Last Fall’s leaves, the ones I couldn’t
snag with my lazy too-short arms,
skitter and run across the grass,
like they’re being chased by Winter,
though Winter passed this path
weeks ago. They flip and whisper
like the pages of a diary to me,
helping recall when I was younger
and the days grew shorter.
Some loosed from their branches too late,
missed their connection, and spent
the frigid times racing into and
out of windward shelter.
Funny, for all their running, the leaves
leave no mark upon the land
save for the invisible ink tracks they
write within me. If I followed their
undetectable path, I’d churn up mud
and mess and ugliness that would
spoil Spring’s pastel palette to come.
That’s why I sit here and transcribe
their twists and tumbles, their stories
of lives spent dancing and running
on the wind, like the leaves I let fly
from my journal’s long reach,
like an old oak who’s ready to let go.
Poem #6 of Poem-a-Day NaPoWriMo 2015. No prompt today. Just watching the leaves rush past my Emily window.
When the lilacs bloom, pungent and purple,
spring freshets run from my nose,
eyes and memory. I clench my face
like a fist and shake it with each sneeze
in explosive protest to the flower’s
reputed beauty and all months beginning in M.
Locked within bleared and puffy eyes,
it’s my mind sees the plaster Virgin,
a finger missing from her right hand,
enshrined in lilacs and pale blue crepe paper
in the corner of our classroom.
I can feel rosary beads in my hands,
an abacus of calculated Catholic indoctrination
for a boy longing to sin just once,
preferably with one of the alabaster virgins
pressed close to my compass points.
Funny what flowers like frothy amethysts
will do to an old man when a young man’s
fancies would turn those pubescent blossoms
of my youth to thoughts of budding lust.
Think I’m caught up now for NaPoWriMo and Poem-A-Day April. Don’t ask where this came from. I have no idea. I was free writing and I thought how close May is today.
Between two lines of trees,
one east, t’other west,
Sun walks nurse’s shadows
from sunup to sunset.
She feeds vestiges of snow
from a winter too long,
too high, too dark,
to hopeful, budding maples.
In a new geometry, they
stretch their lever limbs
upon this fulcrum of our year,
moving sleeping poets to song.
A 55-word poem for the second of my April poem-a-day challenge. I hope Archimedes would approve.
Months of muted tones
too long held sway
over this northern land.
Even once-bright snow
lies dingy like porridge
flecked in blacktop dust
and salt crust.
Against slate skies,
crows croak their primacy
and even gray goose chooses
to fly beyond.
Sounding my forgotten clarion,
I decree audience.
See me, hot spot of rainbow
resplendent, perched atop
charcoal skeleton of ash.
I am your King of Spring,
and will daub all in hues
you’ve missed since last
Sun dropped its rays
I am Cardinal. Have faith.
April dawns and new life
like kaleidoscopic dreams
approach just over horizon.
New 100-word drabble poem shared with friends at dVerse looking to impart or share color.
Photo by Lonny Holman
Photo by Joseph Hesch
I’ve missed you, day-pioneer,
first-light blazer of time-trails.
We’ve not met since our friend
left me holding her in final-sigh.
I confess, during this cold earth-rest
I dreamed to join the forever-sleepers
beneath the far, flat margin
of life-light and eternal-dark.
Today you were waiting there for me,
encouraging one more cast
into the eastern sea of tomorrows.
I felt the leash-tug forward,
telling me look not back
at the long, black, only-me
lying at my feet.
Taking a tentative step, I sensed you,
warm upon my face, she,
warm against my leg, and we,
sharing soul-sunrise again.
My Swedish friend Björn Rudberg has asked that we try to write poems with Scandinavian style phrases called kennings. A kenning is a very brief metaphoric phrase or compound word that means “to know” (derived from Icelandic, but exist in many other languages like Swedish and German). It was used extensively in Old Norse (later Icelandic) and Anglo-Saxon poetry to add both color and better meter to the skaldic songs. For instance “whale-road” was used as a kenning for the sea in Beowulf, and “wave-stead” replaced ship in Glymdrápa.
Readers know I make up a lot of compound metaphors because sometimes words don’t exactly exist for my feelings I express that even I don’t understand. This is another 100-word poem, and I think a poor effort, at using kennings to express my emerging from a long winter–of the body and soul. But that photo up there is the sunrise that inspired this piece, and it wouldn’t be denied.
