Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Memory Amid a Garden

Such summer spun sweetness has a meaning

I cannot quite name in late day as

ruffled petals warm in sun, sturdy in my fingers,

a luxury with their beauty. But a waft of

memory languishes, a visit from the land of youth.

Happiness teases. Yes, you. Me. How we knew

so much had to come true, for to imagine it

was to conjure from the startle of our present

unto tomorrow’s certainty of victory.

It’s voluptuous denouement, soul, heart, body.

But back then: one arm lain upon another,

a cheek pressed like this, petal against petal;

our words fragrant, rising and falling

in a waterfall of flowers, then quietness like

a veil lifted to show us truth of everything.

Our shining foreheads bowed

to each other, hands fingertip to fingertip.

To revere such love was easy then,

second nature, a daily theater in which

we improvised gaily yet restraint

overcame us, closing eyes of shyness.

There, now I catch the drift of your voice.

That sound that made language radiant.

It filled ears with generosity every time.

And these pinkest roses scent my thoughts with you.

They whisper of aqua satin, white lace,

deep eyes brimming over like wells of dreams,

and hidden, too, pangs of other hungers

and yet that world we fashioned stood

for all eternity, a fortress, pinnacle of art…

before saying over and over

an embroidered

then unraveling,

misgiving and

final farewell.

These roses, I see: meant for you.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Skate to Freedom

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson, copyright 2020

The expansive, affirming youth of her,

scuffed red skates binding feet just

enough to guarantee freedom,

wink of waist meeting charcoal and rivets,

hair sharply black and gleaming,

sunglasses muting/defining the world

and preserving her ultraviolet life.

The river’s current is a siren, that sun-sear a beacon.

Though air may be poison, so is barricaded by mask.

But she is absconding from this reality

and into her own–a bandit of speed,

knee pads two antidotes to grave errors,

her heart happier as an opening fist,

legs muscling toward mountains,

mind full of bluest horizon.

She is braving the day with

full throttle body and soul, unlike

the slow and wavering, not-so-young

others who wave as she faces the wind,

rushes into no time, gives a laugh, chin up.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Notes on a Passage of Time

Everything is changed inside time as we know it:

days–pliant as warm taffy, blinding as a marigold sun;

evenings–hummingbirds fleeing a romance of blooms;

and night–a deep navy sea that abandons illusions.

****

Children play on sidewalks, sweat-speckled, wide-eyed,

making hope a rhyme, their feet tapping out fun.

But a cat cries from dawn to dusk, a beauty left behind,

another creature lost–or perhaps it only feels this way.

No matter, its crying sits inside me.

****

Trees waver under the weight of a blue sky–

holding us in or out?–that tries

to surprise those who dare to look up.

Many glance up and away; many look, see nothing.

Our lives avoid or snag each other, press against themselves.

But time is patient, can be shaped/reshaped.

We bargain, bridge gaps, sing out wishes,

plant tomatoes, are puzzled by aphids and ants.

****

Shadows slip over fences and passersby like

phantoms that are lonely, seizing an escape.

Cougars, deer and bears grow restless, confused

as they crisscross emptied roads,

take over porches, lie down in the dark.

****

An eyeless moon and bold-faced stars

helm the heavens while inviolate

angels salvage wishes and prayers,

roam a time of limbo on a spinning earth

with its data and its imaginings

flying like victorious tails of ascendant kites,

or like flags of surrender

depending on how this time reveals it.

****

I break the spell of time,

grab hold of kites,

take to the world a little again.

(Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2020)

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Head for the Hills

That’s the way, take those wheels and flee

half-mad houses belonging to your families,

voices shredding air with impatience,

the brass gong of them reverberating in

your pliant minds, echoing far past night.

(I hear it, too, their picking and blaming

escaping restraint like dogs let loose

into deep shadow, tunneling through dark.

But your houses squeeze tight within walls

with nowhere for grownups to go but

advancement toward each other.

Forgetting they were peacemakers,

ones who soothed, savored the good.

Worry warps them some, remakes life,

and it offers less room for love.

Oh, dear children, I see, I know.)

So there you go now, grabbing bikes,

are gone lickety-split with a wave goodbye.

Don’t parents know their danger is like a

hungry rat, how you’ve shuddered, hidden?

You need them to transform back into

their good, everyday selves.

But not all is ruined, not now or tomorrow as

you peddle and sweat into the bosom of hills

where there are no differences just giant trees,

wild blooms bobbing, hills rippling calm

with grassy green, and sky that blue

and unbreakable, a shield against possible rain.

Your friends call out your name

and you answer with theirs–

all is safe, all is sound as now peels

out the golden ring of laughter again.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: What a Woman Gives a Man

What is given by a woman to a man

cannot be returned or exchanged.

It’s no silvery-wrapped first edition book,

no amber jar of healing herbs,

or a magnifying glass that clarifies fine print.

Anything given is what is intended,

not what is imagined, longed for, misplaced.

Her laughter can be a caress over aching temples,

her kiss a great mystery of heat and cold.

A woman’s quietness may seem a retrieval of peace

or a withholding–she may be dreaming. Or emptied.

Her passionate rebuttal may sound as insult or denial;

but she is using skills to illuminate, navigate.

And her eyes locked on a man’s may glow like fires

in a dark wood–they are alight with more to be revealed.

All the years she offers up, receives, makes do, anchors family

may appear as bartering, doing duty if not deep affection.

But it is love that kindles everything in life;

she carries it, or not; you carry it, or not.

It lives inside each gesture and word or it is abandoned.

What she gives is wholly herself, in shards or repaired;

there is a critical point before there came that yes.

That said, it is abundance for you whether you find

it enough or worthy, or pronounce it something else.

What is given by a woman may even be overlooked

though she keeps doing and being as she can.

But all the rest–no matter how little or much–

she keeps close, is hers until the end.