Friday’s Poem: Sing, Darkness, Bring the Fall

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In the old neighborhood while autumn crept into

the fading simmer of summer, I awaited chirps.

Crickets were soon found among houses

that carried history in their seams, and

behind tree giants that rose above all.

A walk into saturated dark, which can

flash glimpses of life behind beaming windows,

was a puzzle of hide and seek sounds.

I traced their repeat to unseen stages as

evening became a chorale thick with

a divine sense of composition,

that tranquil pulsing like stars.

I stood, eyes closed to capture

a thrill of insect song offered in unison,

their interweaving of meters and tones.

Year after year I followed their chirrups,

seeking the most distant, jaywalking

toward sentinel bushes lining lawns,

cocking my ear in alleys with underbrush.

Holding my breath.

*

They have come again as leaves are crumpling,

berry-reddening and tarnishing to brassy hues.

But here on the small mountain it is a different event,

the gathering and listening easy–not better or worse.

Now I need go nowhere, just slip out my balcony door.

Steep land below cradles them in ivy,

pine needles, grasses, wind sheared branches.

They begin at once, for we who have

long waited and those who have not.

With invisible constancy, crickets never forget,

do not disappoint.

And later, in the dense, torn nights in my bed,

their universal call and response carries on,

as if an angelic force behind the scenes

holds fast to everything, each voice kept true.

And keeps me in place, rooted in calm.

I feel that humming in heart and bones;

it removes the world from my rest,

and me from my troubles.

***********************************

Below is my reading of the poem, if you wish to hear it shared aloud.

Friday’s Poem: Archaeological Notes

Time will tell. It always does.

It makes things happen as named

and unknown elemental powers

and vagaries of life etch, mar, shape,

anoint, dissolve, rebuild those in its sway.

Residual clues on canyon walls or

a woman’s body make earth’s

metronomic spell go deeper, mysterious

as it presses layer upon layer sediment

of all that came, gave, removed, then

completed, leaving all behind.

We, too, are an archeological field

primal as barbaric and elegant wilds,

surrendering and resisting events

pressed upon us, stories soon permanent

as tattoos, our bodies holding

a drift of veil, weight of armor,

blood of thorn, dew of snapdragon.

Beyond skin, bravery and recriminations,

birthings and dirges.

And, too, footprints of strange giants, and

bite of beak, whisper of wing.

We carry it all, as do river beds.

It leaves its mark, time and its associates,

and speaks without remorse or uncertainty.

This forested cliff, this webby cave and steeple of stone

shelter an unruly, glorious design.

So, too, our bodies, every inch a blueprint,

a slow reveal of legacies passed down:

missteps, sacrifice, a holiness of charity.

Yet when we flee these tender husks

what is left are recollections of

confoundment of human life,

a history of havoc and hallelujahs,

and the stunning release from time.

No matter; earth’s secrets outlive all.

Friday’s Poem: House Dreaming

I am dreaming of houses again.

Last night another maze of rooms led me to

each of you occupying lives shining, meticulous or

in stages of brave disarray, voices streaming

with passion in opalescent air:

you quivered with life, it’s many purposes.

I was like a ghost or an essence of motherhood

that oversees but is unseen slipping about,

with tender sighs and wide open eyes,

with hands and spirit readied.

It was not a sad dream

but dream houses are never

what is expected or imagined,

ceilings unfinished with endless floors above,

doors opened to odd places I still must wander

(if there are doors, at all),

and then sometimes a stranger

takes ownership or tells me:

It was never empty and not for sale.

I have searched (more than I care to think)

for a house that can attend well to us all,

one that is made of peace and old wood,

surprising, fecund gardens and music,

forgiveness and effervescence,

and windows that open to everything,

even aquamarine drape of sky.

But now you have your own homes.

I have mine. And it is some days not tall,

or deep or wide enough to fully wrap around

this festival of family with its lightning strikes of loss,

pulling closer then separating, each needing

respite from the blood deep sweetness and

searing pain of love that does not end.

But we call out and answer with a chorus

of true voices, as before, never mind the house.

Saturday’s Poem: Interludes Intrinsic to the Whole

Light then comes forth, rises as it is wont to do,

leaves traces within caves and tents of scattered shadow

and all the peculiar, keening and unseen things

and, when you do not even search,

sparks life within life as all

appears relentless, darker and beyond

even grand imagination’s scope.

It stirs amid the wreckage with magnetic power

a miniscule breath, a lilt of song.

Embrace, look up with the spirit of welcome

even as–because–beating wings of fear,

of sorrow will hover and circle once more

and all the while, you will have one ancient key

to acceptance, and hope’s illustrious guidance

Friday’s Poem: Life of a Poem

To some poetry can seem a crime,

secrets disrobed, unmasked souls

paraded in a staged accounting of heresies

and heroics. There is little that is modest,

mannerly or regrettable about words that speak

for or against a reality possessed

by a poet with will made fearless by a pen.

It’s a poem; it arises, takes hold and lives.

The offerings can seem a crystal ball cupped in hand

or jewel trembling through the tawdriness,

or trails of dreams sketching maps to

other worlds before mysteries erode.

It can be a signal for revolution

or like bread for the hungry; a poem morphs.

But neither crime nor prophecy,

not even prayers clothed as verse

are enough to wake dazed sleepers or

the bitter turned away from life,

a poem like a useless feather drifting by.

Still, it takes but one to sense the cadence of

telling language, to hold it close

to ear or eye then heart.

Either way, the poet doesn’t mind;

the lines given move to another

or fall like a curtain dropped

to once more cloak life’s wizardry.

There are other words and visions,

other visiting spells for living in full color

or fading into seep of grey that

runs to darkness, shelters

a passel of shadows and lights.

And by sunrise these may render clues

to a meditation or fledgling poem–

another human declaration,

a forlorn sigh, rageful crying out,

a kiss on hands too tired to move,

a bliss that frees a smile,

a truth that finds the wound, then heals,

another human hope that will not be silenced

and somehow finds its way.