEMORIAM:  Dr. Leo Castiglioni ~ August 6, 1929 - November 6, 2005. 

Contact info


"How to Write Zips and Zip-Rengays" by Terri Relf. 
(link takes you to Poetry Works page)



Each quarter, we choose one poem to honor with the title of EDITOR'S CHOICE.  This month, it was particularly difficult, for there were four wonderful possiblities.

Different Worlds

Stars in the city
are shimmering sequins
laid out mostly at random
on a midnight blue cloth,
but stars in the country
are a bottle of glitter
emptied out on black paper
like a veil on the dark.

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  Gorgeous word choices sparkle in this succinct, glittering poem, a small jewel that makes the reader wish for more.  Simple and elegant.  Excellent imagery, subtle and natural metaphor, and the nuances of the blue cloth contrasted with the black paper as well as the sequins and the glitter are profound.  A dynamite succinct poem that explodes into a cascade of symbols and images, as two moments of looking at the stars are woven into a double helix of poetry.

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Our topic name presents a duality: Sunshine~Moonglow; poets were asked write a short about any topic related to natural light.  And what fine poems they sent in!  These poems were commented on by a panel of readers.



Different Worlds

Stars in the city
are shimmering sequins
laid out mostly at random
on a midnight blue cloth,
but stars in the country
are a bottle of glitter
emptied out on black paper
like a veil on the dark.

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  Gorgeous word choices sparkle in this succinct, glittering poem, a small jewel that makes the reader wish for more.  Simple and elegant.  Excellent imagery, subtle and natural metaphor, and the nuances of the blue cloth contrasted with the black paper as well as the sequins and the glitter are profound.  A dynamite succinct poem that explodes into a cascade of symbols and images, as two moments of looking at the stars are woven into a double helix of poetry.
Earth Bound

I am running into the moon, its pale
yellow yolk unbroken against a navy sky.
I push the pedal and mismatched lovers,
we rush toward each other. Anxious
for its glowing kiss, my heart races faster,
but my legs leaden and commitments pull me
to their lips. No string dangles from this bright
balloon. Nothing to catch and ride as it rises,
growing smaller and smaller and out of reach.
By its light I speed into darkness.

Sandi Stromberg, Houston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  Lovely wording expresses the endless fascination we have with light, in this case, moonlight.  Startling imagery brings the reader into the scene, while sensual clues show the emotion.
Midnight Beach

where I search lunar canals
of a full harvest moon
pacing inner tides
with waters above and below
in the vast universe
I am its center
at the center
all is in motion
in illumined darkness
I am not alone

Anna Wilke, Conroe, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  Interesting descriptions move us as if propelled by a tidal rhythm through this poem to its final statement, "I am not alone."
Water Stones

After daybreaks over the sea
Sunbeams slice pewter water
As skillfully as Antwerp diamond cutters
Chisel facets of crystalline water
Stones into glittering inner lights
Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX USA

COMMENTS:  A fine description that brings the reader to the edge of the sea, as the sea is sliced by daybreak.
Moon Majesty
The moon is basking
in its own reflected light
and floats
a majestic, shining presence
above vocal, living clouds
of eveningís migrant birds
and sultry twilight air
infused with pink and orange hues
of early autumn sunset
and endless possibilities
Rebecca Guile Hudson, Los Lunas, NM, USA
COMMENTS:  Nicely written, with colorful vivid imagery.
Camp Awakening

With the sun, a golden, pale light
washed the mountain and the fir;
each blade of grass wore one jewel,
a perfect sphere showing
each blade of grass and jewel surrounding.
We wore sleeping bag cocoons.
Each one looking out saw
the other looking in, then
you reached out and touched me,
your hand warm in red mitten.

Gary Wade, Bellingham, Washington, USA

COMMENTS:   Beautiful descriptions; emotion gently expressed.

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The form was Narrative.  The topic was Give Them health, hope, love, peace, respect, talent, wealth, wisdom, or freedom from fear.  The premise was that the entire world might have changed had a particular child been given one of these attributes.  Poets were encouraged to borrow a figure from history to illustrate their points.

