Saturday, March 19, 2011

"An Ending Begins"

Standing on the edge looking back—
            So many decisions gone wrong
                        So many decisions proved right
                                    No way of tracing patterns
            The child longs for easier ways—
                        Rainbows, buttercups under the chin
                                    Seeking security
                                                Returning to the womb
Standing on the edge looking ahead—
            So many unknowns
                        So many possibilities
                                    No way of seeing patterns
            The youth longs for challenge—
                        First love, free falling from the sky
                                    Embracing life
                                                Escaping tight bondage
Standing on the edge looking inward—
            So many “what ifs”
                        So many “if onlys”
                                    No way of changing patterns
            The elder dreams on of new beginnings
                        Second chances, another step into sunshine
                                    Gathering warmth
                                                Longing to be young again

Copyright 1996 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"The Stream"

The stream of people flowed
in and out of museums
up and down hundreds of marbled steps
Laughing loudly,
children dashing around the Mall
Vendors with ice cones,
lemonade, chips and pretzels
We flowed with the stream
hot and tired
from walking all day
Our voices rose on the summer’s breeze
happy, vibrant, alive
Then we came to The Wall
with mirrored surface
and name after name after name
after name
The stream slowed
it ebbed
Voices hushed to soft whispers
butterfly touches
caressing the carved names
We stood,
fingers woven together
searching through our reflected images
for another reflection
The stream stopped
losing its motion
it shimmered in the silent
deep pools
Our heads bowed
we sighed
Our breath caused motion
and the stream trickled
It flowed past the wall
and spilled onto a
grassy area
where past and present
water the future

Copyright 1996 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Missing Ireland"

                When the day’s troubles weigh me down, Ireland calls to me. I hear the lilt of her voice over the drudgery of my days. In a second, I time travel back to Dublin’s streets where we dodge cars and raindrops in pursuit of museums and castles, where I hear the wild tales of Viking conquerors.  I’m stretched out on cool sheets, with windows thrown open to the soft laughter of children in a park, dreaming of a magical past. I’m sleeping in the castle where Bram Stoker once lived. And I’m writing a novel in my head.
 In Trim, we experience the arms-wide-open hospitality of our hosts, and the loveliness of long idle walks through the ancient cemetery. We skirt around the River Boyne’s treasures. The ancient burial mounds gentled by time, pique my creativity. Another poem, another story, another world to create. Newgrange and Tara, passages into my own imagination. From the parapets of ancient Trim Castle, I view rolling hills dressed in a patchwork of green. Clamoring down the steep circular stairs, I become the servant or the soldier. On another day, from the mist, steps a Frenchman with the key to another adventure. And we enter Ireland’s womb, hear her heartbeat, embrace her warmth as she shelters us from autumn’s cold tears.  Over hot tea, we chat with locals before walking through gardens filled with ageless yews. The rain pats softly, now, against our umbrellas.
Our travels take us on, toward the coast and the music of Doolin. Mingled with voices, fiddles, and guitars comes the murmur of the Atlantic. Her song blends with bird and man in perfect harmony. On the Burren, we scramble across rock, zigzag along the coast, and stand on the edge of the world. With ocean spray slapping our faces, we cross over to Aran Island, spending our day in a buggy, our horse on his last trip before retirement, our driver born to this island of rock wall and small pastures. With pride, he introduces us to his dog, and takes us by his cottage before leaving us at the pub. Our “ride” home takes us to the Cliffs of Moher, where my heart aches over the beauty. Our nights fill with food, drink, and song from the local pubs. Our mornings with bright breakfast talk from others who want Ireland as their mistress, too.

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

"Questions Without Answers"

Questions without answers
Echo lazily through my mind
Wondering what I’m after
Wondering what I’ll find
            Searching like Odysseus
            Through the oceans of my life
            Wondering where I’m going
            Wondering about my strife
Questions without answers
Echo lazily through my mind
Wondering what I’m after
Wondering what I’ll find
            Touching upon land
            Finding ground and sky above
            Wondering if it’s forever
            Wondering if it’s love
Questions without answers
Echo lazily through my mind
Wondering what I’m after
Wondering what I’ll find
            Reaching all the solutions
            By sharing what is real
            Wondering about answer
  Wonder at what I feel
Questions without answers
Echo lazily through my mind
Wondering what I’m after
Wondering what I’ll find

Copyright 2004 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Rhyme, rhythm (or meter) gave many of my 7th and 8th grade students problems. They'd often get a rhyme scheme down, but understanding the importance of having a steady "beat" wasn't easy for them. I wrote this simple poem to help them with both. Althought a little obvious, for budding writers having an obvious model proves the best help.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Greedy Little Men"

Greedy Little Men
            Like slithering serpents in the Garden of Eden
                        twisting the world with their lines
                        constricting around our minds
                        sucking us dry of laughter, warmth, desire, love
                        biting with the sharpened fangs of need
                        poisoning the world with their avarice
                                    Greedy Little Men

Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This poem, written in response to the political climate fourteen years ago, still applies to today's world.

"Goblin" by David Chapman

Monday, March 14, 2011


reflecting on glossy screen
delving into the mirrored universe
holding onto reality through voyeurism
crawling through a web in search of  just-the-right-word
looking through the window-or
stepping through the doorway
choosing motion over inertia
fearing stillness’s unbearable pain
losing myself within eternal bytes
entrapping my soul within the glass

Copyright 2010 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Beyond tears
Voices silenced by shock
Waves of disbelief
Tumble over and over

Beyond belief
Words echo uselessly
Sorry, so sorry
Murmured over and over

Beyond comprehension
Minds shutting down
Help—hold on
Whispered over and over

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Seems like turning on the television means dealing with tragedies. Unfortunately, many of our woes result from our own arrogance. Other days, the delicate dance we choreograph with nature turns into chaos. Survivors slip into heroism automatically because of the basic strength and goodness within each person's capacity.