Browse the Book
A Collection of Poems
by Joyce Collins

ã2002 Truthteller Publishing

7th Edition, 1st Printing July 2003

All rights reserved

ISBN 0-9743024-0-6

Table of Contents

Numbered Poems (1st Line)
The wounded soul will heal with time 1
Time Served two the gem of joy 1
Life is not a closet 2
What a place this silence is 2
Belittle, belittle, belittle 4
Too much in my body 4
I love to be walked on 5
Such delight I find in him 5
Anger to pain is preferable 6
I'm driving, I'm driving 6
I mourn the soul I met last night 7
Sometimes I thrash with bitter stroke 7
God lays his quilt across the trees 8
Truth is price and purchase 9
I try to make her see it 9
Healing is an iterative process 10
Education is the lube 11
Alone in the desert 11
I shall send Reality to burn at your side 12
When my mother wore rose-colored glasses 12
Sometimes I feel soft, gentle 13
I long for the world where souls mate for life 14
Every deed both cruel and kind 14
I never thought to live in my house 15
We walk the fence of self-esteem 16
Sun at left, moon at right 16
My Father taught me plenty 17
On the anniversary of my death 18
Titled Poems
Graduation 23
Letting Go 23
Corollary 24
Rage 24
Sharing Tree 25
Haunted 27
Loneliness 27
Betrayal 28
The Soul 29
Gut Wound 29
Addiction 30
A Penny of Grace 32
Fear 33
Peace 33
Catholic 35
Sin-Sick Soul 38
The Truth About Cats 40



    I've been writing both poetry and prose since I was fifteen, nine if you count my short story in the fourth grade.  I am now in my mid thirties. Each poem is a snapshot in time of a soul immersed in one person's human experience, mine to be specific.

   Many of the poems describe extremely painful experiences and life-draining struggles.  This is because since I was a teenager, I've lived with and several times nearly died from the disease of depression. As is often the case with sufferers of depression, I've also been gifted with a sense of humor that has been a saving grace during those dark nights of the soul.

    I have two beloved cats, Remus and Romulus (yes, they're twins) who are the subject of a poem or two.  I am both a teacher and student of physics.  I love discovering and sharing the symbolic, multi-layered relationships this amazing science reveals.

    I am at the core a philosopher and truthteller.  This is what motivates me to write.  I have the proverbial "fire in the belly" to live intensely and authentically. I cannot not write.  I want to reach people the way other poets such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost have reached me.  I want to make a difference in the world and this is my gift to give.

Numbered Poems

~ 1 ~

The wounded soul will heal with time,
and find comfort in the right.
The fearful soul will never mend-
but grow more timid by the night.
No number of days will free its bonds,
for it will not bear the light.

Back to Table of Contents             


~ 2 ~

Time Served two the gem of joy -
each on mirrored plate.
One did hurry to capture the prize;
the other thought to wait.
Death saw naught but refracted light,
and at his plate did hiss.
Life, instead, cast aside the rock
and gazed into the face of  bliss.
See my visualization of this poem

Back to Table of Contents

~ 3 ~

Life is not a closet
from which we may choose an
emotion, disposition, or perspective.
It is more like a nanny,
who chooses from her own closet
what we shall wear that day

Back to Table of Contents

~ 4 ~

What a place this silence is-
I think I like it here.
There's nothing to remind me-
No consequence to fear.
I can almost say and do and be
all my heart desires.
And never face the certainty
that action soon requires.
I can walk the earth and never move
a single grain of sand.
What a place this silence is-
This almost living land.
Yes, I think I like it here-
I'm never going back.
Look! A tree to rest my bones
I think I'll take a nap.

~ 5 ~

Belittle, belittle, belittle
Become undone, be naught
Be little, be little, be little
Become, by one, be taught

~ 6 ~

Too much in my body,
too much in my bones,
too much in my sinew
to my spirit know

~ 7 ~

I love to be walked on,
to be treated like furniture,
to have my meals interrupted,
and my quiet time disturbed
by my cats

Walked On
See my visualization of this poem

~ 8 ~

Such delight I find in him.
In him my mate I see.
My soul is filled with longing
For words from silence free.
Alas, I'm trapped
he wears a ring.
His door is closed to me.

