James Piatt


The Brook

Offer me your curving
Winsome voice,
As you sidle
Past my wandering mind,
Press cool moisture
Upon my body,
Offer me your
And your ancient music
As you chant your
Melody of flowing serenity,
Offer me your pleasant
Of a thousand suns;
Bathe me
In the coolness,

Careless Life

Heedlessly I existed, neglectfully receiving each year
The bountiful blessings of each blissful season,
In a wasteful gait, observing not the sun so near,
I played recklessly with animal reason.

A shadowed darkness with scythe brought death.
In this bitter place, I no longer feel or see.
In life I seldom thought of breath,
Not realizing the reaper often thought of me.

War’s Reality

The church bells that peal assuring songs
Will not reach the ears of those who die as sheep
In the blistering sands of abrasive foreign lands,
Only the ringing of rifle’s rapid salvos will
Sing across their valleys of bereavement,
No prayers or eulogies will reach their bodies
As they lie torn and bloody in the gory fields of war.
No quieting voices of mothers will ever sooth
The fading ears of dead, and dieing sons;
No bugles or fervent choirs will salute their bravery.
No candles will burn for their courage and a
Paleness will be the color of their lover’s brows,
As the dusk sinks into the gray horizon, and
A sore tenderness covers their children.

The Sad Message

An old yellowed paper,
Crinkled with age,
Scratched hurriedly
With a dark
Blue ink,
Was hidden
In an ancient
Mahogany desk,
Under a drawer
Taped firmly
To the bottom,
The tape cracked, and
He pealed it carefully
Off the drawer, and
Laid it on
The table.
It sat sadly in
A scarlet silence,
Its tale,
“It is eighteen
And forty-six, and
I am eighteen years
Of age
 I am taking my life, for
I have sinned.”
Tears ran down his
Cheeks like splintered
Glass, making prisms of
Color upon the silence of
The room. He understand
When he read the name, it was
His grandmother’s,
She was unmarried, and
Has just given birth to his
It was doubly sad
Because her lover, his
Grandfather was hung
For her, murder.

Education Where Have You Gone

       Education, where have you gone?
Your ivy-covered schools are filled with despair,
Your halls are strewn with vicious scars of neglect
Vermin, and grime:

        Education, where have you gone?
Your brightest youth have left your buildings,
Rooms are now filled with only unhappy souls
Longing to escape:

       Education, where have you gone?
Are you hiding from social neglect?
Are you crying silently for your pupils?
In overcrowded, and uncaring classrooms?

       Education, where have you gone?
Have greedy builders and sellers of
Expensive books and equipment, stripped you
Naked and left you for a more wealthy bride?

       Education, where have you gone?
My tears fall silently as I sit in my lonely office
Staring sadly and bleakly at inane
Directives, written by uncaring bureaucrats, and
Wondering where you have gone.

A Simple Man’s Prayer

Oh dear Lord! Let not your message be dour:
I need so desperately to escape this gloom,
In stagnant seas so gray, so filled with doom:
In the midst of this terrible storm, so sour,
Which I have forfeited to sadness this final hour:
Oh inward wretchedness, which arrived too soon
To give my heart its time to swoon, or
Lift my soul to joy as high as an eagle’s bower.
Allow my voice to soar aloft once again,
To see a happy affirmation for all the earth:
My voice alone is too small against bitter men,
But, yours is so pure and filled with worth:
Hear the muted prayer that dwells within,
Bring forth in my heart new warmth and mirth.

Copyright © 2011 James Piatt


James earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, and a doctorate from Brigham Young University. Two of his
relatives, John James Piatt and Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, were prolific poets who wrote their poetry in the eighteen hundreds, their poetry has influenced his style of poetry. He is retired now and spends his summers along side a river, reading, writing, and penning poetry. He has had over one hundred and fifty poems published in
dozens of print and electronic poetry magazines, journals and anthologies; Tower Journal, Contemporary American Voices [featured
poet], Long Story Short [featured poem], Vox Poetica, Pens on Fire, Word Catalyst Magazine [featured poet], Kritya: A Journal of Poetry,
Taj Mahal, and Phati’tude Literary Journal [Interviewed poet] are just a few.