The Daily News

The Testimony

The Testimony, pencil/pen/marker, 6 x 4” (13 c 10cm).  $39

The Gods of War

( The Arab Spring )

by Jack Hannula


[ i ]

Reversing dusk with mourning’s dawn

On Arab Earth the moon sets on

Existed they 'fore He, new born;.

Oh, from their lives the years long shorn:

Before us lies their crumbled form

-This present time, a time forlorn.


[ ii ] 

Hark! The herald angels sing

To gather souls to heaven bring

 ‘Mong mullah’s chants & church bell's ring

Whilst is deposed world's latest king.

Though “Season” not: the Arab Spring


(Screaming children do not sing

Wars to heaven souls do bring).


[ iii ] 

Cold weapons dragged from cavern'd store;

Cruel fighting rages door-to-door

Whilst children lie on cratered floor.

Stand not before the rifles' bore (!)

Whose bullets pierce our psychic core;

Throbbed human hearts -but now no more.


Another war -just as before;

'Tis oh, so very true -not lore.

War's just another name for gore;

The Gods of War rage, evermore.


[ iv ] 

War gods, their fire & metal fling

Whilst prowl dark vultures on the wing

From The Beginning war is man's “thing”:

Wars from Chinese emperors, Ming;

Now, Libya's cruel colonel-king,

His loyal Allies attacking

In dark of night 'fore rose dawning.


[ v ]

Me thinks world's wars will never stop

(As warned from sages' mountaintop).

Off! -our heads the soldiers lop

Until no blood is left to mop.


Which nation's now the world's “top cop”?

Who won the battle? (see: 'Post-Op').


[ vi ]

Oh, what is war's dire consequence?

-Destruction & its putrid stench,

Flowing blood that earth makes dense,

Imprisoned souls behind barbed fence;

Without an end, forever hence:

Of judgment 'tis a lack of sense.


[ vii ]

On war man spreads his ill-gained wealth

On guns & ships & Fighters-Stealth;

And then he pays for death, ill-health;

Cleansed from dear Earth is man, himself.


[ viii ] 

Ancient cities armies plunder

(Bursting bombs & canons thunder)

Roof to basement, all asunder;

The gods of War our spell is under!

Acts of war ‘tis human's blunder.

Who'll be next; do thee oft wonder?


[ ix ]

From generals & their Fathers’-Son

To some a game; to others, fun

To launch a jet, to point a gun

Like carnival with prizes won.



With war's end, all's said & done

When, earth is wasted with no one;

'Twill always be a rising sun

But no one for our Father’s Son.


[ xi ]

Whose father's killed; whose child is dead?

(Some hanging by a fraying thread).

'Tis something that most all do dread;

Why not peace? Why war instead?


[ xii ] 

'Tis first a question we should ask

After they remove their mask

'Fore they, in glory, surely bask

And sip their gin from silver flask

Drawn freshly from an oaken cask:

To bury dead ‘tis mankind's task!


[ xiii ]

In history's tomb so cold & dark

And shielded from dog's distant bark

And soulful song of mourning's lark

-Near Eden's garden, gods' green park 


The song of angels: hear them -Hark!

Where's his grave? Is there a mark?

“So many deaths!” they do remark,

“But Saddam's buried in Iraq!”

‘Tis near where launched old Noah's Ark.

[ xiv ]

“So many deaths!” said with a smile,

'Long verdant banks of River Nile

On winding road, a dusty aisle,

Aged tanks & trucks in ragged file:

The convoy's bombed, mile after mile;

Stealth bombs were launched with switch & dial.


Old Time's long-gone; it's been awhile

-Now’s brick & mud & shattered tile

And all it took was skill & guile,

A quickened pulse & turgid bile.

The ancient land's a rubbl’d pile.


[ xv ]

Phoenix Rise! from scattered ashes,

Lodes of gold & emerald stashes;

Jewels & myrrh in darkened caches.

In candle's light, sparkles, flashes:

Dim rooms of song, orgy'd bashes,

Dancers' twirls & runners' dashes:

To the loser: twenty lashes!

Count the lacerations, gashes,

Slashed gashes 'cross mans' ashen face

Now buried deep without gods' grace.


[ xvi ]

In history, ‘tis flash of time,

A turning of a spinning dime,

An eerie ghost, a passing mime

An ode without a reasoned rhyme

A scent of death that’s mixed with thyme

Whose hands were in this blotched design?

{ Jkh 2013 c. }

The Circle at the Circle (detail)

The Circle at the Circle (Dupont), oil on canvas, 24 x 36” (50 x 75cm).   sold

Big Brother & His Silver Drone

by Jack Hannula


[ i ]

Above me hovers silver’d Drone

Aloft, alone, on airy throne

Whose eyes & ears replaced the phone

To search my mind, my every bone

For what I think & what I own:

My bank account, my latest ko’an

My every act, the seeds I've sown

My sudden gasp, her throaty moan

All captured by the silver drone

Whose lust for data's so well honed.

[ ii ]

Behind us walks our sly Big Brother,

One whose drones above us hover;

Not Peter, Paul or John -another;

He or she or someone other

(Depends it on His rather-druther)

Though, without a father, mother;

Oh, Freedom's child -His acts dost smother!


{ jkh 2012 c.}



The Fiscal Cliff

By Jack Hannula

[ i ]

‘Tis politics, oh catch a whiff

Of crisis made in seeming riff

Upon the Ship of State, a skiff

That’s lost upon the land, adrif’

Our captains ask: “what if, if…if…?”

As we approach the Fiscal Cliff.

[ ii ]

Image thee a craggy wall,

One that’s ninety stories tall

And standing at the top we stall

Debating means & wherewithal

Before our pending long free-fall

And into the abyss, we all.

[ iii ]

‘Tis but a Tempest in a Pot!

For doctrine tis a battle fought.

‘Tis all about what’s owed & bought

And of the things we “should” & “ought”

To do, The Dream, o’er what they sought,

All hidden in a scheming plot.

[ iv ]

Oh, make the choice: tis death or tax

And what’s below the fiscal ax

And then for whom the rate wast lax

And who has what & what He lacks

A game of shells & secret pacts

All hidden ‘hind their suited backs!

[ v ]

Oh, sausage dost the Congress make

With frosted schemes they cook & bake

(Oh here, whipped cream & there, a flake)

Tis for their greed & hunger slake

Oh, know they not the fiscal brake

Whilst some are real most all are fake.

[ vi ]

Oh, deadly game of tax or death

Like weakened pulse or flagging breath

Or overdosed on crack or meth

We’d rather watch the play, Macbeth!

[ vii ]

Oh, Bards of old, what wouldst thee say?

About this dismal, gloomy day

When those who work support Who play

And over this a Tempest, fray.

What wouldst thee say old Bards: “aye, aye?”

Hark! towards the Cliff without delay!

{ jkh, 12-29-2012 c. }



Massacre at Sandy Hook

By Jack Hannula

[ i ]

‘Twas a day in cold December,

One we hope all will remember

‘Twas at a school called Sandy Hook

That will be writ in hist’ry’s book.

Lodged in that day a burning ember

That we wish we could dismember.

[ ii ]

‘Twas Connecticut, a nor’east State

Where then occurred an act of hate

Before the Holidays, the date

When twenty-six had met their fate.


‘Twas in a ville they called Newtown

A sleepy place of no renown

But on that day tis written down

Recorded with a troubled frown

By scripted blood on surgeon’s gown

On that doomed day in olde Newtown.

[ iii ]

Oh, ‘twas a day of infamy,

A mix of chance and alchemy,

Amalgam of meek and mighty  

When their grim fate met destiny

And writ large in a crimson script

-Forevermore, this time depict.

[ iv ]

 ‘Twas dismal day of shock & grief,

A day contrary to belief:

From twenty children stole a thief

Their lives, as if a severed leaf

That fell to ground, its moment ceas’d

To crashed upon the cosmic reef.

[ v ]

‘Twas near a time ‘fore Christmas day

(Then, in a manger Christ didst lay)

When ‘round a tree the kids wouldst play

And sing & dance, a joyful fray.

In laughter then, a moment gay

A time of joy, wouldst it be. Nay?

[ vi ]

‘Twas in a school ‘neath Winter’s sun

So shortly after morning’s fun;

In flash of time, all said & done:

A man, from room-to-room didst run

To search for all & sparing none

-Killed twenty children with a gun.

[ vii ]

Oh, may we ponder this cruel act

And sift between a myth & fact

A myth that’s by the “Gun Right’s” said

That Freedom’s best than being dead.

That is to say “Live Free or Die”.

That death is best, wouldst He deny?

Live not on Earth, but in the Sky

Where we could all but flit & fly.

[ viii ]

Oh, “Freedom!” hast a hollow ring

That to a child who’s ceased to sing

Or to their dogs their Frisbees fling

Or to a bird who’s shot from wing

Or to a mom: to school kids bring

Oh, death is every single thing!

[ ix ]

Oh, “Freedom’s” but a soiled coin

Lodged between the heart & loin

That cannot but the two sides join

As one side’s comin’; other’s goin’.

[ x ]

Oh, “Freedom!” has two shiny sides

(Depends it not which side abides?)

On life or death one man decides;

The Judge within his mind confides

On nothing but the moon & tides.

On both sides a Gun resides.

[ jkh 2012 c. ]




The Bridge at Colt State Park, RI, oil on canvas, 10 x 20” (25 x 50cm).  $850

 Ode to Sandy

by Jack Hannula


[ i ]

From southern climes she sallied forth

And swirled along & headed north;

From high above her leaded swirl

Her tightened circle’s twist & twirl

From old moon's eye a silver pearl;

Her arms outstretched, her flag unfurled

Towards distant shores her wrath 'twas hurled

A full-grown lady; not a girl.

[ ii ]

Zephyr’s view: a ribbon'd candy

Crafted by the gods most handy

That seemed a dance, oh so dandy

A vicious storm, the Lady Sandy.


Then swept'd the Lady towards the coast

Most deemed to be her gracious host

A sappy target she could boast

Now written in the annals -most.

[ iii ]

She barreled up the coastal lane

And swept'd aside our earthly plane

Her damage wrought, it was mans' bane

An “act of God” that seemed insane

To mankind's mind, a mind urbane

A senseless dance, an act inane:

The Lady Sandy, Lady Dane.

[ ix ]

The lovely Lady, (metaphor)

Who’s Zeus' consort, Zephyr’s whore

Whose seeds of wrath to Faithful bore

And opened Future's darken'd door.

Oh, now you see it; now no more

The yonder ocean's now our floor.

[ v ]

The only sound was sea's loud tunes

That drowned the sound of erstwhile loons.

She swept'd aside New Jersey's dunes

That wore a cloak of housing boons:

Homes built by some with silver spoons

So many years; so many moons

Hast man played acts of true buffoons

For building on God's golden dunes.


{ jkh11-03-2012 c. }



In Y2K: “Their god” -no Trust:

For to survive: “do this! - we must!”

'Twas a century on its cusp

And to its hist’ry, we were trussed.


“In God We Trusted” (with our money),

For “Guns AND Butter!”  (Fed's refrain);

(Fields of grain & poppies, honey)

As left the station did The Train

Tho’ without brakes in snow & rain;

We “partied on” & felt no pain,

A nation blinded & insane.


Rolled us across this mighty Nation

Onward, Ho! We're on Vacation!

“All together now”: WASPs & Haitians;

One R we: United Nations!

With the train a Pullman Sleeper;

In the Bar-Car: The Grim Reaper.

 “Yippie-ya-yay; yippie-ya-Yo!”

And what we reaped, we sure did sow!


[ Jkh 2009 c. ]


The General’s Affair

Oh, to hear a telltale heart

That, from desire; that, from the start

Were targets of old Cupid’s dart

Before wast said “I do”, “thou art...”

‘Twas thrown before the horse, the cart:

From marriage, first, he failed to part.


A Lady she, a socialite

Who floated high, a social kite

Soaring through “the scene” at night

And unaware of pending plight.


A General he, high officer

Liked the looks of well dressed her;

Her throaty voice & cultured purr;

Saw him not the hidden bur

Placed within the rented bed

Where he -with her- had laid his head.

‘Twas of the heart, or of the flesh?

Oh, torrid mess they did enmesh!


With mettle much, he is a man

Who, from West Point hast said: “I can!”

Move heaven, Earth & stunning woman

Like mighty Zeus & rutty Pan.


She, gasping, panting, needing air

Saw the ironed sheets quite bare

Though in the mirror image fair

In golden curls her flowing hair

‘Twas their boudoir, their secret lair

Why felt she like haggard mare?


He, depressed arose that morn

And from his cheek the stubble shorn

Wondering why he wast born

To suffer thus a live forlorn

With his heart from body torn

To face another day that morn.


His star’s rising; hers is setting

She is losing; he is getting

She is frigid whilst he’s petting

‘Tis it not a game of vetting

Hidden by transparent netting?

Oh, what outcome are we betting?


Oh, ‘fore the rising sun turned hot;

Afore another battle fought

In Afghan land, a land of drought,

A foreign land of danger fraught

And whilst this man his spouse had sought

In cyberspace the man wast caught!


Oh, blows no more the glowing candle

Set upon the marble mantle

‘Mong the Sapphic flow of Handel

Heard deep within their mythic dell.


Oh, where’s the lever; where’s the handle

To flush away this pesky scandal!

 { Jkh 12-2012 }

The Victim

The Victim, pencil/marker, 6 x 4” (13 x 10cm).   $39

The Victim 

Standing there before our eyes

She appears without disguise

That she wore the night before

At her job -as is the lore.

She, standing there, the victim now

He, prosecutor, low-dipped brow

Asked her “when, why & how”;

What happened then; did she allow

The man to take her leather purse

And of him: did she threaten, curse

While from his gun his hate disperse;

They saved her life, the doctor, nurse.


Victim, she, her life’s quite shattered,

The incident her body battered

And features of her life quite tattered:

Sweet justice, then, was all that mattered.

She told the grave prosecutor

All about the robber, shooter

(A man who was her evening suitor;

Her life the man wished to neuter):

“Color of the gun was pewter”,

Said the shy circumlocutor.


She gave the man she thought she loved

As he labored, thrust & shoved

A gun in her face & took her bag

Then re-loaded his 20-clipped mag

As he watched her eyes weep & sag

He wiped the gun with a dirty old rag

And as he held her tightly in place

He shot her in her frightened face.


He spun & left the lass for dead

Only to find a gun at his head

For someone then had called “nine-one-one”

To stop the deed from being done

Before the man was able to run

And throw away his deadly gun:,

Continue on this spree for fun

-But now true justice has begun.

{ jkh 3-13-2013 }

The Prosecutor

The Prosecutor, pencil/marker, 6 x 4” (13 x 10cm).  $39

© Jack Hannula 2013