Portait of Dirck van Os

Vita Brevis

Submitted by John Hicks

Portrait of Dirck van Os
Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1658, Oil on Canvas
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska

Patrician eyes, says the brochure.
I see introspective; reserved.
The right, dominant,

does not want to be here.
The left, canny, balancing
judgement. The clothes and

staff are of a man listening
to supplicants; a man who’s
filial duty keeps him here.

Your father, the merchant captain
built this town from his fortune.
Made you mayor. Others

were at sea, trading in the Indies,
seeking a new sea route to China,
exploring the New World.

You are here, posing
for Master Rembrandt.
You will always be here.


Photo Credit: Rembrandt – Portrait of Dirck van Os

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Renew

Vita Brevis

Submitted by Dorinda Duclos.

Soft is the twilight that lingers so calm

Reflections of beauty, becoming my balm

I breathe in, relax, reenergize my thoughts

Into the night, I can forever be lost

For this is the time, my time, to renew

And these are the visions I bring into view

Waters that flow, without causing a wake

The sky looking down, as one with the lake

Pastel, the colors that soften the day

This is the place my soul longs to stay


Photo credit: Caspar David Friedrich – Twilight at Seaside

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A Lost Prayer

Vita Brevis

Submitted by Walt Page: The Tennessee Poet.

I’m like a lost prayer
That’s carried away
By the cares of the day
But I will not welcome the end
I won’t walk through that door
I may be in denial
But I still can see
What’s been happening to me
I will find my own way
Like a lost prayer
That’s been carried away
On a butterscotch breeze
Along the lost prayer highway
I’m like a lost soul
Following a lost prayer
Knowing I’ll never find it
But not caring anymore
Because I have found myself


Photo credit: Leonardo da Vinci – Portrait of a Bearded Man

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A Touch of Summer

Vita Brevis

Submitted by Goff James.

Today I strolled
Along the city boulevard
Beneath the shining sun
Stitched in the spotless sky
Swept clean by Summer’s
Gentle fragrant breeze where
I met the world upon their feet
Stroll at ease along
The tree lined sidewalks
Hemmed with crumbling mansions
Secret shadowed gardens
And ornate spired churches

With the passing of the hours
Exhausted by such exertions
My thoughts a roving sought
A resting place to
Ease my hunger and my thirst
An oasis of blissful calm
A cafe-bar come patisserie
Hid out of sight and sound
Old fashioned decked
Sited at the corner of
A cobbled street
Caught my vagrant eyes

In the dappled shade
Of overhanging canopy where
Chairs and tables met the street
And smart attentive waiters
Hazed in morning smiles
Darted to and fro
Smothered in the
Flesh filled whispers
Shared by secret lovers
The latest social scandals

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EDITOR’S CHOICE: Jawbone: Homo sapiens

Vita Brevis

EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD: bringing our favorite previously-published poems back to the front page.

Submitted by Merril D. Smith

Almost 200,000 years ago
he hunted across the miles,
journeyed farther than his brothers–
an explorer,
a dreamer–
a man following fate
who lived
till he lived no more,
joining the dust of space
cycled through time–
lush green land
gradually turning desert brown–
and there,
his jawbone, open to the stars,
a monument.
His epitaph,
“eight teeth, one broken.”
Not living,
no longer here,
yet not completely gone.


Photo credit: Thomas Balfour (Tom) Garrett – Excavation

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EDITOR’S CHOICE: Eight Views of a Lego® Block

Vita Brevis

EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD: bringing our favorite previously-published poems back to the front page.

Eight Views of a Lego® Block after Wallace Stevens
Submitted by Peter Frankis

(i)
Among everything moving —
the gulls and the kelp lifting and again
or slumping on the sand in the early heat
Lego® is still.

(ii)
400 billion since Adam –
fecund almost exponential –
36,000 in the time it took to read this:
enough

(iii)
I found one on the beach this morning
battered
matt orange (was fire engine glossy)
abraded by the seabed as it abraded
faded by UV and salt as it imperceptibly
faded.

(iv)
lego is pig-Danish/Latin for put together
yet alone resembles a stone,
once part of the consumer spiral,
now the sedimentary cycle –
sand to stone to sand.

(v)
< 2 grams of
acrylonitrile
butadiene
styrene,
of forests buried, compressed and liquefied in hot rocks, tapped by

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