The Last Tsarevitch
Open the gate, Semyon; the young Prince is riding out
with dogs and horses, drunken friends and hangers-on.
Last month he rode a horse to death.
He whipped a dog--
the stablemaster had to put it down.
He cut down a man who wouldn't get out of the road.
That man lived. They say he's some crazy monk.
Now he's in the city with some intellectual friends
showing off his scars, talking strange talk,
handing around a book by some German- Markos? Marz?
They're saying... come close, I'll whisper it:
Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland, Oregon, USA
EDITOR'S COMMENTS:  This poem has a driving cadence that speeds or slows according to the meaning of its well-chosen words.  A wonderful entry into immediate action, this speculative narrative implies that even with good heath, the Prince might have come to the same end, but possibly for different reasons.  The title refers Alexis Nicolaievitch who was killed with his family 1915, when he was fourteen.  Had he not been killed, there is strong doubt that he would have had sufficient physical strength to occupy the throne, for he suffered hemophilia.  The monk of the first stanza refers to Rasputin, an odd mystic whom Empress Alexandra mistakenly felt might cure her son.
Might I Have Been? [talent]
What might I have been
if I could have drawn the people well
on Karls Kirche that I painted,
but mine were wooden as my frames.
Critics carped and thus I starved
until I learned to draw my people.
A water color Landscape with
a Fortress on a River kept me not,
so I built in concrete, blood and steel
a greater fortress called Europa.
For God who gave me wanting talent
I painted Rotterdam Cathedral
decades before I hung my banners there
and drove by it under my own twisted cross.
Gary Wade, Bellingham, WA, USA
EDITOR'S COMMENTS:  This nicely written speculative poem is built on vivid imagery, and parallel comparison, and refers to Adolph Hitler.  To fulfill his lifelong dream of being a painter, Adolph Hitler in 1909 moved to Vienna, where the Academy of Arts was located. History says that he was of but average talent, and when he failed to gain admission, he ended up living in homeless shelters, eating at charity soup-kitchens, and evidently spent time reading anti-Semitic pamphlets.  Anger over his failure to live his dream led him to form the Nazi Party, and later six million European Jews, half  a million Gypsies, 250,000 disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet POW's fell to Nazi genocide.  Communists, partisans, trade unionist, Catholic priests and nuns, Jehovahís Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Polish intelligentsia died at the hands of the Nazis.
Bonaparte, Napoleonís Hope  [hope]

In western Europeís native land
a leader pines for goals.
His vision pulls this noble man
like dance of carmagnoles.

The cancer robs his life when young
before his dreams matured.
A bank he founds, new doors they hung,
and balances insured.

His love to unify the world;
put France as center map,
but firm, opposed his hurl and whirl
with facades full of flap.

Would western worlds rankle, reason
had dreams of youth spread his season?

Carol Dee Meeks, Artesia, New Mexico, USA

Between World Wars  [respect]

If only Germany had had
a leader who understood the value of humility
and respect for others
instead of one who fostered hate and spite
and the blaming of others for problems
the world might never have faced the resentment
that gave birth to another world war
that gave birth to a cold war
that gave birth to a world
still pregnant with resentment
and more fragmented than ever.
We are standing at another crossroads today.
Which fork will we take this time
and whose gifts will lead us down it?

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA

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The topic was Where is Spring?  The form was the Sestina, with the following words to be used as line ends in the order given in the Sestina pattern: a) winter, b) wind, c) gray, d) sun, e) buds, f) spring.  The Sestina is not a difficult form to use, but can become a bit stilted when the poet forgets to use a bit of rhythm in their work.  Because of the length of the poems, we regret that only three were chosen for publication; many submitted were truly wonderful.


Ground Hogs Know
The devil makes a deal with old man Winter
and signs the lines with the wind
before Jack Frostís scuffed beard turns gray
and drifts of deep snow woo the sun.
The deal demands a death to all tree buds
to camouflage the trail for Spring.
The temps of March jump coils of spring
and cancel all signs of winter.
Behold a burst of peach tree buds
respond to warmth of wind
and turn pale cheeks up to the sun
to dry up hues of gray.
And then their face turns ash pale gray
as ice tops a flowing spring
and Satanís imps black veil the sun
at dire command of winter.
The chirping birds give nests to wind
and cold snuffs out the buds.
The orchard stands in rotting buds
the limbs turn to death-tint gray
and whistles stop as the icy wind
surveys the damage to Spring.
There is a tremor in the Winter.
A storm brews in the sun.
"Enough, enough!" cries the unveiled sun.
"A proper burial for buds,
and then I think Iíll send guy Winter
a tail feather singe of gray
for he pitched a deal to stop Miss Spring
and signed it with the howling wind."
The flames of the heat tie the storm cloudís wind
and the grass grows high in the sun.
The Iris roots send messages to Spring
and a stirring prompts growth of new buds.
A lilac bush sprays perfume on the gray
and showers wash away oleí Winter.
A deal with the devil is a blight for winter when spring comes in on the wind
and flowers give color to bouquets of dull gray when her eyes burn hot like the sun
but the truth in this ditty is tried by the buds and the jury is the showers of spring.
Yvonne Byrd Nunn, Hermleigh, TX, USA
Interviews With Forest Denizens
Firs really quite prefer winter
(in spite of the occasionally damaging wind).
They can't see-- of course-- so the gray
sky doesn't bother them. A little sun
suffices; they're not making flowerbuds.
They find... common... the revelry of spring.
The trout-stream is frozen solid, except at the spring.
Ice protects fish from the worst of winter
but they'll die, like flowers sealed inside buds
if it lasts too long. Slow coils of ice wind
around their hearts. They whisper: Come sun.
Free us to come forth, sleek and gray.
Whatever the weather, this boulder remains gray.
"What do you think of spring?"
"I'll swell and crack in the heat of the sun."
"What do you think of winter?"
"I'll freeze and crack in the bitter wind.
These rock chips are what I get instead of buds."
Stags are starting to feel their antler-buds
itch, though still covered in soft gray.
Another year: come the autumn winds,
they'll bellow mad challenges. But spring
is time to feed up, recover from winter
and watch the new fawns play in the dappled sun.
Caterpillars get new knowledge with the sun.
Tasting the sudden sweetness of these buds
they understand the season past was "winter"
and that sky isn't meant to always be gray.
The coming season will be "spring,"
And when their wings come, they'll learn about "wind."
Icicles bleed at the touch of a warm wind,
die in the fierce glare of the sun.
Cruel, destructive spring!
What does the world need with ripening buds?
Ice blossoms in a thousand shades of gray
but no-one has eyes to see the beauty of winter.
At the end of winter I spoke with the wind.
It said in a gray voice: "Enjoy the sun.
Remember flowers are dead buds, winter's corpse is spring."
Tiel Aisha Ansari, Portland, Oregon USA

