and had my soul chosen another body—
say, some minor medieval queen
who could hide volumes of overindulgence
beneath the armor of silky wool gown
or high headdress, who could stand
in stone tower, warm enough, overlooking sun-
swept river strewn pink with bloom
without sneezing at birch pollen—
it could therefore have fresh cherries
to tongue’s and heart’s content
A fluffy little fantasy inspired by recently discovered allergies plus Hafiz, “Maybe One Like a Water Buffalo,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“Your soul could have chosen a different kind
finding dim artifacts, dusty
from deserts of intention—
my mind of years ago
(other side of plenty rivers)
petrified in printouts
these dry seed-pods, rattle-trap,
those butterfly thoughts
pinned proudly to cards—
on what would they feed
if breathed back to life?
The forest path leads slantwise to the mill
through ancient pines thin-clinging to the hill,
and once a village throve here by the stream
that turned the wheel; thus for a time life teemed
with shouts and laughter, work and loves—now still.
Those lives long gone, what purpose did they fill?
Their words are lost, just tracings of their skills
remain. So life will pass for me, a dream
of forest path slow-winding past the mill
where water, just like time, unhindered spills.
Yet past its spilling, hear a distant trill
of bird, or dog-bark. See the sun’s late gleam
as beauty; worry less on how things seem
or what they mean. Another breath: distill
this forest path far-winding past the mill.
A rondeau for Yeah Write’s May poetry slam.
Like a mythic island
rising from the mist
for just one moment
on waking I saw
the stone high towers
of a castle, my tall window
framing that heart-familiar view
before mystic shapes resolved
into these quotidian
Making this little poem claim to work hard for Day 24. NaPoWriMo prompt: mix and match high-flown and mundane language; Poetic Asides prompt: lost and found.
Because it would be uncool
to wear the happy shoes—tennies
with a dress—you go for the red.
They’re German, surely made
for walking. You’ve trod the cobbles
uphill and down, but this endless maze
of pavements, well. Short glory of grass
in gardens, a cool fountain longing
but tick tock: castles, galleries galore
museums, shopping, the M&M store.
By the time the big red bus drops you
who knows where, your feet are gone
and dreaming of green hills at Dover
how the Romans built all those roads
in sandals, the sea at the bottom
of every white cliff
NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 19 is a “how-to” poem. Poetic Asides asks for a cool or uncool poem.
I’m hiding in myself
passionless and wondering
if there was ever only a finite amount
filled at birth, topped up at adolescence
and I merely burned it too fast
reckless, this love poured out
so long and that love wrested away
and every love wrung to the last drop
or dribbled out in perhaps the wrong dreams
little side meandering dead-end trails
and should there be another warning label
plastered on life, for the young—
like smoking will kill you, hiding
dry-shelled without passion
will kill you
NaPoWriMo Day 9 asks us to write something we’re afraid to say; Poetic Asides prompts a “hide-out” poem.
If you want a good tale, Thorn says,
go for betrayal. Man and wife, brother
and brother, student and master.
The very one you trust—he flicks his hand
to show the knife. And so I am on the field
in false armor, not even knowing myself.
The grass, the sun, the banners, the sweat,
the fear. A man may be willing to die
for his friends, but for her? For him?
The queen in white, the field in green, dazzling
golden sun. The hopeful heart, the solemn
pledge: fire and sword, fear.
In your dream you slept
by the riverbank
and not out of spite
I changed your love
into a flower, simple
bluebell in the forest
swaying daisy in the meadow—
one of a million light-sung flowers
in the hundred greendeep forests
in the thousand sunflood meadows
and how will you find love now
and what if love remained
Sands, setting sun, rising
blood-tide; clash and curse
and moan. Even I feel the surge
of joy at the charge, pent anger
cloud-bursting to hack
and sing. This grim violence
ever present: in our bones
the need to fight—
eager!—for any cause
to call someone Other.
She asked you to save
the innocents. There are none
here. From first man to last
we are broken.
Another view, via the Rose-Witch project, of a theme I wanted to explore in the Babylon, Astronomy poem. My take on Camlann is always colored by Tennyson’s imagery in “The Passing of Arthur.”
black and white:
I made it
you wear it
I don’t know how to feel only
the hands keep working
you hate the cold
we text about weather
the sun slowly moves now
across an ocean
we keep the same hours
we stood on that castle hill
sheep scattered below
dog racing slant impossible
angles everything else
from the earth this chain
of lands, hands, shearers
wear that distant sun-root
with your attitude
love is not in the saying
and not in the doing
then where? the heart only
a physical thing
blood beating regardless
it’s called infinity
but of course
there is beginning and end
with trust it won’t unravel