Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Star Child [Chapter One]

The star child descended at twilight
upon the serene and lonely mound
which of old had brooded there, and light
crowned that place without a sound.

Two cousins, who ventured out
to gather sticks for evening fire,
beheld the glow and gave a shout
then stumbled there with one desire:

To find the cause of light so fair
upon the hilltop shining there.

Elaina and Johan arriving thence
were of a sudden moved with fear
at the light that, pulsing, made them wince
but strangely beckoned and drew them near.

Each shielding eyes with quaking hand
and moving close, they discerned within
the blue translucent burning-brand
a figure small and white and thin.

A child it was, with tender face
yet illumined with an ancient grace.

“Be not alarmed, my little dears,”
said he with lilting music-voice,
“draw close and lay aside your fears,
you are the company of my choice.

“Come near and receive the gift that I
have come to bring to you this night.”
And with gentleness they could not defy,
he motioned them close with hand so slight.

Then close they crept, stooping low
to receive what they did not know.


The Star Child [Chapter Two]

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When the Muses Breathe

It is striking
when the Muses breathe
through the forests
of the mind:
Thoughts stir like leaves
and fly wildly and away ~

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hearth-fire

Among rolling hill-country by gentle shores,
on a hushed winter-tide as twilight faded,
new snowflakes quietly descended in downy array.
Around the low clouds, a fragile moon-sliver smiled fair,
with some glinting companion stars, down upon a manor-hall
with door standing open to welcome expected guests,
to draw them close to a fire in full bloom upon the hearth
and to usher them into the sweet savour of a meal just ready.

The guests were each bidden to a large table full of goodly fare,
amid radiant faces, a company sweet with laughter and mirth.
During the feasting, with clinking plates and glasses glinting in the candlelight,
ladies in fair dresses and gentlemen in high collars and neck-ties
engaged in delightful and witty conversations
while bright-eyed and overdressed children
giggled at the old domestic dog with kind eyes
who had wandered away from his hearthstone bed,
tempted out of warm weary slumber to the savory repast.

The chamber was all ablaze with golden light,
from hearth and sconce, candle and lamp,
all flaming together to bless the home with an ambient warmth.
The cheeks of those present were ruddy in the friendly glow,
while eyes glinted brightly in the engagement of easy companionship
and all complimented the host on the sumptuous and splendid dinner.
.
Near the close of the meal, someone brought out a fiddle fair
and lilting music filled the hall and lightened the hearts of all the revelers.
An older gentleman deigned to lift his croaking voice to the familiar song
and soon many were moved to sing along in sweet chorus
and so they passed the evening in rousing merriment,
in dancing round after the furniture was pushed aside,
clapping to reels in a festive air,
laughing free in friendly company,
and long shadows leapt across the walls behind
as dancers passed before the wildly blazing hearth.
Courting youths with sideways glances
caught furtive smiles and sparkling eyes,
while bundled babes in maternal arms
beamed and brightened at that late hour,
hearkening amazed at the sparkling lights,
from the hearth-fire and lamplights blazing, dancing
in the midst of so many folk partaking in simple delight.

As the night hours passed amid the augmented mirth,
there came at whiles a discernible dwindling,
as one by one a farewell glass was drunk,
and parting embraces were exchanged at the door.
The guests each departed with warmth of heart,
as the horses made-ready drew up the carriages
with shining lanterns upon each side.

The last hand was waved from the threshold.
The last light away down the road was gone,
and then the family drew inside.
The door was bolted against the burgeoning cold.
Sleeping children were carried to bed.
Lamps were turned down,
candles were snuffed.
A single candlelight was taken up the stairs,
to the beckoning bed chamber.
The last good-night,
a kiss, then sleep -
to meet with peaceful winter dreaming
as the soft snowfall continued though the night.

And fading red the embers glowed
upon the hearth in manor-hall.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tears into Joy

Tears contained within the eyes
are reserved for moments such as these ~
The heavings of a hundred sighs
are held inside for this fitting time ~
The placing of the hands over the face
alone and in silence, is meant
for such grave matters, for such resounding grief ~
The arching of the shoulders, down
in solemn manner, is shown
when heavy and weary seasons come ~

And come they do, but not often,
maybe once in a life, in a slow tide
steady and rolling, quiet and deepening
dark and oppressive, then crashing and drowning ~
O in the waters rising, no sound, no light!
O in the silence and darkness, how breathing falters!

