By Doug J. Lanzo

A Haunting Voice

Her face was clad
in blue and yellow,
with kobza played
quite musically,
her voice rang out
across the courtyard,
to tender ears
of school-age children,
all gathered round
piercing their souls
with haunting refrain:

“All we are is dust in the wind…”

It echoed through
the streets of Kiev,
past golden domes
and cathedral spires,
over chain bridge,
crossing river tides,
past peaceful pasture
and fertile steppes,
through pine forests
nestled in mountains,
flowing down streams
of ice-crowned peaks,
melting with snow
into what could be...
fading memories.

A Moonlit Peace

Shrouding my grief
soothing my heart
still moonlight fell
as clouds did part;

A beam of light
shone through dark gray
on cobblestone
paving the way;

To a quaint church
with candles lit
in each window
with panes moonlit;

A door opened
to kind, old eyes
that welcomed me
without surprise;

What pain I bore
he did not know
but ushered me
to a warm glow;

Where I bowed down
beside a crèche
filled with soft hay
tender and fresh;

Inside a child
with eyes asleep
shepherds gathered
from watching sheep;

A peace did still
my troubled heart
as moonlight waned
I did depart.

Her Cry Will Be Avenged

She cries out to the Lord
from cellar every night
for safety from the shells
that cause her massive fright;

Her purity of heart
a widow in distress
is heard by God above
determined to redress:
the evils of this war,
the brutal acts of troops,
the shelling of her home,
the lawlessness of groups,
who terrorize her kids
in shelters marked to save
their innocence from death,
their precious lives from graves;

Although the course of war
is too hard to predict
the sovereign Lord is sure
to render His verdict,
condemning wanton acts
of malice mixed with spite,
avenging the lives lost
defending what is right;

The foolish sow their fate
in plundering the weak
destroying lives and things
with havoc that they wreak,
their names will never grace
the sacred Book of Life
their futures cursed to be
ones of torment and strife,
when God brings reckoning
in this and afterlife.

A Fish Tale, but True

With seasoned guide on board
as salty as the sea,
we took his fishing charter
to a channel off the Key
surrounded by mangroves
in isles to our lee.

My son and I took poles
baited with lure and fish
and cast them into waters
primed and ready for a dish,
to be brought to marina
and grilled or fried per our wish.

Pan-fried visions lit our eyes
as we plied the open seas,
my line oft stripped of bait
by fish with playful tease,
until Alex reeled one in -
landing leatherback with ease.

Peppering the channel,
our guide tossed fresh-killed bait,
telling us our big catch
could arrive without a wait
if we cast our lines toward them
and pulled back with all our weight.

Obliging the Captain,
I cast in minnows’ wake
soon feeling a strong pull
thinking this, my big break;
I reeled in, then gave it line,
by the book without mistake.

Suddenly my guide did shout,
“Reel in faster! There’s a shark!”
So I reeled with all my might
quite alarmed by his remark,
but more by the brown shadow
now emerging from the dark.

Without warning a huge shape
leapt straight up into the air,
flashing rows of steely teeth
with raw, terrifying flair,
both eyes bulging from my head
I pulled as hard as I dared.

Dripping blood into our boat
the grouper swung within
having escaped from shark’s jaws
by a margin razor-thin
that had sheared it in half
ripping off its tailfin.

“That was a bull shark 10 feet long!”
cried the Captain, still in shock.
“The closest I have been
to shark jaws that did lock
besides my modest boat,
whose waves it did rock!”

And so we lived to tell
this fish tale that is true,
of a bull shark breaching
the ocean waters blue,
mere feet from each member
of our dumbfounded crew.

Rafa’s Epic Battle

Leading Rafa two sets to love
despite no fan base from above,
Medvedev was poised to win
his first Australian Mens’ Open,
for back–to-back Grand Slam crowns,
a tennis feat of great renown.

But the master of hard courts
faced a legend of the sport,
one resilient beyond words,
who raised his level upwards…
higher and higher soaring past
those who doubted he could last
given last year’s injuries
from a chronic foot disease
that sidelined him for half a year,
causing him to disappear
from all ATP events,
his career caught in suspense.

Even the announcers said
his title dreams were now dead
with no chance to be acclaimed
all-timer leader to his name;
but they knew not Rafa’s heart
filled with desire and stalwart,
pushing him past all they knew,
understood or could construe.

Rafa battled for five sets
to win or lose without regrets
at the age of thirty-five
with mental fortitude and drive,
using power, then finesse,
so his rival could not guess,
where the next shot would appear,
drop-shot at net or to his rear.

Playing each point as if the last
with spinning forehands unsurpassed,
Rafa stunned the world today
prevailing with relentless play,
adored by fans for giving all,
not giving up, and standing tall,
earning Grand Slam twenty-one
Rafa surpassed everyone.

An award-winning and featured American poet and novelist whose debut novel is scheduled for publication later this year, 218 of Doug’s formal, free verse, haiku, senryu and tanka poetry have found homes since 2020 in 47 literary journals and poetry anthologies across the U.S., Canada, England, Wales, Austria, India, Australia, Japan, Mauritius and The Caribbean.  His Author’s Website (with novel for pre-order and poems, including by his twin sons) is located at

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