Category Archives: Language

Fireflies

The occasional blink or glow that dots our eyes

and echoes light in ink-filled summer skies.

Random, flighty bugs go back and forth,

never staying long upon the earth.

Poetry resides in likened states

upon the page, lying there in wait.

Until the dusk of summer’s memory comes

flitting in our minds and waiting on our tongues.

Then off the paper, wisping as it’s read,

circling ’round our voices, resting in our head.

The instant blink or glow that passes in our eyes

then echoes light amid the ink-filled skies.

Rain (rondelet)

The rain fell hard

upon a pile of dirt and clay.

The rain fell hard

and water flowed as if to say

we cannot choose to stay this way.

and spread amongst our lives today

the rain fell hard.

In puddles, brown –

reflections of the sky retold

in puddles, brown

these ruptured teardrops sparkle bold

wrenched from the clouds, water cajoled,

so unlike the desolate loll

in puddles, brown.

When flowers bloom,

opening up in fragrant notes.

When flowers bloom,

and singing out from amber throats,

look to the azure sky that dotes,

waiting on a quickening dose

when flowers bloom.

Life on the game show channel

I sit and breathe in your long silences,

the room filled with TV conversation

about the puzzle just done or the prizes they won.

Lounging in quiet while you sleep,

then you stir to acknowledge the commercial break

about stuffed-crust pizza, ready to bake.

These moments are interludes,

built as a ladders to an afterlife. While we brood

all our days picking out letters for words forsooth

or the answers from among the multiple choices we choose,

we have one eye on the stuffed crust pizza, ready to bake.

The beginning of the game is rapid fire, and everyone gets an answer right

and we are introduced to each contestant’s life, the bright light

of their enthusiasm spurring us to play along

wishing we knew all the correct responses from wrong

or knew the best path we could take.

The episode of this game soon passed

the winnings of our participation never would last.

While from question to question we walk in our mind

’til our slumbering surpasses our tangible time

we are barely awake, our dreams filled with ladders

and craving for pizza already baked.

A noisy door helps me write (a villanelle)

Opening wooden doors that creak, something went awry.
A spatial sense of order, withdrawn in disarray.
Shutting closed I pass on through, the other side blue sky.

On ladders and embankments, I reach or try to climb.
The pieces always ticking while the motions are in play
Opening wooden doors that creak, something went awry.

Tip-toeing down older roads, hopping over grime,
Slipping over some misstep, it’s difficult to convey. Shutting closed I pass on through, the other side blue sky.

Crafting paths on tile and gravel out of sticks and rhyme.
None are quiet, some are speaking loudly in the fray. Opened creaking, wooden doors. Something went awry.

Careful with the word choice. It happens all the time.
The only advantage in supercilious display
closing shut. I pass the other blue side, the sky.

All this confusion while I wander in my mind.
Noises in their speaking voice carry me away.
I opened wooden doors and something creaking went awry.
I shut the door and pass on others, through to bluer skies.

Diversity

A billion snowflakes fallen down; the sky’s pale light sings them aground.

A population filled with wist over winter’s grey-ness, quiet bliss.

Each one designed of fractal flair; together in surrounding air

covering grass and plants and trees

woven in a blanket freeze.

In silence of a winter sleep

until the sun and tulips peep.

Then drips of water feed the ground and life returns in sights and sound.

And something made so singular moves in tandem in the world.

Solitary beauty at its birth –

flowing through to share its worth.

And so in moments cold, dispersed- all in beauty shown diverse

leads to something else, embrace it differently someplace.

Tarantella

Something that whipped in the wind brought me out in it,

crackling across as a swirl in the night.

Stepping and rattling the tambourine rhythm in

arguments fostered in melodious spite.

Here we are dancing an old tarantella

upping the stakes in each course or turn.

The constant accelerate twirling and gaiting

until we are much to invested to adjourn.

The tune that accompanies us in our effort

accelerandos to meet our estate.

Constantly raising the tensed dance hysteria

and we are now breathless and tired of debate.

Wouldn’t a tango be more aptly suited?

Or maybe a waltz or a foxtrot to try?

The steps, they are beautiful, motions in tandem.

No one is upstaged and nothing goes awry.

Here as I ponder the dance steps of politics,

tightening my tambourine skin here and there.

Adding a jingle to increase the rattle

in this tarantella, poetic warfare.

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

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.