Out of Sorts Sonnet

I started trying to write a sonnet
to my chagrin I with failure was met
count as I might never syllables ten
dribbled forth from my silent weeping pen
vagrant pulses fleeting across blank sheets
collide in that realm where everything meets
confusion runs amok blotting out ink
that must finally into paper sink
this battle I swear will end in success
tho’ to some my scribbles may seem a mess
I struggle through this dark and endless night
asking nothing except to win this fight
never prone to gamble I place my bet
I shall complete this out of sorts sonnet


At last an early morning light
comes to share labor with this cold wind
that has struggled all night without peace
or relief of this fear that tends to weigh
on me. No physical battle is so hard to face
as this internal struggle that is needed to keep

a grasp on sanity. The only way I can keep
going is by constantly trying to make light
of my demise. All stays hidden behind my face
as it receives with resignation this dreaded wind
from unknown regions that blows on all in its way.
Never will I be allowed to enjoy a moments peace

as long as my soul is taken away one piece
at a time. There will be no other to pay my keep.
Unthinkable obstacles constantly bar my way
making uncertain my journey toward the light.
A journey made harder by a suddenly fickle wind
whose change becomes one more pain to face.

Although nothing is to be seen upon my face
each gloomy hour that passes tears another piece
from my tattered spirit and tosses it to the wind.
I know not when my end will come. Should I keep
struggling, struggling to reach that so distant light?
Hoping against all odds that it will let me weigh

what little good I have done along my miserable way
against the chilling bitterness of this end I face.
Not so much as a struggling memory brings to light
any hope that I will ever attain that elusive peace
which teases me with just enough promise to keep
me moving forward against this ever colder wind.

As I stand beaten before this bitter wind
I realize that I am not alone upon this way.
Countless others before and after come to keep
this final appointment that all must face
I begin to understand how I may receive the peace
that is shown to me by that ever growing light.

. and I turn to face that brilliant light
wishing that I might keep from this fateful wind
that brings the final peace. All must pass this way.



Lying on the now silent battlefield
his life blood having drained away
to enrich the soil of his final resting place
soon to be forgotten by those for whom
he has made the ultimate sacrifice
his acceptance into the ranks
of all other time honored heroes
will be his soul’s only solace

Where have gone our heroes?
Why are they no longer remembered?
Few can be found today who ever heard
of the Babylonian Marduk’s struggles
against evil when time was still new
Gilgamesh, his friendship with Ingidu,
who had been sent to destroy him,
their battle with the wild bull
is told less with each passing year
Most have read the tales of Beowulf
and the violence of his foe Grindel
but not many recall his swimming
across from Scotland to Finland
with the armor of his slain enemies
even less know of his final battle
or the significance of the dragon

Where now are our heroes?
Do they sit somewhere sadly
commiserating over this chaos
they fought so hard to deter?
Are Olympus and Valhalla real?
Did they ever actually exist?
Does Atlas still bear the weight
of the sky upon his shoulders
or has he like modern man
decided not to keep his promise?
Many have read of the Trojan War,
the beauty of Helen, the rage of Achilles,
but not so many can retell those parts
played by Priam, Ajax and Agamemnon

What has happened to our heroes?
Are they as the Twelve Labors of Hercules,
to be put behind and remembered no more?
Will they be handed down as myths
kept in a realm of legendary characters
with no more substance than the stone
which became a resting place for the Thinker?
Only a handful ever knew the elegant flight
of that magnificent steed Pegasus
less still knew the courage of Rustam’s horse

Where are our heroes gone?
To what heights are they raised?
How far are they pulled down?
How many have ridiculed those
whose stature far transcends theirs?
Thor and Loki are still yearning
for the halls of the Frost King
Seigfried still swaggers along in song and play,
Brunhilde, once proud heroine of many lands
has been relegated to the role of mere witch
by those who do not want to understand
while many others fear to try and learn

Why have our heroes gone?
Have we neglected them to such degree
that they choose to remain aloof
much as will an unwanted child
hoping someone will want or need them?
Heroes have desires as well as pride
their wounds need to be salved
they will only do for those who believe
without whom they would cease to be

When will our heroes return?
Are we left to fend for ourselves
or do they stand patiently waiting
for a call to arms that is long overdue?
Arthur, Guywain, Ragland, Martel, Hannibal,
who will heed the horn’s echo across the hills?
Will Zeus himself come from Olympus
to stand with those who will need his shelter?

They all stand looking over the silent battlefield
heads bowed in silent respect for the fallen
paying homage to a comrade-in-arms
they have all come to escort another soul
to a seat of honor in the Hall of Heroes
Marduk, Gilgamesh, Gage, Genghis Khan,Wesley,
Ragland, Prestor John, Atilla the Hun, Hadley,
Zoroaster, Mohammed, Buddha, many others
have come to bear a banner for the chosen.

They stand watching sadly as the ambulance
pulls slowly away from this dirty,
nameless street where another policeman
has so selflessly given up his life
“In the Line of Duty”

—–Jerry Marks


An empty feeling lies in the pit of my stomach
so very like the tenderness of a bruise
that is left by the stabbing of a knife
I want to flee with nowhere to go
held in this dreadful place by the fear
that I am about to lose all that I love

I cannot be certain it was this shattered love
that left the fires of hell here in my stomach
while being slowly consumed by this fear
that brings so much pain. No trace of a bruise
can be seen yet it is there every time I go
inside my head to try and escape this bloody knife

that has pierced my soul in a way no real knife
can do. I don’t know what it takes to keep this love
from breaking me. I stay knowing I should go
but that is a choice I am not able to stomach
my insides are like a cauldron where bitterness brews
over a fire that is fueled by nothing more than fear

my life has been a constant battle with fear
an agonizing pain as intense as a twisting knife
that with each passing day leaves a new bruise
on my tattered spirit. A distorted love
has filled my life with a bitterness hard to stomach
all the signs are telling me I need to go

that is something I know I should do yet my ego
keeps me ever fighting back against this fear
that has built a home deep inside my stomach
it would be better if I could take that dreaded knife
and sever those strings that this hopeless love
has bound me with so a healing of that bruise

could come to this place where those sour brews
sap the strength I will need to make myself go
will not be easy to give up all semblance of love
more difficult still is always living with a fear
that one day soon I will reach for that knife
try to erase this pain that dwells in my stomach

I hold a knot of fear deep in my stomach
where this bitter love has left its violent bruise
it is plain to see that knife really needs to go

..Jerry Marks 1999