By Douglas J. Lanzo

Lands of the Western Ghats – Reservoir of Life

Rain-soaked sanctuary
of monsoon mountains
bursting with exotic life
tucked in Himalayan foothills
many miles from urban strife;

Rich with songs of sunbird
coloring morning mists
yellow, crimson and blue
through rhododendron flowers
perched on leaves dipped in dew;

Ringing with primate calls
as lion-tailed macacques
traverse lush canopy
with passionate mating cries
from atop tall kapok tree;

Resounding with fresh sound
of waterfalls plunging
as Godavari River pours
through ancient temple baths
with power that restores;

Resonating with each step
of Indian elephant herds
as they forage through the glade
to banks of mud-rich marsh
to cool in bamboo shade;

Radiating striped majesty
of Bengal tigers on the prowl
stalking spotted chital deer
at precious waterholes
poised to pounce without fear;

Roamed by water buffalo
wallowing in lilied swamps
crowned by white egrets
riding crescent horns
at mud-baths without regrets;

Restored by fists of clouds
from the Arabian Sea
lands of the Western Ghats
astound with variety
unparalleled on earth
in life’s diversity.

Land of Patagón

Dedicated to the memory of Carlos MacWilliams, friend and colleague born and raised in Patagonia

ancient land of giants
towered by Andean peaks,
uplifted by tectonic forces,
ground by massive glaciers and
battered by Cape Horn’s fury;

where windswept plains stripped of fertile soils
bear wingless beetles that crawl
lest winds divert their path to sea
and armadillos bore through
stony soil with armored resolve;

where brutal mountain winters
witness Andean condors
scanning plains for frozen sheep
and thick-skinned guanaco shivering
in deep-mountain snow
stalked by bright-eyed puma;
where tempestuous shores
lure dashing penguins to body surf
ashore and follow rocky paths to breed
and nest in rugged hillsides and
elephant seal rivals to
storm ashore to wage prodigious battles
for awaiting harems until the vanquished
bleeds out to sea and victor bellows triumph;

where advancing sheets of glacial ice
cast centuries of compressed mass
plunging into ocean depths and
carve a jagged latticework of
deep fjords with dazzling ice-blue hues;

where peaceful scenes of
sheep pastured under watchful gaze of
gaucho horsemen are interrupted by
the specter of volcanoes spewing liquid fire
and molten ash into ice-gray bands of sky;

where a tapestry of beauty woven
into the extremes of fire, thunder and ice
amidst a land of intrigue, danger and wonder
leaves humanity and wildlife alike, breathless…

John Lewis – A True Moral Compass

“We still have many bridges to cross.”  Former U.S. Congressman, John Lewis

Moral compass of the nation,
towering civil rights pioneer,
a small man of giant stature,
who fought injustice without fear.

Confronted with violence,
he peacefully protested;
Faced with bigotry,
he shamed with love;
Wrongfully jailed,
he championed freedom;
Scarred by segregation,
he led the freedom rider cause;
Beaten unconscious and left for dead,
he preached redemptive suffering;
Skull fractured by a State Trooper,
he forgave his attacker.

Counseled to be complacent,
he espoused righteous action;
His vote suppressed,
he championed suffrage for all citizens;
Told to acquiesce to white rule,
he led black Americans to the Promised Land as
Civil Rights legend and 17-term Congressman;
Instructed to take his place at the back of the line,
he walked side by side with
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.
in the March on Washington,
assuming his rightful place as
one of America’s greatest and most beloved Civil Rights leaders.

May John Lewis rest in peace and dignity,
just as he led us in peace and dignity
to champion causes greater than ourselves,
re-calibrating the moral compasses of all Americans.

Blessings of The Miracle of the Sun and the Lady of Fátima

Blessed are we that
Mary, Mother of God,
revered Lady of Fátima and
messenger of atonement, yearning for peace,
revealed herself to three most modest and innocent children,
devout cousins, shepherds herding sheep
in their families’ fields among rocky outcroppings outside
the modest city bearing her name and tiny hamlet of Aljustrel, Portugal;

Instructing Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta Santos,
children ten, eight and seven years of age,
to pray the rosary, do penance and make reparation
in order for peace to return to 1917 Europe and
for the souls of many, including authorities plundering churches
and masses suppressing religion and rejecting faith
in the First Republic of Portugal to be saved;

Appearing in brilliant and unfathomable beauty
six times to the faith-filled and obedient children,
inspiring and strengthening them to defy
their own parents, the Church and the mayor of the First Republic,
who interrogated, publicly ridiculed and ordered them to renounce
the apparition and admit an elaborate fabrication,
to the point of imprisoning them until freed once
they despaired of finding a shred of evidence of any lie;

Promising a miracle in answer to Lúcia’s request
for one that could be beheld by the
masses congregating with them in the fields each month and
delivering the Miracle of the Sun
through her beloved Son one dark and stormy day
to 70,000 drenched and astonished souls
gathered together outside Fátima,
who witnessed and experienced something
so beautiful, terrifying and devoid of human explanation
that the Church officially declared it a miracle and
canonized Francisco and Jacinta in a rare instance
of non-martyred children becoming saints;

