Archive | Poetry

Straight on Through. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emile. . . . 

‘Do come in,’ she motioned to the visitor.
‘Things are not straightened, but they will be shortly.’

The large home had seen numbers of people
marching through the hall; booming voices, woman whispers,
babies’ tears baptizing the walls and christening the marble.

The gentle woman swished quietly to lead the way;
her skirt evenly hemmed and velvet ribbon
threaded through  the eyelet collar.
Her hair glistened with care and was piled
neatly in waves as gentle as she was.

‘Come this way,’ she said as they moved through
a group of people murmuring importantly.
‘They will be going shortly,’ she said.
‘These people won’t be here long.  We will take
the table in the corner.’

And they made their way to the table
and looked at each other for the first time.
In her eyes she hoped the pity would not be evident.
Within a moment the guest knew it was.  But Emile,
true to the cut of her coat, rejected and dismissed
what she saw.

‘The people here are not for long,’ Emile said.
‘The family has so many parties I cannot keep up.  The house
is hardly large enough anymore to hold them all.  But soon
it will be quiet.  It is getting late and time for them to go.’

The rest of the visit was not a replay of times long gone;
no memory of dreams dreamed or books discussed.  No
memory of philosophical turbulence enjoyed.
The guest in time stood up to leave.

‘Emile, it has been a wonderful visit.  But I must get home
and see to dinner.  We will do this more often.
With so much to do each day, we seldom have time to visit.’

And Emile led the way to the door, rounding the tables
like the lady of the house seeing to everyone’s comfort.

At the curb was a car waiting with a grey haired man
standing by.  ‘Hi, Emile!  Hope you and Mother
had a good visit.  Sure do miss Alan and John now
that they’re gone.  We were good buddies.’

Emile waved her hand and puzzled to her guest.
‘He looks familiar, but  who is that old man?  Is he
the grandfather of one of your children’s friends?’
The old friend took Emile’s hand and said,
‘he is my youngest son, Paul.  You remember Paul.’

Emile smiled blankly and withdrew her hand.

‘No ,’ she said.  ‘I only know you.’
And she thanked her friend for coming and
promised a neater home for the next visit.
She then firmly closed the door.
Her friend walked down the stairs.
Emile was right for the guests soon followed.

Paul took his mother’s hand and helped her to the car.
He looked at the imposing Home and whispered,
‘I wish we could afford such a place for you.
The Largess is the best retirement home in the state.
And we can only give you a room in our house.’
Sighing, ‘where to my lady?’

And in a clear voice allowing no nonsense, she roared,
‘home, Paul, home!  To where I am no guest and do not tire
from using energy to keep a dream alive.  Home, Paul, home.’

And the rest of the journey was straight on through.

1

It Is A Gift. . . .

 

‘Each lifetime lived adds to the cumulative sense of loss.’
the teacher

All Who I  Am. . .

I feel the pull of the Polish one bent over her bread board,
pounding, kneading, smoothing the egg dough
into a satiny mound.  Raisins, like eyes, half buried
in the fleshy loaf, stare at me, daring me to absorb
her rhythm into my blood.

Her aching restlessness I breathe already.
Her utter frustration to make new whips me to
a working frenzy, a woman possessed.  She delivers me
to my bed in agony.  With memory splintered, glinting
off the corners of my eyes, I find me.  And awake again
to a morning promising me no relief from her visions.

II

My brow furrows, forming ledges to shield my eyes
from a sun that beats unmercifully.  Sweat pours to drench
my body and nausea routes its way flooding
an overloaded circuitry.

The wandering tribesman leading the camel favors one foot.
Calluses shoot pain into the moon calf of his leg and I limp.
The tart taste of yogurt in his mouth washes clean
the sand out of mine.

Each step becomes a mile in length and his laborious effort
throbs in my temples.  I will be harvest for the flies.
I cannot bear the heat anymore.

 III

The air, sharp as a cut lemon, washes me.  The children race in
their overlarge sweaters with roses painted on their
faces smooth as milk legs.  Lace fringe curtains entertain
the visitors agape at the starkness, the simplicity,
the square picture.  I am at home.

The arctic terrain beats my blood to a froth with exuberance.
My sturdy body matches my earth.  My love shields me,
woos me and I am as cherished as a milk cow in a land
of sparse grasses.  To each other we are the heavy cream
poured on a dish of skyr .

IV

How far back do I dare reach to uncover all who I am?

Is part of me racing, black skinned and hot, basket overflowing,
precariously balanced on my head and heart beating
outside my skin?  My loose breasts clap-clap in pain
against my rib cage as I hurry to make up time spent chatting
with my sisters, fearful of the masculine outrage brewing?

I sit at my desk, surrounded by the present essences of
today’s people, today’s commitments.  The air is spicy with
fomenting earth.  My brow does not furrow from the heat yet.
Summer’s dog days will arrive too soon.

I ‘ve reached backwards and sideways and tasted portions of lives
both palatable and unpalatable.  But altogether rich.  Is my
fatigue of genetic empathy, perhaps imagination gone wild
or an accumulation of too many lives lived, too many
sorrows sorrowed, too many dreams dreamed?

V

The answer will be mine.  With my departure I will take
the sum of my days, the loves loved, the dreams unfulfilled
and all who I am and walk again the cosmos.

And because of my love for me I will create another world.
Due to my cumulative sense of loss. . . .

There will be no more loves aborted.

3

The Farm Woman. . .

 

Someone probably said, considering there is nothing new under the sun, I knew the journey my spirit would take would be the one closest to my heart.  That would be  the earth and sky of course, a farm.  

The details would be only as difficult as I could overcome and not more than I could handle.  I would of course argue that premise.  In retrospect it was the most influential segment of my life. 

Directing and encompassing the who I became to love the Earth Planet as the grandest classroom ever given to viable, developing creatures with potential who worship learning. 

Having said that, my wish is for overwhelming intellects equipped to keep our planet safe and prospering healthily so the young need not worry they will have no dotage. 

It is a beacon to the Universes and we are more than one.  And nowhere are the conditions as ripe for  ideas with materials  becoming expressions as this planet.  Pray that we take only good what moth and rust do not destroy when we terminate our stay, so that we only enhance life elsewhere in whatever form, in gratitude for what we are gifted.

The Farm Woman  . . . 

Woman of the Earth, you are loved.
You gather the fruits of your labors
to your bosom and feed the children.

You’ve inched your way along the
dusty path with back bent in great fatigue
and cultivated rows yielding wise fruit.

You would feed out of your mouth those
you think hungry and then beyond measure.
The fruits are the heart of your labors , the harvest of
your mind’s philosophy, spilling indiscriminately.

Who is left to feed you, farm woman?
What commissary is left open to feed your
hungry soul after hours?  What bookstall will
house the words between stiff covers
to increase your harvest?

Labor, till the sun closes its blinds on the day.
Restless legs will speed you through the night

to find the bins ever full.

2

A Respite. . to walk the fields. . .

The Door Closes . . . 

You say the door closes
behind me and you cannot follow.
I take my place beside the one
who holds my ceded heart in his hands.

All I know is here is the place I belong.
No other place feels right.
Though as I walk in other places,
they seem to be the places needing work.

I miss the belonging that once I had
in the arms tightly holding heart to heart.
It is now an isolation that accompanies my every day
with an emptiness that does not leave.

Nighttime brings my companion
and I to his side.  And I am at home again.
We walk my fields and I do not rush away.
It does not last, for morning

brings to light the day’s increment
of work and commitment.  Time was
when we  wound our arms tightly but Conscience
awakened me to finish a work once begun.

Those arms no longer fit the who I am
so it is my loss and isolation.
Yet that will be remembered always

as the time our arms fit and wound tightly.

0

The High Jumper. . .

It has been said with anger
that I set the bar
too high
for mere mortals to scale.

It was not for them
the bar was set
but for me,
to rise as high

as the immanent god
had deemed for me.
I could not know
that they would try

 

to jump for me.
I was not the reason.
It was for them, you see,
for someone told them

they would never do it .
I showed them though
they could .
And they believed.

And they surprised themselves.

(Please understand that even when I learned that I was not abandoned, I was not spared.  This was not a known premise for me until I was quite aged.  Heaven does not play favorites.  The log was always in my eye;  hard going.)

0

A Meditation. . . does the world stand still for you?. . . .

 

Come with me to this place
I visit often, hidden behind an eyelash;
where it is Easter all the time and
rebirth is not a sometime thing; where
gods cavort in joyous abandon.

Come, we dance. . . .

 

Today the world stood still. In the
bright afternoon sun I saw a butterfly
dart into a spider’s web woven between
the power lines and lift it up and carry
it with him.

In the silence I heard the question.
How heavy is a spider’s web on a butterfly’s wing?
Since everything is balanced,
the question is proportional.
A friend said to me, ‘only you had eyes to see it.’

Does the world stand still for you?    Ever?

 

It sometimes has seemed as if my life has been lived under a premise of ‘hurry, we are late already’.  And I’ve wanted to  say like the phrase I learned. . . I am dancing as fast as I can. . . I am taking time to reread things I have written and learning to thank who I was for finding the time when my  half of the world slept,  to leave a memo of hundreds of thousands of feelings.  Veronica,  I hardly got to know you. . . . this was the first post 8 years ago on fromanupperfloor.com  . . . a gift from me to my new readers. . . .

0

Far Beyond Where We Are. . . . .

Recently I was lost in thought  and found myself saying out loud that I have to get back to teaching!  I surprised myself but to whom was I speaking and what world but more importantly, at what depth?  I remember a conversation at dinner where there was argument and I exasperatedly said, the wrong people at this table were educated!

David looked at me with a steel glance and said, only the people who needed the education ! And I looked hard at this lawyer son of ours with a philosophy major in his life struggle and knew what he said because all of them held credentials except me.  And I said you are right, David, right.

