Some of My Poetry

Special thanks to my cousin Daniel Keeney  who inspired me (to get my 
poetry onto this page) by creating a similar page for all of us at
A friend once shared with me that there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs and--at most--31 days in a month.  By reading one chapter a day, one can read the entire book in a month (in addition to one's other Bible reading, of course!).   Why not every month?

The purpose of the book Proverbs is stated in what has been called its preamble (chapter 1, verses 1-7):

     "These are the proverbs of King Solomon of Israel, David's son.  He wrote them to teach his people how to live--how to act in every circumstance; for he wanted them to be understanding, just, and fair in everything they did.   'I want to make the simple-minded wise!' he said.  'I want to warn young men about some problems they will face.  I want those already wise to become the wiser and become leaders by studying the depths of meaning in these nuggets of truth.'"(The Living Bible)

May the testimony of this preamble and the following sonnet serve to challenge their readers to get into the Word of God--and especially Proverbs--on a daily basis!

 The Twenty-fourth Book
A Love Sonnet

I give you Proverbs.  Here for you await
A feast of thirty-one delightful meals
Of which to be partaken in a state
Of humble spirit, daily, as one kneels.
No simple sayings, these.  They be instead
Collected from the wisest of the wise,
For generations kept.  One shakes his head:
Exhaust their depths?  Not even if one tries.
By meditating oft therein, one knows
More clearly where the path of Truth does lead,
And where the dangers lie, and who the foes,
And where to pause--or turn--and then proceed.
This month of good devotions is for him
Who wants to know the One Who authored them!
 ---John M. Gwin,  Fall 1995
       Las Cruces, New Mexico

Some Favorite Haiku

Houtu Haiku
Three lines' syllables
Number five, seven, and five;
Nature is mentioned.
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995
 True Power
Lies, like styrofoam
Cups on the hot coals of truth, 
Shrivel, disappear.
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995
I saw You clearly
Yesterday, but now it's dark--
Are...are You still there?
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995

 Las Cruces Mountain Music

Organs' symphonies
Play in brief majestic hue
Reflecting sunsets.
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995
Desert Journeys
Ghostly images
Bouncing through our highbeams'gaze:
Night winds' tumbleweeds.
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995
 Tucson Native
Thin, bewhiskered, he
Stands straight & tall, waves goodbye:
Ancieny saguaro.
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995
Lovely aroma
Fills the air near their beauty
But thorns say, "Don't touch!"
 --John M. Gwin, WSMS, 17 October 2005
20,000 Varieties
Nowhere does nature
Seem suspended in silence
As under the sea.
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995
Faster than vision
The small insect becomes a
Praying mantis' lunch.
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995
Chicken Gang Scratch?
Illegible white
Writing on window ledges:
Pigeon graffiti...*.§¶ïªºú*.¥ìë*°*.**ç
 --John M. Gwin, Spring 1995


to the
  John Gwin
Home Page

of the 1999-2000  S.T.A.Y. Program
Emerging Writers Workshop
Sponsored by the Border Book Festival, Denise Chavez, Dir.
Monica Gomez, Guest Writer


I miss

My mom's tact
Her cooking
Her spontaneity
Her freedom
Her ability
Her independence
Her creativity 
Her flexibility
Her absolutely fantastic memory
Her friends

The time to do the things I want--
            a shed out back with trains in it
                          the freedom to tack a piece 
                                       of track to the floor
             his curly tail
             his perky ears
His sitting on the steps 
             front paws extended to the step below
His running outside, magnificent, missing nothing,
             muscular, fast, wild, lion hunter
             clearly aware that he is mightier than all
             even than the auto that leaves him 
             rolling in the road 

             gasping last breaths.
                                       --John Gwin
                                         (1 Dec 1999)

The day was warm.
The bright sun was shining.
Smoke was pouring out of the open windows.
Thick billows of gray-black smoke.
                                       --John Gwin
                                         (1 Dec 1999)

/     /     /     /     |     |     \     \     \
Trees of sunshine drop their bright leaves in straight lines
That crackle in the silence of my mind as I walk through them.
                                       --John Gwin
                                         (21 Dec 1999)

I hate it when you're sick.  I'm sorry, Hon.
You're feeling bad, I know, and missing school
And being with your kids.  I wish the one
Who's sick were I, not you, my fav'rite jewel.
                                     --John Gwin
                                                            (13 Dec 1999)

Dead skin that hasn't been scrubbed in ages.
Hair that's not been cut or washed.
Shirts share leftover spots from many meals.
Minds that can't remember how things were a moment past
             can still download an episode from 
                         seventy-five years ago
             and relive it as it's recounted 
                         for the third time this hour.
The glasses drop to the floor.
A hand on the other's knee.
A tear wells up, a laugh bursts loose.
The wheelchairs each ease toward the other.
Grasping hands reach, meet, clasp,
             pursed lips lean outward, touch.

One day soon they'll both be healed.

Not long after, it will be our turn.

                                       --John Gwin
                                         (21 Dec 1999)

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Background: Inkwell and pen from the Gwin Collection