Saturday, December 13, 2014

From Beyond

Mirrors of solitude held within release a shimmer 
when eyes overflowing by love's purest gaze creates 

in us a painter divine; and so, we swathe our silhouettes with adoration 
what there is to love beneath fiery flesh tossed and tainted by aches. 

Once our hearts become distinct to another's glance, 
we begin to envision more truth than we ever knew, 
more laughter than we ever imagined possible 
upon this isle of sorrow - 
we shed the skin of cynicism, rise up into the sun's warmth, 
embrace wisdom with new songs written within rhythms 
of our now synchronized hearts. 

We finally befriend our own natures 
and weave light away from shadow's grasp.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Retraction on page 39C

Poetry is not dead

It has not been seen in silk-lined coffins
or seen in the ICU gasping for final breaths
not in the ER with a concussion or a severed artery 
or in the alley, left unconscious by a stockbroker's 
well-placed punch or a drunk's misplaced anger

It does not whimper in shadowed corners
or cry for help from distracted strangers
It does not beg for bread or soup or debate or alms

but it might break into song
in an unexpected moment

It does not care for currency 
or validation from upturned noses
or retreat to dusty shelves of libraries
turned into museums instead of concert halls
It appreciates silent thought and quiet philosophies
offered by open hands flowering with kindness
not closed minds full of gray unpenetrable fog

It does not dress for dinner or pay heed to idle gossip 
the latest celebrity's faux pas or felony or who disappeared last week
It won't pay their bail or represent them in a court of irrelevant peers
It is not a smiling anchor reciting untold horrors
bright teeth gleaming madly at disastrous headlines

One may find it at water's edge
eagerly anticipating a child's homemade boat to sail
or the first smooth stone they've ever skipped
laughing as it makes ripples in warm currents
concentric circles to travel around an eventual world

yet it may hum slow jazz rhythms snapping fingers
as the world's pulse begins anew with rising light

Poetry is not dead

It is only waiting 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Divergence (Inspired by Margaret Atwood)

                                Inspired by the poem "Variation on the Word Sleep" by Margaret Atwood

I know the moment sleep takes you, leading you away from me, 
into landscapes sculpted by unspoken thoughts,
molded by forgotten memories.

Your breath slows, a quiet metronome - 
its rhythm soothes me as I lay beside you, 
wondering where you are now, if the air is sweet.

When you move, perhaps a whisper 
shall escape your slightly-parted lips,
a murmur I cannot translate, but can only feel.

When a tempest shakes you, disturbs your peace, 
I put my hand upon your shoulder 
or place my leg gently over yours, calming those tides
that would submerge you far from my reach;
no matter where or how you slip, I will catch you.

Darkness and sorrow would diminish each of us
if we had no arms to hold us as these long hours pass;
loneliness defines our secret thoughts unshared.

When your chest rises and falls, 
I am there, watching. 

I am your lighthouse keeper - 
as seas batter the infinite shoreline,
as the moon recedes behind the mist,
I hold the brightest light steady and aloft, 
a beacon designed to bring you safely home. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Discovery (Inspired by Pablo Neruda)

                                                   Inspired by "Sonnet XVII" by Pablo Neruda

I cannot love as though the world was grey,
as if colors did not exist in fact or dream.

I can only love as if born anew each day; 
fragments of memory tug swiftly at my heart 
when I search the landscape of your eyes, 
as wide, as deep, as blue as the sea, as wild as tides 
during tempest-tossed days and clear nights so calm, 
full of stars so near, our fingers gather clusters; 
our lips meet as we are covered in fine, glistening dust.

I cannot love as though love was silent or unnoticeable 
as light streams through lace curtains, sways in gentle wind 
and not be moved to dance within the circle of your arms, 
however distant you might be when this tender music begins - 
you are here with me, inside my heart, long before you arrive
and I run to greet you as a child, hands full of gifts for you alone.

I can only love as wildflowers aflame in vibrant fields, 
as the weary sun lowers itself into mountains' embrace, 
so tall and still; shadows sculpted to immense slopes 
and narrow valleys as dusk retreats, 
as evening slides beneath a sigh, 
each quarter moon beaming approval.

I cannot love without precious fragrance drifting  
through each strand of my hair as I whisper your name,
as I await the soft touch of your winding fingers,
a slow seduction of every moment, every movement, 
every nuance, draped in quiet song before we sleep. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anne's Furies


                                       Inspired by the poem "From the Garden" by Anne Sexton

Your furies planted thorns,
ground petals into madder,
dyeing the earth, murdering the soil, 
casting aspersions until it was no longer fallow, 
only barren and dull.

The staccato sounds of seeds dropped
from your tenuous, tremulous height
fell into the ground with numb exuberance,  
tiny bombs exploding into nothingness
before they could ever begin to bloom.

Your eyes saw two separate worlds — 
one light and one dark —
and still, you could not combine them
into a substitute for Life, an acceptable compromise, 
if only in a peripheral sense.

Why did you allow them to put blinders over your lowered head, 
balanced slightly upon your ears, fastened so neatly into place, 
gray placards designed to block the view of everything 
except for muddy tracks you galloped on, breathless, 
their considerable bets stacked up against you?

Far away from those too-shallow graves,
I shall plant flowers for you, instead - 
not lilies, not orchids, not roses, no ...

I will scatter strange seeds in a vicious circle, 
vibrant wildflowers for one who could never be tamed.

