[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Grace Cavalieri *Featured Poet* – Issue.XXII : November 2016 ” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″ margin_design_tab_text=””]a very popular and prominent poetess from the USA…[/ultimate_heading]

Introduction to the Poet:

Grace Cavalieri the poetGrace Cavalieri’s new book is WITH (Somondoco Press 2016.)  She’s the author of several books and produced plays.  The most recent play, “Anna Nicole: Blonde Glory.”  (Theatre for the New City, NYC 2012.) She celebrates 39 years on public radio with “The Poet and The Poem” now recorded at The Library of Congress. Grace’s career includes a co-founder of WPFW-FM; after that, Assoc. Director for Children’s Programming, PBS; and then a Senior Media Program Officer, NEH.  She’s the founder of two poetry presses in DC, still thriving, and is presently the poetry columnist for The Washington Independent Review of Books. Grace Cavalieri was awarded the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from WASH INDEP REVIEW. She received the George Garrett Award from AWP for Service to literature, the Allen Ginsberg, Paterson Award, Bordighera, and Columbia Poetry Awards, A Pen Fiction Award, plus CPB’s Silver Medal.






I fell for a guy who was going to die—

I knew at the moment I met him—

He was dying I tell you before he was born,

drifting to dark out of light, even I couldn’t stop him.

Can you imagine holding candles in the hollow of your hand?

Can you imagine the wind blowing a candle

in the palm of your hand?

Do you see I’ve enclosed my heart in my hand,

while I bathed in the light coming out of the dark,

as I bathed in the dark coming out of the light.

The deeper I got

the higher he climbed

toward the peak.

The wind drifted the candle wisping deep in my hand.

The moment I met him I told myself

this is a guy who was born to die,

who dreamed of standing on a peak surrounded by sky

standing alone on a peak surrounded by sky.

The crickets were dying every day by his side.

The wish to be with the green as he fell to the trees—

I did it anyway.

I stood as long as I could

on the peak waiting.  I stood as long as I could

until the crickets stopped singing.

(the poem Hollow has been first published by Poet & Artists)




A Well Known Thing


(for Ken)


I was confined to my youth

giving the empty sky my attention

and you murmured something

impeccable, I’ll never forget—


Careless, before you,

trapped and rooted.

Thank you for this, transcended,

rarified, once love’s beggar

now its belief.




Who We Are


The cry did knock/against

                        my very heart…”  The Tempest



we do not feel the hungry children in Biafra

looking at tourists taking their pictures,

then we are the camera.

We are also the neighbor

in West Virginia who shot his cat.

See our hands on the trigger, no matter the gun.

We are the karmic seeds of Viet Nam

running ablaze with fire on our backs.

We’re the hummingbird

flying the Atlantic in March.

Now we are Katrina

because clothes were soaked, and when

there were no more, when no help came,

we were  the empty verbs.

These are the tears that come for Mozambique,

Its children in the trees,

waiting for rescue helicopters. All this,

when there were other possibilities.

Don’t you feel the heartbeat

of the earth, the knob we could turn,

the magical tree we could put back

in the rain forest? Can you count

the  number of women sold to slavery

we could wrap

in warm cotton and bring back home?

Riding an idea is like riding the wind

unless we harness

its lonely tumult.

We are the sun on the cold hungry dog

in the streets of Chile,

the disfigured man in prison,

the mass deaths in Bosnia,

their thunderstorms.

We are the shame of the soldier who thought he should

die instead of his buddy. We are the broken clock of

the widows of war.

their last dreams filled with absence—

Since we are the ones who did not feed, comfort or save—

we are the grave.







At sunset

they do not fold their

tents like tourists in Aruba.


How shall we dress our children

for their first fine day at school—

The refuged do not worry about

a dress, a suit, a fine day

at school.


And look at the photos

of the African child dying in the camp

with flies on his eyelids.

He has no wish for the teddy bear

sent from UNICEF.


Did you read about that child

in Arizona

beaten to death

for soiling his pants?


Did you see that mother

outside the post office

hurl her one-year-old by his arm

into her SUV?


So you dreamed last night about a baby

that you forgot to feed.

It’s not a dream the refugees

can afford to dream.


This is why you write a poem.

In fact, It’s all that you can do.

You cannot know more, unless


you are that child with a broken arm,

or, the Mother with

a baby crying at her drying breasts.


If you are not with the exiled,

captured, stripped and sold, then

you are the one who must write this poem.




Almost Alone Behind White Wooden Doors


Moving like interwoven monologues

–Him in his studio

— I in my office

Taking turns saying the

Wrong words then

Getting the language right

But you knew by this title it might not

Turn out good

Then Athena goddess of Just War

Came with her female literacy

Liberating independence

Blending force and nature

And being a good girl

Took us by the hands

And walked us out to the unexplored meadow

For year and years and years of it

Showing us how reality can often damage the imagination.