On that day of torrential downpours, the third such consecutive day,
the clouds suddenly separated,
revealing a huge disk of fire against a backdrop of clear blue sky
that could be beheld without discomfort to their observing eyes;

Spinning and seeming to loose itself from the firmament,
the Sun became larger, approaching the earth in a
palpably warm and fiery splendor that threatened
to crash into the crowds while flinging brilliant colors that
radiated to the earth and reflected upon their awestruck faces,
which movements and dazzling radiation repeated itself three times over
the course of ten minutes until the sun reversed course and
assumed its normal place in the heavens;

Utterly astounded by what they had beheld and relieved that
they had not been incinerated in a massive ball of fire
signaling the end of the world,
the massive crowd, which included believers and non-believers alike,
 laughed with amazement, shouted with joy and wept with relief,
all questioned corroborating the account to subsequent investigators;

Blessed is humankind to have witnessed
such an awesome spectacle of God’s miraculous power
and to have lived to tell the tale,
and blessed are we that through Mother Mary’s intercession,
in fulfillment of her prophesy, peace soon returned to Europe,
with soldiers reuniting with their families the following October;

Bittersweet, also as prophesied by Mother Mary,
the precious children, Francisco and Jacinta,
perished in 1918 from influenza
but reunited with Jesus and Mary in heaven,
with Lúcia remaining to spread Mary’s message
of peace and atonement on earth,
as Mary had told the disappointed child,
stating that though Lúcia would not reunite
with Mary for many years, Mary would always
be with her throughout her life,
which God had ordained to be a long one;

Consistent with Mary’s prophesy,
Lúcia survived the Spanish Influenza,
World War II and the fulfillment of all of Mary’s prophesies
for a total of another 87 years until the most devoted and remarkable
Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart,
declared a Servant of God by the Church,
reunited with her beloved cousins, Mother and her heavenly Father
in Heaven.

Hillsides of Everest

Rain-swept hillsides
with vistas white,
with snow-capped peaks,
casting sunlight;

Where Ladakh boys
roam wooly sheep,
guarded with fire
during their sleep;

Where prayer wheels spin
in mountain heights,
from temples steeped
in Buddhist rites;

Foraged by bears
for honeycomb,
in valleys green
flowers call home;

Prowled by leopards
stalking blue sheep,
blending with rocks
in hillsides steep;

Carved by pure streams
filling their beds,
with monsoon rains,
then poppy reds;

Soared by eagles
on currents high
diving for prey
where herons fly;

Trekked by brave souls
seeking acclaim,
who either die
or find their fame,
scaling the peaks
of Everest,
may those perished
find peaceful rest.

As a prolific emerging poet, Douglas J. Lanzo has been blessed to have had 181 of his haiku, senryū, tanka, traditional and free verse poems find homes since 2020 in 44 literary publications across 10 countries on 5 continents, including in the U.S., Austria, England, Wales, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, Mauritius and The Caribbean.  These diverse publications include Academy of the Heart and Mind, Akitsu Quarterly, Ancient Paths Online, Ariel Chart, Asahi Haikuist Network’s haiku column published in The Asahi Shimbun, The Bamboo Hut, Bear Creek Haiku, Better Than Starbucks, Cafe Haiku’s upcoming 2021 Poetry Anthology, The Caribbean Writer, cattails, Chrysanthemum, Cold Moon Journal, Current Accounts,  Down in the Dirt Magazine, The Drabble, Failed Haiku, 50 Haikus, Frogpond, Grand Little Things, Haiku Journal, Haikuniverse, Literary Yard, Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, The Pangolin Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Penwood Review, Plum Tree Tavern, Poetry Pea, Presence Haiku Journal, Red Eft Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Society of Classical Poets Journal, Studio, Take 5ive JournalThree Line Poetry, Time of Singing, tsuri-dōrō, Vita Brevis’ 2021 Poetry Anthology Brought to Sight & Swept Away, Vita Brevis’ upcoming 2022 Poetry Anthology, Vita Brevis Press Poetry Magazine, Wales Haiku Journal, WestWard Quarterly, Wild Violet and The Zen Space.  Besides have been the featured writer in WestWard Quarterly and a runner-up in The Society of Classical Poets’ Best of 2020 Haiku Competition, Lanzo is especially pleased to have had poetry included in Vita Brevis Press’ best-selling 2021 Poetry Anthology, Brought to Sight & Swept Away and have forthcoming publications in its 2022 Poetry Anthology as well as in Cafe Haiku’s upcoming Fifth Poetry Anthologyand to have had his first novel, The Year of the Bear, accepted for publication by an international publisher.

Although Lanzo has never relinquished the lawyer’s quill and serve as the General Counsel of a small business in McLean, Virginia, his passion is composing inspirational poetry that uplifts and powerfully resonates with readers.  He currently resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland his my wife and twelve-year old identical twin boys, fellow published poets published in the US, UK and Australia, who likewise enjoy nature, biking, tennis and chess.

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