Category Archives: free verse

The wisdom of stick people

We make a step.

Then two. But never alike. There is so much space and planar geometry to consider.

Those drawn from points and lines, making conclusive statements from their biases in plain “right and wrong”

If x then y. Then straight ahead.

They are the ones inconsiderate of the spherical or the enveloping things about intervening axes and overlapped arcs.

Sometimes our way becomes brambled and thick with their branches.

It’s a crowd that crossed our path with felled reasoning, their limbs mangled in the present disagreements, All attempting to move forward.

We can go around it if we choose. We can scale the brush if we desire.

We may assist the ones blocking with compassion, convincing them to move another way.

Yet, the wisdom of stick people is to pile on, despite all admonishments, losing ourselves in the entanglements, rather than consider the spatial options.

We make a step, then two…

April 2020

This is a time of blossoms.
Each day, a petal grows to hide the thorns.
The wind-kicked clouds cry onto the pavement
where people walked in groups
chattering just a few weeks ago.

The clatter and rumble of man’s progress replaced
as the thunder ricochets into the emptiness of night,
followed at dawn by singing birds
among our edifices
from their nests embedded in the steel and concrete.

Mountains breathe the clearing air in a respite
from our industriousness.

We mourn what we have lost,
both the temporary and the dear.

Yet as we cover our mouths in silence,
our eyes are open to see a blossoming world
giving so much in our absence.

A description of her mantle piece

Designed to draw eyes upward,

scraggly stakes of winter are positioned

to point to the space above the mantel.

Here, only brick and mortar backdrop reside.

A façade of permanence, punctuated with lines.

Below the weathered twigs, a swath of green spreads about the shelf.

This comforting shawl teems with dense sprigs,

lush in every moment and angle

both symbolic and real, a mantle.

Interwoven are ornamental moments of silver, or of color and contrast,

fancied by a studious mind and placed by fussy hands,

yet are accustomed and sincere.

Tapered pick of crystal, a moment, the glittering fractals suspended in time,

And though a sheaf in days of stored abandonment,

it is now her manteau from twig to bough,

subduing winter’s darkness,

that embraces the starkness of an empty hearth and warms the room.

Now and then

It was entire durations of a dream, she stood behind me, not a sound.

Then a gleam of light hit the ground, a shadow fell and her voice sang a round.

Now, the memory a more abundant chorus than I recall

with my littered words that clash and brawl – my slumber at an end.

I never saw her face, neither that of lover or a friend.

Another day may bring her near, perhaps with some quieter verse to hear as when it was just then.

Pieces

There is a puzzle to the course of living,
the fragments pieced in the order of their discovery.
Framing is followed by detailed construction of the things you find familiar,
With lines of similar breadth and swaths of shades of color
that fade and brighten, trying to intercede
among the pieces where interlocking forms are implicit
though not fated to be joined.
The uniting of pictorial flakes, a rewarding, engrossing
event – that drives you on to seek another, and another beyond and so…
With long spells of delusion and vexation
interspersed among the brighter moments of recognition.
The fulfillment of a vignette completed
the emotions in a red-tinged array resound,
all assembled by meticulous serendipity,
and a confidence that all the pieces are there to be found.

An unexpected drive

I saw the sun sparkle between the leaves

just before the outpouring of red and gold,

that moment of flux when everything is not new.

A bird flock undulated in our view.

A tarnished framework bridge sat to cross over

the creek, a connection between us and there:

A rusty reminder of the history of travels.

How many have driven this dirt road before?

Who else remarked upon the aging of the beams, has seen the streaming

brown water beneath.

The near-autumn sun advanced

upon the field.

An apple orchard in neglect to the left.

Weeds stood in contrast with the trees,

yet, apples continued to ripen and drop throughout the field,

leaving a sustaining memory.

The bird flock returned to a billow and thrum

and I drove on, following a ebbing sun.

A conversation

I imagine that what comes after must be better than before,

No constant monitoring of the quality, that is to maintain

with manmade artifices,

of  how beautiful or how healthy we are.

For me, it is not to know. I am here.

But for you, there – passed beyond the walls of this world,

it should be filled with the flavors of wine and honey,

the laughter of the loved and lost,

the passage of infinite moments cast

equally of musical crescendo and allargando – and pianissimo.

As for me, I do not know.

I do not know when the brightest stars are going to fade.

Perhaps you can show me someday.

Sitting at your glass table, with coffee and fresh-baked bread

I listen to the rain, instead.

 

 

 

Keepsake

I’ve been sorting through old keepsakes,
some photographs I’ve found are faded now,
these echo sounds of places where I didn’t go – faces that I do not know
I can’t decide how to store them all –
The sepia memories of what you saw,
The air your family stories hold
should last as long as when you told them.
And what you did is what you wanted
To do, and nothing worse hindered you.
Scenes of travel – and songs of yore
Some motets in your mind’s reservoir.
Carols sung in a cavernous forum
were more than just some Ipsem Lorem.
Choirs of men and women singing
Relationships brought into being
How, lovely – snaps you strived to make
No different than our own keepsakes.
But yours dwelled firmly in His grace –
and dwelling in your family’s place
Devotion and hymn live with us here
Led with your baton, and your voice as clear
as when you walked into a room.
My minds-eye sees you, feels you too.
How lovely, this reminiscence sounds –
Even if an echo now.
Listening to you in my head
puts my thoughts to this poem’s thread
of places where the music soars
and you’re step-singing an angel chorus.
The keepsakes of your melody in harmony with the little things,
And now they’re ours, for all to sing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a moment of selective focus

Seeing narrow and close

the fresh rain that hangs like tears

from a florid pome and blurred green surrounds it.

The pinnacle of small details – the tip of a pen pressed

at the page or the placed dish inlaid with memories.

The indentions of your slow intake of breath fills me as you read

the texture from a leather-bound book.

Obsession takes a toll, roughshod over the global view

of landscape and horizon. Still and fixed,

the single moment aches in a story with pain

and the point that tarries after a kiss in the foreground, surrounded by rain.

***

This poem, a sparrow

I remember counting birds on summer mornings,
before the heat settled in,
I’d circle the house.
and count the sparrows and bluejays,
a robin or two and sometimes a cardinal.

A task that kept me focused
each and every morning – on small details
like the poetry now.
I looked for colors,
with hope that this time
I might see yellow in a warbler, a goldfinch,
the multicolored painted bunting
or hear a gleeful song that the mockingbird pretends.

The ominous black crow was not here, though venturing
near the field behind our house – I would hear caws
that echoed.

Tick marks on the page were used to tally,
and sparrows always led the count.
A swath of greys and brown, with patches
of blue and red, and always hoping for yellow.
The darkness far away.

This, before the summer heat settled.