Yet behold above, a Hope, a single Star gleaming
faintly noticed, and yet growing brighter
filling the sky, and bringing Music!
O Brilliant Song of Deepest Hopes Fulfilled!
Darkness has not conquered,
nor deafening silence prevailed!

O Trustful Patience, through you Light and Joy return!
The hands from face are lifted, and the tears glisten
in eyes opening, gazing upward
enchanted by tidings unforeseen!
With sighs of Love, the body arises
strong with Hope emerging anew!
O tears of Gladness, flow you sweetly
and with serenity fill the World!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I woke up today to a glorious Monday

I woke up today
to a glorious Monday,
with holy water falling
to bless my poor anxious head.
The traffic was slow and serene,
prompting me to recollect
how oddly frantic these people are,
scrambling to arrive
at a job they despise,
surrounding themselves
with people who have not
their happiness in mind.
But tomorrow will be bright and clear,
the traffic will flow freely along,
and my mind will spin again
like all those wheels,
rolling here and there
with never a care, for me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Act of Standing by a Window and Staring Out

The act
of standing
by a window
and staring out,
alone
and in silence,
is such a
sad sad thing
when the day
is cold
and damp
and dreary,
when you’re
alone inside
with nose
on cold pane,
your breath
clouding the view
of life on the outside,
the stillness in the world.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are you ever glad, dear lady?

Are you ever glad, dear lady,
and filled with a delicious rapture
upon waking, realizing
that life is new, is vibrant
and is full of fresh possibilities
for future endeavors?
Though you loved once,
strong and true,
your love now has set you free:
For the sky has opened wide
to receive your winged flight,
with the sun on your face
and a torrential wind at your back.
Your hope can thus sail high and far,
flying like a fallen star reborn,
returning to the heavens
to smile upon your good earth
with a radiance of glittering gladness.
So loving lady,
are you ever glad,
now that he has died?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A loving discourse between a bomb and the ground

"I have fallen for you, my darling," he said.

"But this is all happening so fast," she said.
"Maybe we should take things slower."

"Don't you feel the attraction between us?
We are meant to be together."

"Yes, but I'm afraid of being hurt again."

"Are you really afraid of me?
I love you more than anyone ever will."

"I know, my darling, I'm just scared.
Please, please don't hurt me -
I've been hurt before."

"I'm not like the others - I love you.
You can trust me."

"I do trust you - I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."

"Hush, my love - we will be together very soon.
Together forever."

"You are so good to me."

"No one loves you like I do."

"I know - oh, come to me, my love,
I'm sorry I ever doubted you."

"I fly swiftly to you.
I long to touch you."

"My arms are open to receive you."

"We grow closer by the moment."

"I can hear your breathing."

"And I hear your heartbeat - it is racing so."

"Is this real? It seems so much like a dream."

"Yes, and I give myself all to you."

"I am yours."

"You are mine."

"Oh!"

The night became ablaze
with the fire of their passion,
and a cloud bloomed like a rose,
signaling to the world
the consummation of their love.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

When Satan croons

When Satan croons,
lifting high his voice
in sweet melody,
bright notes sparkle
and blossoms open fair
along wide footpaths ~
The birds, dancing
on delicate wings,
fill all the world
with delightful song,
as wine-golden light
brims the sky-chalice
to cascade overflowing,
radiating enchantment
so sweetly, so sweetly
when Satan croons ~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Exile-hymn

O! for the homeward sailing!
O! for the Farther Shore!
O! for the exile-ending!
O! for the coming home!

O! for the Tall Ship
with white-sails and white-timbers
on the grey seas coming
with glittering foam on her brow,
quietly and gently
slipping through the waters,
shining in the golden sun
with full wind in her sails
to take me home.

O! the ever-watching
of the Farthest Edge
for a glimpse of that White Ship
coming at last to these weary shores.

O! ye waves crashing and rolling,
in thy tumbled voice
bring me rumour of her Arrival,
her Most Blessëd Arrival.

O! to set out from harbour
upon briny wave
with wind on my brow
with salt-spray and glittering-sparkle
and with gulls sending me off rejoicing,
calling with their sea-voices: “Farewell!”
Looking back as hither-shore fades:
Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!

O! to pass over the Western Seas
past the fair enchanted isles
through the Silver-Mists
and the Golden-Rain
to at last reach a sunlit shore
of green green lands...

