Shaking My Child

Shaking My Child

The house was a rental
and I was napping on a floor-mattress
with my two year-old son but woke
to a sparking flash with a scream!

My eyes opened
to see my boy thrown by a jolt
away from the old air conditioner
after he had played with its plug.

My boy, new to the world, almost left me
with dreams and hopes stolen
by someone else’s bad wiring.

Seeing he was fine I took a second,
to relieve my irrational male anger:
I kicked the air conditioner
and ripped the wires from the wall.

The electrons flew back in fear
down the 100 year-old copper wires
into the Victorian basement
where the ghost of the original owner
still mourns the loss of her son
to the rose spots of typhoid fever
in the 1885 Pennsylvania epidemic.

We all three shook
my boy, the mourning mother and myself.
Fear, sorrow and anger crowded our home.
But my boy was still screaming.

So I shook him, “Shhhh!”
then woke from my stupidity
and I thought of all those who hurt their children
with misplaced anger or sorrow or panic.

The Victorian mom gave me a hug
in support and forgiveness,
and left her home, for the long sleep,
and my son and I laid down and slept again.

by Sabio Lantz, November 2017

Prompt: Feedback Poetry asks us to write a poem inspired by lots of readings of Billy Collins’ poem.

Here are the Traits of Billy Collins that I tried to emulate:

  • Accessible
  • Narrative/ Conversational
  • Surrealistic Insertions

Honest feedback only please.  Suggestions and criticism coveted. Thank you.


Bloody Snow

Prompt: Haibun Monday @ d’Verse poets – where we are asked to write about owls. Oh yes, come hear the hooting over at Feedback Poetry if you dare.

Bloody Snow

I promised myself to write a touching Haibun tonight – personal memories full of beautiful colors, rich nature language, romantic feelings or of forlorn sentiments. I thought of owls that have haunted my evenings, sounding like cats, sounding like wind, sounding like a child crying. But after glancing at the news and reading yet another day of bombings, frat deaths, earthquakes, murder, political machinations, sexual assaults and more, I gave up.

Evergreens bend low
to snow showing mice footprints
streaked red by an owl

by Sabio Lantz, November 2017

My Type of Poetry

Prompt: d’Verse asks us for another Quadrille. If you are interesting in Billy Collins, consider visiting us at Feedback Poetry (you can also follow that link to “Why I don’t keep a gun in my house” to understand my allusion to cultured dogs, in the poem below.)


My Type of Poetry

Billy Collins kicks poetic posteriors:
not because of his irreligious attitudes
toward rhyme, rhythm and romance;
nor his avoidance of allusive adjectives;
nor his flippant flirtatious fictions.

Instead, it is because I can understand him,
even when he has barking dogs in his orchestras.

— by Sabio Lantz, November 2017


Feedback Kindness

The prompt: Toni, @d’Verse, asks us to write a Haibun about acts of kindness (<151 words). Feedback can be an act of kindness, but it depends greatly on the receiver.  But when giver and receiver have a connection, even critical feedback can be powerful.

Invitation: Speaking of feedback, I’ve started a new poetry prompt site called FEEDBACK POETRY — visit to see if it is your cup of tea or whiskey.


Feedback Kindness

I was a psychology graduate in College, yet my best psychology training was not in school but from the psychiatric nurses with whom I worked in my first job after school. Theses were a very touchy-feely, compassionate group of women who showed me one my psychological blind spots. “Sabio, why do you always shy away from touching?”, they asked gently. I had no idea that recoiled from physical contact (pats on backs, for instance). But coming from a family with unaffectionate parents (they divorced when I was 14) and German grandparents, it may not have been surprising. So from that day forward, I made conscious efforts to learn to give and receive reassuring touches. No one today would imagine I use to be touch-shy.

gourds of full plenty
laughing at winter’s coldness
the feast calls us all

Cratylus’s Good Word

Cratylus’s Good Word

Different lands and languages have introduced me to many aspects of water. In Hindi, water is called pani, but children call her pani-wani: playful and prancing. Germans enjoy slippery, sibilantly, seductive Wasser while for the Finnish, vesi is very vigorous and selectively sexy. Japanese mizu is melodiously mixed with miso. But I don’t think Klingons even drink their blQ. But who would?

Resonant ripples.
Perfectly plopped pond pebbles.
Socrates drops dead!

Prompt:  Björn, @d’Verse poets, challenges us to write a Haibun about water. A little may be lost in this Haibun (except perhaps the humor) if you are not aware of the sound symbolism controversy from the days of Socrates.  So if you are curious, see the links below. I imagine you poets would side with Cratylus in the Socrates dialogue. Do you?

Pani Wani

Pani Wani

In Hindi, Water is called Pani,
but children call her Pani-Wani:
playful and prancing.

Germans enjoy sssslippery,
and sibilantly seductive Wasser.

Finnish vesi is very vigorous
and selectively sexy.

Japanese mizu can bring misery
or ships of sushi.

While I don’t even think
that Klingons drink blQ,
but who would?

— by Sabio Lantz, October 2017

Prompt: Dverse poets asks us to write a poem about “water”.

Embarrassing Hopes

Embarrassing Hopes

We hope the fate filled pie is small
and that with each bitter piece taken
it shrinks smaller and improbable —

that there is only so much
sadness, suffering and sickness to go around
and with each choking bite taken
there is less for us.

— by Sabio Lantz, October 2017


Prompt: De Jackson serving us a prompt at dVerse in Las Vegas, asks us to write a Quadrille about “hope”.