Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Three Poems

Here are the three poems that I read at the conference in California, May 2013:

All this has happened before. All this will happen again. ~ Battlestar Galactica

What’s dead (you say) is dead. What’s
Lost will not return again.
Yet Spring is the death of winter;
Winter, the death of spring.

Thunder ushers in autumnal rain
To harvest the last of vermilion summer fruits.
Cherries fade beneath the snow, then rise –
New-made – in tender shoots.

Stubble fields ripen, then whiten
In the first light snow. That prime
Crop then plants a richer one: Winter
Wheat, white in its proper time.

In the waning dusk, a fat florid
Bird ruffles his feathers – southward flies
Till his brown-backed twin sail north
On a warm breeze and bright skies.

Aged trees shake from trembling
Boughs dead and ragged brown leaves.
Yet from this death is born abundant life – first
New buds – then blossoms, for the bees.

What’s dead is never dead. What
Lost always returns again.
As spring cedes place to winter,
Winter gives birth to spring.

*This poem was published in the Gallery, a yearly collection of poetry and prose from local writers.

Abruptly the vertigo of lightning
And shrieking thunder ceases. You hear the
Quiet. The world fades from black and white to
Full colour: the dripping emerald trees, the
Rain-streaked red truck, your pale, frightened face.
In that pregnant stillness you marvel at
The certainty of the wet, black wood of
The pear trees. Naked they stand beside their
Bright white blossoms, scattered across the grass.
Beneath the eastward-sailing clouds rises
The flame of sunset. In that fiery sky
You find renewed the conviction of

*This poem was published on Ancient Paths, a literary journal that is exclusively on Facebook.

Kyrie Eleison
While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim,
Tell no more of enchanted days.
~ Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

Winter sunrise is a sordid affair –
Less dawning light than lessening of
Darkness, to reveal all our secret

At night, graceful shadows conceal my sins
Among their vague grey lines. Yet at dawn dim
Light seeps through dusty blinds and betrays the
Telling scene: On the bedside desk are piled
Balled-up ledgers, a calculator, an
Empty whiskey glass, a hard, half-eaten
Roll. With cracked, bleeding hands I push back
Unkempt covers to admit crypt-cold air –
Oh, satisfy us with your mercy – and
Fill last night’s tumbler with stale tap water.
Beside the sink is a withered basil
Plant and a plastic ring of ivory pills,
Edges printed with the days of the week.
Oh, teach us to number our days aright.
With ritual precision I take the
Pill, I taste its sour flavour, I raise
The overflowing glass and gulp it down.
In a sudden hush the tattered peace flag
Taps against the wall, each tap keeping
Time with the sacramental rhythm of
The heating vents. Amid this bitter
Ceremony I thirst for the sudden
Fire of summer mornings, which shall not seep
Between my blinds but set my sins ablaze.
Lift thou up the light of thy countenance –

Summer sunrise shall be holy –
Not lessening of darkness but light that
Shines in darkness, and in that light is found
The life of men.

*This poem has not been published. Nevertheless, it is my favourite of the three.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing poetry. Love your blog. Thank you for sharing the link with me. ~Beth