May you be warm and have light, candle-
burning and yet
may you be at peace
in the curling dark
listening to stillness but
may you hear the song!
the skies and the earth and every encounter
the rhythms of ice and wind
may they be a sign to you
to hold hope in your heart
the rise and soar
time now to stop apologizing
for having time to dance and play
at beauty-making (the gift
to be simple, the gift
to be free) to plan
plant and watch grow
After the long farewell to beauty of face
when body also sighs, fades, frails
what is left to me is only this grace:
beauty to give in word and voice
You will know I have not quit my place
nor turned strident in the striving
but have found peace in this quiet, by choice
by ink-stained fingers, dirt under my nails
The devil had me by the throat
that summer—no not by the throat
but yes by the throat or why
could I not sing
or sleep for thinking
he had me by the wrists
these idle hands
Why should you gain the whole world
and forfeit your song? Contentment
elusive as that hummingbird
just there in your stillness
The odd thing that reminds me
how much you are alike
how you would have been friends:
my son is singing The Sound of Silence
and I’m back in the station wagon
8-tracks, lie-la-lie, troubled water
the whole bit. He’s tall but dark
like you, your humor, logic, computer
in the blood, story-need—
see how I build the archetype
man of brains and gentle justice
embracing quiet and I think
we would be glad to go home
if you were still there
NaPoWriMo Day 14, off-prompt. For my father, who died suddenly a few days before my son was born.
We can line up by height
hair color, drawing skill
gender. Or skin tone
hair length, introversion
age. And if, with five
there is a shifting center
in this whirling life-game
it is only that these heartstrings
aren’t meant to be tethers
but they vibrate with sympathy
A kind of family portrait poem for NaPoWriMo Day 2.
I go first into frosted night, flinging charms—seven
words to fend the blizzard whole while moon
sinks into clouds, swallowed in gray velvet
I’ve armed myself in furs; you red-robed in velvet
singing fireside untired, one slight flame against seven
nights of breaking cold, failing moon
No cracks in river ice, unmelted hidden moon
though your steady voice, low velvet
calls the fire. Outside alone I count slowly, seven—
seven nights until moon cuts again through storm-velvet
Thanks to Nathan for the set of tritina words, and to Jenifer, from whose very different and beautiful poem I lifted the blizzard line.
Always that one note—
the grand build, heart-poured
to unbeautiful climax:
It’s my voice, I say
the way it’s made; but
perhaps I am only afraid
to let go, to shine.
I would sing in the dark
You will know without telling
the cause of my despair.
I cannot put it into words—
you must return me to life.
The cause of my despair
is in those nights, music-fired.
You must return me to life
under stage lights, roses, cheering.
In those nights, music-fired
I sang for you, for all joy in singing
under stage lights—roses, cheering
like wine, like love pouring.
I sang for you. For all joy in singing
we let slip the weight of brocade
(like wine, like love pouring)
to fill every corner of our need.
I let slip the weight of brocade;
I left the stage lights burning
to fill every corner of our need
time and again. Did you not see
I left the stage lights burning?
I cannot put it into words
time and again. Do you now see?
You will know without telling.
Still thinking about those undelivered letters. This pantoum is for Jane.
Daily I dress and sit, touch these keys,
nimble fingers bent to practice a song,
pray music could come from this desire
to sing out strong. What more could I desire
than to sit corseted, cosseted, pressing keys,
waiting for the world to praise my song?
Beneath silken shell a heart beats in song
while I grow old in daily habit, desire
mounting—to shatter this case and its keys.
(Why do I sit at these keys, bursting with song of desire?)