Sunday, January 19, 2014


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Wrapped loosely in the sun of your cautious silk,
I will travel far to find your hands.

Nuances fade into wind, carrying subtle scents 
as we forget what is truth, what is knowledge.

The only thing that matters now
is the light streaming from your eyes as you look back,
to see if I am following. 


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Days turn slowly into nights
and I am certain of less with each moment -
some call this "wisdom".

All I know is this: 

my edges fade more with each movement 
and pages curl with disuse; 
my form will be forgotten -

a wisp of something 
that once stood tall among bent reeds,
that once swayed in ink, no matter how fierce the wind.

Autumn's Gloaming

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Kaleidoscopic leaves tinged with Autumn's lullabies
swirl slowly within the lane,
rustling radiance borne by the wind's glance
upon this changing landscape.

Bundled together against the cold,
we swaddle against the darkness,
gaining strength and sustenance from each other's touch.

You soothe me into slumber
with smooth, subtle tones of adoration.
I hear these soft, soulful symphonies
as sunlight retreats into vast hills and vales,
wishing I had wings to soar serenely
across this echoed wilderness.

Summer trails at a memorable distance now;
paler hues shine softly upon shimmering feathers,
a lonely yearning left far behind.

Once more, much to our sorrow,
Autumn barely sings its mournful melodies,
hardly lingers long enough for us to grasp its grandeur.

An Old Memory

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Crouched in shadows,
still, I watch for your footsteps
upon this treacherous path,

knowing how precarious the perch can be
and how easily stones tumble
from the mountainside.

I fear the worst for you.
I fear haunting for me.

Are you lingering in some tropical refuge
to punish me even further for not being who 
you thought you wanted?
Are you descending into depths of darkness
because of the absence of light?

It was never mine to give
nor yours to take.

Display the courage and mettle you say you have -
come back to the crossroads
where we once passed each other with a gentle smile,
so that we may both continue upon our journey,


The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

With silvery fingers,
I now trail my hands in an ebbing tide -
I became lost in a fervent flow as you etched your song
upon my soul; quiet music soothed tender surges of sorrow.

Immersed in memories of your magic,
I felt tensions disappear as furrowed brows eased
into smooth lines of shivered contentment.

Your mouth wandered slowly along my jawline,
a journey of discovery and delight,
searching for rhythm in the hollow of my throat,
leaving delicate lilies behind in your wake -
you murmured depths of dreams adrift in desire
and we paused to savor this sweetness we'd found.

With golden whispers of a setting sun echoing,
you lifted shadows from the folds of my thoughts,
illuminated night with sultry sounds of seasons subdued
as crickets serenaded infinite moments of moonlight,
ascending beyond the remembered realms of dusk.

This Quiet Symphony

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Even now, after so many years of being
gathered within this flesh,
I am provoked into astonishment
when my throat releases a sudden song.

Head tilted, eyes look askance
at the tentative warbling sounds,
a bird confounded in flight
at the unwary discovery of wings.

Whose music is this? 
I ask with a casual glance behind me,
uncertain of the origin. From where does it come
and where is it going?

Tomorrow will never arrive,
for it is out of anyone’s reach
as the rain falls slowly from an unrelenting sky - 

I am subdued within the unframed edges
of this quiet symphony.

The Wisdom of Wind

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

Pillaged by nightfall, 
ashes drift on sorrow's surrender, 
covering the soil with soot.
History is far too repetitive for my liking,
far too tedious a task to endure.

I yearn to lean forward into the coming years with grace,
alacrity I fear I no longer possess.
I cannot hear the breath of wind through devastated branches -
radiant roots are splayed, torn from home.

Once more, the sea swells in my heart, caressing the shoreline;
currents of chaos will not seem to cease
in their attempts to shred memories, 
as though they are invincible.

Leaves stir, colors swirling in the depths of shadows
filtered by your bountiful branches that arch to embrace me
as I stroll, silent in my contemplation of this altered landscape.

This rising, ageless sun has revealed secrets
which darkness tried to keep away from my searching eyes -
tears fall freely now, pooling into currents
as I drift toward your love and its silvery, sacred tides.

