New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

5 poems from Judy Shepps Battle

Judy Shepps Battle began writing poems long before she became a psychotherapist and sociology professor at Rutgers University. Widely published both in the USA and abroad during the Sixties and Seventies, she deferred publishing to concentrate on career and family. Fortunately her muse was tenacious and she continued to write during the next three decades filling a file cabinet with scrawled and typewritten poems that are now being organized into chapbooks and individual submissions. The material submitted for publication represents her return to active participation in the writing community. She can’t think of a better way to spend her retirement. Her poems have been accepted in a variety of publications including Ascent Aspirations; Barnwood Press; Battered Suitcase; Caper Literary Journal; Epiphany Magazine; Joyful; Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine; Raleigh Review; Rusty Truck; Short, Fast and Deadly; and the Tishman Review.



Reflections On A Mother’s Death



I cannot think of a single time I said

I love you to her face


too many angular edges

on two hardened hearts


her troubled blue eyes never

smiling to see me


my hungry brown eyes always

hoping for approval


for a proud announcement that

I was her daughter and

she loved me.


instead only acid words spewed

from her Revlon Red lipstick mouth


you weigh too much

your clothes are too tight!

clean your room!


you are useless!




Some say her eyes and words

were the same for everyone


that inner demons haunted her

and she loved me in her own way


Not good enough!

Why did you birth me?

Why did you hate me?


Why did you make fun of me?

Why didn’t you try to do better?


Were you really my mother?


these are questions

corpses can’t answer.




Early Liberation Dreams



throwing ball

against pitted stone wall


gripping pink

Spalding Hi-Bounce

imagining a Dodger scout


passing by, saying Wow!

and immediately signing

me to the majors


even though I am

only ten

and a girl.




Peter, Wendy And Me


Seamstress Wendy where are you?


You who sewed Peter Pan’s

shadow so securely


lend me needle and thread to

stitch my self to myself


each suture so strong I can’t

dissociate or


wrongly associate

today with childhood choices


orphan or



eviction or



no way to exit

no way to die.



salvation is naked and


betrayal the only suit

on the rack.




Just Wondering


No one believes I can write poetry

no one offers me a pen

to record the reality of


my Catholic-Protestant soul

born into Jewish lineage and

rejected by non-practicing Jews

my hairless child body

abused by predators seeing me

as simply a hole to be penetrated

my high-IQ mind

ignored by family expecting male Ph.D.

but no more than secretary for me


Why not a poet? Why not a novelist?

Why not a spinner of children’s tales?


Hey mom and dad

how did you miss my writer gift and

fail to encourage its bloom?

So I have to ask


How different would my life be if someone

believed I could write poetry and gave me

a pen?




My Practice


I sit



swaddles fear



becomes compassion


no longer American,

no longer woman

no longer mother,

old, or even Judy


at one with dying

at one with birth


I sit.




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