By Douglas J. Lanzo

Skating His Vision

Dedicated to my figure-skating son, Alex 

He skates onto the ice, his eyes bright
with life, waving to us, beaming, radiating joy.
He skates backwards in a tightening circle, accelerating,
refreshing air ruffling his outfit,
accentuating his speed.
He stops theatrically, his blades tossing
delicate sprays of ice.
Then, arms outstretched, he races across
the icy stage, reaching out to his audience, drawing
them into the core of his being,
enabling them to sense
the majesty he feels inside.

Knees bent, he thrusts forward,
jumping with perfect balance,
ascending higher and higher, soaring to
new heights.
We can scarcely breathe the rarified air,
our breathing frozen in time for
a few magical moments
until he lands and
we gasp relief.

Twisting and turning in controlled mastery,
he springs, coils and releases,
rotating through the air with ease,
landing axles with crisp beauty,
its graceful precision inducing even the ice
to crackle in wonder each time he lands.
We are swept into an ethereal realm,
transported by the artistry of a boy
into an enchanted kingdom,
as he skates his vision and
unleashes his joy.

Endangered Species – Voiceless Supplicants

From polar bears on ice caps,
to addax in desert sands,
from Bengal tigers in the forests,
to prairie dogs in the grasslands;

From giant ibis in the marshes,
to California condor in the sky,
from hawksbill turtles in the oceans,
to black rhinos in moorlands high;

From giant catfish of the Mekong,
to river dolphins of the Amazon,
from snow leopards of the Himalayas,
to African river prawn:

These irreplaceable creatures simply yearn to co-exist
in their natural circles of life with kin,
so that eco-systems do not vanish from our midst
and they not be slain for tusks or skin.

They battle each day to endure and survive
climate change, rank pollution and clearing of land, 
conditions and forces they did not contrive --
melting ice, warming seas and draining marshland.

Stalked by poachers and hunters despite all bans,
slain for ivory and horns with dubious power,
claimed as medicines, jewelry and talismans,
or for rugs and mounts, stroking egos that tower.

With thousands of endangered species threatened to disappear 
and this number growing by hundreds year after year,
a poetic appeal for silent animals and plants,
who cannot plead for life - voiceless supplicants.

The Most Coveted Catch

Though large-mouth bass are great fun
taking 12-pound test line for a run,
pulling far more than their weight
when they attack your frog bait;

While pickerel pack a strong punch
attacking your minnows for lunch,
voraciously devouring prey
cruising weeded shoreline each day;

Despite the immediate attention
paid by sunfish in close contention,
battling for the very first nibble,
munching your worm, dribble by dribble;

Notwithstanding the tasty appeal
of a freshwater or saltwater eel,
caught with lively nightcrawlers,
fished from shore or from trawlers;
The most coveted fishing prize
as adjudged by my twins’ eyes,
are most elusive aquatic creatures,
displaying  strange movements and features,

Darting forwards or backwards at will
fast emerging from camouflaged still,
warding off fat-fingered attacks
that could quickly render them snacks,
with pincers prickling and clawing,
seeking to end my sons’ jawing,
none other than mighty crayfish,
number one on my kids’ wish list.

Unyielding Voices for Freedom

Hong Kong protestors yearning to be free,
Bravely lifting their voices to be heard,
Patrick Henrys of divine liberty.
Unjust extradition laws protests spurred.

Marchers, uniting demands for justice,
Asked to surrender basic liberties,
Seeing through hollow calls to just “trust us,”
Adamantly resisting tyrannies.

Faced with betrayal of its Basic Law,
People of Hong Kong unite and recall
Tiananmen Square, inspiring awe
Of one man before a tank who stood tall.
Battling for the soul of their native land,
Admiration and support, they command.

Endearing Qualities of Kittens

Dedicated to our Beautiful Kitten Kotya

Beloved of your masters,
bestowed with multiple names,
evincing prodigious personality,
invested in puerile games;
Transfixed by moving objects,
entranced by flashing light,
mesmerized by catnip,
enthralled by movement at night;
Scarce immune to admonition,
pouncing when and as you please,
expanding your recognition,
changing settings with pure ease;

Probing boundaries daily,
with soft and playful touch,
striking feathers overhead,
until secure within your clutch;
Prizing cozy relaxation,
from perches above the fray,
eschewing all other fancies,
napping indulgently each day;

brimming with vim and vigor,
drawing crickets from their lairs,
offering sheer joy and inspiration,
meowing adorably down the stairs.

The Great Debate between the Silkworm and the Spider

A young silkworm friend of a spider from birth,
Approached solemnly, without his usual mirth:

“Dear spider,” said the silkworm, “My father hath taught me,
That silkworms are unequalled in our majesty.
We spin cocoons that are the richest in silk,
Fit for tapestries, dresses and scarves of fine ilk.”

“Dear misinformed friend,” responded the spider,
“Our webs are more intricate, thoughtful and wider.
Their crystalline threads grow stronger with strain,
Surprising intruders, who struggle in vain.”

“Perhaps,” retorted the silkworm, “You did not yet hear,
That we silkworms were safeguarded year after year,
Our weaving of silk a state secret held tight,
By decree of the emperor, sealed with his might.”

“Please pause for a moment and let me explain,
Why webs serve a purpose, while cocoons seem quite vain.
Our invisible threads capture unwary prey,
Virulent pests spreading fear and dismay.”
“Why,” exclaimed the silkworm, “That only befits creatures of the wild.
We are raised on mulberry farms, whence arachnids are exiled.
Among insects, we rank alongside the bees,
As the only ones tamed by humans with ease.”

“Why our order is higher than insects my friend.
Indeed, we harvest bug vermin with webs that we tend,
Which are stronger than steel for their size and weight,
Some strands sticky, others not - to avoid insects’ fate.”

“You’ve forgotten my friend that our mothers fly high,
As wild silk moths in the quiet night sky.”
“Alas, silkworm, I hold a trump card that cannot be topped!
Once played, all further debate should be stopped.
Behold, I am Arachne, the greatest weaver on earth,
The beauty of my web proclaims my glorious rebirth!”

A General Counsel by day and a poet by night, Doug’s inspiring poetry has been published in numerous, diverse national and international literary publications across the United States, Great Britain, Australia and The Caribbean,  including this year in Ancient Paths Online, Bear Creek Haiku, Better Than StarbucksThe Caribbean Writer Current Accounts,  The Drabble,  Frogpond Literary Yard, Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, Pennsylvania Literary JournalStudio Plum Tree Tavern, The Society of Classical Poets Journal, Westward Quarterly and The Zen Space.  He resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife and eleven-year-old identical twin sons and fellow published poets, enjoying nature, fishing, biking, tennis, chess and creative writing.

2 thoughts on “Skating His Vision and Other Poems

  1. Douglas J. Lanzo’s poem “Unyielding Voices for Freedom” really struck a note with me, for I feel that the Hong Kong protesters displayed superhuman courage. Several lines in his poem were truly powerful: His line referring to Patrick Henry, or of the marchers who were asked to surrender basic liberties, or (and this really hit me) of the one man who stood defiant in front of a tank at Tiananmen Square. Kudos to Mr. Lanzo for his poem! Frank Kowal 


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