In that world I held in conference and said I had to get back to teaching, was a real world though I would be laughed at with derision in this one.  Yet much of what I find compelling in this world ,in a concerted effort daily of independent study, avidly, tells me it is not new.

For me God is a verb and Jesus, the Nazarene, is my mentor.

I understand that all time is simultaneous, which  Albert Einstein verified by saying man will not ever begin to understand his own ‘why’ until he understands this very important element of time.

My mentor became my friend as I was held accountable and as I sought his divinity, I found mankind’s and eventually my own.  Then I was able to see the GodWithin which sparks us with conscience.  In the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Nag Hammadi Library)  Jesus said, ‘I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard’.

Even with no credentials, and whatever our persuasion, we all have a highest and best we hold onto.  It is a good beginning knowing all the while there is a realm of existence so far beyond  where we are that it cannot be spoken of because there are no concepts beyond our immediate conceptual abilities.

It is still some distance where awesomeness will lead to further realms of thought not possible for the human brain.  Fir’ piece to go?. . . .long ways. . . .a very long way. . . .

The Uncovering. . . an excerpt. . .

The idea will find its home
in the minds of all men
and the revolution begins.
The learned ones will marvel
at the evolution in thinking
and peace with brotherhood
will slowly mark its beginning
in the house of one man.

Nestling in the house will be the children.
They will be remembering where

the promise was given.

 

above photo by John Holmes

 


 

0

The Harvest Moon. . . .

 

 

The night will bring a harvest moon.  I  have seen many and they are special.  Brilliant and lighting the sky with magic, even though it is Friday the 13th.   I hope there will be dancing with moonbeams and children will laugh as they gather them in baskets like rare gems designed only for their eyes.  And they will forever remember from where they come.

 

 

Harvest Moon. . .

Within the circumference of the full moon
lies a world of power calculated
to make a man weep.  A harvest moon,
brimming with light,  great light,  prolongs
the day’s labor to make the fields clean,
preparing them for the covering of frost
that will freeze the ground and make way for the snow.

The snow comes in drifts, hiding the stubble
where field mice chew and multiply.
It provides a playground and home
for creatures close to the earth’s crust.

But in the silos, in the barnyards and lofts
is stacked the world’s bounty
to feed those who labored through
the long hot summer to ready the table
for a well earned thanksgiving.

We just suppose the winter will be hard,
written though it has always been for
the old ones to see in the landscape
of the harvest moon.  You could not bear
to look at the full moon too hard or too long.

Every farmer soon learns this.
The pull of the moon raises the tides only so far.
But you instinctively knew

that only so far was all the way home.

 

4

We Speak. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Speak. . . 

We say goodbye with body language.
See. . . we know when
our arms are circling each other
they will not release until our hearts
press our knowledge one to the other.

And we look with watery eyes
that no longer see clear images
because they blur.  As long as we touch
we are together in this space.

But in parting we stay connected still.
I have your body form pressed into mine
and the scent of your humanity
I will always seek.

Until one day no longer will we need
to seek out each other.  For as breath whispers
beside me, I know it is you.
We will again unite in arms without form
but the embrace will be familiar.

The fit will be forever ours.

 

 

 

art by Claudia Hallissey

2

I Don’t Know How To Be Deaf. . .

 

I had been struggling with the newer hearing aids for over two years.  And the audiologists kept saying they are the state of the art but my ears were itching and my brain hurt.  It was irritated, my brain was.   With the new hearing test, the audiologist said you work very hard at hearing, don’t you?  I could have wept with no reserve, I was so relieved someone noticed.

There was more loss in hearing, but he said I can do nothing for your brain.  It is not registering always the switch necessary for human voices.  And because I focus so deeply on thought to shut out head noises, it is tiring and aging does not have much energy in reserve.

So to engage in conversation with more than one person is very hard work.  It is not because I am not paying attention.  And  when you call and I give someone the phone to talk to you, it is because I do not hear.  Not that I don’t want to talk.

I am grateful for the people in my life who help me.  Especially family.  They allow me space to work my work as long as I draw breath.  I hope I am worth my keep.

I Don’t Know How To Be Deaf. . . 

I am among you whom I love,
and try to understand your words.
I read your gestures, your body language
and your eyes telling me again
what you wish me to know.

I am desperate to understand.
Your impatience runs through your body
and into mine.  Shackled am I
with emotions as mine tumble
with yours and consume me.

We have shared our histories
through decades but now you run ahead of me
and I take my silent world and retreat.
I piece your words, the ones I hear
with a history I secured in mind.

What I have learned to read
by eyes that speak, are words that run
like rivers into each other to form
a crash against walls I hope I did not build.

Aged now, rubbed raw, there is nothing left
to flex against, to tell me how to assuage the deficit.
There is little energy at the end of Now
to make it work. . . no lessons offered
along the way but to be left dumb. . . .

I just don’t know  how to be deaf.

 

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