Each new year brings Now this garden grief Nourished by regret Each year, this day, here— Standing, kneeling, sitting—I Spend tears, words, wishes All meaningless now, In the barren garden grief Flowers never bloom Seven years gone now-- Nothing roots, though it has tried, In the garden grief inside
( An older poem written in 2015 while in Provincetown, MA. Revised for this week’s writephoto challenge.)
At sunrise over water,
Remembering as if in a dream
The child and you and me
As we stood by a sea
Half a world away.
Both of you now baptized differently by my tears.
And for and from you,
I am left with things neither given
Nor felt in years,
Linked by all the fears
To form over a decade of a life
Lived like a stranger
In my own shrinking skin.
I have stood
Since the dawn
At this ocean’s edge
And now at noon
The rain begins.
Fierce pelting blows
Washing me clean
Of all I know
Or dare to dream.
For living continues
Within my own skin
Icy cold wind walks.
Blinding sunshine ironic,
Promises of warmth
Unfulfilled in morning’s cry
Of grey storm cloud’s tears,
And then nothing left
Of fires or dreams curling,
Blanketing round us.
Ignoring the ripples doesn’t work,
Beautiful though they may be
In the early light of an autumn dawn.
The ripples return.
Their warmth long gone,
Drained of blood.
Injected with colors of autumn’s dawn,
They look full, alive with mysterious meaning.
But cold these ripples remain
In their return to me.
Tilting beneath my feet.
I shutter and stare, a moment only—
I cannot weave these cold things
Into a useful thing, resembling you.
Warm now on the edge of summer.
Still, I shiver gathering coffee to my lips.
I war with the craving for a cigarette.
When I take the morning deep into my chest,
The air lacks nicotine.
Years since I kicked that habit,
Yet some mornings it does seem
Nothing could be finer
Than caffeine and nicotine—
But it would not be you and me
Starting our day outside on the covered patio,
Watching for butterflies,
Drinking our coffee and smoking our cigarettes,
Dreams drifting in clouds of nicotine and steam.
Written in response to Eugi’s Weekly Prompt-
“Legend”- April 20, 2020
The day you left,
You became a legend
In the child’s heart.
True, she was a woman/child
By that time, but you—
Dying too young,
You became a legend,
Crafted to perfection
In her child’s heart.
Her memory forging steel
Fiction tales of your deeds
With iron ore dust of truth.
And I became the villain,
Who had neither the words,
The charms, the incantations
For healing to whisper
Over your body,
Nor had I the spells
To cast so you would live.
Thus, I was guilty of crimes against
Humanity in the book where she kept
A record of all my misdeeds, sins, crimes.
And now, she is grown.
A woman now and she finds
I am just a little less guilty,
Not so much the criminal,
In the present.
You will always be
The perfect legend.
Ash soft upon the brow.
On frankincense smoke.
No one ever seeks
To wear the stigmata
Upon hands and feet.
There be no martyrs here.
Confessions worn down
By touching whispers
A shattered seeking
Of what heals in ash and blood,
Whispering of saints and sinners.
Wingless prayers spoken for things lost
In a darkness of light.
The wish of a murdered truth
Contained in dusty grey skies
Of wanting and desire
Sought over again–
To now seek and send a trembling
Hand to reach with no strength to grasp–
For a soul too wearied
From the grinding away
Originally written in July of 2015. Revised 2020.
My friend, the squirrel, sits at my feet.
I wonder perhaps should I be sitting at his.
He is tame
I have peanuts for him.
He is willing to wait
And teach me
All the lessons he knows
Of a heart
That is wild
I marvel at all
That is contained
Within his tiny heart.
The joys of peanuts and sunflower seeds,
Being unafraid in the face of strangers,
And making friends so easily,
Of finding a home among things lush and green,
Knowing no fear to leap
Into things unknown.
Will he instruct me
In the ways to live once again
And move on?
Tell me to remove these rings
Linked to a grief buried beneath grey granite?
Can he share with me the lesson
Of what to do with all things circular,
New and old grief– link upon link of chain?
Teach me the ways of letting go?
The ways of living without fears
To staunch the bleeding of wounds
Both new and so very old?
Is this the meaning
Of being wild and tamed?
I had not realized
That still I wore the black,
The widow’s weeds of anger,
These five years hence
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.