The HyperTexts

Betty Iacovetti

Betty Iacovetti was an accomplished violinist, string instructor and poet. She graduated from high school at age sixteen with honors, then boarded a train for NYC, where she attended Julliard, where she had a partial scholarship. By the fall of that same year, she was given a full ride to Sherwood Music Conservatory and De Paul University in Chicago. She ended up getting her Bachelor of Arts in Music from DePaul and a Masters from Sherwood (or it may have been the other way around). She taught music courses at Fresno State University, Fresno Pacific University, and Fresno City College. She played for many celebrities, including Nat King Cole (whom she loved), Rod Stewart and Wayne Newton, but unfortunately never had the chance to work with Sinatra. In addition, she was first chair for the Fresno Opera Association, played with the Fresno Symphony Orchestra, and was a regular for over 20 years with the Cabrillo Music Festival in Aptos, California. She was also offered first chair with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, but because she was married with children, she chose to decline.


I have known an early spring
and walked her faint fringe.
The winter to which I've come
struggles to fill its icy frame
but memory, however lucid, cannot return
to that path where promises stood
like budding trees and I was young
and spring was early.


In fanciful procession,
gay as the song of a fool,
ignoring the tune
when it sounds out of key,
and at night, ignoring
the smell of infinity –
on we go! spending ourselves,


Our neighbor's son died yesterday
in the war
The same war that isn't ours.
I remember him
loud and lively
and sometimes in the way.
Today we're invited to a picnic.


All the clocks were frozen
and night flew
perpetually about
like a plague
of black butterflies.


I stroked the wings of night
when she was young.
I frilled her beak
with promises
and gently sang her glittered eyes to sleep.
I caress her still—my torment,
though her wings
have grown fierce.
her beak has become
a vigilant slash
and her eyes thieves
who snatched my lullaby away
and buried it deep, deep.

White on White

The grounds are white
where I walk. My face
holds snow
like a chalice.

I am called innocence.
I am sacred and mild.
In worlds beyond memory
I circle, like a child

making tracks,
white on white
echoes as distant
as the winter quiet.

My backward look
looks back at me.
I am blind to where I've been,
blind to where I'll be –

should I stay? Who whispers?
What voice? Which hill?
Whose are these steps?
What somewhat skill

arranges patterns
in shades of light
and guides my feet
to what on white?

Requiescat In Pace

Requiescat in pace!
        You, dark thoughts, are lost
         to this new day.
Burn, burn out in the blistering sun.
         Let it char and shrivel
         your miserable remains.
Or lie quiet, if you must,
         beneath wood's dead-grey rot;
         be stifled, be stilled,
         cast no shadow of fear
         nor whisper back echoes
     to my unwilling ear—
For this day is new,
     a new, new day—
Requiescat aeternam
         in pace, in pace.

Last Ditch Stand (on the way to a palmist)

I'm on my way to the Palmer
Who will tell me how I can be Calmer;
When I get back,
If I'm still out of whack,
I'll visit the nearest Embalmer.

Chimneys Rising

Chimneys rising
from weathered shingles
            toward the unobtainable.

A mood of solitary longing
rises too
        seeking answers
            from the unremembered.

And a fine line of smoke
        fleeting words
            across the sky.

Fresno Canal

The canal waters of Fresno
                   flow tiresomely on,
                    serving some obscure purpose
                     for men who make
                     cement embankments.

        they recall
                 their laughing sisters,
                     mountain streams
                     who sing a free song
                     and dance
                     on icy pebbles.

The canal waters of Fresno
            move with murky monotony
                     to the same end
                     day after day
                  and cover souvenirs of civilization,
                     beer bottles,
                     a tricycle wheel,
                     a picture of Schubert.

The Killers

We used to count
             coyote pelts
                    strung in bedraggled array,
                     barbed-wire fences
                     of New Mexico
                     a scaffold for swift
                     uncivilized sinners.

cried the ranchers,
           and shot
               and hung
                      bloody hides
                      for buzzards
                      to circle
                      and pick.

The lamb is tender,
    the roast-beef lean—
              but I remember those killers.

I remember those innocent killers
                     and I wonder who,
                     will hang our hides
                     on a barbed-wire fence
                     and count?

Send Me Lightly On My Way
(From Lost Lake)

Send me lightly on my way
For my journey is a far one.

My coward soul has stayed too long
In memories' cathedral.

My eyes have wept, are weeping now,
Clothe your naked eyes

And look not sorrowing to see me grieve,
Be deaf to all my sighs.

Do not touch me as I pass,
Raise your hand but slightly,

Send me lightly on my way,
Send me lightly, lightly.

Send me lightly on my way
Give no gift at parting

To weigh upon me heavily
Or cause my steps to lag.

Your silent words keep silent then
To fill the empty space

And send your thoughts beyond my thoughts,
Your gaze beyond my gaze.

For the end of your look
Is my journey's end; I must haste to find

Send me lightly on my way,
Send me lightly, lightly.


Night's opposite world
where light is illusion
and noontimes come to die,
around my noon
has curved an oblong eye.

I weep for her,
my noon;
her merry dance.
In her smile bloomed
the flower of my chance.

Would I had thanked her!
So fast she whirled
to wispy white!
How may I thank a noon-ghost
locked into the night?


A certain sanctity comes
with keeping to a rule.
our rule is that of small talk;
we hold strictly to it and tool,
like skillful artisans,
winter's noon with trifles.

Though I feel your agony sharpening
beneath my casual touch,
I smile
and stroke a new lie
along life's faithless mantle.

castles in exile

orators, speak!
of departing dreams,
speak ringingly!
fancy's towers
are too grand
to be mumbled away.
set upon new land,
like exiled castles
they stand
near wagons and wire,
their spires piercing
an inappropriate sky.

When The Valley Is All In Fog

When the valley is all in fog
my steps fall singly
as unrelated questions, my breath
mingles with the circling quiet.
Through the pale elusive moment,
a stranger's home drifts past;
like a dream it appears
and in the fog we touch.
For that small time, like lovers,
we belong only to each other.

Wagon in Winter

Seasons are impermanent;
today is only today.
When spring returns
someone will fill me
with blossoms or hay. I'll roll
past the present chill,
the barren trees, fogged-in houses,
chimneys of steaming clay.
When my boards dry
and the sky begins to smile
I'll go to work again. The chimneys
will be idle and spend
their quiet time watching me
move hills of flowers
away from winter cold.


Four a.m. can't be as late as it seems—or as early!
a timeless drop of eternity is four a.m. 
unbound by earthly label of time it hangs by a thread of nothingness
and recognizes nothing; not even sleep!

Everyone Listen
All Take Note

the president
has been smiling
since last may,
smiling through
every difficult day,
smiling and smiling
even when
those bad Watergate
committee men
forced him to
publically reprimand
his top and coolest
aides. and when his vice
(president) left him alone
to splice all the tapes
and tap-tap the phone,
there was no complaining,
not the slightest moan.
oh I find it sweet
and incredibly dear,
our fearless leader
making things perfectly clear.
and it's heartening
I say, to see thirty-two
pearls of encouragement
glowing at me and you.

The HyperTexts