O! for the homeward sailing!
O! for the Farther Shore!
O! for the exile-ending!
O! for the coming home!

Monday, October 24, 2011

On a Golden Evening

On a golden evening
approaching the seashore
where crashing waves
of old tumbled unceasingly
upon the sweeping sands,
the grey tides have now
fled further out and away,
have subdued their cascading rolls
that on a time used to dance and sparkle
like golden fire under sunlit skies ~
Behold the silence
of the exposed seabed
where various items
from the living ocean
now lay discarded and dead
on the bone-dry sands ~
The shorelines have shifted;
the shape of all lands
has now been changed ~
Fellow-folk who
once strolled these shores
with light step
and rosy cheek
now hobble stone-stiff
to gaze upon the remnants
of the fading seas of yesterday ~
The somber winter-frost has settled
upon the heads of those
who once held sway
and prominence
but who now look for comfort
in the light and laughter
of younger lives ~
Yet knowing that they themselves
are drifting away from
the vibrant shore
their feet affixed not as surely
upon these hither-lands,
where the new buds of spring
are even now blossoming,
they stoop their weary heads
under the weight of many years
and view all lands
as from a distant horizon
where sun is setting
and eyes are dimming ~
They manage a smile
and softly whisper
to all these things:
“goodbye” ~

Sunday, October 23, 2011

love

love
for the time is short
life is short
the time is short
a day
a year
a hundred years
is short to love
is short to love

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Disturbed by Spring

Thoughts of one Mr. Edgar McMillan upon awakening on a fine May morning.

My dark room is disturbed:
the night of glorious storms
and joyful fury has passed,
leaving a bitter quietude.
But what now is this chitter-chatter?
Twittering birds outside mock me
with their sing-song silliness.
Begone, you tormenting imps!
Enraged, I thrust open the shades
and oh! the glaring sun explodes
in my eyes, and blinds me.
When right vision returns,
the morning-scene repulses me:
a rainbow is frowning at me
with sickening colored bands,
through urine-golden air.
I frown back, and turn away
to my happy bed, to peace.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"I don't need no psychiatrist"

"I don’t need no psychiatrist," Kirby said, "what I need is good surgeon.
I can’t help it my eyes move around without hinges.
I know they need hinges - do you think I’m an idiot and don’t know that?"

He blinked his large hazel eyes a couple of times
and then opened them wide to expose the orbs.

"You see, they just roll around in here like marbles -
the doctors can get in there and fix that, can’t they?
That’s what they go to medical school for,
to fix things like that -
so what are they waiting for?

"And as for my spine, it just grows like this -
out of my gums where my chompers should be."
He grimaced, displaying yellow crooked teeth.
"I don’t know if they can fix that though -
it might be too late -
it might paralyze me if they try to do anything.
I don’t want to be no parasite, or paralegal,
or whatever they call it when you lay around all day
like Christopher Reeve.
He used to be Superman you know,
and flew around saving people.
Now he can’t even walk.
But I can walk just fine,
and my teeth don’t hurt me none when I eat."

A fly alighted on Kirby’s grey hair.
He swatted it away,
and then tugged on a lock
hanging down on his forehead.
"And this damn algae keeps growing up here,
and they won’t give me nothing to cut it off with -
so don’t blame me.
It might be taking over my brain -
it might be, I’ll grant you that,
but it’s not my fault.
If you’ll just let ’em cut it off, I’ll be fine.

"And get someone to fix my eyes, like I said -
so those stupid little flying seahorses will leave me alone.
They know they can get in that way, through my eyes -
but if the surgeons would just put the hinges back in,
I could close ’em and lock ’em up tight so they can’t get in.
Yep. Then I’d be fine, don’t you think doctor?"

The grey tabby,
which hitherto had been watching Kirby
with disinterested attention,
having grown bored with his company,
stood up, stretched and softly padded away,
leaving the man reclining in his yard.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Of Mortals

