Friday, December 27, 2013

This Side of Infinity

A dark chasm created itself
between your hand and mine.

How I longed to follow you,
to stay beside you on your journey -
inevitable denial left a jagged ache,
unanswered, so I thought,
those desperate prayers I uttered so faithfully.
I cursed shadows that took you
until I felt your ascension into light.

Then, I understood that I had to remain
on the far side of the sun (where it is cold, and lonely),
until a bridge could be built, allowing me to safely cross,
until my prepared path was spread upon the gleaming horizon
where you waited, within sustained silence.

Mine was in not knowing the moments to come,
the reckonings I would, perhaps, discover.
Mine was in not evolving in a forward motion,
but backwards, into faded past.

Tides swell and crash onto distant shores, unheard.
Shells are cast onto sand, bereft of all but song.

I crawled on ancient lands,
searching for revolutions to restrain those covenants I'd kept.
Future tithings were impossible to barter or beg.

I'd once sought comfort in a universal madness,
unremitted by starlight.
Ah, but how could I believe
in a love that would yet save me from dissent?

Here I am now, salvaged by invariable truth,
infinite and broadened by beauty's fine grace.

Upon Receiving the News

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

I wear these fragile fragrances,
remember the sultry scents of flowers you gave me
burrowed deep within my bones,
beauty shuddering mid-stride with haunting tenderness,
slow sighs drifting in a moonless night.

They reveal roots searching underneath
this vulnerable parchment,
salving wounds I had forgotten
or did not know were there.

You scattered soulful seeds behind the garden gate,
extending its horizon beyond the edge of vision;
you yearned for patient blooms to open
within my shadowed eyes. 

Quietly, we recall your presence among us,
a subtle whisper of your voice drifting
through the shuttered window -
how deep is this silence that haunts us now,
in your absence. 

We wait for words that cannot be spoken,
plead for music we shall never hear again.

The lamp slowly dims,
anticipating sunlight we will not feel.

wren (vignettes)

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton


a trembling quiver 
cupped within my hands,
a quiet treble, its dazed feathers bold and vibrant 
with tender innocence - 

fear not, 
beautiful bird - 

you will soon know flight again.


children huddled in the park
gathering moss and mud in gleeful abandon
not feeling or fleeing the shadows of adulthood
just rebelling and reveling in the ache of sunlight


bent wings shall straighten and unfurl
under caring hands that understand the push and pull of wind,
the arch of a mountainous grasp

tomorrow is a promise
as yet unkept


weep only for beauty's sake, 
not for sorrow. It deepens its furrowed glare
with each drop that falls, uncaught.


hearts brighten as sun rises -
anticipation of an instant  
when hands touch and clasp, 
something new and somehow sacred.

all the world shall fall away
when eyes meet and grasp
the significance of such a moment

soothing and glorious,
bereft of nothing, 
a waterfall of everything,
all at once.

Wisdom of the Snail

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris - "Why Worry"

Like an artist,
you carry the tools of your trade,
a slow observer
of nature both savage and wild.

Like a sage,
you understand subtle ravages of time,
knowing you are a temporary resident of this shell,
so why worry?

Just breathe.

Photographs and Memories

I wish I had a photograph of those moments missing in time,
lovers absent that we cannot find upon the meaner streets of memories,
carrying their rhythms simmering somewhere else where they cannot be seen
or felt no matter how hard we might try to forget how their scent lingers,
like the faded spot on a finger without a band to pawn, to sell,
to throw into a wishing well and remain there. They're just gone, no trace,
no face, no hiding place, just an echo without reverberation,
this damned lost generation, their promises broken,
all their beautiful words spoken without meaning, without gleaning
what means the most to us all before we fall into reverie
without severing the truth from fiction,
every depiction of a shattering heart
just before it came apart in our trembling hands, 
but here I stand. I wish I had a photograph of it all, but instead,
it's only etched its sources and its sorcery on my soul.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Too Late the Garden

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

               — Inspired by Sylvia Plath's poem "Tulips"

Draped in sullen sheaths of stone,
how could she ever detect the mere fragrance of petals
as they drifted upon coming-spring air?

She was banded in white so thick,
the thaw would not reach her bones 
until it was far too late to ever warm them again.

They probed her flesh with pinpricks, promising 
they could cure her disease - she knew better, somehow, 
understanding that she had become those very symptoms,
the dire illusions of illness, the crawling of fever across her flesh 
when night would not leave her in peace, nor day
leave her any quiet to curl into, a fetal ball bereft of survival instincts.

A glass of water, a handful of books 
would not give her the desire to just breathe - 
that had to come from within her, from someplace deeper
than the shadows whispering her name. Her hands fisted,
fingers turning as pale and knotted as those who came to visit,
but did not stay, or return, once they'd left these silent corridors
filled with empty spaces where personalities once dwelled.

The tulips opened their hungry mouths, their broad, verdant leaves 
swallowing sounds of luminous gestures gone astray, sparks flickering 
inside her unseeing eyes like bad bulbs closing before a final frost.


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

I remember 
the shivering branches
at dusk

as you moved me with your quiet song,
my leaves whispering autumn into your hands.

There was time for soft summer shade then -
surrendered arms found our roots,
entangled under a secretive moon as stars fell, 
surrounding us with dying light's final rapture.