[on spirituality and religion...and butterflies]

[on spirituality and religion...and butterflies]

"...labels and categories have nothing to do with defining who I am and what I stand for - and what I resist, too. No single word or term will ever begin to describe me - I am enigmatic and familiar, all at once. The fact remains that I have my own beliefs about life, about its beginning, middle and end...I saw what I saw and knew what I knew and felt what I felt at the precise moment I needed to the most. I simply cannot look at the shore as the tide retreats and returns again and again, see a horse running freely without reins to tether them, experience the unique singularity of a beautiful sunset that will never be quite the same again or feel the whisper of a butterfly's wing as it rests upon my hand and then say I do not believe there is more to this life than we could ever imagine...Just because you can't see - or feel - something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. For instance, we know there is wind, because we feel it caress the nape of our necks...Others may choose to believe that our presence upon this physical plane is either an accident or a coincidence - I do not. I believe there are reasons for everything, as well as a time and place for each to occur. Physics. Cause and effect. Stars collide and butterflies are born. That is all. That, for me, is enough." 

— Wanda Lea Brayton, excerpts from "Spirituality and Religion"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Soundlessly (Inspired by Marc Creamore)

Inspired by "Shadows Limping Toward Some Blinding Light" by Marc Creamore










Life's precious mandala spins soundlessly —
unseen by unseeing eyes, unheard by unlistening ears, 
untouched by unfeeling hands —

there is only a small space between, 
a veil waiting patiently to be parted;
its shadowed secrets beg for revelation.

Drawn by delicate fingers,
rainbows are revealed within the storm —

there is no time, no winding clock — 
there is only this moment, this Now.

Souls once torn apart by unmerciful tempests 
may choose to rise again or remain inert;

eventual shadows may slowly drape  
across an empty canvas of a quiet wall — 

dim light fights unending darkness 
with knowing strength,
the vivid polarity of a final breath.

Truth leans hard against pulsing hearts of dragons,
survivors of ten thousand wars, ten thousand revolutions,
defenders against inhumanity, against dire dread —

their wings are folded smoothly, 
slant and still beneath infinite warmth, 
ready to emerge once more, 

prepared to exhale their pertinent flames.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

poem for this moment

              "Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, 
               but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary 
              as bread in the pockets of the hungry." 
                                                                                         — Mary Oliver

How I have craved 
the lavender of your laughter,
the wisteria of your weariness 
when you lay your jacket aside,
done as is the day ...

and then you come to me.

How you have saved me
from clinging vines of chaos,
from numb emptiness of stars 
too long dead, their light lingering
as an afterthought, a cold memory.

Your music wrapped each chord around me,
a comfort in darkness, a smile I could not see,
a gleaming jewel waiting only for sunlight
to describe its edges, its facets, its dominions;
we are created from stone and fire, 
composed of water and air ...

and then I come to you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Substance and Clarity (Inspired by Emily Dickinson)

Birds know my secret name, but do not tell —
butterflies follow me at a distance, circling
as I stroll in silent reverie, instinct guiding me 
as crickets keep cadence with my steps.

Beneath quietly fading stars, echoes resonate — 
it was here, somewhere inside this dream, 
Hope found me kneeling in depths of night. 

Gentle hands touched my face,
brushed hair tenderly from downcast eyes
then unveiled the purity of Faith.

Together, we discovered strength in Solitude,
whispered of Truth and its Beauty, 
Beauty and its Truth. 

Wings need not be woven with glistening feathers 
so we might rise, immersed in Grace, to be adrift 
within unmeasured moments, to reveal the breadth 
of a breathless landscape — to understand, to acknowledge — 
the sanctity, the serenity of Home.

Author note: 

Inspired by Emily Dickinson's poem (#314) beginning with the line,
"Hope" is the thing with feathers"

Friday, June 20, 2014

In the North Country

                                                          graphic artist unknown

In the North country, there is a man broad with intentions,
the Aurora Borealis peering over his shoulders
as he hoists stars upon his back.

He looks toward the Great Beyond
with something slightly less than awe,
having been there before, having felt the heft 
of its wind as it slowly arcs across a setting sun, 
pulling tendrils of clouds in its wake.

He eases himself beneath sharp edges of quietude,
strains of forgotten music pulsing oddly in his heart,
piercing his fingers until he drips with ink,
then paints trails of trials, tribulations, 
even unexpected joys.

The river moves, its currents
trembling over stones, aiming for the sea 
where nets are cast, a silent stroke tossed into the water 
where fish are leery of sudden movements, 
their wisdom hard-won by generations.

Shorelines change with each surge of tide,
carving maps with moments.

Each dirge digs a deeper hole,
fearful shards pricking every step
with all that still remains unknown.

The pain of hunger, the hunger of pain
etches verses into our eyes, our ears,
as revolutions take us to task for our bones, 
so still with swollen gestures
left undone. 

We burn, smoke hissing 
as embers become memories,
dusk descending upon the pond 
where fish swim even as they sleep, 
their dreams navigating wild mysteries.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Untended Garden (Inspired by Neruda)

Inspired by the last stanza of the poem "If You Forget Me" by Pablo Neruda

Wildflowers have no expectations beyond the soil,
make no churlish demands for more - 
light comes to caress them and they slowly rise, 
these small, significant things 
completely content to whisper fragrance 
beneath the breadth of sky with tales of mountains 
they once knew and never forgot.

The clarity of love understands the gift 
of a single flower in an otherwise barren field.
Elaborate packaging is not required 
to declare it as precious, to claim it as pure.

Once, love arrived on a silver stallion,
but only in dreams. Upon awakening,
we smelled dew upon the grass and knew
what was most important. We did not need 
fables and fairy tales to tell us what mattered most,
what we should seek when the sun ascended. 

A single seed is the beginning of infinity;
it is planted where roots will form unseen.
Emerald grass parts slightly to make room
for beauty coming from far below,
a glistening companion at dawn. 

A moment is a memory is a lifetime.

Once the soul is touched, the imprint remains, 
a still-warm ember that does not burn.