O creature of mould
with stars in your eyes
bright and open to heaven
yet not comprehending
heart-pangs and longings
for you know not what
and therefore
making mythos and legends,
fables and epics
of enchanted-lands,
realms of bliss and light
and a beauty all-lovely
beyond all telling,
of life aglow with innocence
and joy unbridled,
at times blending the human form
with flora and fauna,
and filling the world with gods
and elves and all the denizens of Faerie,
with talking beasts and trees,
betraying a haunting sense
of a separation from Nature,
a painful innocence-loss,
an echoing of an ancient wound,
and seeing in the myths and deities created
a magic-mirror reflecting back to earth-eyes
something of what could have existed ~
But at times, as through ever-slight fissures,
a glinting light leaps out:
in children at play laughing
clear and clean,
goodly company
of smiles and joy
and kindly faces,
friendly voices in conversation,
charming village cottages,
with twinkling home-fires
and candlelight in windows,
family warmth
and sweet embrace,
dancings and fair motions,
sparkling tears of joy,
a mother’s love,
fair maidens singing
with a heart-tenderness,
children in choir
making glad melody,
melancholy string-airs
beautiful beyond words,
books of holy wisdom
and epic tales
of knights in quest,
of chivalry and valour,
of mortals in converse
with speaking-beasts
and faerie-folk,
minstrelsy made
to match the longings
and soarings of human-heart,
in solitary voice plaintive,
and in chorus grand and glorious,
created beauty in art,
of paintings and sculptures,
carved woods and stones,
richly woven tapestries,
grand soaring architecture
with intricate carvings,
folk adorned with raiment fair,
and with gems and precious metals,
all to replace the fair covering of light-lost,
the parade of races and cultures,
the vast myriad of languages
and volumes of lore,
the colour and pageantry
of history marching onwards
in pursuit of something
lost from ancient times,
an exile-race wandering,
pursuing a faint memory,
a fading echo
down the halls of time ~

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Night-song

I should be inside sleeping by now
but oh how the stars crown
those treetops with enchanted light,
with Ursa Major there
and Cassiopeia, I think that’s her,
over that way reclining fair.
The warm wind is soft tonight
and it’s quiet here.
But not so quiet,
with insect choruses
chanting that familiar
night-song of theirs
here to me.
It’s three o’clock in the morning -

no one knows I'm out here

in the backyard drinking wine
and contemplating the world.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Intruder

She hated him.
He frightened her with his monstrous ways.
Her life was beautiful until his dark presence appeared.
He was there now before her, and he spoke not a word.

She wanted him dead.
(That the murderous impulse lived in her youthful heart did not give her pause.)
She would lash out to kill him herself if not for the paralyzing fear.

He moved towards her.
Her scream filled all the house.

Another presence entered the room.
Her dear brother was there.
He would rid her of this awful villain.

She saw that he was unarmed - but he was valiant.
He struck down the impudent intruder
then stomped stomped stomped upon him with violent fury.
She closed tight her eyes.

When she opened them again it was all over.

And with the spider vanquished,
little Hannah returned to her toys.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Of Bird Songs

There is great wisdom
in bird songs,
a wine-sweetness
which pierces
heart depths
to the delight
of attentive ear
enlightening the eye
with melody
of fair light
resplendent
with innocent joy
and virtue
clear and bright ~

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Quarrel Over Breakfast

One fair autumn morning, when the sun filled all the wood with golden light and the last of the clinging leaves rattled in cool breezes, a chipmunk ventured out to find his breakfast. A sniff of the air and a couple flitting glances around convinced him that it was safe to move further out. With tail upright and head down, he inspected the ground for promising morsels.

“Fine morning, Chip,” said a rough voice from behind a tree. Out stepped Jack, the ragged old jackal.

Chip’s little heart fluttered. “Uh, hi Jack,” he said, trying to sound casual, “the morning is quite fine.” He knew Jack well, and knew not to trust his attempts at friendliness. He was notorious for playing with his prey, and never spoke to one of the little ones unless he fancied them for food.

Jack sauntered strategically between the chipmunk and his homey hole. As he began creeping towards Chip, a sultry voice whispered, “SSSilly Jackal, you crooked canine. SSSally you forth, the ‘munk is mine!”

It was slithering Cecilia, and the fur on both Jack and Chip’s backs quivered. She approached in an insidious arc and with sinister glee she showed the two mammals her particularly long and elegant fangs.

There was a pause as Jack considered seizing Chip in a flash and darting away. Cecilia leered at him as if she dared him to try.

Chip himself was as if frozen between the two pairs of hungry eyes. Jack had almost made up his mind to pounce when a sudden rustle rushed down deftly upon the chipmunk and like a swift wind was away.

Jack and Cecilia gaped, stunned, and heard a mocking voice trailing off through the woods: “Farewell, friends! Your hesitation has hurt you. The morning is wearing away and some of us are hungry!”

