Second In Line

I must warn you, oh wanderer—you should not have seen
this place. You—who gaze out to me from my sister’s estate.

I am not like her, with her silvery seven seas and unfailing
fields. I am not adorned in robes of barley, nor polished

as a copper chalice, nor lithe as orchard grass, nor fragrant
as lilac and lavender caught in the ambrosial breeze.

It is my sister—not I—who bares such milk and honey.
She sings with meadowlarks, as I sound the clarion.

She has always been the favored sister, with satellites that
swarm around her. And her moon—how fond she is of him.

I am not like her. I turn left when she turns right—yet the
others follow her, not me. I am the retrograde.

I have no moons—no satellites. Here the air is thick and
sound is sleepy deep. No feet tread upon my desert floors—

these barren lands sprawl out to every bleak horizon. My face
is harsh—charred,    chapped, and     chiseled. And so my sister

mocks me; she heralds me a goddess, a morning and evening
star—but she knows I am a waste land,            vast          and


My halcyon days are lost in yore—before she stole my hues of
blue—before I befell the gusts of solar winds, and clouds grew

thick across the skies until my face was shrouded and my sight
went black. That was when she seized my seas and skies.

I am a forgotten relic—a glimmer in a star-filled sky, a torrid
shell roasting in the sun.

Here are neither trees nor rivers. There are no fawning orbs,
no obsequious moons—only perfectly             lonely rocks,

tormented by the infernal day
and the long, black veil of night.

55 thoughts on “Second In Line”

  1. Heather says:

    Ah! The eternal sorrow of being the forsaken one :(

    1. John Forester says:


  2. abrahamdiceyjones says:

    And from the first line I was caught in_To the last word_I wish U could continue. I actually dropped ma phone to clap_ Nice (y)

    1. John Foster says:

      Wow, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for reading this poem.

  3. John Foster says:

    Excellent, I’m glad to read all points of your comment. Thank you for reading.

  4. poetrydisentangled says:

    this, Sir, is the embodiment of perfection in writing. im new here, but your work is simply beautiful.

    1. John Foster says:

      As poetry, among other forms of art, is merited by the reader, I am humbled and encouraged by your generous words. Thank you for your comment; I am glad you enjoyed reading this piece.

  5. celestiamatchbox says:

    Devastatingly beautiful. Contrast was striking and poignant between the two. The way you described a woman is so awe-inspiring, as if she were almost ethereal and so natural at the same time. What a gift of a poem this was. Thank you.

    1. celestiamatchbox says:

      I also just read in the comments that Poe is a favorite of yours, it comes out in your description of your sister. Beautiful and well-done. Very nice to see a modernized version of that type of description.

      1. John Foster says:

        Thanks for both of your comments. It means a lot and I appreciate that you not only found the poem enjoyable, but also you have given such great feedback. I am encouraged by your words. Thank you.

    1. John Foster says:

      Thank you very much for sharing this poem.

  6. Nomzi Kumalo says:

    You are welcome John. It is always encouraging and inspiring to read strong contemporary poetry. :)

  7. mmsalandy says:

    Your visit to my blog led me here and I am thankful, your words are filled with so much emotion that it is inspiring. Thanks

    1. John Foster says:

      Glad to visit your blog. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  8. Nomzi Kumalo says:

    Expressed with much heart. A moving piece John. :)

    1. John Foster says:

      Thanks so much for reading–great to see you back here. Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. JuleAnn says:

    Incredibly beautiful writing, draws the reader in–do I detect a subtle Gothic feel in some of the poems?

    1. John Foster says:

      Thank you very much. I’ve heard that before–so thats very possible. Poe has been my favorite author since I was a child, perhaps that has something to do with it.

      1. JuleAnn says:

        Poe-ish, yes that’s it.

  10. Henry Game says:

    This is high calibre writing my friend.
    I enjoyed it very much.
    Thank you

    1. John Foster says:

      Thank you for the very generous compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  11. AJ Tompkins says:

    Really enjoyed this piece, with its mythical nature (desolate planet/god mars and his cocky “oh-look-at-me-I-have-life” sister earth) and Dickinson dashes.

    1. John Foster says:

      Thanks for reading and for the comment.

  12. Vice says:

    P.S. no need to “like” my comment.

  13. Vice says:

    Dude, beautiful.

  14. Helen says:

    Poor lonely Venus…

  15. janemorley2014 says:

    Heavens! I just stumbled into your blog via Donna Parker and still have goosebumps from reading this! Quite splendid!

    1. John Foster says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, thank you for commenting!

      1. janemorley2014 says:

        It was a joy to read! Thankyou for stopping by and for the follow……..

  16. Wordifull Melanie says:

    Wonderful write.
    “only perfectly lonely rocks” resonates somewhere deep within.

    1. John Foster says:

      Thanks for sharing and stopping by to read.

  17. krysiakorsak says:

    You pick and choose and place your words so very beautifully, descriptively, like an artist mixing individual colours to create others. Your words paint many mood pictures. This is indeed very beautiful and you have a rich skill and respect for words. Inspiration…and thanks.

    1. John Foster says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful feedback, it is uplifting and encouraging. Above all, thanks for reading the poem, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    1. John Foster says:

      Thank you, I’m delighted you feel my blog offers quality content. Thank you for the nomination.

      1. vierareign says:

        you’re welcome :) I’m new in blogging and you’re one of the bloggers here who inspire me :)

  18. moylomenterprises says:

    Younger sister?
    Sibling rivalry?
    Stealing the spotlight?
    Are you a Firstborn?
    This sounds very familiar… Are any of the above correct?

    I know I’ve said this before, but you certainly have a way with words. Your pieces always force me to think, decipher, pause, reflect! I love it! :)

    1. John Foster says:

      Thanks very much for reading and commenting–I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. I believe you hit all your marks. Glad to see you back!

      1. moylomenterprises says:

        ^_^ I’m a Firstborn too to a younger brother who has everyone wrapped around his little finger – – except me! I know his games and shake my head in disbelief at the things he can get away with (especially with mom). Ahh, sibling rivalry!

  19. Laughing Dragon says:

    I love seeing some refreshing poetry. Thanks for writing this.

    1. John Foster says:

      Thanks for reading it and for the comment. I appreciate the support.

    1. John Foster says:

      Many, many thanks for sharing my work and the very nice comment.

  20. ars1947 says:

    The first thing I thought of was Mars :) Your use of language is beautiful.

  21. echoingraven says:

    Pshhh…Earth. So conventional. Better to be something mysterious ;)

  22. Janhavi says:

    I am not like her. I turn left when she turns right—yet the
    others follow her, not me…. How subtly you put. Awesome work

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