Riches and Rhymes

The Poetry and Writing of Janis Gaines

Month: May, 2013

I Have Sat; I Have Writ

In this darkened hall of my private study
I position myself squarely
In the wheel of time
Ready to face the doubters,
The disbelievers, the daydreamers.
I surround myself with wisdom
And the muted voices of great learned men
Who have lived before me —
Their intellectual cogs canonized in books
Lining the walls of my mind
And the slow rails of mankind.
I have sat; I have writ
I’ve divined a few mysteries of the ages.
I now add my pages.
This small portion I record
Here on a paper tablet,
A too temporal truth
Echoed in this magical metallic piece
On the table before me —
My chronograph
Where the world can now keep
A better watch


© May 31, 2013
Black Mountain, NC


Give Me the Flame Life

Give me the flame life…


© Summer 2012
Asheville, NC

Wine Has A Whisper

Wine has a whisper…listen.

red wine glass

© Summer 2012
Asheville, NC

Magic Glasses

I have magic glasses
They enable me to see
Bright white rainbow light
And love surrounding me.

They filter out the darkness
In what I see and hear.
When faith, hope, and love abound
Life looks crystal clear.

So if your world seems dull,
Full of black and brown and blue,
Don’t believe a bit of it
Or call a false thing true.

Find your magic glasses
And you will surely see:
The blot was in your lenses
And not reality.


© May 25, 2013
Asheville, NC

la valla da ton

The Validation

Ah sha
Ka la na ma ah
Idia ah la ma ka
Isha ah
Ana ko oh lodo bo ah
Fa sha
Ah ka ma ania ah sha ta
Oh sho oh to kia ah na
Akia ah la ma na
Idia ah ishi ka
Hadia ah la oh ishi ki ah
Ah ma ah fu sha ta
Onia ah papa sha la a na
Ha ka pa ah
La na
Iah na so lo omma
Ka sha
Lo vollo anna bo la
Mm nia isha
La valla da ton


© May 23, 2013
Asheville, NC

I Didn’t Know What to Say

I didn’t know what to say
So I just… danced


© May 22, 2013
Asheville, NC

Etching Away

Like a forgotten prisoner
In a foreign jail
Who spends a prime decade
In a dank, musty cell
With nothing to do but scrape
At the wall of injustice
And dream of escape

So I, too, spent the better years of life
Etching away
At humanity’s dark edges
With a dull blade of want,
Slowly tunneling my way to the truth.
Somehow through the cracks
I saw a hint of knowing light within.

In time
I created this sacred space.
Like Michelangelo
Who sees heroes in marble slab,
The form is hidden there
Destined to die
Until the sculptors, the painters,
The Rodin thinkers and Renaissance masters
Are set free.

Some build castles for kings,
Yet I have hollowed out
This hallowed hall
Just for you.


***artwork by my favorite River Arts District artist Cassie Ryalls

© May 21, 2013
Asheville, NC

Bearing Witness

I sat quietly beside you
In heavy stillness —
Bearing witness.

You didn’t say a word,
Didn’t need to,
And yet some loud pain
Off the hard rocks and knocks
Of some deep cavern within,
Like the hollow gong
Of a grandfather clock.

I felt everything you needed to say
But wouldn’t.
My heart rattled up a storm
As the truth clashed and thrashed
Like blind lightning,
Searing my brain
In some tall tidal wave of grief
That drowns me.

And yet you seem to breathe

I looked for a limb of hope,
For something to erase —
To hush the elemental lies
All out of place.
You play deaf and dumb,
But I can see the weathered lines
All over your face.

I sat next to you
In disabled belief

You walk with wind and fire
In a state of grace.

And finally you spoke
With a singular refrain.
Taking wine and bread from the table,
You said, “Have a taste.”


© May 16, 2013
Asheville, NC

There Is A Place

There is a place called Jerusalem
Where I have put my name
And every good and precious thing

There is a place called Jerusalem
Where I’ve prepared a place for you
And love is all you have to do

There is a place called Jerusalem
Where I have given you my best
And your heart can be at rest


© May 5, 2013
Asheville, NC