Petals of the Dead

Image courtesy of Pinterest
https://freeverserevolution.wordpress.com/2020/09/14/september-writing-prompt-3-2/

I tossed them away

Some time ago–

Petals of the dead.

Some flowers taken

From above the six-foot holes

I have stood over,

Frozen in the emptiness

Of an empty hole

About to be filled.

Some flowers taken

From birthday and anniversary

Bouquets of celebration,

Marking years of bitter happiness.

Most flowers taken

From a wedding bouquet

Of vows taken, kept,

A reminder of vows abandoned.

 

Petals of the dead kept

Out of wretched sentimentalism

I burned upon the pyre

With myself.

Then climbed a new self

Of burnished bronze

From the flames.

 

Meditations on Forgiveness

Image courtesy of Pinterest

summer hot, humid

kills desire of sweetness

flowers forgiveness

 

falls decaying death

forgiveness dead leaves lifeless

blacken a gift heart

 

winter freezing ice

a cold weapon forgiveness

to cut the giver

 

spring new life begins

forgiveness lifeless, no seed

to plant, grow—never

 

The bird of flame rises

From the ashes in my chest—

Ash of forgiveness

Never given.

 

Sights of Sunlight and Night

My Own Image
https://onewomansquest.org/2020/08/17/vjs-weekly-challenge-109-what-a-sight/
https://godoggocafe.com/2020/08/18/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-august-18-2020/

Eugi’s Weekly Prompt “Night meets Day” August 17, 2020

What a sight the years have been!

Skipped a few heartbeats

walking through the valley,

found nothing new.

I sailed an ocean

didn’t dance as I’d wanted too.

In the desert,

I played a little poker,

winning the game, some money,

but still didn’t know what to do.

Then I thought I’d found a dream,

waking from the nightmare,

I screamed to see

the sight beside me.

Now, I journey onward

to catch the sunlight

as night meets day,

greeting what new sights

I encounter along the way.

Lessons in Listening

image courtesy of Dreamtime.com

 

https://onewomansquest.org/2020/08/03/vjs-weekly-challenge-107-listen/

My lessons in listening:
To a mother’s final words—
Always remember I loved you and was proud
Tossed off, too rushed to leave work
To get to the hospital, to see her,
Always thinking of more days, time.
Not thinking all I’d see,
Her dead eyes.

To all my dogs– little tells
Of cocked heads, whines, barks,
The ways of wagging tails,
To know what meant what–
Hunger, pain, desire to play,
A need for love or to go outside.
Those I’ve always learned well.

To students, the teens I taught,
A puzzle to figure of pieces and placement
What each meant for each—
The lift of a shoulder, how the eyes met or did not meet mine,
The head upon the desk, the work done or not,
The things said, not said—
To figure needs-
Some basic, some not so,
Requiring other safety nets,
Bruised and broken,
Some I could help repair.
I knew what to listen for,
Almost by instinct,
Since I had not been listened to
When I was one of them.

To my child, a whirlwind of cries,
Hunger, diaper, cold, hot, sick—
Each cry different
A knowing, animal instinct,
Some primal thing beating
Inside knew the way
Of my infant’s need.
When a teen—
A different thing,
A new species of need,
My animal and her animal
Had no common language
Of smells, signals, or cries
In the darkened tunnels
We went through.

To my dying wife, my dying wife—
So hard to listen to, to understand
a language no longer including
My daughter or me.
Never knowing for whom
The last coma spoken words–
I’m sorry, so sorry—
Were spoken.

Now, I learn the final lesson of listening,
A lesson sixty years in the learning, 

To myself, my own heart, my own soul.

The Watcher

Image courtesy of Sue Vincent Thursday Photo Prompt Challenge
For visually challenged writers, the image shows a flower-strewn cliff-top above the sea, where a rocky outcrop, seemingly shaped into many forms and faces, looks out over the waves.
This week’s prompt ~ Guardian
https://scvincent.com/2020/05/28/thursday-photo-prompt-guardian-writephoto/

The guardian watches the sea,

Waiting patiently

For the return of old ones

Who long ago slipped away

Out to sea, speaking

Words of promise,

Words of return–

Not unlike your words to me.

