The Ladder
March 2024, Poetry

The Ladder

By Claudia Hollander-Lucas

I love how history can teach us – if only we’d remember it for current times – especially with rising tension around the upcoming presidential election, (re)surging wars on a global scale, and democracy under threat. This alphabet poem is in remembrance of the twentieth century when modernist art-invention, feminism, two world wars, a global depression and the Spanish Flu co-existed—new freedoms and dangers to threaten life as people once knew it. ~ Claudia Hollander-Lucas

This Ladder

~ a modernist abecedary for Gertrude and Alice during hard times


Book-ending of century wars, the

Catastrophes link, overlay invention—people

Do look up, check cellars the clever knots as

Each bird flies itself struck blind numbed see

Flocks gilt in lace cuffs rat-a-tat-tat the

Gas and honk overhead—

Have you not heard them ?


Joke not about pits, the masks to cement division—

Keep politics in your own soup cellar! some say.


Mmmm (the moon…)

N ( nuanced )

Or not. Ezra Pound dined on Mussolini

Pasta, punctuated craft and the quickening

Quick—hide those guns! the brandy! the cheats!

Reason finds tender buttons wrote Stein, while her brother

Scarcely changed. Moved to Italy, scalded: warned:

Tell the judge you’re Perfectly Innocent

Under Any circumstance. Yours is a story of ubiquitous

Values. Capital un-well. poised under Construction. Here is

Where weeds turn edible—the Survivors connect (remembering)

X-actly. EX-act leeeeeY.

You wake between counties of Loyalty, Love, Fame. No

Zebra stripes in cargo cars, the ones G and A cunningly avoid, here


A is for one (perfect) soldier his own Prime number

Brave. Alone. as moral a mind can be in a time of

Catastrophe that may bend him a traitor, a medal, or sentenced to

D ———— or E ————

Claudia Hollander-Lucas

March 7, 2024

About Author

claudia Claudia Hollander-Lucas is a visual artist, writer, book-maker, and long-time Islander whose artwork can be found near and far in public and private collections. Visit her website and press called We Live In The Woods for details.