The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton
Inspired by Pablo Neruda's "Sonnet XLII: I Hunt For A Sign Of You"
I sought your glance behind the indolent eyes of others
whose voices were raw and harsh, unlike the honeyed rivers
I found waiting beneath the sweeter swells of your curled mouth.
For so many long years (or were they but moments?),
I drifted alone upon tumultuous waves of desire -
I sought only the silk of your hands,
weaving through the threads of my own,
to create new cloth to hide our fierce longing -
for ripe murmurs to rise from each other's throats,
such delicate fruits to savor long past dusk.
Your knowing smile crept beneath the fallow soil of my heart,
seeding it with divine laughter, hallowed tears.
Bending your boughs to my timid touch,
the forest surges and lifts these whispers
in vast mythologies of song,
a sea of ancient butterflies discovering new shores.
your words glistened
with songs of the river,
unveiled warmth of sun
in the depths of night
you made me laugh
when I could only weep
you brought purple tulips
when winter had shaded my eyes
trembling, I arose
from my dying bed
into your healing arms
The Chaos of Nudity
Inspired by the poem "Ode to a Naked Beauty" by Pablo Neruda
translated by A.S. Kline
your eyes catapult dreams
through vast, aching corridors of my heart,
secret-chambered whispers of sweet lingerings to be
you are a river drifting through me slowly,
rushing towards an open sea
oaken roots stretch from soil to sky,
dancing in unshorn meadows
long before the rains come;
your hands sway me into sun-dappled forests, deep
and mighty boughs dipped with budding laughter
as leaves curl in anticipation
the moon breathes, cascading light
Echoes of ancient civilizations
pearl deep within your song
as I drift serenely upon your tides -
I find what was once lost
inside the sanctuary of your touch
in these moments between sleep and dream.
You brought bouquets of laughter to me,
their silk scents lingering,
when I could only remember bittered parchments of sorrow.
Your hands became a bridge
I was unafraid to cross on moonless nights.
Time has no borders here -
we need no compass to guide us
upon this sojourn of answered ache.
Emptiness has no memories here -
we hold ripe fruit to each other’s lips to quench
this unending search far beyond the glories of blood and bone.
I must caution you
within your wildest bloom,
for there is a partial moon
casually gazing through our window;
its pale glow is hardly noticeable,
yet hardly complacent.
You are weaving words from starlight
and the dark sky sings your song
as epiphany -
how lustrous these sounds
that ascend into night’s fathoms,
paving a path for the arrival of dawn.
I must beseech you
to touch my wings as I quickly soar
beneath your eyes,
lest my flight become overzealous
and fragile within the lace of your fingers,
for it is from the opening of your sweet lips
that I hear this destiny, this harvesting
Give me the stones
from your shoes, Beloved.
Let not this path become weary
from your emboldened stride.
Open your palms to these auspicious mornings
and allow colors to tremble
from your fingers
as divine mergings awaken.
Be soft upon my mouth
as you linger near this place of sanctuary -
we will call the evening mild
throughout the storm.
Trust what we know to be truth undeferred
beneath your subtle glance -
terrors of the night will not tear you from my side
nor will the ecstasies of the day deter us
from evolutions we will claim
beyond these walls of silence.
Give me the stones
from your shoes, Beloved.
Let me grind them into ancient dust.
Reply to Yeats
Inspired by "A Poet to his beloved" by W.B. Yeats
Your fingers gently turn the pages of my existence
with silken intentions of navigating each chapter,
tenderly memorizing each line,
each nuance and gesture of ink spilled across this parchment;
I am your liquid library, your private source of knowledge and fire,
rising upon waves of wisdom, lowering myself to your mouth,
exhaling slow wildernesses to explore.
The blue seas of your eyes lifts my wings from beneath my ribs
as we soar beyond vastness of jagged russet shores.
