John Daleiden, US






Home Coming


I sing songs in the meadow
where crocus bloom beside a stream.
Distant mountains covered with snow
are the boarders of my fair world.
Long ago my ancestors
fought battles to keep this land.

Hi-dee-dai--the grass is green
dance with me on ancient graves.
Beneath this grass my brothers lie;
their spirits rise--sing Hi-dee-dai.
I come home to die in fields
where their bones blend with the earth.




A Cinquain Sequence


Last night
we watched the moon
light the bare, withered fields—
evening darkness warmed with our clasp
of hands.

I pledge
in this New Year
to write my love cinquain—
bold songs that celebrate our life,
our troth.

the fierce North wind
drifts shut all the highways—
we are snowbound, isolated,

the winter night
shut out with our embrace—
star-crossed, is there greater power
than love?

from the fireplace
sputter on the stone hearth—
did Helen and Paris light fires
this bright?



Chicago Panhandler’s Paean:

A Tanka Sequence


red, yellow, and gold--
oak leaves half-buried in snow
from another season
I am like the fallen leaves
withered, shriveled with decay.

in search of prey
a circling hawk soars
seeking fulfillment
I prowl the bars and clubs—
learn each new dance and song

street singers
on a clear winter day—
your enchanting voice
fills my dreams each night,
a fantasma of icy by-ways

at the shelter
we drink our hot porridge--
back in the streets
I panhandle in the cold
at the Water Tower*

in an alley,
our backs to a bonfire
we sing Christmas carols—
the passing flask of Irish
keeps our spirits warm tonight

* Chicago Water Tower--After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 the water tower was the only public building in the burned zone to survive, and is the only one of the surviving structures still standing. At 806 North Michigan Avenue, it occupies a small square and green space amid the tall buildings of the Magnificant Mile shopping district.



Free Verse


...Bound for Charlotte, North Carolina January 15, 2009


3:00 p. m., we board and talk
the routine talk--my name, your name.
We take off north over the Bronx,
then turn west, Hudson River--
New Jersey, then tracking south--
as we climb the landscape shrinks.

Flight is joy, freely rising
above the ground, leaving the land.
Landmarks to come: The Stadium,
The GW Bridge--miniature scenes.
The blue sky fused with the sea
and white clouds--and one huge blast.

Fearful sounds--and then silence...
gliding through space, fear fills our hearts.
Jersey buildings, Weekawken cliffs
Hudson River, and then the piers.
Brace! Brace! Brace! shout the flight staff--
some say prayers, others text friends.

The water, dark green and cold
covers windows then falls away.
The upright plane bobbing intact,
as passengers, exit to wings.
Ferry boats fish all from death
returning us to dry land.

The rescued, cold and alive
take up their lives thankful for life.
Why did the Gods drown Icarus
but spare these souls another day?
Beyond "ken" lies the gray land,
what we know, and the unknown.


US Airways Flight 1549, a commercial passenger flight from New York City's LaGuardia Airport bound for Charlotte, North Carolina, ditched in the Hudson River adjacent to Manhattan on January 15, 2009. All 155 on board survived.









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