“Curse that falcon!” Jack said with real malice, “May his wings wither!”

“Felix is a fine fellow,” Cecilia said with a grin, “but he certainly knows how to spoil a fine breakfast.”

Jack and Cecilia stared blankly off into the woods, almost as if they hoped their eyes had the power to recall the thief. When it became clear that both bird and breakfast had flown far away, they both turned slowly back to glare at each other. There was a sort of unspoken blaming that took place between them then, while both tried to regain their swagger.

The silence was broken by a low growl. Jack put a paw to his belly and slowly moped away, mumbling something about needing to find something to eat.

Cecilia turned away as well, slithering over dry leaves. “SSSilly Jackal”, she said to herself, knowing as she did that chipmunks are a bit tart for her taste anyway.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Canticle of Light

O Light! O Love!
     O Beauty Resplendent!
O Brilliance encompassing
     all things else!
O Refulgence Cascading!
     O Glittering Radiance!
O Bliss! O Hope!
     O Gladness Unforeseen!
O Great and Boundless Good!
     O Beauteous Nameless Joy!
O Serene and Golden Light
     from a clear and cloudless sky!
O Enchanted Blessedness!
     O Sight Most Fair!
O Sweetness! O Treasure!
     O Loveliness Beyond Telling!
O Lamp of Clear Wisdom!
     O Splendour Most Pure!
O Light! O Love!
     O Life! O God!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In a marvelous way the world is changed

In a marvelous way the world is changed
with nothing altered or rearranged.
The facts themselves remaining true,
each one gains a golden hue.
The fair, the foul, the good, the bad,
the mundane, the happy and the sad
all beheld in contemplative sight
become infused with a glorious light.
Each detail sharp and crisp and clear,
each illumined with a meaning dear
and all together in perfect peace
serenely move and never cease
around the core of Love unmade
shining through each with glory arrayed.
And rising upward one can see
what is past and what will be
and what is now seamlessly sewn
and in circling together is clearly shown
a Light, a Love infused throughout
and not one particle or thread left out
making up a glorious glorious world,
a manifestation of Love unfurled!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tasabrilathelinië [The Hymn of High Praises]

I wrote an extended piece several years ago after my soul and imagination caught fire from reading large amounts of the Psalms, the Song of Songs, St. John of the Cross, and J.R.R. Tolkien. It has the potential to be much longer and more expansive. I provide the opening stanzas here - follow the link below for the full piece:

Fairer is my Beloved than the heavens in their glory,
than the brilliant radiance at dawn,
enlightening the world with increasing splendour,
dazzling the eyes of all creatures under sky,
and sparkling on dewdrops lingering on blade and leaf ~

Fairer is my Beloved than the sunlight bright at noontime,
blazing with golden brilliance in the gem-blue sky
when all the world is alive with light and colour,
with birds dancing on the wind
and singing joyous among woven tree-branches:
sparrows and blue jays,
waxwings and warblers,
thrushes and whippoorwills,
wrens and doves cooing,
flush-breasted robins,
blackbirds with shining wings,
bright cardinals come darting,
hummingbirds flit about perfumed blooms nectar to seek,
along with bees and butterflies, fair companions in gardens fragrant ~

More lovely than flowers in their colourful array is my Beloved,
more than primroses and bluebells, cowslips and irises,
cornflowers, foxgloves, and daffodils nodding,
more than daisies and buttercups, violets and lilies,
roses and carnations, phlox-fair and larkspurs ~

Fairer still is my Beloved than the sun that marching westward
paints the billowy clouds rose-orange
and glows richly on the far horizon
until slipping away to sleep ~

Click here for the entire poem.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

O World! O Life!

O World! O Life!
O Struggle! O Strife!
O precipice and fearful way!
O tangledness and thorny fray!
Behold the feet on shifting sands
and the eyes made blind by darkened lands!

O Caution! Caution! O Humble steps!
O Patience in the darkest hour!
O little hand awaiting the touch
of familiar grasp and cheerful warmth
taking you to places never known
which otherwise would have never been found!

O Trust! O Peace!
O Hope beyond hope!
O Quietude! O Rest!
O Courage and Faithfulness! O!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cove Spring Park

I had no idea this place
could be so peaceful and fair
when the morning sun
with golden-fingers
touches the tender leaves
quivering in their youth.

