Below is the work of Springfield Poets and Writers members for its collaboration in Poets, Painters, and Performers 2013 with Prairie Art Alliance artists and local musicians. Also posted is work from former Poets and Painters events. Click on "older posts" to read all poems and see all art. More info here.

Felicia Olin, The Jester

He plays his jest upon a stage of hearts,
Too poor a player to be more than clown,
A comic shadow working at his part
To keep away the silence and break down
His own misfortunes to amuse.  He takes
The leading passions of a heart and
Juggles them until, on cue, they break.
He slips on a banana peel of love and lands,
With much commotion, on his face.
Turns all to laughter and since life is spent
In Folly’s grip why dull the jest with grace?
But this inconsequential ornament
Well has earned his comic epitaph:
She was beautiful, I made her laugh.

 Hugh Moore
Michael Berk - We're Not in Kansas Anymore

It’s the mind that is first to go:
As thoughts wander, the flesh follows,
The ticking clock’s worn rhythms slow,
A shell remains, the rest hollows,
Horizons fade in swirls of dust,
Futures recede, prospects barren,
Age sits down hard like barnyard rust,
Little to hold, nor to share in.
What tipping point the decision
To leave such life and go hither,
That one’s spirit seeks revision
And deep roots begin to whither?
When sown seeds no longer matter;
No food on this Kansas platter.

Mark Flotow 


I post this note for whomever’s concerned:
"I lie buried back in my Union state,
For which I fought, wounded and then returned,
Minus part of a hand, my cruel war fate.
Chickamauga old dreams haunted me still,
Of contorted comrades, which stole my rest
At the neglected farm I tried to till,
And left that plot for this place far out West.
A soldier’s thoughts were part of my baggage.
A Kansas decade passed here in my bed
With old visions from my mental ravage:
Thus I had stopped living and so instead
Was dying right after the Civil War;
My bones now are East on a grave-shaft floor."

Mark Flotow
"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.” Albert Einstein
Click to listen to Tom's song

Love was you, all comfortable and familiar.

It was the way you carried on conversation, your being aglow.
It was me knowing precisely who you enjoyed talking to.
It was understanding who would “get” you and who wouldn’t even try.

And how blessed those were who would let you in.

It was the way you sat in the driver’s seat, casual but in full command
body cocked toward the rushing wind, where you had to drive
with all the windows down and passed the dogged habit on to me.

It was the way you held your fork and pen and how your fingers worked
carefully with everything you touched. How you embraced me each night
and every morning until your failing arms could cradle me no more.

It was your clarity concerning solutions to problems, your unyielding
go-get-’em attitude under the weight of cars and roofs that had to be fixed
while deep down you knew your body couldn’t.

Love was decades of life pulling on your muscles and nerves,
but those fluorescent orbs never stopped smiling. It was your hair all Einstein
and Don King-like and your furry chest and arms that I stroked until your body died.

You once said, “What happens matters.” You happened. And it definitely mattered.
You were a beautiful part of my story, the only thing that we ever truly own.
Right now I love you more than the grief can erase.

Love was you, all original and fresh.

It was a mutual attraction that did not fade, a continual and complete place
that was adventurous and never awkward, where we always knew that we were loved
and always understood how beautiful we were.

Love was you. Who will now know that I am beautiful?

Anita Stienstra
Mary Ellen Strack, Breaking Light I

The day begins at

the breaking of dawn

colors spread across the sky

floating through the clouds

Thoughts of inspiration

fill the mind

expand the heart

yesterdays pushed aside

making way for the woman

seen before you

flaws and all

mistakes acknowledged

not held onto

for today has just begun

it's light shines with hope

chasing the darkness  of night

I  move forward always

 always toward the light

toward the breaking  light

K. A. T. Corrigan
Jed Leber, Missing

Linda Post-Lucas, Deep Reflections

In the shards of mirror, I examine
(as through the lens of a microscope)
the anatomy of past lovers,
illustrations they left etched in my mind;
each full of color faded to pastels
with moments of brilliance
that surprise me in reflection.

This one, he said he liked my left foot
or perhaps it was the right;
the turn of ankle leading to shapely calf…
and the muscle and tissue clinging to the bone…
hardly romantic.

He said it was fit for a ruby slipper
or perhaps it was glass;
that image, the delicately crafted image
he created,
has been shattered.

All that remains in my memory
is the image of my left foot – or perhaps it’s the right
cupped gently in his hands
as he whispers platitudes
and fairy tales
he never meant to live
with me.

Siobhan Johnson