Poet's Paradise

Najwa Salam Brax

Beyond stars, beyond human dreams
there is a realm of love and peace
where miracles forever dwell
and evergreen gardens increase.
There, beings live forever young
and skim across the universe
taste the wine of eternity
waltz in space and converse in verse.

Knowledge is within mind and heart
real ecstasies are natural.
Life cycles do not dim soul's glow
that keeps radiating eternal.
There, in the core of paradise
everything gets a lovely breath
of springtime among lullabies
where there is no sorrow or death.
Huge butterflies soaring high in 
wonderful sky of fantasy
bridge the space river for poets
with kaleidoscopic fancy.
That place has Elysian offerings
for those who have insight to see
it is showered with God's marvels
that spread around ecstatic glee.

The flowing miracles of life
puzzle and dazzle mind and heart
God's splendid handwork speaks louder
than famed masterpieces of art.
Ducks majestically wedge the sky
lily feathers soft as snowflakes
divine chef-d'oevres of poets
spread across Olympian lakes.

Let's sow poems among flowers
watch them waft and grow day by day
a sip of truth, a sip of love
tableaux riding a shining ray.
Let us smell the fragrance of minds
feel fascination pageantry
sense the rainbowy wings of love
let's create divine poetry.


women's poetry for a change

painting by Carla Aurich

Spring 2002

Issue #55

ISSBN 0888-9058

$5.OO/£ 3.50


Margaret Boles

I just flipped
I don't know why
I guess I just wanted
to laugh and cry
for I can't take
too much more
life is really
such a bore
and every chore
I take on today
you just want me
to do another way.

Snatches of Time

Margaret Boles

I write
in snatches of time
seconds seized (willfully)
form an over-busy schedule
that busy-ness
fuel for it, in itself
and the internal (eternal)
battle between 
all the needs
demands an
from me.

Who am I?

Margaret Boles

want to
crawl inside
my head, because
I'm not allowed
to have
a single thought
for myself
am not allowed
to have
my own feelings
am not
your puppet.

all the paintings in this issue are by Carla Aurich
the originals are in color, they are reproduced here in black and white because of our printing limitations

you can view them in color at:


1304 Third Street

Catasauqua, Pennsylvania 18032



painting by Carla Aurich

Safe House?

Eamer O'Keeffe

This is a refuge. Your tenants' handbook
is inexplicit. We have the right
to be ambiguous. Men not permitted -
we can't enforce this. You may report
any infringements but victimisation
needs witnesses. Managers often
go off sick. Letters may not 
always reach us. Maintenance is
our priority. Any complaints
should be verbalised or written clearly
in words that we can recognise.
A list of such terms may be obtained
from central office. Most of our tenants
tend to give up. We regret
no weekend service. Emergencies
must wait till Monday. In urgent cases
ring the police or lock your door.

Plato's Voice

Najwa Salam Brax

I'm the fisher of wisdom pearls
since human minds began
to catch the mystery of the soul
and draw the lines for man
to tell between bodies and shades
in earth's cave masked with dark
sometimes dispelled by sparks of light
once embarked.. we debark.

I am the student of a man
as wise as a prophet
we see shadows, we are shadows
flickering on the light's net.

We all belong to the real sun
even at earthly night
light still holds our glory and calls
to look beyond earth sight
for the eternal world of truth
far beyond dust and gust
farther than mortal eyes can see
let's yearn for love and trust.

Will you ever sound the core
of beauty God created?
The mystic eye of cosmos to
which we're all related?

A short journey is life, try to
absorb the soul's essence
of just philosopher-kings
earth's treasure is nonsense
fallen angels on cobwebbed spheres
autumn leaves in eclipse
awake, children of earth, revive
ere the apocalypse.

painting by Carla Aurich


Tobias Payne Fiske

Where has it gone?
The force that would take me
flying across the wind's graceful fingers
that stretch across the green flowing grass
the great standing ranks of mountains
the guardians of earth's foundation.

The primordial vein that coursed through the fathers
the sayers of unseen things
that, from time to time, does latch to my heart
and moves across the expanse.
Suddenly, flooding my eyes
as a single hair of the divine brushes my soul
and for some moment
as the wave collides upon the jagged, unfinished height
with the sight of countless eyes above.

What is it that breaks from earth's foundation
shattering the sky, that courses through the lances of light
dancing down from shrouded vault
and through her countless fingers, green
stretching from her bark-clad arms
reaching from her heart to feed the fluid flesh?

Who would hear me, upon the highest height?
Who among the ranks of angels would turn an ear to me?
Reach out, reach out, and touch me to your heart
through which the blood of the unseen divine
courses to the foundation of the earth.


