Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dulcinea - and - Quixote

"Quixote", 1955 by Pablo Picasso

Written August 24, 2007

Windmills will always tilt at Truth,
no matter which way the wind may blow.

A man must have a companion
he can trust upon the journey
and a woman must have a man
she can lean on when she's weary
or to embrace when he is forlorn,
frustrated from the fickle directions of Fate.

She waits by candlelight for his crusades to cease,
baking bread she will not eat,
but only tosses to the hungry birds
gathering outside her open window,
wondering when he will come home -
or if he ever will stop wandering.

She is fragile in her devotion and stalwart in her faith -
she knows the quiet, empty rooms of her heart too well,
but will not fritter her hopes away
on endless folly.

Life is precious and moments spent drifting
in Love's sacred currents are far too few -
and once again, Winter is on its way...

Written March 11, 2010

He tilts his head as though he hears the wind whispering to him
to begin this journey of seductive faith.

He summons the sight of Dulcinea's frail and sturdy hands 
as they grasp his visions, and vows to save her, sight unseen; 
she must be a princess, not merely a peasant, after all, 
to engender such notions from his wild, misguided heart.

His obsession derived from misplaced heraldry, 
his neglect of comfort is stalwart, 
as is his elderly horse Rocinante, who carries him forth,
his humble servant trailing behind as unwilling, unwitting squire;

Don Quixote longs to sleep beneath the stars
while Pancho would prefer the Inn's
beds and blankets to soothe, its food and drink to savor.

The aristocratic are but cruel masters
while poor shepherds bask in weary warmth, 
compassion and philosophy attending their needs. 
Honor and integrity are questioned at length
and are found to be...well, quixotic.

His lance and whip at the ready for the sake of justice,
confusion swirls around in his head - 
he seeks fame and fortune to win his lady's favor,
slaking his thirst with a poisonous elixir that lays him low.

He dreams of giants, fighting in his ideal slumber.

Beyond jagged edges of nightfall, 
the Knight of the White Moon,
clad in extravagant, bright armor shall vanquish him, 
bringing chivalry to its ultimate demise -

or so the story goes...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


"The Reading Girl" sculpture by Pietro Magni

once upon a dark and tidal flow,
streams of shadows rode 
like rebel dolphins' grins
high above murky water, 
beneath a solemn sky

as man arose from the morass,
this chaos he created with his appearance,
who was first to speak, to discover language
with its limits, with its intimations,
with its misunderstood compass — 
what did he say?

did anyone answer? 
were there better words then than now?

should laughter flee this landscape,
we would pack no bags and leave,
no longer tied to this terrible terrain,
this epoch lacking in epiphanies

the world tilts at noxious explorations
of secrets meant to be kept,
hidden from prying eyes

if I suddenly took your hand, 
beckoned with the slightest gesture,
would you promise not to pull away,
but follow, without question?

we are the last of those who came before us,
perhaps the first to realize our impermanence 

oh, those moments when tears would not fall
no matter how heavy the night became as it crept slowly 
through trembling fingers

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Rebellion of Leaves

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Leaves buoyed by a casual wind refuse to let go of branches 
simply because it is now time for them to fall; they will go
when they are ready. They are rebellious, one and all,
and will not be ordered about
in this chaos.

Their hues may alter,
but that is of no consequence to them.
Their skin may become parched,
but soon, it will rain and they will revive,
although briefly.

They are in no hurry to ache
inside winter's cautious chill.
They have only these few moments left
to saunter beneath a warm sun 
and their greed is apparent. Let blistering breezes blow;
they will arch themselves into a sullen sky
when they feel the need to release
what they once knew to be
unrelenting truth.


Lost inside your absence,
waves of silence pour over me with sorrow.

Encrusted with salt of the sea,
I do not feel my tears mingle
with timeless memories swirling
beneath the bow of my heart.

I am tempest-toss'd,
still searching horizons
for the brilliant beacon of your song.


Being tenebrous is no great effort - 
just close your eyes and forget light,
but without any lingering regrets - that's the hard part.
How can you disregard the summer sun
or even shadows slowly fluttering on a still pool?

Never Too Late

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

We never know the moments we miss
until it is too late to retrieve them from time's greedy grasp.
This chiaroscuro dance we quietly perform
as we walk by each other, day after day,
steals dreams from the solace of slumber
and leaves me gasping for breath when sunlight wanes. 

