Category Archives: nostalgia

Prima(l)

From 2015…..

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They wander, and yonder they go in the dark
with glow sticks, beyond
them the moonlight, and barks
the taffeta, heavy-set makeup and screams-
the night of the beggar, of horrors and dreams.

The rustle of paper, the rattle of chains-
Billy and Molly fight over the brains.
The princess and pirate, too shy to speak up
the conjuring words while Dad just drinks up.

A drop in the bucket-a thump in the night
the blood of the ghoulish departed from sight.
The clown with the paste face, the witch all in black
the ogres and goblins all stomp and attack.

The flapping of ravens, the quiet of stares
at once-a-year play acting- acute and with scares.
Then beating the pavement and swarming the lawns
the tidal rush crushes, and then they are gone.
All manner of monsters and bold super-kids
Just listen for drumbeats, like Gene Krupa did.

*************
Soundtrack prior to writing/reading this poem: Sing, Sing, Sing.

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Landscaping

In the gardens near my house
the plants and grass are overgrown.
The flowers died a month ago
and nothing has been done.

In the gardens there I spy
the wild and untamed branches grow
up and out from sturdy cover,
where there once was ordered rows.

In the gardens, where I go-
a silence overtook the stalk
of slow exact, the tidy stems
of leaf and bud -where once I walked.

In the gardens, seeming now
unkept and winked in disregard
the minute beauty still remains
I see the landscape,sowed and scarred.

To the gardens, I return
when seeking lines and clustered leaves
to fill my wanting mind with growth
for poems such as these.

While

I spent the morning reading my old poems
and realize they feel like memories.
The lonely ones that desire a second (or third)
reading, the triumphant ones
that trumpet their arrival,
the amorous ones –
they pull me into a corner by the collar and linger,
the nonsensical ones that twirl and wheel
about the sacred and profane, the love or disdain.
The obtuse, they wander.
The linear, they gander.
The poems, I gather to mind
and hold to abide in warm embraces.
They all have their places.

A Christmas Card

Paper greetings, printed in opaque black,
swirled with ochre tones – and embossed
with tinsel and glare.

The serenity of straw and stable,
low station and artless beginnings-
in the midst of majestic creations.

Or how the mystery of snowfall
obscures the road ahead, yet in stillness
illustrates continuum beauty where we are led.

The green wreath, the evergreen bough-
decked in ribbon – tinged with gold
and captures glimmer and snow alike, somehow.

See the carolers, their faces
reddened in winter’s callous air –
mouths agape with our imagined joyful song and prayer.

In the bleak midwinter,
Snow lay all around, stars shown bright-
then pealed the bells more loud and clear,
Merry Christmas, Noel, this silent night.

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

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.