There is something heard
in the water tumbling
over many stones:
a music, a fair minstrelsy
of laughing joys
and deeper notes
of hidden wonders.

Venturing along
the adjacent path,
the sonorous song
an ever-companion,
finding fungi and fir-trees,
nettles and acorns,
flower-petals and little vines
with tendrils grasping
the roots and fallen branches
of wizened oaks and elms.

Honeysuckle blossoms
are scattered here
on the forest floor
like faeries sleeping,
dreaming such dreams
as faeries dream
when Spring has come.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

To my love, despondent

My love,
I wish I might
find fortunes-fair
to purchase for you
all your joys,
if but a tiny-slice
to fill your heart,
but what the price?
when world is wide,
and time like oceans
with waves weigh heavy
and assault these shores
through season-cycles:
whether on summer days
in shining light
or in winter-dark
when cold winds
lash and shriek,
waves come crashing
just the same ~
Come then, love
and find we now
amidst the wide
and tumbling-tide,
jewel-stones glittering,
shimmering bright:
the brilliant joy
inside our eyes ~

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reverie

At times
something is seen
but not seen
in the sunlight ~

At times
something is heard
but not heard
in the wind-whispering ~

Some voice calling, singing
clear and certain,
yet elusive and hidden ~

At times
wandering feet
venture out
into twilight evening,
single-star evening,
violet-canopy evening,
while silence speaks
loud in the soft air ~

(Boundless heavens,
solid earth,
trees swaying
and shaking between) ~

At times
in the darkness,
heart is thrilled
by soft music
and sweet fragrance,
drifting from afar
upon slight breezes,
with leaves quivering, whispering,
and with stars beyond the clouds
glimmering through the darkened heavens
to bless the darkened earth
with enchanted light ~

Voices singing fair
and children laughing,
birds of glad-song
light and love,
unblemished innocence
smiling faces,
sun on rippling waters
and green green grasses swaying
under trees of glittering leaves
and swelling fruit shining bright
in a kingdom-realm wide and fair
of golden hue and blissful joy ~

And mortal eyes sparkle bright
in the lights of myriad joys
just beyond sight undimming ~

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

little sparkling diamonds

little sparkling diamonds
are falling from your eyes ~
the sweet perfume of flowers
is exuded in your sighs ~
notes of fair voices singing
are mingled with your cries ~
while a sweeping tender pain
is bringing a gentle rain,
this weeping, this weeping
is making you wise ~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Many Mistakes

“I’ve made many mistakes in my life, I must admit,” Jimmy Turner said, looking down at his hands.

“I back-talked my mama growing up, whenever she asked me to clean my room. Too many times to count. I was such a wicked child. Mama said so.

“I once stole two dollars from my papa’s wallet. I spent it all on licorice and didn’t share any of it with my friends.

“And would you believe, I threw little Katie’s kitten in a puddle when I was seven? Oh, how that kitty jumped and ran, and how Katie cried. I laughed. Katie told her granny on me, and my papa beat my bottom with his belt. That big leather belt we got him for Father’s Day. I guess I deserved it.

“At school one time I broke my friend John-John’s glasses to pieces. He never knew it was me. I wish I could apologize to him for that. But he went to heaven ten years ago this summer. He was always such a good friend.

“I remember once there was this yo-yo I wanted so bad at the drugstore. It sparkled inside when it spinned around. So pretty. I took it and didn’t pay for it, I admit that. I should have paid for it.

“So many mistakes, so much to be sorry for in life. So sad, so sad.

“And oh, I also strangled nine women. Nine women, with my hands. I did.”

Jimmy paused, and looked up.

“I feel much better now. Go ahead and get this over with.”

The prison superintendent nodded over to a white-clad man.

And so, with witnesses looking on in silence, Jimmy Turner received the sweet toxin into his bloodstream and slipped away into a well-earned sleep.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Light of Spring

(Lines inspired by one line from Shakespeare)

There is a place where wild thyme grows
where lavender and wildwood rose
thrive admixed with light of Spring
where soft breeze-breathings bring
a scented fragrance, where sweetly sing
bird-companions with shining-wing
who, perching high, with joy surround
the wooded-realm with cheerful-sound
where all the denizens of forest-kind
greet the golden sun they find
sparkling on dew-drops left behind
on green-leaf and on berry-rind
after night-curtain lifted away
and brilliant golden-star of day
blessed the morning’s pageantry
and displayed a splendid tapestry
of woven leaf and vine and blade
amidst the forest quiet-shade
of stone and stream, root and moss
of flowers-fair who gladly toss
and nod their heads in tender-breeze
under a canopy of swinging leaves
where glad-birds sing and wild thyme grows
and sweet and clear the Spring-light glows ~