Glistening with immortal moments,
we sought the river's surge within each other's eyes.

With your lips curled sensuously,
you now breathe reminiscences upon my skin
to watch my eyelids flutter in shuddered delight -
you trace my shadow's periphery,
moving ever closer to the edges of fragile grace
as I offer subtle moans
to encourage your exploration of dreams.

Your silken touch inspires me to radiate within your smile,
filled with secret knowledge -
I am limpid pools of splendor,
clay molded into a sculpture of your kinetic design,
fired within your hands.

I murmur slowly and reach for you,
pulling you into this ecstatic embrace
that gives us sudden flight
into an embered sky.

Flora: for Anne Sexton

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

You gave me a subscription to penance
even before I knew how to read.
I taught my fingers to echo in silence
so you would not wake and roar from your den.

Like origami silk, I was knotted and frayed into a deaf bird
who could not remember music or wings.

Crawling on all fours to stay below the radar,
the wedged door imploring me to run;
I needed soil between my toes - roots, then branches, then sky. 
I kicked stones from my shoes as I bared my feet,
rising fast.

Your hands reached for amber glass, 
and you shrieked, consuming its flames.

I stayed in the tree house for hours, days,
until I saw ashes drifting on wild winds
and thought it might be safe to return
to earth. Ivy grew thick on those walls, 
covering the truth, hiding the life
that remained within. 


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

In the autumn of my existence,
I waited, watching as colors streamed silently,
far from an elusive horizon,
the urgent edges of a madding crowd.

In the winter of my darkest woe,
I became immobilized by fire's deep, siren voice
as a lone, fetal sculpture burrowed instinctively.

In the spring of my thawing,
a trickle led towards an infinite ocean,
quietly spilling its song.

In the summer of my surrender,
I would lie naked under stars and dream
of mere roses that never bloomed,
ancient, unborn sorrows rising, instead, 
from fallow soil.

Altering This Landscape

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

I feel ancient, like the tide.

Time sweeps currents of change
upon my rocky shoreline,
altering this landscape without recompense.

Sorrow has claimed these infinite borders of my heart;
I fall into shadows, forlorn.

I felt your tender touch silently surrounding my soul
as I surrendered my tears to the sea.

Immersed in wheatfields waving wild
in a western wind, I imagine
soothing currents surrounding me
with warmth,

a shell echoing with whispers
of a surging life I never knew.

Love is like that, you know -
unknown terrain that seems familiar,

We drift slowly through dreams,
searching for different shores.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Full Year - A Compilation of Poems

A Full Year
by Wanda Lea Brayton

Oh, fragile heart where shadows fade
and light's arc comes into view,
Love cannot be a mistake we made
nor a dalliance which we'd rue.

Has it actually been so long, my dear?
Has time eased the crease from your brow?
It's hard to say it's been a full year
since leaves fell finally from your bough.

My thoughts I wish you knew, sweet one,
for petals keep their fragrance even now.
Tears I'd not weep or I'd come undone,
form and fall, yet I know not how.

Your face is not forgotten, Love,
nor the tenderness of your hand.
Your presence swirls with grace above —
not here, beneath the land.

I shall not mourn soil's embrace
of what was never meant to be —
I will only smile when I retrace
each precious memory.

~ For Jalil (February 20, 1959 - November 15, 2012)


Excerpt from: Short Story (poem)
by Wanda Lea Brayton 

Such an inspiration---
what a sensation
I get when your spell is cast;
Your eyes do not know
how they haunt my sleep,
how they shine when sleep is past.

My eyes seek and find your grace;
My mind's disjointed---out of place---
Coldly severed from Time's embrace;
Ah, fool who feels that spirits meet,
rise up together---strong, Elite---
sparks combined give off needed heat.

The moon speaks softly in my ear;
whispers, "There's no need to fear
the passing of another year;
Seeds tossed casually, then left alone,
have struggled wildly, but have grown---
It is a secret I have known
and kept
and touched, in awe,
while others slept."

        — June 1980 


Faith Flourishes (1988)
by Wanda Lea Brayton

Flowers bloom in dreams of peace
They inspire the soul to shine
Vivid vision will not cease
For its mission is divine.


by Wanda Lea Brayton
(Written approx. 1983)

Because these scented shades of your soul 
beckon me to sing between these lines, 
I never run out of things to say to you, 
only words to say them. 

Emotions run rampant within this waking dream 
and leave me gasping in frustrated silence. 

My heart attempts speech - 
my soul searches for its voice - 
yet, I become mute with desire. 

The language of the mind is inadequate
when the eyes long to reveal
what the universe compels them to believe.

I cannot be forever restrained by this lack of knowledge - 
some day, some way, the body's prose will be heard... 
and you will hear what I cannot seem to say. 


Solo Symphony 
by Wanda Lea Brayton
(Written approx. 1982)

Leaves fall in your eyes when Autumn is gone - 
you refuse to conform your bloom to Spring. 

You are a radiant moon, 
promising night the guidance you give. 

I am not unaware of the burden 
of the sky upon your weary shoulders,

but it is only dark when the sun retreats - 

when the light abounds, 
how can you grieve so silently? 

How can you determine
the worth of one day 
by the events of a thousand before?