Poems by Peggy Sperber Flanders

“Nothing is resurrected that has not died…”

Bright grass flows like lava
across the hills of winter,
destroying cold short days
and hiding broken stems.

New buds on trees
erase clean silhouettes,
etched lines that winter carved
on gray clouds.

Blue skies brush aside
the storms of winter
with the casual dismissal
of a bored mistress.

Winter is dying, smothered
by small chartreuse pillows,
pierced through the heart
by green spears of tulip leaves.

from The Comstock Review Spring 1999, Happy Spring 2005

Saying Goodbye
Dedicated to Phillip Davis Flanders, 1936-2000

Conversations we shared
will turn into soft wind,
into silent prayer
renouncing tears.

As we say goodbye
to the breath
that was our life
small crystal goblets
fill with regret.

The Comstock Review, vol. 15, #2


This is my mother’s life
you hold up to the light –
breath caged in a broken circle of bone,
blood caught and pumped
in the oddly shaped shadow
at the center.

Old and new invasions
show the same at times –
dim points of light
in random patterns.

Comparisons are drawn
between threat and history
by the careful charting
of old film against new –
much like, in life, we tell
gain from loss –
by comparison.

from An Array of Textures, Threshold Press, 2004.
(another form of this poem appeared in Radiology,
Journal of the Radiological Society of North America)

Found poem: an answer to an editor’s bad day

Morning paper coffee
CNN Weather channel
Today show
More coffee
Nothing works
Turn off the chatter
Turn off my mind
Burn the toast

Find a dead bird
fresh on my doorstep
Wrap in yesterday’s news

for what I cannot

Yell at the cat

Force myself
Study poems
Halfway through the newest stack
an answer to unsaid prayers
“bio: hope lives and works in Charlottesville”

No capital “H”
One simple statement to hang onto
hope lives and works
somewhere !

A few minutes later
I manage to forgive
the cat

Reprinted from Comstock Review vol. 18, #1

Something Is Up!

I am inconstant,
I could run off to Europe
with a wealthy metaphor,
live forever on a South Sea island
with a romantic turn of phrase,
survive in a small, unheated garret
with an artistic adjective.

I am addicted to words.
I get high at two o/clock
on Sunday afternoon
on an ingestion of synonyms.
Webster’s Unabridged is my secret supplier,
We are having this torrid affair,
but I’m careful to cover my tracks,
disguise the words in poems
and the adjectives in stories.

Meanwhile, an adverb waits on the back porch
with a fedora slouched over his eyes.
I sneak him up the back stairs, carefully.
We touch longingly
while he softly caresses my skin.
Passionately I look into his eyes
while a mixed metaphor
sulks in the den
waiting for the quick fix
of my attention.

I have broken the hearts of phrases
all over town.
I am inconstant. . .
and my lover suspects!

Published in Poetpourri (early name of Comstock Review)

About the poet:

Peggy Sperber Flanders has been a member of the Comstock Writers’ Group since its inception in 1987. She succeeded Jennifer MacPherson as Managing Editor and worked in that position until the 20th Anniversary Spring issue in 2006. She is now Associate Managing Editor, working with Georgia Popoff and grateful for the office help of editor Betsy Anderson.
Her chapbook, “An Array of Textures” was published by Threshold Press. Although most of her publication has been in CR, in the past she has been published in Queen’s Quarterly, Poets’ On, South Florida Poetry Review, Pegasus, Voices International, and others. Many poems were featured in newsletters: the Mental Health Association’s Insights and The Upstater. She won the Bruce Dearing Writing Award from SUNY UMC in 1995 and does poetry readings when invited. Most of her time was spent in 30 years of work at the State University of New York division now known as Upstate Medical University where she worked as secretary on the Psychiatric In-Patient Unit for 16 years and then as administrative aide in the Radiology Department until “retirement” in 1997. She also served as Executive Secretary of the Central New York District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association for 10 years. Presently, she is entering her 14th year of volunteering for the Worship Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse, She is presently the recipient of all e-mail at The Comstock Review website and keeper of the mailing address office at 4956 St. John Drive, Syracuse, NY 13215. (Bio updated 1/13)