Biographical Poetry posted October 29, 2012

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the Crown of heroic sonnets

When I Was Twenty-One

by ytbard


My life began when I was twenty-one.
I left my Russian homeland to come here -
this land of freedom, flag and sparkling sun,
a whole New World, the Promised Land was near.
So many things intrigued my youthful mind -
Manhattan was the land of Oz, and I
believed a bigger god I'd never find
America - where I would live and die...

In time I made new friends and wove my nest,
Far Rockaway - the hamlet by the sea;
This country really put me to the test
But challenges were always part of me.
I walked beneath the moon along the beach,
and like the ancients, I would ponder life;
My biggest dreams seemed well within my reach,
I strove to win and had no fear of strife.

I loved my newfound life, and I was young -
What do they say about the spring that sprung?


What do they say about the spring that sprung?
Euphoria of the youth, though, fled in time;
The daily ires pumped air from out my lungs,
It would be years 'fore I discovered rhyme,
The prose of life took over for a while.
I carried on with my accented voice,
to weave a simple tune, to set a style;
How harsh you were at times, the land of choice!

"Whatever does not kill us, makes us strong" --
A day had come when rusty turned my steel;
A lowly whisper cuffed my starling song,
my life became an unresolved ordeal.
I needed help and I had none, I prayed
that God would show the way 'fore I succumbed
My Mother was in Russia then - she stayed
back home, but promised that one day she'd come.

I had so much to tell my mother, Lord -
Our souls were twin, our hearts in full accord.


Our souls were twin, our hearts in full accord;
She missed me way too much as I did her,
Two years had passed since lives went overboard;
My independence failed; a hazy blur
was now the vision off my teary eyes.
Two years seemed like two lifetimes to me then
Our letters doubled mailman's bag in size
I wished that I could see my heart again.

I called her on her phone while fighting tears,
her voice would crack when hearing mine through miles;
And we forgot it all - the past, the years,
two continents we lived on and our trials.
"My visa's getting ready, I'll be there
in just a month," - how whole it made me feel!
"We'll be together always now, I swear."
I hear you, mother, and this time for real.

At last! My Mother's here, and in her arms
I knew that I'd be always safe from harm.


I knew that I'd be always safe from harm;
My mother was the lifeline and my joy.
She dried my tears, and her protective arm
beheld more strength than all the guards of Troy.
I knew that I was saved now, all was well
We'd face the challenges life threw our way;
She would deliver me from witches' spell
With mother near, my life was perfect May.

How happy were our days now, we explored
America's delightful razzmatazz;
Around each other we were never bored,
We loved the fun we had and the pizzazz.
She made exquisite clothes, her hands were gold
and soft like silk when they caressed my face
On you, my treasure, Gods did break the mold -
embodiment of the eternal grace.

I was so blessed to have you by my side,
My mother dear, you were my greatest pride.


My mother dear, you were my greatest pride.
Our days were full of many happy chores -
We walked along the seashore side by side
collecting seashells; we would shop the stores,
explore the autumn parks, discuss our books;
A picture from the Vogue - you set the style
with your exquisite air; I saw the looks
you gathered anywhere you went for miles.

One day we built a house together - oh!
It was our biggest partnership of all;
A giant made of cedar, our chateau -
With you around, there was no joy too small.
It had cathedral ceilings and the deck
of forty feet, the skylight sipped the sun;
It was a perfect diamond, not a speck,
the splendor that could never be outdone.

We built our dream together, now it's me
alone without you, like a shattered tree.


Alone without you, like a shattered tree
When you had gone, you took my heart away.
Pneumonia claimed my love - how could it be?
Cold January turned my perfect May;
A bigger part of me had died as well,
You took it all, and broken I remain
I'm only half alive - such is your spell
No doctor in the world could ease my pain.

But life goes on, is that not true, my love?
I know, you would have wanted me to live ~
You watch me from your satin clouds above,
"Not yet," you say; "You have too much to give."
If only I could be with you right now
in your marshmallow heaven, with no pain,
My dearest one, I give my humble bow
to you; my every tear will turn to rain.

Your presence gives me strength to carry out
Your legacy lives on, you soothe my doubts.


Your legacy lives on, you soothe my doubts
Your little girl will carry on the torch;
Deserving you is what my life's about,
I'd like a tea with you on Heaven's porch.
You told me I should live, and here I am
between New York and Vegas all the time
The scrapers of Manhattan, Hoover Dam,
I decorate the two in sage and rhyme.

But Vegas wins the heart of me for sure,
I fell in love with its exotic charm.
The canyons, mountains make me feel secure,
This town will never let me come to harm.
I chose Las Vegas, mother, hope you're fine
with my inane desire to move back West -
I feel this city is intensely mine,
beneath its red rock mountains I am blessed.

The carousel of life could be such fun
My life began when I was twenty one.

The Crown of Heroic Sonnets III contest entry


In loving memory of my mother, the great treasure of my life, my inspiration and my light.

For you, beloved, on Mother's Day. You are always in my thoughts in my prayers; your blessed presence keeps me alive. I look for the time when we'll be together again, always.

The Crown of heroic sonnets is a sequence of seven heroic sonnets usually addressed to one person. It is concerned with a single theme and each sonnet explores a different aspect of the theme and is linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as its first line and by having its final line be the first line of the succeeding sonnet. The first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet thereby bringing the sequence to a close.

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