from Peter John

Archive for the ‘Women’s Issues’ Category

Autumn Weeps

Image of "Autumn Weeps", Croveted Tree by "The Amazing Noodle"

Photo of crochet sculpture "Autumn Weeps" from Used by permission of Kerri Lincoln of "The Amazing Noodle". Click image to visit "The Amazing Noodle" on the Web.

Autumn Weeps
by Peter John

Smile in Summer’s sanity,
Wail in Winter’s madness
Springtime laughs in vanity.
Autumn weeps in sadness.

Broken hands on faceless clocks
That tide will never turn –
Friendly animosities
That bridges never burn –
These are all of yesterday
Our children care to learn.
These are all we dare to leave behind

Smile in Summer’s sanity,
Wail in Winter’s madness.
Springtime laughs in vanity.
Autumn weeps in sadness.

Jagged scars on swollen breasts
That healings never smooth –
Raped emotions throb in screams
That drugs will never soothe.
Yesterday has offered these
To help our children toothe,
All we hope their teeth will never try.

Smile in Summer’s sanity,
Wail in Winter’s madness.
Springtime laughs in vanity.
Autumn weeps in sadness.

These have marked the women’s days,
Crystal cages,
Passion plays,
Scattered leaves and prophecies
All wasted by the wind,
All the fruit of all that men have sinned.

Running in a walking race,
Cursing in a pew,
Promising a harvest
From a seed that never grew –
All our children smell the bread
We ration to a few.
Who are men to say which children die?
Who are men?

Smile in Summer’s sanity.
Wail in Winter’s madness.
April rains the teardrops shed
When Autumn weeps in sadness.
Autumn weeps.
Each secret keeps,
And Autumn weeps in sadness.

Immage of nest and eggs detail of crocheted tree sculpture.

Detail of "Autumn Weeps", Nest and Eggs. Used by permission of Kerri Lincoln of "The Amazing Noodle". Click image to see more surprising details at . See more of "The Amazing Noodle" on Facebook,

Poem “Autumn Weeps” © 1991 by Peter John Stone. All rights reserved. Contact the author for permissions, which are on reasonable terms.


Dark Oracles

Dark Oracles
By Peter John

Electric jungles, black and white,
With bullets broadcast every night,
And body counts from Walter Cronkite.
That’s the way it was …

When screams from someone else’s war
Entranced me on the parlor floor
And Daddy said, “We’re killing for the right
Our country does.”

Now Technicolor airwaves beam the battles from abroad.
The heavy decades of regret and still we’re playing God,
But I have shed the biases my father taught his son,
And recognize the wrong our country’s done …

Now I scream –
This is the wave of tomorrow, it’s breaking,
No soldiers to train.
No sons for the motherland.
No daughters to chain.
No fathers can force us to follow
The trails their lies have worn
No beatings can bring us to follow
The empty oathes they’ve sworn.

Dark Oracles blind us from knowing
The destiny we earn.
They tell us tomorrow must burn,
But the tables still can turn.

Today we are contemplating
Destroying Earth and sky.
No armies will need to be marshaled
If we should ever let the missiles fly.
Our navies will drift unattended
On seas of glowing blood.
Our bones will be washed with extinction
On shores of steaming mud.
A thousand millennia linger
Till dawns another age.
We’re smudges of ink on a finger
That helps to turn the page –
That’s all we are …

Dark Oracles echo our questions
With riddles of their own.
The answers that slice to the bone
We interpret alone.

Our planet is plagued with a species
A tumor in her head
Infesting her face with a growing
Malignant urban spread.
We poison her provident waters.
We scrape away her skin.
We synthesize sunspots in kettles
And melt her flesh to tin.
The hands of the stopwatch are frozen
A second to the bell.
One moment will show if we’ve chosen
To make the Earth a paradise or hell.

Dark Oracles’ blinding ambitions
Are fostered by our fear.
They say a catastrophe’s near,
We create what we hear,
And then we say Dark Oracles are right –
Dark Oracles calling in the night –
Dark Oracles swallowing the light.

The future offers these footsteps,
Oh, Mothers! Your sons refuse to kill.
Your daughters’ desperate oppression is over
Protected by the pill.
No promise of life without aching,
But one more day to live.
No glorious prize for the taking,
But one more chance to give.

Dark Oracles promise tomorrow
Humanity must die,
And then leave us wondering why
Without a clear reply.
It’s time for Dark Oracles to die!

Electric jungles, colorized,
While bullets go unrecognized,
With freedom blindly jeopardized,
Just like the way it was.
“Dark Oracles” – Words and Music © 1991 by Peter John Stone. Video © 2010 by Peter John Stone; Brief tune in video, from “Dark Oracles, © 1991 by Peter John Stone. Please contact author for permissions on any use, but the atuhor offers reasonable terms.

My Mother Was Always Pregnant

My Mother Was Always Pregnant

by Peter John

Weaned on a Miss America-Sandra Dee-Donna Reed- Diet
She tasted the dream of a million Annette Funicellos,
Saved herself for marriage, surrendered
Twin burdens of classes and waiting,
Buried graduation in a family plot
With dreams of ivy halls and stethoscopes,
Strapped on her mandatory rucksack of “laters”
Started making babies,
Started shaping me.

My mother was always pregnant.
Ten years from the first morning’s green gilled
Annunciation, six cycles of sickness and distention
Four and one-half years some half-foreign
Life sucked her blood.
Beach bunny body blossomed, bloomed,
Bloated, blood pressure stretched higher
Scores across her belly.

My dutiful mother was always pregnant,
Every midnight bump another abysmal alarm
Across sleep’s shallow threshold,
One more weary bookmark binding
Countless screaming “if-onlys” to her back,
Peeling seasons of her soul
Raw, sanity paying time’s harsh taxes.

My mother was always pregnant.
Four and one-half years of mood swings
Four and one-half years of weight gain
Four and one-half years of spikes
Stiffening her spine. Four and one-half years
Of sandpaper shuttles in her knees,
Her “could’ve” cargo welded
With futile fragments of identity.

My mother was always faithfully pregnant
And mourning, mourning,
Mourning the pilfered promise,
The stolen valedictorian
Future finding cures, healing
Threatened tomorrows. Targeting
Intangible enemies, her
Swaddling ferocity flailed narrow
Leather stripes, belt buckle discipline
Never bruising the Simon Says
Notion that nothing else mattered
As long as she stayed pregnant –

And my mother was always pregnant,
Gritting teeth through locked eyelids
Against regrets sent from
Satan, till now —
Three times a night her bladder pushes
Tired legs to elusive relief —
Three times a night her white linen gown
Ghosts her drifting frame down
A creaky corridor —
Three times a night gnawing
“Nevers” nibble through
Sheltering dreams, reality
Splashes through whatever
Shallow sanity she’s recovered,
The toilet flushes,
And one more midnight reminder of everyone
She might have been spins
Into oblivion.

My mother was always pregnant.
My mother has not slept a full night
In forty-nine years.

– – – – –

copyright 1996,2010 by Peter John Stone. All rights reserved. No use is authorized without permission from author, but the author offers reasonable terms, and entertains any proposals. This poem originally appeared in the anthology Nobody’s Orphan Child published by Seattle’s Red Sky Poetry Theatre —

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