Empty Promise

N60-90, E120-150

N60-90, E120-150 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Strange to say, but as the snow
falls your nosebleed is like
a punctuation, something else
we can remark upon, something

other than this relentless cold,
our sparse Siberian spring. Harsh
economics brings with it
other extremes; people

who must choose between
eating or heating well into
April’s empty promises.
Some of them I know,

not the tragic ones who stare
at me from television screens,
directors tugging the stretched
strings of my heart. No – these

are stalwarts and forgotten
heroes, men and women
who have given their lives
once and don’t complain while

they slowly freeze or starve
in little houses, not so far
from me. Now they give up
on living so cold hearts

can balance their books.
But we fixed your nose, it was
easy in the end, though who
fixes this town and this world, is

anyone’s guess

© copyright David F. Barker 2013



  1. Pete Armetta · March 29, 2013

    Damn. Yeh what’s going on? It is way too cold and stark now that you remind me. Even here in more southern environs. Miss you bud nice to see you around!


  2. dfb · March 29, 2013

    Thank you, Yes, sorry I’ve not been ‘around’ lately. Great to hear from you, too.


  3. Pete Armetta · March 29, 2013

    I wasn’t sure I thought maybe I wasn’t getting notifications? I’ve been busy too and like “jello against the wall” but knew I wouldn’t let you pass me by… Your stuff always has a very nice effect on me.


  4. Eric Alagan · March 29, 2013

    Welcome back David – you’ve been gone for a bit.

    Fixing the world? The “leaders” of govt and industry are too busy destroying it with their avarice.


  5. journeyintopoetry · March 29, 2013

    David, this so superbly expresses where things are at right now. This country seems to have things upside down, inside out and back to front. It is very depressing, as, so your poem indicates, is the weather.

    I love the way you joined the themes of this poem together with the bleeding nose; very clever 🙂



  6. dfb · March 29, 2013

    Aw! (as they say in your deep south)… Thanks very much! 🙂 Take it easy.


  7. dfb · March 29, 2013

    Hi Eric, thank you so much! Yes, you’re so right, but we don’t seem to be able to stop it! So much for ‘democracy’! The only real choice we have is to vote or not to vote. Whoever we vote for (in whatever country) we get the same governments.


  8. dfb · March 29, 2013

    Hi, hope you’re ok and keeping warm! Thank you very much and apologies for not being here very often of late. Yes, doesn’t matter who you talk to, it’s like having the same conversation over and over – everyone is ****** off!!! I can think of a few who really ought to have bloody noses, eh? 😉 Thank you and take care.


  9. journeyintopoetry · March 29, 2013

    I think we could give the whole of the government a red nose each and definitely not a plastic one! Now back to my Buddhist practice!

    Its good to see you again 🙂


  10. dfb · March 29, 2013

    Thank you!!!


  11. journeyintopoetry · March 29, 2013



  12. Soma Mukherjee · March 29, 2013

    I have a list of noses that should bleed ….
    Have screwed every basic rule of nature and she is playing now….indiference towards everything around, no one can make it alone here but the arrogance!!!
    David lovely to see you today 🙂


  13. E A M Harris · March 29, 2013

    So sad. There are too many people in this situation. I love the poem; images like ‘stretched heartstrings’ ‘April’s empty promises’ strengthen it.


  14. dfb · March 29, 2013

    Hi, thank you so much!!!


  15. hypercryptical · March 29, 2013

    Excellent commentary on the harshness of cold hearts…

    Anna :o]


  16. Three Well Beings · March 30, 2013

    I, too, am so pleased to see you here. Socially conscious poetry–you write with sensitivity. It’s so difficult for me to really comprehend the extremes of winter hanging on as you describe. It truly sounds grim. I hope you are well despite the lingering empty promise.


  17. dfb · March 30, 2013

    Hi, thank you very much, I appreciate it.


  18. lscotthoughts · March 30, 2013

    Your poem resonates with reality, David, and written so cleverly. (even though a bit depressing, reality, that is, as we all agree) You have been missed and it’s good to see you back!


  19. dfb · March 30, 2013

    Thank you, thank you! You are so kind, as ever… 🙂


  20. Walton Andrew · March 31, 2013

    Superb! – I wrote a poem on the same subject, but it is nowhere near as good as yours – http://andrewwalton.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/whiteout/


  21. rangewriter · March 31, 2013

    Start small. Fix what you can. Fix what’s under your nose. Beautifully said.


  22. bardessdmdenton · April 4, 2013

    Too much suffering, poverty, injustice … so ‘cold hearts can balance their books.’ This poem is a song for change!


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