Eamer O'Keefffe

This man has travelled the desert
Swum shark-infested seas
Climbed every mountain that's there
Laughed at the Nazi army.
His energy is impatient.
His fame spans eighty odd years.
But his wit has turned to bitterness
and his jests are always serious.
His image invades my dreams
He's posing in a canoe
Swooping over Niagara
mocking my cowardice.
This man who shares my blood
who's given me my name
over all the years and decades
still asks identical questions:
"Haven't you climbed any mountains?
"Haven't you won any prizes?
"Haven't you done something famous yet?"
I disappoint him every time.
Yet I've made my home in the desert
Lived in the jungle, drowned in the sea
Climbed more mountains than he's ever known.
When I can believe it, then I'll be free.

The Unburdening

Rochelle Hope Mehr

I know my limitations.
I come here to lay stones.
The bare trees barely notice
as I set down my load and turn their way.
Away from their green plumed neighbors.
Away from the fleshed out.
Hunched and sodden I progress
my pail heavy with the weight of infinite possibility.

home alone

temi rose

turgid romance aches with bliss
but sends me home alone

Through the Window

Helen Lyon

As I watch
I know that
behind the happy faces
behind the smiling eyes
in their hearts
I know I'd find
the guilt, the pain, the lies.

And as I watch
I know that
I'd yearn to be with them -
just in case I'm wrong.
In case they're truly
the perfect family
bound with love so strong
that the guilt, the pain, the lies
will never break them
no matter what goes wrong.

painting by Carla Aurich

The League of Hearts

temi rose

Starts now
At the end of enchantment
At the loss of derangement
At the sign of honeysuckle

The League of Hearts
Initiated in dark times
Comes to be when women speak beyond logic

We held our tongues tight
Afraid to hurt the baby
And logic does harm babies
Robs them of infinity
Defines death, destruction, and darkness as 
But, beyond logic, words can soar to ecstasy 
Harmony restored and mystery renewed.

Now, to you, League of Friends whose hearts I hold
Dearly in mine:
Love will not vanish
Death, mutilation
Pain, humiliation, or momentary grandeur
Cannot sever us from the tender mercy
We share.
Abide here with me
Keep me company a little while longer
Speak without bounds
And never let me go.

A Still Place

Karen E. Schuff

In March when nearly half the month is gone
when steady snow is Zen, a meditation
and all is gray and jokes and cheeks are wan
achieving loss of all brisk sensation
then is the sight of daffodils or kites
a charm to balance moments spent in prayer.
Rainbows descend a staircase of light.
When winds are babied by southerly airs
I sink in spring.
I synchronize my pulse
to syncopated rhythms my body knows
the music to; awake at last, impulse
reaches out for stars and moon on tiptoe.
In keeping time in a still place, I hear
the harmonies, the music of the spheres.


temi rose

passionate articulate
you expose me to my imbecility
I repent and spit on you
I am ashamed yet reach out for more
to embrace you is my only wish
I never mean to hurt you and yet
I do

so she sat on him 
til he bled through his nose
and said, I wish I were other than I am 
then she said, well, good, keep trying, asshole
he was good then for a few days
til his next relapse into attack
"let us regain our Paradise."

Let's dwell in fruitful solitude
that brings us peace and joy
we long to merge into one ray
and follow the angel convoy.

Astarte inspires our heartstrings
pure love we inhale and exhale
from cedar wood we build our boat
and toward the bright future sail.

The weird Tree grows until it turns 
into a huge globe... a new earth
teeming with man's blossoms and fruits
and everywhere there's a rebirth.

The Knowledge Tree seeds are scattered
new Jerusalem is reborn
visions as buds sprout anew with
every baby and each new dawn.

April Fool

Eamer O'Keeffe

You made an April fool of me in May
but claimed that you didn't remember.
You did it again in July
and I tried very hard to forget.
When I caught you in September
you swore it was just sex.
October was the worst
when you told me I had no trust.
In December you betrayed me
and accused me of jealousy.
In January I left you.
You said I knew nothing of love.


Rochelle Hope Mehr

It is the definition of self.
the defining moment
when you screech the chalk against the blackboard.
Everyone cringes
and the chalk breaks.
They give you the treacle
about being a good sport.
Blending in.
Not going against the grain.
Staying within the lines.
You get up slowly
after retrieving the pieces.
Everyone's gone.
You face the blackboard
and eye what you've done.

Circumstantial Evidence

temi rose

apparently it's not enough to love you
but that's all I have
the circumstances of my life buckle
me to my fate does it matter
to the story's telling whether it's true or false?
a story must only be internally 
consistent, a river following
the path of least resistance

Like Belsen!

Margaret Boles

"Look at her!
She's like Belsen!"
My mother would mock
to her friend as
she urged my sister
to eat her dinner.

