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 ~