Back to Table of Contents  

~ 9 ~

Anger to pain is preferable -
Numbness better still.
Best of all, to bind them all,
and sugar coat the pill.

~ 10 ~

I'm driving, I'm driving
I don't care where
As long as my foot's on the pedal
and I can feel the throttle
as long as I swerve and feel the pull
the pull, the push, the sudden change
as long as I feel the sudden change,
the life force pulsing through my veins
as long as I feel alive

~ 11 ~

I mourn the soul I met last night.
With keenest eyes and poorest sight-
could see the stars but not the light.

~ 12 ~

Sometimes I thrash with bitter stroke
in a pool of discontent.
And then, my anger spent,
I dry myself on a rock of sadness
under a sky that has no sun.
I do these things and let them claim me
for they and I are one

Sometimes I Thrash
See my visualization of this poem

~ 13 ~

God lays his quilt across the trees
and paints the ground with its leaves.
Each bears the color of its fruit,
some flamboyant - others mute.
Orange orange and lemon yellow,
ruby red and golden mellow,
macintosh with  pumpkin patch,
deep plum pudding and a dash - pistachio.
And though my eyes can't drink their fill,
the season offers greater still.
Such sweet aroma fills my breath
to wake my primal union with my
soul and senses one and all.
I love thee, love thee, love thee, Fall!

See my visualization of this poem

~ 14 ~

Truth is price and purchase,
burden and relief,
and Passage from endless fear
to finite joy and grief.

Price and Purchase
See my visualization of this poem

~ 15 ~

I try to make her see it -
this wounded child of mine.
Nothing is as it was
There's no reason for the pain, but
she is deaf until I listen,
rigid until I yield, all -
consuming until I surrender,
lame until I bridge the gap
and walk it back again

~ 16 ~

Healing is an iterative process,
a progressive probing hex.
The first step is agony,
followed by a rest.
Successive steps improve by the delta
Agony - x

Back to Table of Contents  

~ 17 ~

Education is the lube
for the toughest knot to undo.
Common practice pulls it tight -
for people think
that people think
like they do.

See my visualization of this poem

Education1   education2   pencil   book

Back to Table of Contents  

~ 18 ~

Alone in the desert
I long to be free and scream out the pain.
But when I think of it,
I hold myself in.
The burning sensation
will only get worse if I let myself feel it--
the depth of my thirst.

~ 19 ~

I shall send Reality to burn at your side,
and illuminate the face Of illusion

~ 20 ~

When my mother wore rose-colored glasses,
the world was always fine.
And if it wasn't really that way,
it'd surely be it time.
But then one day she took them off --
much to my surprise.
But even more the shock
when I did come to find
She'd worn the lens for many eyes,
and one of them was mine.

Rose-Colored Glasses
See my visualization of this poem

~ 21 ~

Sometimes I feel soft, gentle,
like a slow stream flowing through my mind
I like to fill my ears with easy sounds,
easy sounds
I feel my skin and it is warm and kind -
Like a young child
And even though I cannot see my eyes,
I sense a gentle beauty that is reflected in them
Sometimes I feel soft

See my visualization of this poem

~ 22 ~

I long for the world where souls mate for life
and breath unmitigated truth.
Whose speech is unfettered by faces that lie
And life is not jaded by fear.

~ 23 ~

Every deed both cruel and kind
falls on fertile ground
and finds a mate to spawn again
'til kings of kings are crowned.
Tempt this does to measure worth
of praise or scarlet letter -
tally thorn and vine since birth
and sum the deeds together.
But all our deeds are potter's clay
at last if not at first.
None can take our worth away
or nullify our worst.

Every Deed
Every Deed
See my visualization of this poem

~ 24 ~

I never thought to live in my house,
to renovate the rooms
I only sought to get out
To live in something new
Ten times I left
Ten times I built
that house again the same
from breakfast nook to ceiling fan
from brick to window pane
In my rage, I tore it down -
stripped it to the frame,
and in the end, found myself out
through a door that opened in

See my visualization of this poem

Back to Table of Contents  

~ 25 ~

We walk the fence of self-esteem,
our faces toward the sun,
but never leaping there.
It's all we can do -
keep our feet on the beam,
And avoid the shadow's lair.

