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Chapter and Verse [MultiFormat]
eBook by Barri Bryan

eBook Category: Mainstream EPIC eBook Award Winner
eBook Description: Chapter and Verse has one theme--love. Yet there is diversity within that unity, both in form and substance. The poems run in length from a few short lines to several verses. The rhyme schemes are many and varied. The subject matter addresses the charm, the mirth, the drama, the chivalry, the bliss, the gravity, and the mystery of love. Each poem speaks directly to the heart with its symmetry of ideas and its eloquent development of thought. Each one is finely wrought, well crafted, and easily unfolded. But the book's overall appeal lies in its poignant simplicity. It is imbued with a charm that points without emphasis and a beauty that transports as it inspires.

eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, Published: 2004
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2004

1 Reader Ratings:
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"I found myself making very light pencil marks next to the titles I enjoyed most for quick reference later. Personally, my favorite is titled So Sew, but there are so many wonderful poems that it is hard to pin point only one. A perfect five star collection!"--Detra Fitch, Huntress Book Reviews

Chapter and Verse

Love unrequited? I've known that state.
Love unreturned? I've lived that fate.
A dogma of sorrow, nothing is worse,
I can cite the chapter and verse.

Passion departed? I've walked that road.
Passion withdrawn? I've carried that load.
Like falling from heaven, there's no greater curse.
I can cite the chapter and verse.

Promises shattered? My tragedy.
Pledges broken? My Gethsemane.
A scripture of torment, wicked, perverse.
I can cite the chapter and verse.

Split Second

I came back because. . .
On the end of a pause,
Came a tear and a
Whispered sigh.

I need to explain. . .
Can we start again?
I don't want to
Say goodbye.

In the silent span
That is given a man
To think, and
Then decide

That split-second decision,
His open derision
Was governed by
Foolish pride.

Then his no came with haste,
His answer was laced
With a thread of
Cold disdain.

How could he know
Years would come and go
Leaving traces of
Careless pain?

How certain was he
That surely she
Would return in a day
Or so.

Then she walked away,
And their little day,
Slipped away, as he let
Her go.

In a moment's space,
One heartbeat's race,
He could have called
Back fate.

That lingering pause,
That wait without cause,
Between forever
Too late.


I have shoved and stormed, and threatened,
I have begged and implored and cajoled.
I have searched to find a hiding place,
I can't escape your hold.

I have sent you away in iron bonds.
I have locked you out of my sight.
You return like a chaotic nightmare.
Leaving me shaken with fright.

Where is the chain that can bind you?
The dungeon with shackles and rack?
The pillory to prosecute?
Until I walk without looking back.

Where do I run to escape you?
Tell me, how far must I flee?
To banish the stalking presence
Of a haunting memory?


A sense betrayed brings to my mind
The trace of a last goodbye,
Then my heart beats slow with sorrow,
And my lips repress a sigh.

I have learned to live with sadness,
And intermittent woe
That chooses deficient moments
To silently come and go.

The granite tilt of a stranger's jaw,
A melody snagged from the air,
The sudden scent of lilacs
Hands touch, and I am there,

Back in the same old memory,
That flickers across my mind
And pulls me into the shadows
Of another place and time.

With a sudden shift of transport
That shatters my practiced repose,
And leaves me dazed and shaken
As your memory comes, then goes.

Should I count it as a blessing,
Or condemn the dissolute waste,
That lingering savor of lost love
With its bittersweet aftertaste?


They were dead
Before they were said,
Words that were my token,
And only the mime
Of passing time
Grieves that they never were spoken.


In the wake of passion's ecstasy,
You think you love what you hold and see.
At the end of a psalm, a revelation,
You are set to make a declaration.

Before you speak to this entity,
Behold, for what you think is me,
Is only a part of a larger being--
An identity beyond your seeing.

I am not just bright and sensuous fire,
A flame that you hold in the heat of desire.
I am a being of quiet contention,
Who resides, in part, in another dimension.

No soul is allowed beyond the gate
That protects my Eden. That estate
Is guarded by a spinning sword of flame,
And a cherubim who has no name.

Before you doubt this duality,
Deny this second part of me,
I confess another aberration;
I am three, this third creation

Questions, demands, dominates,
The love in me, and always berates,
Anything more that passion's brief glow.
I am three in one, I think you should know.

So review, then revise your epiphany,
Consider the curse of a flawed trinity
Of love and hate, ardor and woe.
Overlaid with guilt that won't let go.

Then let afterglow fade to reality,
And file our affair in your memory.
Now and then, when you reminisce
Dim with faint praise this moment of bliss.

Winged Flight

Little by little it inched away
Our brief time, our tiny day.
Measured in intervals so minute
That delay became our swift dispute.

One by one the hours were spent
Morning and evening came and went.
The luster of midday faded to night.
Light and love winged their flight.


The sweetest sound I ever heard
Was a tacit pledge that said not a word,
Reinforced with a trembling sigh.

The saddest quiet to my ears
Heard through the mist of repentant tears,
Your silence that was goodbye.


Where have you been, oh love of my life?
Your absence extended has been.

Just down the roadway, my dear little wife,
At the home of a sick ailing friend, a friend,
At the home of a sick ailing friend.

You stayed so long there, oh love of my life
Why such a continued delay?

I would have come sooner, my dear little wife,
But detours were placed in my way, my way,
But detours were placed in my way.

I saw those roadblocks, oh, love of my life,
As I journeyed along that straight lane.

You do understand then, my dear little wife,
You know my affliction, my pain, my pain,
You know my affliction, my pain.

They only impeded, oh, love of my life,
My progress toward hearth and sweet home.

But you are the strong one, my sweet little wife,
I have this weak urge to roam, to roam,
I have this weak urge to roam.

You have returned now, oh, love of my life,
With your hat in your hand, at my door.

I seek forgiveness, my dear little wife,
And pardon like always before, before
And pardon like always before.

What will you do then, oh love of my life,
When I tell you that you cannot stay?

Vow my allegiance to you, my dear wife,
Forever, and then for a day, a day,
Forever and then for a day.

And should I listen, oh, love of my life,
To yet another sweet lie?

Please believe me, my sweet little wife,
I don't want a hasty goodbye, goodbye,
I don't want a hasty goodbye.

Then say hello, oh love of my life,
To the long road that stretches afar.

If I must travel, my sweet little wife,
Will you leave your front door ajar, ajar,
Will you leave your front door ajar?

You are no longer the love of my life,
Turn away, turn away from my gate.

If I must leave you, my dear little wife,
I will accept my sad fate, my fate,
I will accept my sad fate.

You could rest a moment, ex-love of my life
The sun in the west has sunk low.

How kind you are, my sweet little wife.
I'll rest a spell, then I'll go, I'll go,
I'll rest a spell, then I'll go.


Across the decades, it calls me
Echoing down through the years,
Faint as a faltering whisper,
How clearly it rings in my ears.

A lyrical enchantment,
Serenade under the moon.
Melody made and then broken.
A love song that faded too soon.

Then and Now

Then I was young
And so naive,
My head in the clouds,
My heart on my sleeve.

How long has it been
Since I was she
Who believed in
Vain possibility?

Now with altered perception
Tell me how do I cope?
When I find no mean in between
Desperation and hope.

Copyright © 2004 by Billie Houston

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