Like you, the old ones

Will not return,

Lost in an ocean

Of time long forgotten.

They found new homes

Where to light their fires,

Burning away old, shriveled desires,

Burning away the salt of the sea,

And the dirt of old known shores.

 

The guardian waits,

Like a widow upon her widow’s walk,

Staring out to sea.

But as I have finished waiting,

 I must walk away.

Renew

Image from Gumtree.com

Begin with unpacking

the loss of years.

Perhaps, for once,

Win the battle with tears.

Start over clean, new.

 

Carry emptied, broken down boxes,

bundled and tied, sticky at the edges

with their old used tape, to the curb.

Balanced no longer on narrow ledges.

Breathe now, once again.

Written in response to: https://amanpan.com/2020/05/25/eugis-weekly-prompt-renewal-may-25-2020/

Texas Two Step

I knew how to dance once.
Didn’t have to think
about the placement of feet,
a way back when the movement
of elegance and grace,
of heat and passion,
of fun and joy
was all rhythms
I could hear and follow,
Reveling in the feel
Before a shoulder snapped out of joint,
Hanging limp at my side,
And I unlearned the lessons of dance,
Unlearned all the intricacies
Of the Argentine,
Unlearned the grace
Of the Viennese,
Unlearned the joy
Of doing double time.

Unlearned everything of dance
Until I barely remembered
I once knew how to dance.

Then I tried to learn The Texas Two Step
And failed and failed and failed
Couldn’t feel the steps and glides
That looked so easy, so fun
And I wondered if I ever had known
How to really dance.
Maybe once, a long time ago,
I could have mastered this,
This Texas Two Step dance.

A Tree in Winter

Getty Images vandervelden

My hope is
Different now,
Changed, evolved.
Once a verdant green
Of fresh, newborn spring.
Now evolved into this chilly thing–
Brown, dried husks,
A few barely clinging
To a tree in late autumn.
Seems something, someone
Sucked the hope out,
Fed on it as if it were life’s blood,
And I am left drained, a leftover hull
Of what once was. But I go on
As if all is the same and nothing
Is gone. A tree in winter,
Hoping enough green
Is left to grow, to live in spring.

Tattoo

I had not realized
That still I wore the black,
The widow’s weeds of anger,
These five years hence
Your death.
Until today,
When at your grave,
I stood and, in finality,
Cast them away.

Now, emerging from the black chrysalis
Of my anger,
Perching upon the vine,
I can spread the wings,
Waving them, allowing them to dry.

And you, my wife, are not here.
Not under this six feet of earth.
You have long flown away,
Beyond the things we were and were not,
Beyond the languages we spoke and wrote
To one another yet could not understand,
Beyond the desire of ego and want and need,
Beyond the hurts and the pains of life and selfishness
To where only truth, love, and real atonement
Color a spirit and soul in a prism of flames.

And in my freedom from anger and pain,
I wear your vine with my own rose, and
I am the Monarch with wings ready to fly.

The Moon and Narcissus

narcity.com

Through wisps of thin streaming clouds,
The last full moon of the decade
Looked down on me and seemed to nod.
Why? I’m not sure.
I thought and tried to puzzle it out.
The decade? Perhaps.
Did this last full moon wish me
To think about this decade?

What ten years can bring:
A wife battling ovarian cancer
For her life and loosing;
Loosing myself along the way
And finding me and loosing me
All over again; A profession left in disgust
For the pleasure of retirement;
A daughter nearly lost and then regained.
Talk about water swirling slowly down the drain.
But it swirls no longer. The ground leveled.
The tub fills. I have finally grown into my skin.

I look to the moon again and she seems to nod
Once more. From somewhere, I smell a faint
Scent of narcissus. Yes, it would be easy.
Play the fool once more and return to that place,
find beauty and comfort In blue skies
And soft grasses by mountain lake,
Breathing in the sweet narcissus scent,
Pretending for a little while
That everything offered was true.
But brimstone to my soul would it be.
Leave the blue skies, the soft grasses, the mountain lake,
The scent of narcissus behind.
This I must do or my soul I would lose.