My eyes are thick with mist from a wild waterfall of unspoken words,
drenching the thinness of my skin 
with stirring sweetness and subtle spice,
engulfing me and surrounding me with fire that does not burn -
it soothes me beyond reverie,
where you await my tender touch with eagerness eternal.

Where have you been all these long, lonely years?

I searched for you in shadows' shallow faces
and in evening's unfathomable depths,
underneath the murmuring moon,
in those sullen spaces between the stars.

With memories echoing, 
we will join hands, adrift on this tumultuous sea -
we will answer all the questions
and perhaps, question all the answers
until we are submerged within this whirlpool of wonder,
breathing each other's fragrances of fragility and splendor -
but it will only come to pass if we stop and speak softly
with our eyes gazing outward together,
instead of remaining so silent and alone.


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Sorrow holds me close inside this empty bed,
submerged under these restless covers -

it will not let me dream beyond its reach,
its jagged edges of nightfall.

We are as intimate as two strangers can be, I suppose -
we rarely speak and never ask too many questions.

We turn from side to side, avoiding each other's eyes 
from experience and fear.

Do not weep for me in my predicament -
I would never have known these unbearable depths
without the heights that preceded 

this fall from grace.

My Sister's Strength — for Carol Desjarlais

            Inspired by her poem Bravery Bent Over Blank Pages

Beneath her gentle gaze, there is a suspicion of wings,
a sudden flutter of silk, the slightest sound of bark
dropping into a bed of leaves colored and crisped by Autumn. 

Her eyes hold undiscovered worlds within them,
nurturing their songs, painting tales of now and then. 

Her fingers sooth as they stitch wounds together, 
moving swiftly so discomfort cannot linger overlong —
she hums as she weaves, discerning patience from pain.

When she thought no one was looking, 
I saw her exchange knowing glances with butterflies,
their stained-glass smiles divining and separating rays of light,
their antennas interpreting murmurs and silence.

She understands we only wear these sheaths of skin
as an attempt to contain the chaotic energy of our souls, 
those wild-sprite neurons and electrons which would soar 
for a million miles, returning in an instant, barely missed.

We speak of an oncoming decade when first we met, 
moments when we learned each other's languages,
although epochs have kept us close enough
so our lithe hands might offer ancient rose petals to each other 
as we passed upon bridges between us, currents moving below.

Drifting, we gather stones and herbs together, yet apart, 
their healing fires and fragrances melded under a quiet moon
we both kneel under, solemn and joyous;

time is merely an illusion, a metronome of rhythm, 
for we are not standing below this furrowed sky —
we move within it, our cloud-dances experienced, adept and wise.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

in the beginning

                                                                              sculpture by Giovanni Strazza

psalms of fledglings braid delicate lavender chords 
through temporary thoughts, quietly fleeting 
as dusk slowly paints various hues of night upon the sky ...
dry grass rustles with unseen movements,
a sudden sense of caution as predators casually stalk their prey

stones keep memories deep inside their crevices,  
precious revelations of ancient moments  
when they were liquid heat swirling within the cores 
of mountains rising so far above them now 
as they lie muted, fractured and scattered upon the valley floor

chiaroscuro swaths of shadow and light 
distract from Fibonacci's schemes and screams of laughter
just beyond our reach of comprehension, of sight and sound

where were we when the world was new,
when life began to unfurl so graciously?
were we too occupied with conquest, even then?

separated by forests, deserts and oceans, some turned left as others veered right — 
did concentric circles ever mend themselves or do\they reminisce alone, 
a single strand searching darkness for meaning?

how did low moans, fisted wails, secretive murmurs 
and knowing grunts ever stretch to become languages, 
to be spoken aloud, yet remain misunderstood?

have we gone too far, yet not come far enough
to save ourselves from our thundering hooves?
has music rejected melody only to embrace echoes of defeat?

be still for once and listen ...
do you hear the thrum of your own heartbeat 
and that of another? can you hear the violent thrust of blood
as it surges through narrow tributaries of veins,
seeking vibrant exhalations of tides as they slowly carve the shore?

can you be silent, be ever vigilant 
as clouds drift, then shift slightly in the sky,
etching its breadth with secret hieroglyphs?