Category Archives: Poems

wood would knot

It’s a reminder of dead branches in a tree trunk.
A natural thing. When processed and managed, it is a would-be imperfection that could be nice to look at, causing a waving grain, adjusted in directions exploited by purpose. It is decorative and agile in its language, but still a defect.

A flaw to the strength of wood, it leads to weakness for tensile and compression, especially when under perpendicular forces or being pulled in opposition. This would be structurally unsound to build upon. The knot can lead to cracks and would not be of benefit in building because of the warp, the check and the shakes.

Some who construct would know the impact.
In a dissonant chord, it is the note that sings loudest and rings a disjointed sound.
In a poem, it is the missing iamb of a sonnet, tripped and stumbled upon. In a house, it is in the failing wall or a cracking joist, unable to stand the weight of heavy burden.
In speaking-it is missing a word and rushing over – leaving a hole. Such work is helpless and unsound.

What remains would not be usable.

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Symmetry

I spent the day pruning a tree,

its branches wild, a sprawling siege

that overtook my space of yard

and lorded all the plants, as liege.

And in this time reshaping a tree,

my thoughts, some bits of poesy.

Its limbs removed, the trunk is scarred,

and the lowest branches out of reach.

And after cutting this creeping tree,

now left with a perfect symmetry,

the sunlight’s glim now reaches far

with spacial perspicuity.

 

Maybe

There is a secret around the corner
that the roses will be red instead of pink;

the sunset and sunrise will both illuminate
the dark moments – far more eloquently than any word.

There are remnants of language,
The laughter of loved ones and strangers
are beauty in a spattered world –
and strung-together notes of the discordant are melodious when unfurled.

There is a depth in every eyeful gathered from a window
and a coolness in the soil grasped by each hand.

You feel the heat that summer’s afternoon conceives,
and I hear the whiskers of October’s morning in the leaves.

There are shadows that crawl in the day
and charming smiles that ornament a night.

And this is truth’s impassioned plea to our humanity,
and affirms the secrets we sometimes cannot see –
perhaps, life is our communal way to share
and maybe, each one of us is rare.

******
The events of this past week have weighed heavily on me – the loss of two very successful, highly creative individuals to suicide, and the realization that this type of hopelessness impacts far more people than we know/understand. There is such beauty and importance in life, and each one of every one of us has a rare gift to share with others. Remember this.
Wishing you all a wonderful week.

Triple threat

Three of them, wandering off at the barbecue:
Jonathan, Allison, Rebecca Williston
didn’t remain for the hot dogs and chili sauce
wanderlust leveled a lure at this crew.

Sauntering off to the swing-set and whirl-around
all of them squealing with joy in the afternoon.
Allison yelled for the first swing and Jonathan
called for the whirly-gig-jumped with a bound.

Rebecca resigned then to pushing them both again.
First, she shoved Allison hard and with all her might
ran to spin Jonathan round and round – in a flight
back to the swing she indulged dear sweet Allison.

This storm continued for minutes and seconds
till Allison’s comment “I’m too high – the altitude!”
Jonathan’s face was awash in pea green –
Their mother called out-“Your birthday cake beckons!”

Rebecca took off – leaving the other two.
Both of them reeling and dizzy and tottering.
Neither felt well enough to eat their birthday cake.
A couple of pieces Rebecca could choose.

This is the tale of the Williston “triple-lets”
How they react and the things they indulge.
Jonathan, Allison both overdo things, and
Becca – Rebecca – she takes what she gets.

Spoken

My words disappeared under the moonlight,
The sounds of dissipation fading fast
to quiet in a cavernous depiction,
a blank homage to the universal past.

Then, vibrations denigrated all the darkness
setting into motion light set free –
like a word spoken among the silence
resonating shift and change and deed.

The silhouetted shapes that give perspective,
colored vivid depth to pangs and shine,
a pulsing heart, a growing hunger
that extends from shadows unconfined.

To this, we owe our debts of salutation
the creative source we poets grace-
in the beginning there was nothing
but a word from which our imaginations trace.

 

Lament (a Cento)

Our one forever,

when it stole through the red gates of sunset
left over from autumn, and the dead brown grass
is yet vibrant with the cadence of the song you might have been.

No longer mired in waiting to begin.

They tell us the night means nothing,
and the candles their light the light.

Nothing is hid that once was clear,

then gone and then to come:
all the time, except the split
second, except—

What is there to say except to lament.

You live in the wrong place.

There’s no flowering time to come.

The hands fell off my watch in the night

and you counted the time
from this instant.

**********************
This Cento contains lines from the following poets: 

Kenneth Rexroth, John Koethe, Lola Ridge, Brenda Hillman, Martha Collins,  Melissa Kwasny, Katharine Tynan, Esther Louise Ruble, David Yezzi, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Jonathan Galassi, Michael Goldman, Robert Francis, and Lucille Clifton.

 

Tide

via Daily Prompt: Tide

Coming now, in a swath of yellow,
this rising tide of dandelions.

Showing first in punctuated crowns
arriving signs of dandelions.

Golden plots among a fullness of green-
conspiring dandelion lines.

Amassed in fields and hills and mounds
collected dandelions upon inclines.

Rushing in from every side
waves of auric, common mind

Rising now, as I recline
on this tide, in dandelions.