Back to Table of Contents  

~ 26 ~

Sun at left, moon at right
Flanked, the gargoyle sits
With hollow eye in oversight
And globe clenched in his fist
Two of the same hunch below
Each of them the lesser
Face each other eye to eye
All to see the better
With keys to hell hung on his tale
And wings but spread to fly
The gargoyle's post is guarded well -
No spirits dare come nigh

~ 27 ~

My Father taught me plenty
Although he doesn't know it
He taught myself to hate me
To love, but not to show it
My father taught me distance
And the judgement it implies
He taught me to fear weakness
And the consequence it buys
My father taught me doing
To from my feelings hide
It is from him I'm fleeing
Though he has long since died

~ 28 ~

On the anniversary of my death
I remember pain
Such as I had never known before
Such as I had never known possible
I remember betrayal
Such as I had never known at all
I remember my soul consumed by fire
Not yet a phoenix, but ashes
I remember this anniversary
Inconceivable and unwanted
loathed even
At the time
All this returns to me
All this is in the present
All this is in the past
On the anniversary of my death

Titled Poems


Music from the pit calls me forth.
With combination of push and pull
and consequence of decision
I move, it seems,
Always upward in my labor.
Then, one momentous pull.
My eyes fly open
to the overwhelming surge of noise -
The hoot and holler,
the whoop and warrior cry
The tears
of this horrible, wonderful event.

See my visualization of this poem

Letting Go

To cling to what I treasure,
and shun what I fear,
is not in itself the vice.
That lies within the blind I wear,
and the will to pay its price-
To never know the value
in the consequence I fear,
Or the detriment to life itself
of that which I hold dear.

Letting Go
See my visualization of this poem


Probability = Fear/Want

Back to Table of Contents 


I feel the strength in my arms
shooting out my fists.
Pummeling, Pummeling, Pummeling
until exhaustion relinquishes my mind
back to reason.
My eyes open and I see
what I have done.

Back to Table of Contents  

Sharing Tree

The Giving Tree I thought was good.
Now I see unhealthy wood.
It gave of self in rarest form,
yet reaped no love in return.
It gave and gave -til none was left,
save a stump - its one last gift.
And still the boy does not see
the value of the Giving Tree.
So when comes the very last page,
The boy is tired and worn with age.
Despite the tree's steadfast will,
the boy is old and unhappy still.
I wonder would things different be
If it had been a sharing tree.

Sharing Tree
See my visualization of this poem


By the memories
of what I saw
of what I did
of what I did nothing about
of guilt
of  shame
of horrible, horrible helplessness
and mine


Like a knock on a door
I cannot refuse to answer
It arrives, and I dread its coming--
its weight.
For there's no carrying this load,
Only bearing it -- Upright
Then falling to my knees,
-Til finally prostrate.
And still it stays and weighs
heavy on my back
Then goes, unannounced--
As it came.


Tell me, my love, what you loved more than me
so that I may understand
Tell me, my love, what you loved more than me
so that I may know you

The Soul

The soul is like a sphere whose radius extends
not in one direction, but all.
Bursting forth in equal proportion,
a great ball of light.
Though dressed in honor, she wears no airs,
For she sees with equal clarity Life's majesty
and absurdity-
Calling at once for both humble reverence
and hysterical laughter.

The Soul
See my visualization of this poem

Gut Wound

A dream dies -
mortally wounded by the acceptance of reality.
I ask it to go quietly
but it does not
it is a gut wound.
I cry out to God,
-Why are you? Why do you?-
Do this to me
But no answer comes.
After a time I alter my question.
-How do I find it?-
-In what form comes relief?-
Soon comes the answer,
In grief.
In grief.


