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: 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: The Reason for Fishing

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson, copyright 2020

They understood one another then, on river’s bank.

Their rods held like diviners, green water and mud a comfort,

fish darting –savvy but still taking bait

now and then, like she did, gravitating

to his surprising presence.

She’d glance over, make sure he was still there,

and satisfaction filled her like dessert.

They always let the fish go, in the end;

it was the coaxing and waiting, respecting

both fish and fishers, words forgotten or benign

under the brave heat of early summer sun,

the lazy slap of water at ankles, faces steaming

as they stood with hum-buzzing insects and

sashaying treetops, air slipping about flush of wings.

It was freedom to be there, herself with him,

no defenses, either one–even a child knows

how to hide inside loneliness, behind lowered eyes–

and his willingness to be there, close enough.

They could do nothing more; it was all that counted.

Then one day he said

When I was your age no one cared to take

me fishing–just want you to know you have a place.

Don’t forget, muppet,

you have a place. Here. Anywhere.

And even after flick of rod and toss

of line was shared no more–

after he had gone sick, then just gone

and she was nobody’s muppet,

his words carried her, it was the shining promise

and reward at the end of every effort,

cause for another hour’s worth of hope.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Life Savers

Photo, Cynthia Guenther Richardson

She said it was only–for quite a long while–

the flowers taking up residence in damp earth,

birds at the feeder gathered as cohorts;

the red brick walkway that reminded of school

and jumping rope and at eight the Firebird Dance

she danced on stage, red chiffon whipping the air;

it was the fountain resurrected with the thaw

and the wham of hammers, buzz of saws fixing

and building, and lawn mowers growling and

dogs chasing dogs and cats, cats making u-turns to win,

children’s laughter and cries carried down the block

and sunshine sparkling like gold dust in her hands

and sky so blue it can break any heart then heal it

and songs that flee her lips unbidden

as she swings on her creaky porch swing–

–she said, Yes, this

with gaze to the mint and emerald leaves–

this is what still carries me year to year

this is what’s always saved me,

it’s what it comes down to, in the end