Face Mask, not for others

Face Mask, not for others

The flock of gulls at the parking lot,
one wearing a face mask around her neck,
not a souvenir from a day’s trip;

she doesn’t even know how she got it,
nor does she care for it, even annoying.
She’s seen them on humans’ faces
that make her blush to see it on her?

Someone, please take this off me,
she pleads to the clouds
that seem to laugh at her.
Passing wind only try to snap it loose.

©Byung A. Fallgren

Charles Bertram Johnson

by Charles Bertram Johnson

All day the clouds
Grow cold and fall;
And soft the white fleece shrouds
Field, hill and wall;
And now I know
Why comes the snow:
The bare black places lie
Too near the sky.

“Snow” appeared in the Crisis XXI, No 2, December 1920.
Mr. Johnson was born in Callado, Missouri in 1880. He is
the author of the poetry collection, Song’s of My People
(The Corn Hill Company, 1918) among others. He worked
as a teacher and became part of the ministry.

The New Year’s Morning Owl

The New Year’s Morning Owl

At dawn, the little green house sleeps
by the big pine tree, in the corner
of the lazy back yard.
Woo-woo, woo-woo, a message from

the deep voice before vanishing.
And I wonder what the message is about; with
the ghost of the year gone still float round;

with the son still recovering from
the surgery, like a tree with a broken limb;
with the pandemic yet to disappear;
with the world still in the deep thoughts
of sea, of the unresolved;
might as well it be some good news:
the son and the world will not only rebound
but prosper in the new year.
The owl hoots again, unseen.

©Byung A. Fallgren

The Big Brother

The Big Brother

He came home across the ocean,
after years of separation from Mom.
He is small for his age twelve,
even shorter than the younger brother.
He has bright eyes and speaks in soft,
broken English.

His new dad is kind to him;
his little brother also nice;
his mom is all smiley to see him.
It is perfect as he hoped.

It begins to change as his life has been:
his mom’s voice would rise at his slow progress
of English or at his untidy room.
Sometimes, blue marks appear on his arm.
His little brother would call him from the bathroom,
“I need you, Adam. Clean my bottom.”
Who would’ve guessed this becomes one of
his routine chores?

The boy rolls up his eyes; he’s not sure
how long he can take this.
He doesn’t want to go back to his past either;
No way he’d go back to the poor home oversea.
He’d rather endure all of these;
he is learning the irony of life.
All of these, he wonder, worthwhile to look back
and smile someday?

A bird sings at his window, “Let it be, let it be.”

©Byung A. Fallgren

Walter de la Mare

by Walter de la Mare

Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Someone came, and kissed me there. Kikiki kissed kisseme there.

Tired I was; my head would go
Nodding under the mistletoe,
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
No footsteps came, no voice, but only
Just as I sat there, sleepy, lonely,
Stooped in the still and shadowy air
Lips unseen –and kissed me there.

“Mistletoe” appeared in Down-Adown-Derry:
A Book of Fairy Poems (Constable & Company, 1922).
Walter de la was born on April 25, 1873, in London.
He is the author of numerous books, including The Listeners
and others. He died June 22, 1956.

It is a day after Christmas, a bit late for this poem but it is still December,
so, I suppose it is still okay.


Peril in the Neglecting Infrastructure

Peril in the Neglecting Infrastructure 

The man cautioned, when you have to stay 
in a hospital
leave as quickly as possible.
High cost of hospital bill? 
I asked.
That too, but…
Once I had a surgery for kidney stone, he said.
By the time I was ready to leave the hospital,
I got flue that gave me high fever,
which made me suffer from
the unexpected illness as well.
Watching my son on the hospital bed
the warning that the man gave me
gnawed at my nerve.
I found out what the man meant.
The orderly came in my son’s room and
began to work. My eyelids fluttered as he sloshed
a small towel in the toilet water, wringed it,
and wiped the stain on the floor and the bedside table.
I was about to explode in disgust. But
the word was caught in the throat, lest he got
embarrassed or he might do more harm
in revenge during the night when my son was alone.
Hospital orderly, restaurant food servers,
people who work at the base level
should be treated as important as the top ones,
need to be trained
to do their job sanitarily and
It was five-thirty p.m., visiting hour’s end.
I didn’t want to leave my son alone
all the night,
but I had to follow the hospital’s rule. 

©Byung A. Fallgren