Tag Archives: free verse

Disbelief ( a Cento)

Time does have mercy. But it doesn’t enumerate or wait.
A mother of course goes on setting the table, even if it’s with broken plate
lit with the fire of sighs, casts spells, burns sage,
sweats in a lodge, her own prayers flaming,

afraid to demand the right
to be afraid.
You’re trying very hard.
the sensation of anticipated
hearing close inside the ear
and the incipient murmur or cry

Ask and ask until nothing’s left to ask.

A hundred Cheerios, one by one, thinking,
bearing a slender cord for unseen hands.
The rims of wounds have wounds as well.
The memory- as the sole miracle hovering in the air-
Dreams. Time. Horizon. Farther from home than belief
of how your mother laid roses.

 

This Cento is comprised of lines from the following poets.

Chen Chen, Barbara Ras, Sheryl Luna, Robin Morgan, Ko Un, Alice B. Fogel, Carry Fountain, Edwin Markham, Lucie Brock-Broido, Arthur Davison Ficke, Simon J. Ortiz.

Metathesis

Raw material
thought unneeded and defective
on snows of paper-
Coloring the outlook in real pigments,
a gradient in between the
two-tone coloration anchored
by the evil absence of light.
It must be a bitch
or at least alien logic
to walk thru or wear on
in such complications.

On the timing,
don’t rush or force the ending.
Science waits-
wins out over time and darkness-
increasing the demand for
beautiful poems.

Choice words (Cento)

Under the wordless sky, come
with loveliness and the icy drouth
of hate –

The diverse forms of things, how can we learn?
Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows
We call things beautiful, not as such, but because of what they mean.

One moment rests my heart, to rend the next
with words alert and bold,
betrayals so long repeated
that they are taken for granted.

And passing on, smiled like a singing rainbow,
the sky too soon shall witness on your winter hill
as atoms dissipate, as chance sorts life.

*********
A Cento is a poem comprised of lines borrowed from other poets. This one owes is origins to the following poets:
Edward Albert Clements, Margaret Fraser,V.N. Wylde,John Creagh, Kathryn Worth, Joseph Stanley Pennell, John Davies, Robert Browning, Anthony Madrid, and W.S. Merwin.

Hidden

In praise of pewter and braids –
and time that fills the empty spaces,
my songs carry with them
faces of blue, confiscated from clouds.

I imagine them as downcast-
bent as the newly emerged jonquils
under a storm.
Forlorn, as an abandoned
patch of last season’s snowmound.
And roiling with the murk
of runaway rainfall and laced
with mud.

Somewhere, burgeoning
behind the surging somber
lies her bronzing sun, polished
and rose umber, attempting to gleam
during the hidden moments of today.

Openings

The picket fence between me
and the road blends and
culminates with symmetry of
scenery. Not a barrier like
doors – those of different
colors and woodgrains – openings
with stone thresholds, inviting
and structurally restrained.
Fences with alternating slat/space
continuums – so observation is not completely obscured
but the breach of us and them is there.
I focus on the panels and their monochromaticity,
accompanied by sun-glare and
it makes me move to the open space.
Here are changing things –
blades of sawgrass moving,
birds that appear and disappear
while rolling in the sky,
the maundering of a single
cloud. My mind follows.

Thoughts on epiphany

I have decided that music
bears witness to the scenery around us.

A woman wearing a bunny eared winter cap
can listen to “Wild Thing” and “Always a Woman”
and still be focused on serious world issues.

The sounds of Professor Longhair and Dr. John
refresh a winter day of Epiphany just as well as Kings College
at Christmastide.

A conversation with a beautiful soul
can ignite a fire – for warming a dulled
and calloused heart.

Walking on salted sidewalks
leaves a rhythmic pulse in your brain
with bodhran and guiro contributions.

The sparkle of lights in the darkness
of early morning never grows old. The silence
makes them shine.

The end of the day lingers when you drag out
the last light from inside.

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