We vibrate, vibrant and bold, cautious and mild
beneath boughs whose leaves curl inward, away from storms we seek,
every golden-etched moan an unfurling of gently whispered words -
a lithe dance sighing between wind, wheat and bud
as our songs are laced with tide and sand,
bearing memories from shells, ripened fruit
to sustain our pale, moonless touch.
written November 11, 2009
Entangled by the feast, we forget we are spirits
meant for better things than separation.
I imagine your dark eyes
as they crease in silent, restrained laughter -
we become warriors against a clear blue sky,
standing undivided by circumstance; we seek each other
with ferocity, a subtle edge of guilt frayed by doubt.
The weary sun has settled into the landscape’s embrace;
it has been parched for centuries, it seems.
The moon weeps effervescent tears in streams of pale light -
shrouded by fog - her ache is palpable.
We are ferocious in the pursuit of this folly,
purchasing mere moments by the handful,
spilling our dreams upon the page.
I stutter with surprise when the sun rises
without my bed accepting the weight of weary bones
as I bend over this daunting desk
to listen intently for truth's most tender tremblings.
Hollowed by lonely wrath,
your brow arches as it furrows in thought,
your voice as smooth as the finest sapphire silk,
as rough as raw gray granite
when you are moved to passions
no tide can fully savor or discern.
Yet, here we meet and melt,
melding stained glass that swirls in shadows;
distant shores surge between our songs -
still, the wind carries wild whispers aloft.
I am haunted by the absence of your touch,
bereft of beauty.
I am worn to bare bones,
traveling on the casual dust of dismay.
I whisper your name into borrowed slumber;
as a new leaf turns,
a chrysalis glistens beneath morning dew.
Your voice is the color of dusky sky
anticipating a canvas of sultry stars ascending,
the smoky glow caresses our eyes with possibility.
I shudder only once, casting off hungry shadows,
folding sorrow into a forgotten drawer
as your hands flow through my hair like subtle currents of the sea.
We coil together beneath arched, spread ribs
against this albino moon, slick with torrid gestures and gasping -
we wax and wane in each other’s glistened eyes, a collage of blue
struck silent by luminous spinnings just past the end of our lashes.
Ecstasy bends us, an unshattered mosaic of music.
Under a midnight sky, we dance slowly, softly grasping each moment
so our hands will remember this touch
in later years, unfaded by Time’s delusions. We are adrift
in these reckonings between earth and sea.
There are secrets moving swiftly underneath our feet
as soil responds to this fiery evolution of stars.
We are rooted, and blooming beyond.
When Winter Arrives
Inspired by Taha Muhammad Ali
When winter arrives, I hate his cold face,
so deep and white with mourning,
for I love autumn's delicate unravelings far more.
I was born among fallen leaves,
an eloquent song as yet unsung by any voice,
until you came to my threshold with your fiery eyes,
words aflame with wild furies.
You brought the scent of cherry blossoms upon your trembling hands,
a perfume you could never seem to wash from your skin.
I begged you to stop, to keep the nascence of spring between us
as we wept, then kissed.
When sparrows claim their rightful place within this waning light,
I shall remember how we both seemed, so lost and found,
curled inside the same moment.
We married in April,
weaving our fingers and hearts together;
our path became a pure and profound journey,
awash with clarity
and a sudden ascent of grace.
that I will no longer cavort naked
in front of large, cruel mirrors.
Instead, I steal a glimpse
at the reflection in my beloved's eyes.
I like myself far better there,
where shadows curl softly,
cleaving to my curves with slow murmurs.
Within the Keep
Inspired by the poem "Dialogue" by Nizar Qabbani
Emboldened by the coming of dusk,
you entered this crumbling lair with outstretched hands,
showing your intentions were weary and non-combative.
There was no fear within your eyes, only a glint of unheard laughter
as you saw the pointed stick I gripped in defense of all I had left to protect.
You gestured toward the flames, an unasked question;
I nodded, still wary as you sat; pulling a flask from your worn coat,
you held it out to me, seeing my thirst for such warmth
to peel the chill from bones that longed to sing instead of fight.