The words came back
to haunt us
in my mother's last years.

Daily, the flesh fell
away from her bones
their skeletal shape
so obvious, vulgar
on the legs she would
hang dangling out of bed
it eased the pressure
on her bony, wraith-like pelvis
although it encouraged
fluid to pool about her ankles
until her slippers could not fit
and her strength ebbed away
with the effort involved
in breathing, her chronic chest
needing oxygen for life
breath, her energy so depleted
eating was an unwelcome chore
she forced herself to try
while we, looking on
felt helpless as she pushed 
the food around on her plate
discarded it, unfinished, too soon.

Exasperated, we would have wanted
to say, "Eat up! Sure
You're like Belsen!" But
we could not, for
unlike young children
we knew what Belsen
had been.

painting by Carla Aurich

Eve's Apple

Najwa Salam Brax

We sat in a tangled garden
among lush greens one summer morn
there was a natural beauty
whose rosy wings dance to their own.

I gave my husband an apple
he said humorously, "Thanks, Eve.
It's taste makes my joy eternal
but Bible's story makes me grieve."

Dearest Adam, among all trees
only apples are homo-fruits
whose biting taste brings to our minds
fallen angels and human roots.

"Dearest Eve, life is a garden
and together we have to sweat
to revive our Eden, don't catch
me again.. in your apple-net."

"Let's roam Eden again without biting
the apple; eat from the Life Tree
with its fruits of ecstasy
without tasting the Stinging Bee."

You hold me tight in your arms
how soon I sleep and fantasize
"Under the Tree of Life," you say

The Truth Game

Helen Lyon

So far
the truth game
hasn't set me free.
You're still a part of me
you're still the guilt
the anger spilt
in rage, all over you.

For you sat there smiling.
And my truth 
didn't affect your reality
didn't affect your tranquility
didn't affect your banality
your concern over the washing
the weather, was it getting any better?

I really can't get rid of you
till you accept my truth
as part of your reality.
The truth game
wasn't the finality
I so much hoped it would be.

So now you know, you see
the truth game
all this facing of reality
still hasn't set me free.

Painting Sorrow

Margaret Boles

painted away her sorrow
having tried that
she was still stained
by the strain of
to forget and
not to forget
her mother, for
she could not paint over
memories of her mother
struggling for words
determined she was
managing her life as 
she had done all those
years ago, her mother.

She also tried 
writing down her pain
sharing it
with the world
and us
we are grateful
for her frankness
for her owning
of the pain and 
hope the sharing
will help her
live through
the time of mourning
help us if we
have that same problem

painting by Carla Aurich

painting by Carla Aurich

Mothering Sunday

Eamer O'Keeffe

The pavement's a riot of clashing colours
pink, yellow and green, in terraces
of hothouse blossoms, violet ribbon
silver wrapping and fairy lights.
A florist's vision of paradise
in North London on a cold March morning.
Five pounds - ten pounds - twenty. How much
do you value her? Can you resist
this path to guilt? Her price was more
than rubies. We picked
daffodils from her own garden.
And if I want to give her a gift
I'll write this poem for her death, a whole
generation ago, on that last Mother's Day.

After Graduation

Najwa Salam Brax

Today I am the queen of Queens College
and the pinnacle of Parnassus mount
on the ever-rolling waves of knowledge
I raise my wings beyond each sight and sound.

Flooded with light, engulfed with ecstasy
in a kaleidoscopic sky I ride:
Noah's white doves spread lilies upon me
and Enterpe stays singing by my side.

I raise my pen with my graduation
my written words could fly high, quick to soar
quick to grasp a joyful undulation
like an eagle I spread my wings and roar.

Sweet-blushing faces look at me... I hear
their petals whispering, permeate the stage
of future Eden where your dream draws near
and your pen fills lyric page after page

Cadences of spiraling butterflies
with radiant eyes are my stanza-streaked rhymes
in light I immerse my quill, blithely rise
Athena's hand sows seeds of truth... I chime
and scatter blooms of life without a break
warble my soul, wear my magical rings
and like Hero, a lotus on a lake
ripples waft me - I waltz with sculpted wings.

Best thanks for Marotta, Hintz, and Richter
for Sargent, Keir, Epstein, and Leander
for their advice while weaving each chapter
words roll in stitches, placed in best order.

painting by Carla Aurich

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Perceptions has been publishing since 1983

we are collected by:
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South Bank Poetry Library (UK)
UMI - Bell and Howell Information and Learning (US)
National Library of Poetry (US)
The Feminist Archive (UK)
Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (US)

we are interested primarily in women's poetry -
but we do publish poetry by men and the occassional short story

our url is:

our mailing address is:


1304 third street

catasauqua, pa. 18032

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