Archive | Poetry

The Homecoming

My warm breath makes a circle of clear space
on the frosted pane.  I gaze at empty horizons
willing your outline to appear
to give this day extra measure.

You move into view with water pails swinging,
from shoulders whose strength I know by heart,
with strides cleanly cutting
the knee high snow, effortlessly.

I move within the circle and my warm world,
eagerly awaiting your shout and stamp of feet
on the threshold, feeling already
your cold face along the line of my throat.
The woolen nap of your winter shirt
is rougher even than my hands.

It’s been too long you say since you left.
And I laugh.  Hardly time enough to clean the barn
for barely were you gone an hour.
And here already.  My day has taken shape.

                                   *****

The stamp of feet, the key turns
and the door clicks open.
My hands press the smooth fabric of your
well tailored coat and do not catch.
I take the leather briefcase from your hands
and lift my head for the homecoming.
It’s been so long that you are gone, I say, and you laugh.
I’ve only been gone a week this time, you say.

I turn again to the window to find it frosted over.
And know that worlds have died
and been reborn in less time.

And today, another one.

2

December Confirms The June Woman

It is June and I stand poised on the landing of the half circular staircase.  I am hearing the strains of the Canon not heard in this, my lifetime.  Shocked still, caught in the shadows of half remembering and yet reluctant to confront the shaded memories,  I wait.

She is visible, the young woman gliding with joy to the music which carried her down the long hall.   She curtsies to the throngs lining the great walls.

I stand, not moving.   Her joy is mine, translating to an emptiness in my heart.  The tears scald my cheeks and the rest solidify in a mass in my throat.   I cannot swallow.   I am in danger of drowning from within and without.

II

It is now December.   I am before an ancient building in a city bearing her years gracefully.  The snow is circling my feet and the wind is freezing my eyes.  I am rooted to this spot.   The air is ringing with the sounds of holiday; lights flicker their ritualistic colors in harmony.   Yet I stand immobile.

On the second floor of the ancient building, caught in the winter  of my memories, I see the long hall stretching before me.  The strain and refrains of the Canon carry the young one still, waltzing yet.  The violins smooth the way for her memories to be built.  The red vests of the rotund violinists complement in contrast their black, slicked hair.  They bend and bow in homage.  Their music locks her destiny forever.

My eyes are again in danger, this time of freezing in their sockets with the salted tears that cannot stop.   The memory does not move,  not to one side nor the other.  My will forces my eyes to play again what can only be seen in my throbbing head.  Courted through centuries with great care to remain hidden,  I unwittingly jarred the box housing those memories.

In retrospect,  I was ready.  It was my time.   I turned away shaken and knowing

                                                           the past is still happening.

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Times Such As These

I lock up the room
after filing the last remnants
of words laying about unattended.

Fearful that pieces of my heart
may be found scattered among them.
And why not?

Times such as these
leave us with little salve
to heal the open wounds
which once were hearts.

For whom do we weep?
The children whose siblings
will no longer come to the table
to convey with no doubt
the events that stole their innocence?

Or the parents
whose hearts were transplanted
when word came
that these unspent stars
were already breathing the rarefied air
as heaven’s most blessed?

Look at us here.
Pleading that our children
will be safe as they try to understand
what we in our dotage
have not learned;
to resort to arms

means death in any country.

4

time’s past

crystal chimes
strike porcelain ears,
seizing time
from memories, past.

the music heard
from times’ near past,
tangles in the wind
of muted sound;

and we live again.

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Everlasting Memories

Beginning with this post,  I will be featuring  poetry I have used
over the years in hand crafted Christmas cards.   Many of my
readers might recognize a line or two from years past.   I wish to
add my voice to the season to bring  forth memories to be
refreshed for new readers and also those familiar with my work.

She tenders fingertips to a face
as lightly as a kiss of wind
and nudges memories, clad in illusion,
tentatively.

Star shaped, diamond chips,
melting snow on little faces,
Nature has painted red roses
on milk cheeks
and has buried memories
to be awakened at another time.

Everlasting memories. . .  but. . .
we carry the one face
of the one child

forever.

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A Deep Drink

As the evergreens drink deeply
in preparation for the long winter,
I, too, turn to portions of my Self
already stated and prepare.

The journey for both
is through dry country.
The oasis will not be found
except within.

I carry the water to the evergreens
as mine , too, is carried to me.
As I am to the evergreen,
my Self is to me;
water carriers both,

invisible to each.

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The Housekeeper

The Housekeeper. Illustration by Claudia Hallissey

There bellows a wind
around the turrets
of the mind’s house,
ripping under gutters,
sweeping under eaves,
leaving no residue.

Clean, chaste
as the sweet wind,
stands she exalted.
Prudently swiping at corners
to eliminate even
the shadow of contamination
on her brother’s name.

In good time,
in due time,
the world will be
swept clean
and her father’s house
will sparkle.

 

 

4

Come Into My Kitchen

Come into my kitchen
and use the back door.
Only dear friends are allowed to
walk right into
the center of my home.

Others have to earn the right
by walking through the halls
of my life to get to
the heart of my home.

But you can come
to the back door.

I will let you in.

 

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The Strange Bequest

There was a man, a slim man,
whose head was bedecked
with a white cloud
and whose eyes saw dreams
he could not articulate.

He sat one day staring into space
and when I questioned him, he said,
`I am sitting and watching the grass grow.’
I hesitated far too long
and have lived to regret it.

I wish the courage had been mine
to have asked him
to share his dreams with me.
For he bequeathed to me
a mind that does not rest.

I have the thought that his faher
and father before him
wrestled the same misty vision
which now is mine to set in motion.

I question this strange bequest,
for I have not
the staunch heart required
to lay to rest my ancestor’s anguish.

Papa, I plead now,
to replace my heart with hot ore,
inject me with a vial
of celestial courage
and fuse my spine with tempered steel.

There is so little time.
2

The Autumn Night

The velvet night plays host
to the September moon
hanging in suspension in liquid air.
Cold, crisp edges
seal in the lunar landscape,
forgetting for the moment,
the hot sky which sealed our noon.

There comes the night,
in desperation relieving
the cloddish insensitivity visible
in the unrelenting stubbornness of the day,
unable and unwilling to release itself.

With relief,
the jagged beginning of the moon,
just now visible to the naked eye
makes its way across the horizon
of the mental landscape.

Its ridges,
its volcanic valleys split in two
and on the other side of the mind
it falls into the sun to rise
from flames on another night.

Having healed with mystic splendor,
balm for the day's wounds, it rests.
I drink in the day and forget.

But the night . . . the night. . .
now bedded in honor, its place undisputed,
finds my words of gratitude hallow the ground

in worlds unattended.
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