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2016: A Year of Poetry

[]2016: A Year of Poetry

By Robert P. Hansen

Copyright 2017 by Robert P. Hansen

Shakespir Edition

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[]Connect With Me

For reviews, updates on my writing, excerpts from my novels, samples of my poetry, and links to my work online, visit my blog at: http://www.rphansenauthorpoet.wordpress.com/.

Follow me on Facebook at: fb.me/RobertPHansenAuthorPoet

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Additional Titles

Fantasy Novels

The Drunken Wizard’s Playmates and Other Stories

Angus the Mage

Book 1: The Tiger’s Eye

Book 2: The Viper’s Fangs

Book 3: The Golden Key

Book 4: Angst

[Book 5 is the Aftermath series]


Book 1: Aftermath

Other Novels

Installments (mystery / literary)

Please Don’t Eat the Penguins (science fiction)

The Snodgrass Incident (science fiction)

Short Story Collections

Exploitation and Other Stories

Have You Seen My Cat? And Other Stories

Worms and Other Alien Encounters

Poetry Collections

2014: A Year of Poetry

2015: A Year of Poetry

2016: A Year of Poetry

A Bard Out of Time and Other Poems

A Field of Snow and Other Flights of Fancy

Last Rites . . . and Wrongs

Love & Annoyance

Of Muse and Pen

Potluck: What’s Left Over


“A Star-Struck Night.” Copyright 2015. Originally published in the 2015 edition of The Martian Wave.

“Bezique,” “In Protest,” and [nose above water]. Copyright 2016. Originally published in the Summer issue of Calliope.

“Bronzed.” Copyright 2016. Originally published in vol. 37, Issue 1of Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream.

“Empathy.” Copyright 2016 by The Iowa Poetry Association. Originally published in the 2016 edition of Lyrical Iowa.

“Late June.” Copyright 2016. Originally published in the May/June issue of Creative Inspirations.

“Sati.” Copyright 2016. Originally published in the “Tracks” issue of Inwood Indiana.

“Tidying Up.” Copyright 2016 by Jitter Press. Originally published in Issue #4 of Jitter Press.

The following poems were published in Whispers. . . .:

[dozens]. Copyright 2016. Posted on Feb. 20.

“Autumn.” Copyright 2016. Posted on June 6.

“Beached.” Copyright 2016. Posted on Aug. 19.

“ETA: Two Hours.” Copyright 2016. Posted on March 22.

“I Dare You.” Copyright 2016. Posted on Nov. 21.

“Leftovers.” Copyright 2016. Posted on Feb. 3.

“SASE.” Copyright 2016. Posted on April 9.

“Sea of Tranquility.” Copyright 2016. Posted on Dec. 29.

“We Are Experiencing a Little Turbulence.” Copyright 2016. Posted on March 22.

Modified versions of “#6,” “Angel of Mercy,” “Impaled,” “Incident at a Bakery,” “Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army,” “Retribution,” “Ted Bundy,” and “The Mirror” were included in my novel Installments (Copyright 2016). An earlier version of “Incident at a Bakery” was also published in Last Rites . . . And Wrongs.

Special thanks to Linda Foegen of American Book Design for the cover art.


For the lovers of wisdom

who have embraced the struggle

to discover the truth despite

the rampant obstacles

in their path.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Connect With Me

Additional Titles

Part 1: Acts of Creation

Part 2: Part 2: Mind, Body, and Soul

Part 3: Natural Philosophy

Part 4: Agape

Part 5: Acts of Destruction

About the Author

[]Part 1: Acts of Creation


One word

softly spoken

among the multitude

of shouts

patiently waiting

to be heard.

Mate in ??

the act

of creation

is the beginning

of God’s endgame


I was born


and died

too young.

Finding Homer

I roam the Elysian Fields searching for Homer,

the blind poet who inspired generation after generation

of Greek heroes, poets, philosophers, generals, and

politicians. At each turn, a friendly soul greets me

with a few verses of the Odyssey or Iliad that they

have memorized. I smile at them all, praise their

heart-felt recitations, and move on, seeking the one

man who had filled them all with such joy and

wonder. Hours, days, weeks go by without a hint

of Homer, but his poetry is everywhere. Each word,

each stanza dances on the wind as voice after voice

resonates with his epic achievement. And then—

I remember. Some scholars claimed Homer

was not a man at all, but a name given to the men

and women who had forged the chain of stanzas

one at a time until they were sewn together

into the masterpieces they are today. When they

were finally written down, their voices blended together

into one voice that was louder than any could have been

alone, loud enough to shake the world. I turn

and find a chorus of Homers watching me, each one

a fragile, forgotten fragment of Homer’s living soul.

Late June


pumpkin blossoms

withering on the vine

leaving baby jack-o-lanterns



windblown maple seed

drifting downward

the spiral of life



a three-toed sloth


the number four


A game invented

when the dog ate half the deck.

Hefty Scrabble score.

The Paperclip Experiment*


A pristine

strip of steel

wire, untouched by

human hands, coiled

into redundant patterns

by robotic arms repeating

the same motion over and over

and over again without

growing tired. They

are all the same.