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Of Otters

Otter-fellow sleek-brown
swimmer-swift whiskered
frown and quick-eye
chasing fishes-tasty
in sparkling-waters
fine and bright ~
A joyful-day when
otter-kind find belly-full
at darking-time
in sleeping-bed
till morning-light
when fishes swim
in waters-bright ~

Friday, September 16, 2011

Big Ben

Big Ben paused at the wooden fence surrounding his pasture. The bright westerly sun made him squint as he gazed over the fields to where his cattle were grazing. A few were still lingering at the pond, which shone at dusk like a large round mirror lying golden bright in the grassy field. He thought of his wife and of the times she spent making those final touches to her hair in her hand mirror. She never knew how really beautiful he thought she was. Now she was gone.

He waved his hand through a swarm of gnats that had gathered around his eyes. He made certain the pasture gate was secured and then he turned his slow steps toward the house.

He was still not used to the silence that now resided in his home. It greeted him like a spectre when he opened the door. Strange the contrast was between the serene and open farmland outside and the stark grim enclosure where he spent his evenings. He reached out to the radio as to a lifeline. A voice, any voice would do. And tonight it would be The Detective Hour. Silver Fox, private eye, was on the trail of yet another murder suspect. He stared at his meal of leftover stew there in his bowl slowly growing cold. He abruptly reached to shut off the radio and walked over to the window. His strong jaw was clenching and unclenching. The pond reflected the delicate crescent moon in its glassy waters.

He found himself emerging from the interior stifling silence into the soft cool breathings of the night. All the world seemed hushed, but yet not silent. Reaching his ears like music were the night choruses of crickets and toads. He paused to listen, and to remember.

He then approached his overturned wooden dory at the water’s edge and righted it. It made an audible splash which seemed to startle the toads into a moment of silence. His bare white feet stepped into the cool water and down into the soft muddy bottom. Bringing the boat behind him, he lowered down his hefty frame which caused the vessel to lunge towards the middle of the pond, heaving waves out ahead which shone white in the scattered moonlight. But Ben settled softly into peaceful repose, lying prone as if in an open casket, hands folded, gazing at the starry spectacle above.

The heavens seemed in motion as he drifted. How beautiful the stars are, he thought. Like sparkling teardrops suspended in the air, refusing to fall. And in such marvelous array. Ben understood how the ancients could see shapes in the stars they beheld every night. He thought of the nighttime faces he saw as a boy, gazing down at him from the smudged ceiling above his bed. Now he fancied he could make out Clara looking down at him with her sparkling eyes. The heavenly lights blended together as tears filled his own aged eyes. Too weary the days seemed now, and too lonely the nights. But there alone, and despite the hard bed he had made, Ben’s eyelids weighed heavy and he slipped away into slumber, nudged in his dreams by little waves through the night.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer

Little boys
after baseball games
with sopping bangs.
Little girls
leaping into swimming pools
in pink swimsuits.

While hot sunlight
glitters upon green leaves
waving and swinging in sweltering winds:
the leaves grown long
by generous showers
which sparkle like diamonds in the grass.

The summer afternoons
become summer evenings
sitting on front porch swings
hearing cicadas sing
and watching the children
chase fireflies and laugh
while the fading light lasts.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

pregnant with meaning

pregnant with meaning
and hidden hope
treasure buried
and growing daily ~
life new and vibrant
small quivers
quaking earth and sky
with vibrations of love
of life
of joys untold ~
of tender eyes
in warmth of womb
glimpsing visions
in the dark chamber
giving faces to voices
and echoes caught
from outside world
soon will be entering
arms of love
and the eyes amazed
through shimmering tears
beholding at last
that blessed face
a miraculous life
and living miracle
of love ~

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ode to a deer

A doe lay sleeping in the grass
a lovely and enchanting lass
serenely heedless of all who pass
silent and peaceful, she.

Sleeping all the day and all the night
still there she lay at morning light
her beauties attracted hungry sight
her charms were for all to see.

As the gentle wind made whisper-sighs,
vultures wheeled in brilliant skies
crows in joy arrived, and flies
buzzed and flitted merrily.

