By Douglas J. Lanzo
Lands of the Western Ghats – Reservoir of Life
Rain-soaked sanctuary of monsoon mountains bursting with exotic life tucked in Himalayan foothills many miles from urban strife; Rich with songs of sunbird coloring morning mists yellow, crimson and blue through rhododendron flowers perched on leaves dipped in dew; Ringing with primate calls as lion-tailed macacques traverse lush canopy with passionate mating cries from atop tall kapok tree; Resounding with fresh sound of waterfalls plunging as Godavari River pours through ancient temple baths with power that restores; Resonating with each step of Indian elephant herds as they forage through the glade to banks of mud-rich marsh to cool in bamboo shade; Radiating striped majesty of Bengal tigers on the prowl stalking spotted chital deer at precious waterholes poised to pounce without fear; Roamed by water buffalo wallowing in lilied swamps crowned by white egrets riding crescent horns at mud-baths without regrets; Restored by fists of clouds from the Arabian Sea lands of the Western Ghats astound with variety unparalleled on earth in life’s diversity.
Land of Patagón
Dedicated to the memory of Carlos MacWilliams, friend and colleague born and raised in Patagonia
Patagón, ancient land of giants towered by Andean peaks, uplifted by tectonic forces, ground by massive glaciers and battered by Cape Horn’s fury; where windswept plains stripped of fertile soils bear wingless beetles that crawl lest winds divert their path to sea and armadillos bore through stony soil with armored resolve; where brutal mountain winters witness Andean condors scanning plains for frozen sheep and thick-skinned guanaco shivering in deep-mountain snow stalked by bright-eyed puma; where tempestuous shores lure dashing penguins to body surf ashore and follow rocky paths to breed and nest in rugged hillsides and elephant seal rivals to storm ashore to wage prodigious battles for awaiting harems until the vanquished bleeds out to sea and victor bellows triumph; where advancing sheets of glacial ice cast centuries of compressed mass plunging into ocean depths and carve a jagged latticework of deep fjords with dazzling ice-blue hues; where peaceful scenes of sheep pastured under watchful gaze of gaucho horsemen are interrupted by the specter of volcanoes spewing liquid fire and molten ash into ice-gray bands of sky; where a tapestry of beauty woven into the extremes of fire, thunder and ice amidst a land of intrigue, danger and wonder leaves humanity and wildlife alike, breathless… Patagón.
John Lewis – A True Moral Compass
“We still have many bridges to cross.” Former U.S. Congressman, John Lewis
Moral compass of the nation, towering civil rights pioneer, a small man of giant stature, who fought injustice without fear. Confronted with violence, he peacefully protested; Faced with bigotry, he shamed with love; Wrongfully jailed, he championed freedom; Scarred by segregation, he led the freedom rider cause; Beaten unconscious and left for dead, he preached redemptive suffering; Skull fractured by a State Trooper, he forgave his attacker. Counseled to be complacent, he espoused righteous action; His vote suppressed, he championed suffrage for all citizens; Told to acquiesce to white rule, he led black Americans to the Promised Land as Civil Rights legend and 17-term Congressman; Instructed to take his place at the back of the line, he walked side by side with Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. in the March on Washington, assuming his rightful place as one of America’s greatest and most beloved Civil Rights leaders. May John Lewis rest in peace and dignity, just as he led us in peace and dignity to champion causes greater than ourselves, re-calibrating the moral compasses of all Americans.
