Riches and Rhymes

The Poetry and Writing of Janis Gaines

Month: July, 2012


I don’t wanna let go,
Not yet —
Would be a shame to just toss
The headlines away,
Though there’s a new one every day.
You never know what to believe —
Who’s to say the truth?
Some moments are timeless —
“Kennedy Is Killed By Sniper”
“Men Walk on Moon”
And the day I said, “I Love You”
When I said goodbye on the steps
And kissed your lips.
You laughed with a smile
At the little slip of love
That the paparazzi should have caught
And sold for millions
Only I would turn and face the camera
To make sure they caught
My best side —

I’m not ready to wrap the trinkets
In some scrap
Of wornout news.

© July 24, 2012
Asheville, NC


Do You Want Me to Bleed?

Do you want me to bleed?
It’s too late for that.
My blood has already been spilled
A thousand times
For every thing I believed in.
I offered my heart and soul
As a shield
To every demon
Who ever stalked your place.
I faced the darkness
So you would never know fright.
I took the haunting
So you could play in the light.
I stretched my arms wide
On the beams of wood
And took every strike
And I would do it again
And again and again.

See, I have written your name
With my own blood
On my own heart and hands
And on every white wall I can find
Just to scream the truth
That my love for you
Will never die.

How can you not know?
Do you still want me to bleed?

© July 17, 2012
Asheville, NC

Like Petrified Wood

Our love is frozen in time
Like petrified wood
Once alive and breathing
Now lifeless and dead,
Though it still shines a strange light
That makes me believe in God.
The earthquakes came
And the floods rose high
And the piles of debris buried
All the tender, precious things.
Time plays an evil trick
That has its own wry beauty.
And now it’s a collector’s item
Or perhaps just driftwood
Found by the shore in the hands of a small kid.
The memories are solid and yet
Echo throughout every wavy line.
The scientists wonder what it’s made of,
The investors debate and try to put a price on it,
And the school boy sets it up high on a shelf.
But only I know its true worth —
I was there when the seed broke ground
And rings grew around the trunk;
The bark was pliable in my fair hands.
I can still see the grand tree
And all it was meant to be
Before it became stone.

You can place any bid —
Only I will sleep with it
Tucked under my pillow.

© July 16, 2012
Asheville, NC

Let’s Take the Long Way

Let’s take the long way
Around the park this last time.
Say goodbye to the morning glory
And the blue bird perch
And Mrs. Robinson’s perfect porch.
Remember the kind man
Who always helped the old lady in 309
With her snappy dogs and growly face.
See the summer pool
With its clear memories
Of happy girls and a splash of good times.
Pass the window
Where evil snuck in and snuck out
And the hill where Brandy
Would always make a clean break,
The secret corner where Vodka is buried
And the trail where the homeless dog foraged for food.
Wave goodbye to Chuck and his sweet family
Lisa, who asked you to stay,
And the policeman who came by a time or two.
Don’t forget the rowdy boys upstairs
Who would rollerblade on the kitchen floor,
Or the worn path through the woods,
Or the man who would read books
Late at night — just like you.
Hold on to the hope of Jane Eyre
When the butterfly landed on your shoulder,
And the lovely little Russian girl
Who always made you smile,
And the young soldier who went off
To fight his own battles —
Until it’s time to retrace your steps
And head home
Where there will be no need
To leave your shoes
At the door.

*** Vodka and Brandy are family pets.

© July 11, 2012
Flowery Branch, GA

Forged in the Fire

Forged in the fire with iron and steel
My soul has been fashioned to hold what is real
Burning and turning with this one desire
To capture love’s fire

Forged in the fire with silver and gold
The flame has a secret that yearns to be told
If you must follow your heart’s desire
You must learn to dance in the fire

Forged in the fire with jewels and stones
My flesh has been burned right down to the bone
And the spirit that rises will bear Thy name
As my heart beats with the flame

Forged in the fire of passion and pain
The song of my soul has been loss, has been gain
And all that is holy is all that remains
As I pass through the flame

Forged in the fire of sorrow and loss
My heart’s only hope is the hope of the cross
Believing that Jesus has died for me
His love has set me free

In the heat of the moment our two souls are one
Destiny’s victor and faith’s work is done
I’ve seen the lion; I’ve seen the lamb
This is who I am

© June 24, 2000
Indianapolis, IN

***inspired by Luke 3:16

Have You Seen

Have you seen the way he looks at me?
Have you ever heard the story
Of what his love has done for me?
If you’ve not seen or heard
Listen to my words
Jesus loves me

And how my heart beats just to hear his name
And to feel his touch — my life will never be the same
He is the love of my life
And I’m going to be His wife
For all eternity

© Date Unknown
mid-1990s, probably Nashville, TN

He Set Eternity in My Heart

He set eternity in my heart
He placed my destiny within
Lo, before I was born
He knew the beginning from the end

My soul doth magnify the Lord
For my victory is sure
When I thought all was lost
He reminded me of the cross

Oh hallelujah to the Lamb
He is the mercy of God
Come and let him lift you up
This is his holy act of love

© December 1998
Atlanta, GA

Faith is Believing

Faith is believing
That God is who He says He is

He is love
He is peace
He’s a shelter
He knows our needs

Faith is believing
That God is who He says He is

He’s a lion
He is a lamb
He is faithful
He is I AM

© Date Unknown
mid-1990s, probably Nashville, TN

Bless the Lord

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
And let all that is within me praise His name

Forget not all His benefits
His healing touch and forgiveness
He redeems my life back from the pit
And crowns me with His love

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
And let all that is within me praise His name

Forget not all His mercies
Our Lord performs righteous deeds
He satisfies with good things
And crowns me with His love

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
And let all that is within me praise His name

Put away doubt and unbelief
I shall walk in victory
For Jesus Christ has died for me
And crowned me with His love

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Bless the Lord, oh my soul
And let all that is within me praise His name

© Date Unknown
mid-1990s, Nashville, TN

**Inspired by Psalm 103

From Eden to Canaan

Adam was the first man
Eve was his wife
Cain killed his brother Abel
With a pocket knife

Noah built a great big ark
When God sent the flood
Abram sacrificed his son
But Isaac shed no blood

Jacob has a twin brother
And twelve sons of his own
Joseph was one of these
And soon he ruled the throne

Moses was a leader
From Egypt they escaped
Joshua marched around Jericho
Only Rahab escaped

© Date Unknown
written in fifth grade, probably 1980-81
Atlanta, GA