Friday, August 31, 2012

Smoke Break

Lucille sat behind the warehouse in a contemplative mood.

She stared down at what was left of the cigarette between her fingers as if it contained the answers to all the mysteries of the universe.

She slowly brought it to her wrinkled mouth and took one last drag.

The tobacco-incense she exhaled drifted away across the heavy morning traffic.

She flicked the butt onto the pavement as she stood to go back inside.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Forgetting How to Fall Asleep

A train wails at the edge of night.
What sleep have I had? Very little...
Okay, concentrate, lie very still,
think of nothing at all, not even sleep.
But the day is swirling, my heart is racing,
my breathing is under my conscious control
(such a fragile feeling) - Okay, hear I go...
No, still wide awake...this isn't so easy.
I'll try maybe coming up with some rhymes:
Was it the tea or the chocolate cake?
Whatever it was, I'm still wide awake...
No, that didn't help -
The tree-shadows quiver, the rabbit-moon shines,
there are words on the ceiling in the crooked lines...
That's awful -
Every solar flare is rightfully named
after the one who first saw it, and had it framed -
Was that a half-dream? Now at last...
That's how I know that I'm fading fast:
nonsense thoughts intruding in,
there it is again:
something about horses
eating steaks with knives and forkses
from square leather plates...
the soft darkness around my face,
breathing dark light, it won' long...

Friday, August 24, 2012

A little orphan tear

A little orphan tear
slipped quietly out
from the asylum
of the eye
that beheld
such tender
and exquisite joy -
and fled swiftly away.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

It was purposely and without remorse,
and with the aid of a reluctant horse,
that all the children out in the yard
pushed on the Old Wall very hard
until it toppled over with a crash.

Then Oliver, who was always brash,
surmounted in glee the pile of rubble
and said at last it would be no trouble
for them to come and go as they please,
they could even walk out among the trees
that surrounded the village on every side,
beyond the wall they had all decried.

But dusk was falling and light grew dim,
so Oliver, smiling, said unto them:
"Now off to bed - I will show you tomorrow
that being closed-in has been our only sorrow."
So each to their pillows and blankets withdrew
and dreamed of a world so wide and so new.

But in the night, the werewolves crept
from the forest and devoured them as they slept.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

To sleep again

I must return to sleep again,
where all was starlight-snow
falling soft upon velvet-moss,
where the air was filled
with the music of mint-roses
and the silver shadows melted
under a tattered organdy moon.
Our fingertips touched,
and the words we whispered
took flight as paper moths
and fluttered in the water-wind
that shimmered and shuddered as it flowed
towards the distant waves of hills
quietly crashing in the tender twilight.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Lewis Carroll Scholar

One afternoon under golden sun,
I took a stroll through Regent Park
and, with the term of lectures done,
I stepped spry, feeling free as a lark.
I had in mind my leisure to take
and wandered down to Boating Lake.

At the water's edge upon the grass,
sat a well-dressed enchanting girl
who was reading Through the Looking-Glass
and I could see her brow begin to furl.
"Dear child," said I, "do you understand
what you are reading of Looking-Glass Land?"

She looked up towards me with a grin
and said, "I understand most every word
and the story is interesting, but then again
Alice's adventures seem quite absurd."
"Please," she continued with an eager look,
"explain, if you can, the meaning of this book."

And then I, being a tenured Oxford don
who had studied this author for thirty years,
straightened up tall like a true paragon
who is rightly admired by all his peers.
I opened my mouth to impart the teaching
for which this young girl was beseeching.

Yet the words I spoke were not what I intended
and they poured forth quite in spite of myself:
"Twas brillig, and the slithy wended
did gyre and gimble in the welf!"
At this, the immensity of my surprise
did not surpass the same in that girl's eyes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cygnus Sorrow

With such fair grace, the amber light
had filled the chalice-sky of spring
and touched the swan as she took wing,
departing in serene and stoic flight.

But why leave just as the warmer clime
had settled in and expelled the cold,
when all is a dazzle of green and gold,
a triumph over the wintertime?

Yet there she goes with graceful head
pointed towards the northern hills,
to pursue the lingering winter-chills
that from the joys of spring had fled.