Dancing to the Idol

In the feverish night
we danced barechested
round the bonfire
drums throbbed the rhythm
our painted faces
chanting to the idol
we felt anything could happen

In the glaring morning
our brains throbbed
with hangovers
and the world looked the same

Yet we hoped the idol
would answer
our prayers of fame and riches

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Empty Boat

How many years
had Julie prayed for this?
Didn’t matter if Caleb
had slipped off the boat
or a monster octopus
pulled him under
the water.

The waves delivering
the empty fishing boat
to shore also delivered
freedom from the
demeaning yells
Julie had to endure
for most of her marriage.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

William Carlos Williams Stole My Plums

Photo of a wooden bowl containing several dark plums
by Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash

I bought the plums
at last Sunday’s
farmer’s market

then put them
in my fridge

I like them
sweet and cold

This morning
my eager hand
the fridge’s door

A blank spot
the shelf

where the plums
rested yesterday

I found 
Mr. Williams’s poem
on a
scrap of paper
on the 
kitchen counter

and now
I’m left
to think about

bitter disappointment

and the
possibility of forgiveness.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

The Poetry Foundation has the poem that inspired this one: “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams

Omeleto Films released the short film (7.5 minutes) Sorry, Not Sorry that has a darkly humorous take on the poem.

Fountain Wishes and Memories

The locals scurrying about
see it as a thing they’ve seen
a thousand times before.

The tourists gawking agog
see it as a charming thing
where they toss pennies
and silently make wishes,
shelving the experience
as one among many on their trips.

As I sit on the fountain’s ledge
I remember some
of the wishes I made
as she and I strolled by it
after dinners in restaurants.

And I wonder about the wishes
she made, as she
never told me any of them.

Those wishes evaporated
since she left,
leaving memories,
but at least I still have those.

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Book Stack

Illustration of girl sitting on a large stack of books, and she's reading a book.

Sylvie’s parents said,
“You should make a list
of all the books you read this summer,
so when school starts,
you can see how many books you’ve read.”
Sylvie thought that was a nice idea,
but instead of writing a list of books
(which sounded boring to her),
she decided to stack the books she read.

While reading,
Sylvie had adventures in fantasy lands,
fought evil dragons,
helped good dragons,
soared in a hot air balloon to a tropical island,
solved the mystery of a missing key,
flew to a space station near Jupiter,
went up secret stairs to a laboratory.
She stacked book upon book upon book,
making a tower in her bedroom.
Books she had received as presents,
books bought at bookstores and yard sales.

She climbed the stack,
worried as it wobbled,
and sat at the top to read each new book.
She liked looking down
at her bed and toys and chest of drawers,
seeing them from a giant’s point of view.

At summer’s end,
she didn’t bother counting the books in the stack,
as she just liked looking at the tall tower
and remembering the many adventures.

The illustration is available on T-shirts and other products on my Redbubble store.
copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Audio of 4 ‘Dancing Fish’ Poems

I dipped my toe into the audiobook world by narrating four poems from my book The Dancing Fish.

This is something I’ve wanted to try and see how it goes. A different way of experiencing the poems. At first recording (using my cell phone), I sounded dorky and stilted. Then practice, practice, practice. Until I sounded more natural. And narrating became more fun as I relaxed more.

The four poems that I read on the video are:

  • “The Dancing Fish”
  • “Popcorn Tree”
  • “Quirky Miss Q”
  • “Xob of Chocolates”

If you’d rather see the video on YouTube, click here. If you watch it, please remember that I’m not a professional audiobook narrator 🙂