Blessings of The Miracle of the Sun and the Lady of Fátima
Blessed are we that Mary, Mother of God, revered Lady of Fátima and messenger of atonement, yearning for peace, revealed herself to three most modest and innocent children, devout cousins, shepherds herding sheep in their families’ fields among rocky outcroppings outside the modest city bearing her name and tiny hamlet of Aljustrel, Portugal; Instructing Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta Santos, children ten, eight and seven years of age, to pray the rosary, do penance and make reparation in order for peace to return to 1917 Europe and for the souls of many, including authorities plundering churches and masses suppressing religion and rejecting faith in the First Republic of Portugal to be saved; Appearing in brilliant and unfathomable beauty six times to the faith-filled and obedient children, inspiring and strengthening them to defy their own parents, the Church and the mayor of the First Republic, who interrogated, publicly ridiculed and ordered them to renounce the apparition and admit an elaborate fabrication, to the point of imprisoning them until freed once they despaired of finding a shred of evidence of any lie; Promising a miracle in answer to Lúcia’s request for one that could be beheld by the masses congregating with them in the fields each month and delivering the Miracle of the Sun through her beloved Son one dark and stormy day to 70,000 drenched and astonished souls gathered together outside Fátima, who witnessed and experienced something so beautiful, terrifying and devoid of human explanation that the Church officially declared it a miracle and canonized Francisco and Jacinta in a rare instance of non-martyred children becoming saints; On that day of torrential downpours, the third such consecutive day, the clouds suddenly separated, revealing a huge disk of fire against a backdrop of clear blue sky that could be beheld without discomfort to their observing eyes; Spinning and seeming to loose itself from the firmament, the Sun became larger, approaching the earth in a palpably warm and fiery splendor that threatened to crash into the crowds while flinging brilliant colors that radiated to the earth and reflected upon their awestruck faces, which movements and dazzling radiation repeated itself three times over the course of ten minutes until the sun reversed course and assumed its normal place in the heavens; Utterly astounded by what they had beheld and relieved that they had not been incinerated in a massive ball of fire signaling the end of the world, the massive crowd, which included believers and non-believers alike, laughed with amazement, shouted with joy and wept with relief, all questioned corroborating the account to subsequent investigators; Blessed is humankind to have witnessed such an awesome spectacle of God’s miraculous power and to have lived to tell the tale, and blessed are we that through Mother Mary’s intercession, in fulfillment of her prophesy, peace soon returned to Europe, with soldiers reuniting with their families the following October; Bittersweet, also as prophesied by Mother Mary, the precious children, Francisco and Jacinta, perished in 1918 from influenza but reunited with Jesus and Mary in heaven, with Lúcia remaining to spread Mary’s message of peace and atonement on earth, as Mary had told the disappointed child, stating that though Lúcia would not reunite with Mary for many years, Mary would always be with her throughout her life, which God had ordained to be a long one; Consistent with Mary’s prophesy, Lúcia survived the Spanish Influenza, World War II and the fulfillment of all of Mary’s prophesies for a total of another 87 years until the most devoted and remarkable Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart, declared a Servant of God by the Church, reunited with her beloved cousins, Mother and her heavenly Father in Heaven.
Hillsides of Everest
Rain-swept hillsides with vistas white, with snow-capped peaks, casting sunlight; Where Ladakh boys roam wooly sheep, guarded with fire during their sleep; Where prayer wheels spin in mountain heights, from temples steeped in Buddhist rites; Foraged by bears for honeycomb, in valleys green flowers call home; Prowled by leopards stalking blue sheep, blending with rocks in hillsides steep; Carved by pure streams filling their beds, with monsoon rains, then poppy reds; Soared by eagles on currents high diving for prey where herons fly; Trekked by brave souls seeking acclaim, who either die or find their fame, scaling the peaks of Everest, may those perished find peaceful rest.
As a prolific emerging poet, Douglas J. Lanzo has been blessed to have had 181 of his haiku, senryū, tanka, traditional and free verse poems find homes since 2020 in 44 literary publications across 10 countries on 5 continents, including in the U.S., Austria, England, Wales, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, Mauritius and The Caribbean. These diverse publications include Academy of the Heart and Mind, Akitsu Quarterly, Ancient Paths Online, Ariel Chart, Asahi Haikuist Network’s haiku column published in The Asahi Shimbun, The Bamboo Hut, Bear Creek Haiku, Better Than Starbucks, Cafe Haiku’s upcoming 2021 Poetry Anthology, The Caribbean Writer, cattails, Chrysanthemum, Cold Moon Journal, Current Accounts, Down in the Dirt Magazine, The Drabble, Failed Haiku, 50 Haikus, Frogpond, Grand Little Things, Haiku Journal, Haikuniverse, Literary Yard, Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, The Pangolin Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Penwood Review, Plum Tree Tavern, Poetry Pea, Presence Haiku Journal, Red Eft Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Society of Classical Poets Journal, Studio, Take 5ive Journal, Three Line Poetry, Time of Singing, tsuri-dōrō, Vita Brevis’ 2021 Poetry Anthology Brought to Sight & Swept Away, Vita Brevis’ upcoming 2022 Poetry Anthology, Vita Brevis Press Poetry Magazine, Wales Haiku Journal, WestWard Quarterly, Wild Violet and The Zen Space. Besides have been the featured writer in WestWard Quarterly and a runner-up in The Society of Classical Poets’ Best of 2020 Haiku Competition, Lanzo is especially pleased to have had poetry included in Vita Brevis Press’ best-selling 2021 Poetry Anthology, Brought to Sight & Swept Away and have forthcoming publications in its 2022 Poetry Anthology as well as in Cafe Haiku’s upcoming Fifth Poetry Anthologyand to have had his first novel, The Year of the Bear, accepted for publication by an international publisher.
Although Lanzo has never relinquished the lawyer’s quill and serve as the General Counsel of a small business in McLean, Virginia, his passion is composing inspirational poetry that uplifts and powerfully resonates with readers. He currently resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland his my wife and twelve-year old identical twin boys, fellow published poets published in the US, UK and Australia, who likewise enjoy nature, biking, tennis and chess.