Loons wait for the end of winter
slight lessening of the wind
watch blue skies replace gray.
The earth changes her angle of the sun
signaling alder brush to fill with buds
showering the joy of spring.
Males don mating plumage for spring
dropping dreary feathers of winter
while larch around the lagoon display new buds
welcoming mild puffs of wind.
He chases his mate under water warmed by the sun
until evening covers all in gray.
Both begin to gather twigs of gray
building a platform nest as in every spring
work constantly while there's sun
pushing away all signs of winter
with the howling winds.
Cattails unfold new buds.
Parents incubate eggs shaped like small buds
leave to dive under waters of steel gray
fish with dagger beaks then fly home in the wind.
Two chicks hatch out in early spring
allowing months to mature before winter,
ride on mom's back as she swims beneath the sun.
They bask in the morning sun,
watch duck weeds' nodding buds,
too young to dread next winter.
Both sport downy coats of gray.
Fledglings by the end of spring
Send soft feathers sailing in the wind.
Loons' lonesome wails rise with the wind
reach out to the setting sun
asking for the gift of eternal spring
when plants unfurl tender buds
erasing all days painted gray.
Call notes continue echoing their dread of winter.
They may learn to accept winter with its whipping winds,
somber gray skies and pale sun because the
buds of hope spring eternally in both bird and man.

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX, USA

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We gave poets a challenge to write a Redondilla [rhymed abba] or Serventesio [rhymed abab] on any lighthearted topic in no more than two stanzas.

To My Koi Mistress
Your whiskers and tortoiseshell coat
proclaim your kinship is feline.
O carp, cat-fish, would you be mine
and swim with me, under the boat?

Tiel Aisha, Ansari, Portland OR, USA

COMMENTS:   This lighthearted whimsy with its smile-provoking punster play-on-words reference to Andrew Marvel's poem "To My Coy Mistress" is so well done, who could resist?
Gingerbread Man

Red fluting on his brown lapel
marks him as a man to be seen
and reckoned with.  Were it of green,
matters would not have gone so well

for red denotes a man empowered
with ginger and rolling in dough,
and greenís a sign of weakness, though
both, it would seem, can be devoured.

Laurence W. Thomas, Ypsilanti, MI, USA

COMMENTS:  Ironic and playful, this writer's tale offers a lesson to be learned, while dancing lightly through our heads comes both the picture of a yummy piece of gingerbread, and a mental image of a seemingly real person.  Very well done!
Another One

In a contest there is tension,
better writersí wear first place crown,
like receivers score the touchdown.
My poem: honorable mention.

Carol Dee Meeks, Artesia, NM, USA

COMMENTS:  In poetry contests, one is always aware of the competition.  This poem seethes with that feeling.  Nicely done!
Ode to Change

We tried for years to be good girls
to do as Mom would have us do.
We missed the chance for naughty whirls.
We never swore or drank a few.

But now we're learning to be bad.
It's harder than we ever knew.
Our friends proclaim it's just a fad.
We know better. Soon they will, too.

Sandi Stromberg, Houston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  Now what could this narrator be up to!  Cute poem, well-written little piece.

The woods were full of giant tracks.
Could the creature be friend or foe?
We were surprised to finally know
It was bigfoot avoiding tax.

Lois Lay Castiglioni, Galveston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  This Redondilla makes the reader laugh with its irrepressible, implausible topic.
Rose Red
Heather got a huge rose tattoo
When Moma saw that bright red ink
She cried, "What will the neighbors think?"
But Grandma said, "I want one too!"
Kay Lay Earnest, Smyrna, GA, USA
COMMENTS:  Don't you wish all families were this accepting of the fads of the young?  Good writing.
Public Seating Rules

When you're first to get to the pew,
Never move into the center.
The next one who tries to enter
Always counts on squeezing past you!

Katherine Swarts, Houston, TX, USA

COMMENTS:  Been there, done that, and oh, is it ever true!  Nice observational poem.

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Questions?  E-mail Mary Margaret Carlisle : Sol.Editor@prodigy.net

Aplomado Falcon Literary News Online:  Writing events from anywhere in Texas! Houston, Dallas, Austin, The Woodlands, the Bay Area, etc.  If you wish your poetry or writing event posted at our website, send a complete event blurb with contact information to: Sol.Events@prodigy.net

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