May to December: A Letter Poem

Dear Celia,

The weather has turned again, with its gray entrenchments.

Every day seems slightly more bitter than the next, with little room for sunlight and warm touches. I keep the shutters closed most days just to keep out the appearance of cold. The warm hearth remains at the center of the house, and I do my best to remain within sight of it.

I can’t believe it has been almost a decade since I last saw you. Time passes so fluidly now that I don’t even realize the change from May to December – except for the pause that is Autumn. That is the time of moving through color, going from green to gray. The gray seems to last longer. It is no wonder we decorate our homes with pine and cedar this time of year. It helps maintain the illusion that time has stopped during moments of growth that seem perpetual. Autumn gives us a different clock. One with an altering view each day – a changing red, a subtle orange or yellow.

I grew tomatoes again over the summer, and contrary to last year’s harvest, this one was quite poor. The temperatures seem cool enough, though rain was lacking during the middle of the year. I did my best to keep the plants watered, and they remained green and grew quite large, but just did not yield much fruit. All of the flowers in the garden seemed to do well, though, providing a beautiful flourish of roses, irises, jonquils, daisies, and tulips at different times.

It is funny (peculiar) that I should remember you most at this time of year. I suppose that it is because the transition part of life provides the most vibrant backdrop. I must now close this letter, and I wish you the best for the coming year. It is likely I’ll revisit these memories again in the future. The demands of life require a sanctuary. I find it comforting, like the hearth, and I do my best to remain within sight of it.

All the best,
John

Is she

It is hollow sounding
once struck-
then resonant, tones
that lean and carry
into the next.

Suppressed by pedal
at breathing points,
only to fly in phrasing
and surround-
taking us in.

Suppose we were
to stay, encompassed by
the echo, inside the billow
of the melody
improvised.

How would we know?
After the first note
we breathe its air-
sway in a joined jive
inside the song.

Even led among
the staves, turning
and taking our time
for crescendos
and kisses.

Segues

Heading south, I hurried the darkened morning
behind me, and enveloped the sky-
A blush and stretch with her first glance
at daybreak.
A single tree was further down,
gilded- alone among the green and the dead.
It shouted – Hear me! I am magnificent!
The golden leaves shuddered,
and the adjacent pines quivered
and the color cascaded, this moment crowned.

Heading north, I rushed to meet the evening
and embraced the waning sun, a yawn and caress
from her last breath of daylight.
In the darkness, shadows stood where trees remain
and I could not tell gold from red or dead from green.
There was no sound,
no opulent style or lonely smile
Only sky and passage into ground.

spirals

I followed the twisting branch
of the hazel tree, from the end
contorting me through its bends and corkscrew
wrench. I noticed the blue sky
just beyond and lingered there
for just moments and lost my try.

I traced a tangled shoot
from its tip, well into the
mangled form, and noticed a single
leaf – waiting- and watched
it live, forgetting how I traveled
there and where I was destined.

I chased the crooked lines
that overlapped and twined,
becoming one in the matted vines
where sky and sun are dim
and all is mangled and confined.
My words were caught in creviced splines.

I let the torsions lead me in
and angled, changing me instead
remained on a path of helix.
With new braids and spirals wed,
the path led somewhere new ahead
among the hazel twists and treks.

Preparations

When I prepare the yard for winter,
the time when all is stark and lost,
the dead have wilted, scruff and ragged –
and I remove the chaff and croft.

As I gird the garden, whether
further growth is wont or not,
bedded mounds of soil and leavings
cover greener, fledgling thoughts.

Seeded verse on sorted papers
things that sleep beneath decay
seedlings of the spring and morrow
beauty fit for flow’red cliche’

Here I leave the hopes of summer
warm enchantments, an enclave
hidden from the weather – bitter
though purposed to save.

something, about very

As if it is more than she first breathed,
a life beyond the ocean’s crest
or past the highest tree.

She feels her wants, and gathers what she needs.
Marked assumption, close and firm, and pressed
to carry passions free.

An apple redder than anger’s seed
or simple care to disentangle tress’s,
the golden, ornate key.

Silken girl,raging whorl is she
who’d rather give the world waking regrets
than silent repartee.

As if it’s greater than the sum of her marquee,
but most of all in her largesse,
the inspiration given me.

Passage

October leaves me in thatches,
between the warm beaches
and pale wintered branches.

I remember the autumn,
the slow scale of mornings-
the decorative fallen.

I see her in color,
the amber-crisp sunlight
that touches to cover.

For moments, I tarry-
enveloped and yielding
to her fay and fairy.

I reach for her hand
and she vanishes,
my visions are damned

in the moment between
burgeoning summer
and winter’s pale serene.