The Joy of Spring [80/366] (Photo credit: timsackton)
Above the sweet songs of avian choirs
sound some fresh feathered come-on calls,
like rusty gate hasps squee-awking
from within the fresh-popped maples.
In the waves of Nature’s liberated libido
the birds pitch woo and the trees scatter
their dainty DNA in clouds of yellow.
Below, the field is dappled with herds
of robins and crows browsing through
the awakening grass for dormant grubs,
whose husks now litter the lawns
like tiny Chinese lanterns.
New life is en route, migrating home
from below Mother’s equatorial belt.
I stand amid the clamor, no longer content
to wait for my spring to come
and shake me from years of winter torpor,
unwrap me from these insulating layers
of isolation and inertia. I whistle
a tweedle or two of my own,
just to gain a little momentum,
a running start for my take-off.
My wings may sound like old rusty gates,
but at least I’m flapping them. Squee-awk.
Red Maple Tree Buds (Photo credit: photoholic1)
This early spring morning,
my eyes swell gritty and itchy
with the desiccated sweat of maples
withholding climax so fervently
their tiny fists clench tightly red
at the ends of their spindly wrists,
gripping the imaginary sheets of dew
upon which they in shifting breezes
I imagine their sightless eyes
envision skeletons of scarred saplings
in forest pyres or the nightmare
turn upon that hellish spit
lathe of Louisville Sluggers, lest
they rupture in winged vernal rapture
before that one last echo whimper
of wanton winter tomorrow
Footprints (Photo credit: Peter Nijenhuis)
There are times you look back
at the tracks you’ve made and wonder
whose feet fit in those prints.
They can’t be yours, they seem so neat,
so sure, long-strided, suitable
for framing, if you could frame
such sweetly blemished snow.
Other times you don’t wish
to risk even a glance, knowing
you’re trailing jumbled smudges
like some drunken dancer
with mismatched shoes,
no sense of rhythm, mumbling
a prayer for a sudden thaw.
Eventually spring comes
for us all,
rinsing away the perfection
that cannot be,
because nothing is flawless.
Not footprints in snow, or in mud,
or in the sand on a beach.
The tides of time leave very few
beyond today’s impressions others to read.
Oh, but to have left them captured
by even your own memory!
That might be what
even you might agree
dregs (Photo credit: Caobhin)
Desultory dregs of last week’s
half-hearted snowbanks, now turned
overturned bowls of cinder and road salt,
dot the roadside field, while black top
in tablet form lines the shoulder
like black blossoms signifying
the threat of another season.
Robins alight on the dry grass,
picking at salt-pickled something,
blithely chirping like ladies at tea,
while in the maples and oaks,
woodpeckers, cardinals and finches
announce their primacy over all.
This is the end of my March,
a month named for a war-god,
a verb meaning to tread
with measured beat,
a noun about distance covered.
It was once a boundary; maybe still is.
We’ve somehow survived all its iterations,
just as the red bud tree and chickadee,
with similar design and intent.
We just do. We battle, hearts thumping,
managing the forward momentum
whether we want to or not.
We March and don’t know why.
Mockingbird (Photo credit: Billtacular)
I heard the tsk, tsk, tsk above me and wondered
if God had again joined the grand chorus
that finds me not quite whatever enough at…
Even I’ve begun humming their repertoire.
My eyes skittered up that wife-beater wearing
birch’s bare arms and spied mockingbird’s
long ruler-straight tail. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
“You too?” I said, hoping he had mockingbird
cover band rehearsal elsewhere this near-spring dawn.
A golden bullet flashed between us and
drew my eyes from birch top to pine bough,
where a little black-capped yella fella Finch
parked and sang. I didn’t recognize the tune,
but it sounded like he was tweeting for
We all have wants, I guess, something we think
will content us in this discontented world,
if even for that moment. Some gain joy by stealing it,
in a gush or drop by drop, from another.
Others merely crave a snack. I haven’t divined
my Capital W want yet. Is it possible
to want not being found wanting anymore?
If not, for now I’d like some of Goldie’s chips
and Blue Warbler’s beer-beer-beer.