My Poetry

Poems on this page by Barbara Kidd Lawing

SCHOOL
The doors of the ship opened we stepped
out and looked around everything
was strange we knew no names
we soon learned those were trees waving
their greetings sunrays delivering blessings
but the thing called weather refused
to stay the same we nestled close
together we'd survive but the storm
became a blizzard thievery and murder
became commonplace
old-timers urged us to
let things be not worry that very little
was the way we wanted it to be remember
they said the ship will come back this planet
has always been a school for the soul.
("School," by Barbara Kidd Lawing, published in Earth and Soul: An Anthology of North Carolina Poetry, a Russian/English volume published in Kostroma, a sister city of Durham, NC, 2001)

SEARCH FOR THE WILL
From the start she knows the nature
of the fight: do or die.

Every trauma finds her certain the gods
will give in, give what she must have.

Her blood roils, liquid steel.
She wrestles, wrestles, on and on.

The angel tries to bend her knee
but she will not be humbled, refuses

surrender till she sees a shape
she can string words around.

When she becomes winded, we hear from
her raspy tongue: I want . . . I want . . .
("Search for the Will," by Barbara Kidd Lawing, published in Frontage Road, 1996)

WHEN TREES AND GRASS
When trees and grass had been pushed aside
and red dirt opened to the sky, and giant
mechanical monsters opened yet deeper wounds
in the earth's belly, the spirits (of Pearl and Mamie
and Nellie Ruth) who used to plant squash and
tomatoes there, and looked from their windows onto
the grassy knolls, said Now we are truly dead.
("When Trees and Grass," by Barbara Kidd Lawing, published in Iodine, 2000)

HIT ME
with something different. Banish me
from the kingdom of right-thinking.
Splice my neural connectors
for a new state of unrest.
Let me open a can of paint
in a color no one's dreamed of.
Stop my elevator between floors.
("Hit Me," by Barbara Kidd Lawing, published in Iodine, 2000)

COEVAL
Coeval, I am, with other
casualties and refugees
of the Age of Analysis.
We coexist in an era of neon
tabloidization and high-tech
rationalization, where the present
weighs next to nothing
because the past has been lopped off.

We are the first to know
opinion poll truth,
remote control warfare, cloning
kingpins and cyberspace pirates,
zillion dollar lotteries, shrieking
game-show-contestant wannabes,
soap opera education,
superstore indecision,
souvenirs from outer space,
post-modernist modernism's
have-it-your-way,
nanosecond dreams,
and self-serve 93 octane.

We take pride in
flip-flop morality, low-brow
lust and high-brow cynicism,
invisible money,
predigested freeze-dried opinions,
and the cards we carry.

I'm wondering
how we will be remembered
- very likely for Elizabeth
Taylor's fountain of youth,
and democracy toppled
by good-natured indifference.
("Coeval," by Barbara Kidd Lawing, published in Main Street Rag, 1998)

RESEMBLANCE
Earth Mother, you are called.

You burn cold then hot, bright
then dark
- as I do.

You blossom in summer, sigh with
ripeness in autumn
- so do I.

You uproot your trees with
your storms
- as I do also.

You keep some of your seeds
dormant for years
- I do the same.

You bury some things so thoroughly
they may as well never have been
- like I do.

You cannot if you want to go back
to your previous selves
- nor can I.

With you, any day may turn out
springlike.
- It's that way
with me, too.
("Resemblance," by Barbara Kidd Lawing, published in Earth and Soul: An Anthology of North Carolina Poetry, a Russian/English volume published in Kostroma, a sister city of Durham, NC, 2001)