At night many a roving beast
crept close for the abundant feast
each morsel savored to the least
by appetites eager and free.

An open cage of clean-white bone
in morning sunlight brightly shone
in grass beside the road alone
silent and peaceful, she.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nocturne

A constellation of freckles, the fruit of twelve summers, lay across Sarah’s cheeks and nose and brought to mind carefree days spent out of doors. Her large blue eyes were as clear as the cloudless sky and still sparkled with that undimmed mirth and joy of life that commonly abides in the female child before the complexities of adulthood loom large on the horizon.

But that usual light in Sarah’s face was veiled by clouds this night. There was a paleness in her cheeks and her head hung low where she sat. Upon her eyelashes, the remnants of tears glinted in the firelight. She began again, softly pressing the piano keys down with her slender fingers. The gentle rolling notes of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata filled the stifling air of the sitting room. She moved her head tenderly to one side as she concentrated all of her attention on bringing out the wordless melody that spoke so much. She finished the piece in the gentlest manner, lightly intoning the last notes and letting them fade away into silence before she lifted her foot from the pedal.

“Did you like that one, Grandfather?” she asked. The gentleman seated behind her continued to stare with blank eyes down and gave no hint of response. His grey visage seemed to droop down slightly from his skull, while his thin frame, all skeleton and skin, was insufficient to fill out his black suit, which draped shapelessly around him as he slumped in the armchair. The cravat he wore, which had been tied for him, was loose, allowing the wrinkled folds of skin on his neck to hang down freely upon his starched collar.

A woman’s hand touched his shoulder. “Uncle, she played that one for you, remember how Auntie loved it?” The old man stirred not at all. The stillness of a graveyard in winter hung about him. Josephine, whose pretty forehead was creased with concern, let her hand remain on his slumping shoulder. The candles in the room flickered with some slight stirring of the air. The two men standing back by the wall shifted uncomfortably, and one whispered briefly to the other. He nodded a response and both looked forward again with grave faces. Their wives nearby held bunched lace handkerchiefs up to their faces.

Josephine glanced towards Sarah, who was gazing with moist eyes at her grandfather.

“Perhaps another piece, love,” Josephine said. “How about Chopin, you like Chopin don’t you, Uncle?” The man maintained his vacant stare. Sarah nodded and turned slowly around. She placed her hands above the keys and paused. She noticed that her hands were quivering. She took a breath and tried to calm herself. Her black taffeta dress rustled as she shifted on the bench. Then she began.

She played Nocturne in E-flat major, and with the opening notes there was a faint flicker in her grandfather’s eyes. Sarah deftly brought out in the simple melancholy strain a lilting optimism that seemed to ease the heaviness in the room. With a quieted note here and a well-executed trill there, Sarah managed in that moment to make the piece seem fresh and newly heard, when in truth Grandmother Agnes had played it many times over the years upon that very piano.

The fragile old man leaned forward, tremulous hands clasped before him. “Oh!” he said, with a rough-throated voice. He continued to exert himself and, as it became clear that he wished to stand, Josephine and the two men moved in swiftly to assist him. As he was being gently lifted to his feet, Sarah paused in her playing to look back over her shoulder. Josephine whispered to her, “Keep playing dear, it’s lovely.”

With the attentive assistance afforded him, the widower took slow small steps across the room towards the open coffin of polished mahogany. It was flanked by two large arrangements of white and yellow roses, and several small vases of lilies and violets were set nearby. Joseph approached his wife. Her face radiated that quiet grace even now. But her mouth was stiff, never to smile again. He reached out for her, and laid a wrinkled and spotted hand over her delicate folded hands. The skin on them was very white in this light, and nearly transparent in its thinness. And cold. He lowered his head.

Sarah gently quitted the piano bench, leaving the song unfinished. She placed an arm tenderly around her grandfather, who was weeping his first tears since his beloved’s passing.

Out along the silver-stream

Out along the silver-stream
of rippling current crystal gleam,
water-grasses stand and sway
dancing in the light of day
to notes of trickling music-fair
amid the shimmer-sparkled air ~
where trees splay their finger-leaves
shaking them over shady-eaves ~
robins swell red-flush breasts
with task at hand to weave their nests
poised among the branches-high
waving between earth and sky ~
somewhere creatures of fur and pelt,
dressed in their coats of finest-felt
as befits every noble forest-beast,
with bright-eyes search for goodly-feast ~