The Faces of Love


***** Love Is the Thing

Love is the thing,
the thing we are, or not.
It’s a fling, a ring, or
it’s dried ink and rot.

Just as Love can
raise you to the heights,
it can wreck you in a heartbeat.

Why are Love and expectations
so intertwined,
so far apart?

Best we leave them
to rightly seek their
own paths within humankind.

More powerful than a locomotive;
faster than a speeding bullet;
able to leap buildings in a single bound;
pressed to overcome all adversity.

It’s Super Love.

It’s unsinkable, though sometimes, unthinkable;
craved, yet at times a subject of such
utter, lonely, harsh remorse;
easily attainable, more easily lost.

It’s Super Love.


Poetry and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


Poetry for Military Personnel


***** A Soldier’s Neighborhood

I heard you came home the other day
to a country that doesn’t greet,
and now you can’t make a living;
you’re reduced to begging on the street.

Your Mom called; I offered to do what I could,
cancelled a day’s work to come your way
before beginning my travel, after “Mom”
told me for employment you’d pray.

As I walked the steps to “Mom’s” door,
I looked over the old neighborhood and
had a cold fear that those dreams
soldiers many times have, had left their marks

on a soul I was beginning to fear
may never recover, as “Mom” said.
Where on earth could she be now?
Was the day just getting too heavy?

My second knock went unanswered, too.
I’d use the key from the planter; better.
A quick look around inside told me
no one was about; but I saw the letter.

It said “Mom” and stood upright on the mantel.
I suddenly thought of our childhood,
when our single moms so often had to meet.
Your mother ever staunchly withstood.

Mine would deliver a searing speech,
screaming,”What are the rules, you two?”
She’d glare us all down, into us rip,
“The street’s not the place to play!”

but my mother never won the war of words.
She’d jerk me to our door across the street
and exclaim to the listening neighborhood
I’d play no more with “that lady’s son”.

The next day, we’d start it all again,
snickering between ourselves as friends.
My mother said we’d never be smart, but
yours, our “Mom”, never predicted such ends.

I went to college while you chose war.
We drifted apart, made new lives and friends.
I wrote to you without receiving answers, but
the neighborhood days didn’t entirely end.

I had wondered every day if you were safe,
recalled your braggadocio and your strength.
But were the frightening nights hot, or cold?
And did the raining bombs make you shake

with fear you endured? I’d never know.
And my wife died without your knowledge.
The Army became your final home, and
I remarried, gratefully gained two sons.

My mother died while yours flourished,
so I came to her, our “Mom”, when she
called and said you’d been wounded and you
were anxious; she worried you’d flee.

The neighborhood looks the same today,
except for the house I left years ago.
At the opposite curb, your house is empty.
You’re missing in the neighborhood flow.



Poem and photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Lost Love

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***** Lost Love, East and West

He’d long abided in Vermont’s winters;
she arrived from Ohio in mid-May.

There never was a doubt,
fiery first meeting to end,
they would lose a final bout.

They were as different as night
is to day, as marble is to clay.

New Englander, Midwesterner,
in love after second glance, were
doomed to a romance’s chance.

They never could survive, even as
Autumn’s sunset touched their lives.
Still, they plunged together.

Days relinquished Autumn hues,
dwindling into snowy December;
they moved to May, ignoring clues.

Differences of mind fired red-hot
in their aching heart of hearts.

Their arguments were unrefined,
struggles of strength beyond reason.

In Green Mountain winter woods
their babies were born, a blue-eyed
son, a dark-haired daughter to mourn.

Days went gray around the child
who remained, not the cause
of their loss, but neither the cure.

Their deep love, unstable at best,
could not somehow last the rest
of the year of their daughter’s death.

Their agreement to part was hard
fought, as any of their days of rage.

Love’s cruel loss, their choice
from the start, closed before the ebb
of another May. All was past.


Poem and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


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If you could change who you are at a snap of your fingers, who would you be…?

Discovery is change, but is change discovery? Would you change if you could? Why doesn’t self-discovery prompt change?

***** Changes

We dream of change, love for change…
We change love…

But when change happens,
we fail to embrace it…

The winds of emotion blow us awry…
We think less of the change and more
of the fears of change…

And we change not, but become
more of what we are.


Poem and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


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***** Mothering

Nothing is about holding on.
All is about letting go:
You know.

Could I hold,
I wouldn’t scold.

Could I screen,
I wouldn’t scream.

If my dreams for you
could be true,
I need not be blue.

If all were pure joy,
you would simply be
My Toy.


Poem and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


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***** Always

Always hold the dream;
whatever it is to you.

To stop dreaming, is
to die.

But to never try to do,
is death,

Doing you, too.
Tis’ true!


Poem and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg