By on Feb 13, 2018 in Poetry

Water dripping into heart
Remember how I used to scrape
off irritating little bumps
as if perfect attainment of
a suppler, less eventful shape,
a peace at the expense of love,
and armchair grace, had quite become
     a sort of holy grail?
The day I finally attained
the perfect peace I’d sought, I heard
a voice from somewhere that explained
the living’s really in the lumps.
          I was struck dumb
     but thought the thought absurd
          and then it rained.
          There was a leak.
          I found a pail.
          It had a hole.
          I got wet, some,
and laughed. Still wet, I went to buy
another one and at the store
while dripping on the Housewares floor
and testing out pail after pail
(that quest as well a sort of grail)
saw you—at which embarrassment
you laughed. A red rushed to my cheek.
I did not would not dared not speak.
Then later in the parking lot
               I woke
               and spoke.
A sudden clearing of the sky
implied another absurd thought
          as if you’d come
          to represent
from sheer perfection’s boring path.
The rest of course is aftermath:
Now peace is not preempted war
but in a living attitude
while any lack of grace I more
than make up for with gratitude—
of which I down an overdose
then dowse you with imperfect rhymes
I can’t help. But recall the times,
my dear: It was a very close


Widely published both stateside and abroad, James B. Nicola has several poetry awards and nominations to his credit. His nonfiction book, Playing the Audience, won a Choice award. First poetry collection: Manhattan Plaza, 2014, available at Second collection: Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater, to appear in June of 2016. A Yale grad and also a stage director, composer, lyricist, and playwright, his children’s musical, Chimes: A Christ­mas Vaude­ville, premiered in Fairbanks, Alaska, where Santa Claus was in attendance on opening night.


  1. Thank you, James,for this–finding a wholly fresh way to express romantic feeling is a big deal, as far as I’m concerned. And you found it here!
    All best,

  2. Thank you, James. I cannot wait to share this with my Valentine. Hallmark has got nothing on you.
    Best wishes, and much love to you.

  3. Thank you, James. This poem is so you. Jumping off every stanza. I can just picture you reading/telling it.

  4. What a wonderful poem<James!Love,Eve

  5. Good fun, James. Your “Wind in the Cave” is a good read, too.

  6. Lovely, James.

  7. Lovely,just lovely!!

  8. Thank you, James. You made me think, you made me feel, you made me appreciate and want more.

  9. Sweet poem, James. Thanks for sharing with us!

  10. Like honey, so sweet.
    Thank you!