Category Archives: creative writing

Sowing (for Christmas)

It’s all La-dee-dah until it’s go-go-go.

There’s not much spirit unless there’s snow,

Ornamental twinkles in lights aglow

with fa la lahs and the ho ho ho.

And joy and hope and peace are hung,

reminders of a flower sprung

in our midst. Now with our tongues

the joy, the hope and peace are sung.

Yet those upon this world are tired.

Each and every age transpired

without the love and peace desired,

despite the joy and hope that’s squired.

Though darkness settles, spends the night,

morning always brings us light.

Thus we hope. Our homes bedight

with ornamental air alight.

And in this yearly journey shown,

though some desist and some bemoan,

mankind’s joy and hope are sown

and Love is sprung again and grown.

Scratching Frost

Ahead of my steps in linear course, 
the shovel scritches back and forth
- a sound that scatters with the snow
and bits of debris ground below.

As I amble across the drive
the scratching noise itself derives.
A haul gets tossed to the edge,
bits fall wayside, marking a ledge.

This song in concert with my walk
could not be heard with snowplow squawk-
rumbling in the cold grey air
tossing snow, making bare

the concrete surface on which I stand.
The scraping by a shovel in hand,
the detail frost and snow aligned,
showing what I've left behind.

And as the chore has come to close
I look back at the path I chose.
Leaning on the shovel there,
snow still falling everywhere.

The best way out is always through – Robert Frost

Torte, with my father

The flourless cake, its heaviness derived of bittersweet.

Chocolate dense as darkness.

A china cup , a black pool swirled with an opaque liqueur.

The taste of each as contribution –

rancor offset by the affable.

I sit across the from the empty seat you once used.

My memories are heavy with the affection of your company

and controverted by your absence.

Each bite with a following sip a battle of emotions.

How it lingers, the memory of your sudden death

followed by the overtones of your prescience.

The night we talked late, and you said “the parent becomes the child”

Yet, I still want to ask you for advice and you never quite accepted mine.

The sound of my fork clinks and the resonant ding of the cup

as I set it down upon a saucer

all I hear in reply.

Cantabile

America,

about this unfinished symphony…

The movements that proceeded this one are fading and the players are tired.

This current antiphonal fugue section isn’t working well. The swells grows louder and less melodious by the measure. Gone are the phrases that rise and fall in unison. In their place are resonant pedal tones, brassy glissandos and clashes of cymbal and blat. Largely single voices that raise the din.

Remember the sweeping melodies of the past. True, the ancient tunes of the indigenous are mostly lost, but they were here when the land was born and still echo in our ears if we just listen. Our young work of art holds the jigs of immigrants, the hymns of the pious and yes, the blues of the enslaved. Some songs were joyous, others dripped with pain and sadness. They may have been singular in their experience, but they are unifying in their impact.

Across the landscape, the gospel choir of sinners and saints and the choral moments of victory shouted that we shall have a song, and you gave us one.

Contemporary ditties dot the eras, but do not define the work. Populism accentuates the moment, but ad libitum cannot sustain the chords. Intervals from fourth to fifth and augmented sevenths resolve themselves to prime.

Anger and happiness are to be heard throughout, folded in as motifs – but it must lead to where it begins and ends, in one voice.

A voice shared of past and future songs, of freedom for all, ringing bells of prosperity for each one of us, crescendo in equality and building the next movement.

Cantabile.

Perception

You ask me to think about paint colors,
and the soft gray you’ve chosen.
The hue of it is blue, but it reflects
a green during midday, when the sun is highest.

Blue is a color that knows no season, and paints the infinite sky

while green implies the growth of things – dotting where the eye sees.

Grey, itself – like clouds obscure the sky or fog obfuscates the landscape.

Such a color – gray/grey – spelled two ways yet has a continuum of sound transitioning between “a” and “e”

– in both, the sum is intermediate.

I slow down the diphthong
and try to catch the tones between the chromatic versions.
I voice this change in sound color aloud, with the intention
to consider them without interference.
You give me a sideways glance
and say, ”No, I meant, how do they look?”

******

A poem originally written in 2015 during NaPoWriMo, dusted off and reworked here.

Seasons

Standing next to the brick wall to gain a view on an edge,
I see seedlings of a future beginning to assert their presence in a distant hedge.
A clutch of vines hold firm to their path in runners along the wall.
Green patches vie in the foreground, soon to fill the emptiness with crawl.
It all fosters a belief in rebirth. Yet that requires a conviction in the death of things in every place
when what happens is metamorphosis on a pace approaching eye level.
I see a world that sleeps, then grows to the horizon.
In ten years or so, this garden will all be changed and enlightened
from point-to-point, the severity of existence rearranged.
The florets, grasses, leaves, and life with its meandering display,
just as the vine that climbs the wall wrestles with the moment,
the energy of infinity wins out as nature foments.

*Photograph taken by me in March 2019 at the Gardens of Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland.