Dianalee Velie













Daddy didn’t dare tell Mama

how to raise her three daughters,

especially, he didn’t dare tell

her no Catholic Schools.


But, Daddy, brave man

who fought in the Philippines,

earned all his medals and my heart

when he waltzed into my third


grade classroom, lifted me into

his arms and danced past

shocked Sister Canisus.

Triumphant, Daddy didn’t dare


go home. Instead, we went

to Joe’s Bar and Grill, the local

gin mill, my Mama called it,

and I sipped pink soda


while Daddy downed courage.

Hours later, with audacity

and two ice cream cones,

we confronted the home front

where Mama screamed about


the school calling.  Daddy didn’t

dare scream back, only held my

hand tighter and kissed Mama’s

reddening cheek then my nose.


Falling asleep that night

in the translatable silence

that would torpedo our home

for months, I learned absence


of sound does not equal peace,

worlds exist beyond words,

and a hero’s victory always involves

someone’s ultimate defeat.








November 22, 1963                 September 11, 2001



The Vermont sky, cerulean with promise,

wept today, a duplicate sorrow, mimicking


the New Jersey Shore where I wept  that winter,

waves of tears washing away a brilliant fall.


A seventeen-year-old mother, isolated and alone,

weeping over the death of a young president,


weeping for a nation and for dreams deferred,

crying for what we all had lost. Placing all my hope


in the pink bundle on my lap, and the blue one

soon to follow, I faithfully shadowed the young man


I loved, who would also have to die, before

I felt free to fly, fleeing the shadows of my


sorrow and loneliness to write and remember.

Now, in shock and anguish once again,


under a sapphire sky of collective grief,

I compartmentalize and file thirty-eight years


of my life, book ending them forever

between the memory of twin sorrows.










Baby sparrows have found a furrow

in the split rail fence.

A good first step.

The world is an uncertain place.

There are tanks rolling in the desert.

But not here, in the quiet of my backyard.

Here they see only the fence and the nest

they have just fled and the blood-red sugar-water

mix meant for the hummingbirds

that enticed the babies to flee the nest,

enticed young men to volunteer and leave home.

I watch the sparrows and the boys on TV

and leave them both to cut scarlet roses,

no longer able to watch the deception

of sparrows and of men.




Photo: Robert J. Popp











Dianalee Velie lives and writes in Newbury, New Hampshire. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and has a Master of Arts in Writing from Manhattanville College, where she has served as faculty advisor of Inkwell: A Literary Magazine. She has taught poetry, memoir, and short story at universities and colleges in New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire and in private workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her award-winning poetry and short stories have been published in hundreds of literary journals and many have been translated into Italian. She enjoys traveling to rural school systems in Vermont and New Hampshire teaching poetry for the Children’s Literacy Foundation. Her play, Mama Says, was directed by Daniel Quinn in a staged reading in New York City. She is the author of four books of poetry, Glass House, First Edition, and The Many Roads to Paradise published by Rock Village Publishing in Middleborough, Massachusetts and a collection of short stories, Soul Proprietorship: Women in Search of Their Souls, published by Plain View Press in Austin Texas. They have also be published her fourth poetry collection, The Alchemy of Desire. She is a member of the National League of American Pen Women and the New England Poetry Club.


Robert J. Popp is a retired IBM executive now living in New Hampshire where he enjoys his new career as a photographer while still finding time to hit the golf course, hike and fly fish. His work endeavors to capture the sacredness of nature in this world, both here and abroad, as well as portraits that seem to capture a person’s soul. In the light of his camera lens everything becomes sacred. His work has been featured in magazines and newspapers and he is preparing his first exhibit.


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