He Had No Favorites

1980’s poetry. Enjoy.

Beyond Panic

He had no favorites.

He loved them all.

He would hold them in bunches and bundles

until his hands and arms were filled

Though they loved him,

they would not always go willingly

They flourished elsewhere

in other worlds

in other times

in other limbos

When they left him,

he cried for them all.

He had no favorites.

© Alfred W. Smith Jr.

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And Yes, I Still Believe in Love

And yes, I still believe in love
I still believe it’s there
It’s trembling out there somewhere in
the frosty winter air

Or trapped inside a mountain cave
from which it can’t escape
because it fell while running out
and gave its knee a scrape

Or floating on the raging sea
and looking for a light
to guide it safely home to shore
before it’s out of sight

Perhaps it’s on a city street
outside at a café
You didn’t hear it call your name
and hurried on your way

Perhap it’s somewhere crying for
it cannot find a heart
that seems to want to keep it and
not tell it to depart

So when we say we ‘look for love’
that happens to be true
I still believe it’s out there and
it’s looking for us too.

When I Walk the Streets of Paris (for Annie)

When I walk the streets of Paris

you won’t be beside me,

but you will be there.

And I will converse with you in

a terrible French accent to make

you laugh

A yellow rose,

the kind you loved best,

I will leave at the top of

the Eiffel Tower

Another, tossed into the Seine

to float downriver like a wish

now come true,

A bright and beautiful bloom

in the crepuscular evening

I will take pictures where your memory

will fill the empty spaces.

Your smile unseen, but felt.

In the bistro, I will flirt

with the waitress and ask her

if ‘oo-la-la’ is really a thing,

(and ask her to say it, even if it’s not)

I will visit the Louvre

and admire the

incomprehensible paintings

with indecipherable meanings

In the outdoor café

I will order two cups

of coffee, and

leave yours untouched.

And on the last night,

standing on the balcony,

listening to the melancholy melody

of an accordion

below in the courtyard,

I will toast us with a glass of red wine,

Celebrating the fact that we finally got here

And now,

we’ll always have Paris.


Within the world

we wandered

and walked without

a care


Within our hearts

we reached

and opened them

so they were bare


Within ourselves

we wondered

at what the other



Of that bare heart

within us

we offered without



And so within our love

without the world

we left behind


Without a backward glance

we closed the door and

drew the blind


And deep within each other

we put our trust and fears

and then discovered real love

is not without its tears


And so without you

now I live within my memories


The tears within my eyes will stay

I’ll live without love, please.




Song of Sacrifice

My heart, pierced

My breathing, shallow

My blood, pouring

hardening, cooling

on the

trampled grass

The gates of

an iron underworld

yawned wide for me,

a cremating maw of

mocking damnation

You came from

unseen shadows,

dressed in black

with flowers

wreathed and woven,

white against

the sable strands

of your glory

And when the fiery demon came,

flaming axe in hand

to claim his unholy inheritance

You sang

a note so sweet,

he flinched

at its beauty

Of care so far reaching,

it stopped him

in his tracks

Of friendship so lasting,

his fire died

Of desire so strong,

it burned him

Of two souls so

tightly bound,

he dropped his weapon

Of bodies so entwined,

he fell

to his knees

Of love so unending.



Sacrificing your song

to the fire,

I am restored,

but your voice,

now lost,

is but the

hollow soughing

of hot winds

across the silted surfaces

of cooling suns

of long-forgotten


© Alfred W. Smith Jr.  2015

Still Time

Lifeless kings on broken thrones

Marrowless their hollow bones

In their fraying robes they rest

Swords and scepters on their breast

Ruling justly, Going mad

Kingdom happy, Kingdom sad

Wisdom, Counsel, Curses, Love

Ceasing from the world above

In the crypt the young man walks

And the silenced voice now talks

Do not seek to rule the land

Use no fair or iron hand


Power breeds a deadly fear

Give in to it and you’re here


Take your lute and travel far

To some distant summer star


In your youthful glory soak

Time enough for Death’s cold cloak


Bed and brawl through many lands

Soon the hour glass spills the sands


Sand grains stop the blood, you’ll see

Death no longer mystery


Learn and laugh and love your fill

Live before your 

Time stands


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