Come on down!
Try your luck!
You know it's bound to change.
The past is past.
Don't look back.
You have so much to gain.
The game's the same
You know it well.
By now you are the best.
Just pick the time, the place, the face.
I will do the rest.
I guarantee consistency.
This game will end the same -
Time and time again.
This game will end the same you see -
Just for you my friend

A Penny of Grace

I went to the prayer box,
my soul hungry and nude.
And found a penny of grace
for shelter and food.
a penny of grace-
All I required,
had been left in the box
by someone inspired.
When I returned,
I dropped in a dime
For a needier soul
at a needier time.

The Soul
See my visualization of this poem


I carry it --
like luggage.
It is heavy and a burden
But I need it I think,
est I cast my lot completely --
in favor of joy


There is no hurry
There is no wait
There is no early
There is no late
I no longer seek distraction
from ever-present anxiety
There's no discomfort in the now -
It's not prickly like it used to be
I've no concern for the future
The past no longer drives me
Instead I float - as on a raft,
And let the river guide me.
My soul rejoices in this freedom
I breathe so ever easily
I know now that I belong
to a god who loves me dotingly

See my visualization of this poem


It has been years since I’ve been to mass.
I’m here now because my uncle is being installed as Pastor –
A kind of Catholic Change of Command ceremony
except the incumbent is absent
It’s a bilingual mass –
My first, but even the Spanish parts are familiar to me
The rhythm is the same
The responses are the same
And I know them
And speak them
Speak them with my own Pavlovian rhythm.
“…praise be to the Lord”
I look around the church, noticing its architecture
“In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”
its stain glass windows
“We believe in one holy Catholic apostolic church…”
its decorations
“Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.”
I think about the concept of fearing God,
of begging his mercy for our transgressions.
It seems absurd to me. This is not the God I know
“Lord, Hear our prayer”
I look at the Communion hosts
They look like Rice Chex and I lean over
to my mother to tell her so
She is not amused
“Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.”
I sneeze
I wait for the inevitable second one,
but it does not come
“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed”
This time I listen but do not say the words
My silence is a rejection of this self-deprecation,
of the concept of a God who demands it.
“…and also with you”
It is time for the Eucharist
“It is right to give him thanks and praise”
It is a symbol to me
Not a transfiguration
Not an actual presence
I don’t like being dishonest and it feels dishonest
to take Communion when I don’t believe
But I don’t want to upset my grandmother, so I go
Afterwards, I kneel in the pew
My knees hurt
There was a time I would have ignored the pain -
a time when I was Catholic
when I believed it my duty
not to allow any distraction
Not now. I sit back in the seat.
My uncle speaks the final words,
“This mass has ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”
I respond, “Amen. Amen. Amen.”

See my visualization of this poem

Sin-Sick Soul

Sometimes whisper, Sometimes shout
Always fear, Always doubt
This voice inside I can't block out
To the world I show a face
Of confidence, Of poise and grace
These things are real, But only part
What's in my soul, What's in my heart
If I don't edit, They'll find out
Confirm my shame and my doubt
Once again I'll hide my face
I'll be put back in my place
Who am I to ask so much?
For love, affection, Human touch|
To happiness I have no right
Cease my song - Put out my light
Who I am is an offense
Is the message I receive
Despite opposing evidence,
That's the message I believe


The Truth About Cats

Don't let them fool you.  Cats are nocturnal creatures.
If you don't believe me, just look at their features.

Those almond-shaped eyes that glow in the dark,
And see not the color - but the heat of their mark.

Those nimble ears that let them catch in one bound,
the bird in the tree and the mouse on the ground.

Oh yes, they'll cuddle beside you on top of your pillow,
and present themselves the perfect bedfellow.

But just after midnight, long before dawn,
they will awaken with an innocent yawn.

Soon you will find a paw in your eye,
a tail in your mouth and a nose in your thigh.

Regret you will letting them stay
You'll be up all night and all the next day

But they will be napping, catching their winks
while you are consuming caffeinate drinks.

So harden your heart and put them out.
I speak from experience. Have no doubt.

Oh,and one more thing -

If one should approach you during the night,
And touches your skin with purrs of delight,

Take heed to know where your hand places.
Cats show their asses as oft as their faces.

Truth about Cats
See my visualization of this poem

Back to Table of Contents