A box

of paperclips


to a child—followed

by a simple question: “How

many uses can you think of for

a paperclip?” Laughter. Excitement.

Imagination springs to life as they begin

exploring the possibilities and find

hundreds of answers. The

researchers proclaim

98% of them are


Middle School

It is a


study, and the

researchers return

to test the children again.

This time, half the students

have forgotten how to use

a paperclip, half have

left their genius



The research ends

with the dismal realization

that most subjects have become

paperclips, molded by the robotic

arms of education into the same dull,

repetitive patterns, fungible units

that have little use for


*In the YouTube video “Ken Robinson Paperclip” (accessed 12/8, 2016), Ken Robinson summarizes the study on divergent thinking reported in Land and Jarmin’s Breakpoint & Beyond: Mastering the Future Today. As a philosophy professor, I have encountered many students who have misplaced their ability to “think outside the box,” and I do my best to pop the lids off those boxes to help students rediscover the possibilities. Perhaps some of them will find a use for a paperclip that will change the world.


I struggle with a truth

much deeper than the words

I have to express it.


Postmodernists rail

against modernism on

blogs made possible by

the modern perspective.

Qin Shi Huang’s Terracotta Army

I am a god

standing on top

of the world.

They are my


I am their


My plan is


They stand at


awaiting my


My word

will be spoken.

My voice

will be heard.

They will

rise up.

They will

rise up


Knight of the Realm


are times


the darkness

within me







That is





the pen.


A tuft of long

black hair, stiff and

straight like dry grass

on a calm day,

bleeds free

from the developing


Then comes

an elfin ear, sheepishly

peeking out from beneath

the rippling tresses.

I hold my breath

as the cheek

line comes into focus,

its smooth curve

as familiar as

the crescent


I glimpse the lips—

as red as the ripest

tomato and slightly

parted in invitation—

and my mouth waters,

longing for the sweetness

of their touch.

But it isn’t time,

not yet.

I use the tongs to lift

the photo so I can study it

—study her

for imperfections.

There are none, and I clip it

to the line to dry.

The next one captured

her eyes, but she didn’t see

me take it—she never

sees me.

The one after that. . . .

When they are all dry,

I carry them into her room

and tape them to the wall with

the others I have gathered.


the wall will be full.


it will be


Tool Kit







zip ties



duct tape


nylon rope


have I



oh, yes,

the hunting knife

Never the Twain Shall Meet

When I think upon the choice

I made when two roads diverged

in that yellow wood—one moss-

covered and ragged, the other

polished smooth by frequent passage. . . .

If I had trod upon that road

more traveled, would I have lost

my way? Was there a fiend

awaiting me? A brigand’s ghost

long-lurking in that shadowed wood?

Or, perhaps, a friend in need?

A spirit of goodness? A goddess

of the wood? If only I could

have taken both! But, alas,

I took the shabby, tangled road

and ended up here. I don’t mind,

of course; the destination was

a pleasant one. But sometimes

I wonder where that well-travelled

road had gone—and what might have been.

In Protest

untitled haiku

naked babes sent downriver

indecently exposed

I Dare You

Whispers . . . .


Write a basic cinquain.

Five lines. Twenty-two syllables.

No prob.



it returns

the hope is strong

the heart is resilient

and optimism



How arrogant the poet

who snubs her nose

at those

who built the scaffold

of rhyme and meter

that preceded her

in time and place! Were

it not for them, where

would she be?

What would she rail

against, flail

against, bewail

and bemoan and damn to hell

again and again in

her rejection

of structure and

form for something

less—or something

more—or something (more or less)?

Without those poets

of old

who crafted odes

and ballads and sonnets,

her poetry would be lost,

a voice without substance—

even less: a voice

without words,

for the kernel

of her rebellion

can be found in

the gentle rhythm

of those poets

whose words

inspired and distressed her,

provoked and impressed her,

until they shaped the form of her

informal poetry.

Minced Words

The editor took

my thousand word

gourmet meal and

turned it into a bite-

sized morsel with

a bitter aftertaste.


The blizzard arrived

with ice, sleet, and snow;

All flights were cancelled—

where else could I go?

She sat down beside me;

we chatted awhile.

Our flights were delayed. . . .

I gave her a smile.

A Semiotic Relationship

You said

so much with


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2016: A Year of Poetry

Most of the poems in this collection were written during 2016. As with the previous two years' collections, the subject matter is diverse with love, hate, murder, nature, social and political commentary, and many other topics being explored. However, this one has a stronger philosophical presence than they did, since many of the poems are reflective or speculative in nature and some relate to specific philosophical or religious questions (particularly the mind-body problem and what happens when we die), philosophers (Plato, Hume), or historical / mythological figures (Homer, Sisyphus, Prometheus).

  • ISBN: 9781370719709
  • Author: Robert P. Hansen
  • Published: 2017-01-07 13:20:21
  • Words: 9075
2016: A Year of Poetry 2016: A Year of Poetry