I follow the path near the river,
aching for the source of movement -
I find you everywhere I look;
inside and out, at dusk and at dawn.

You whisper beauty into my waning heart,
calming tempests that rage slowly within,
releasing song.

The Strength of a Woman

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

My strength dwells in the power and memory 
of my fragility; I am more than nuance, 
more than mere substance, of secrets unveiled. 

My eyes shall lift you up in silence, 
provide solace where, once, 
there were only remnants of peace to savor. 

You shall see your own reflection 
when you glance at me, a whisper 
ascending into sudden song. 

The Purity of Physics

The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton

The circumference of a ferocious thing
matters as much as its heft, if not more so —

if it obscures your tentative view of the horizon,
take a step forward, backward or sideways,
then run as if your life depended upon it,
for it very well may be the case.

Indecision cannot save you. 
Any lack of movement might seal your fate. 

Do not be fooled into thinking
nothing is significant, except for time, for time
is the least of your concerns.

Beneath your feet, seedlings ripple within tides of soil,
even if you remain unaware of the inevitable flow.

When you are gone and your footsteps have receded into dust,
petals will flourish where once you were —
their fragrance may bear your memory beyond the moment.

Innocuous as it may seem, miracles swirl around you,
teasing your senses into submission — 
yet, when you finally turn to look in their direction, 
everything is suddenly motionless and appears unchanged —
but you are not. An indeterminate shift has taken place
in spite of your efforts to mold each instant 
as you would have it be — everything has its own destiny,
as do you. 

Deny truth all you like;
it cannot be altered by your arrogance or will.

Hear the music beneath the slow, steady hum —
there are notes rising and falling every second.

Learn to dance before your feet forget
what they were meant to do —
propel you onward.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

If Not For Grace

                                               Texaco Station on Route 66 by Andreas Feininger

If not for Grace and her tender mercies,
this tall drink of water might have evaporated
inside deserted borders of my own making, 
might have shuddered straight through darkness, 
never to return to light ... stranger things 
have happened - repeatedly.

Eloquence notwithstanding,
she saved me, time and again,
from the obscure, the obscene, the obtuse,
from my very self, 
bringing me back into levels of bright boldness, 
startling me with her gentle hand, 
outstretched with kindness.

My tragic hips jutted into sharp corners,
in too big of a hurry to slow down, while captured 
by curves of a resonant Rubenesque woman 
floating barely beneath transparent flesh of a thin shadow.

Grace left before I arrived; she was my father's first love
who crept under sweet soil, never to be seen again. 
There were no photographs left behind,
no flat memories of sepia to unfold into larger dimensions.
I did not hear her voice or feel her touch.

Tornadoes wore my name as a mantel, a shawl, a cloak,
hidden by gray clouds, murmuring the deceit of rain.

Trains did not leave the abandoned station. 

Their skeletons grew heavy with rust,
no destination in mind. Just there,
like a proverbial bad penny.

Language was music to my naïve bones,
a refusal to break completely from the past
while pursuing future tithings, while breathing
the clarity of a moment, adagio.

Words gathered me closely, 
their fragrance too seductive
to resist.

I became a wild bouquet of prairie flowers,
never meant to stay for long, yet 
perhaps long enough to leave a trace behind
of a path not seen by weary travelers -

they stayed on smoother concrete of a newer highway,
not understanding those soothing sounds
of divided sections of an ancient road,
caught under fast-moving wheels,
unaware of secrets found lurking 
at the Last Chance Texaco.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

5 Degrees at 6 am

                                                                        "Stars", 1926 by Maxfield Parrish

I watch from above
as he walks into the maw
of howling cold darkness

I am wearing thick socks
while he wears triple layers

I wonder if the thought of me 
waiting here alone 
will keep him warm enough
to bring him home, swiftly and safe

the wind is moaning its agony
into our bones, now separated 
by distance and duty,
by commerce and consumerism

the blankets are empty 
of everything but his scent
I hug them tightly around me,
lean against his pillow, yawning, 
burrow deep into this cavern

he is out there somewhere,
battling good and evil
with his leather gloves

with me shivering in his back pocket,
a thought as small as snowflakes,
a love as large as the Grand Canyon,
so big it can be seen from space
with all its stars