Here by This Brook

HERE, by this brook, we parted;* two lovers in the night
lost in the chaos of cities like apple worms evicted,
both chasing an elusive seventh heaven flight
on a road filled with bumps and often restricted.
Here by this brook we parted.

Back to the hills I went, where words are sparse
and susurrant breezes rustle tufts of timothy.
Life returned to simple, replacing my comical farce
with a style as intended – lighthearted and carefree.
Here by this brook we parted.

Where she went is something I often wonder,
hoping her tale holds drama as well as bliss;
and if pathways converge instead of trekking asunder
perhaps we’ll repeat, one more time, that enjoyable kiss.
Here by this brook we parted.

*Opening line from “The Brook“, Alfred Tennyson

Blue Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas, blue and lavender; one wreath
adorns his casket. Tears ran down few cheeks.
And there, his blade rests neatly in its sheath.
We linger for the parson’s purr – he speaks!
“… an active soldier gone…” and so it goes,
tall tepid words that make one glow or shine
but looking in the mirror, Heaven knows
he was like us a goatskin full of wine.

One splinter lost, no damage to the tree
and it will stand a hundred years or more
a hundred years or more of reveille
for always, always, there’s another war.

To ponder over might – the pen or sword –
a fallen soldier means some other scored.

Desert Daze

Four peanuts left, and all I see is sand
in each direction. Overhead, the sun,
no wispy cloud or mist. It’s all unplanned.

The heat’s intense; I wish I had a gun.
To any god who’s watching, I shall bow
in each direction; overhead, the sun.

There’s scarcely any sweat upon my brow,
I dread to think how long I might survive.
To any god who’s watching, I shall bow.

This isn’t tropical, no Sunday drive.
All images of water vanish ‘ swift!
I dread to think how long I might survive.

Almighty dunes, they wander, move and drift.
Prevailing winds select a resting place.
All images of water vanish ‘ swift!

What’s moving up ahead? I must give chase.
Four peanuts left, and all I see is sand.
Prevailing winds select a resting place.
No wispy cloud or mist. It’s all unplanned.

Camarones

At forty years, the clock speeds up a notch
and one may gaze in wonder at this junk
accumulated, stashed in drawer and trunk
and seldom taken out to read or watch.

At fifty years, you’re crazy to go on
collecting more, it’s time to take a break
and have a piece of tasty chocolate cake
or beer to chase a yummy curry-prawn.

At sixty years, the sofa beckons more
and friends are fewer, many gone for good,
becoming amber in a Pliny wood.
Perhaps it’s time to tally up the score.

Those camarones – ah, I taste them still
with fresh-squeezed lime – an epicurean fill!

Zamorah

She was a space cadet, a bird-brained lass,
but we broke bread and drank a dram or two
on more than one occasion, to be sure.
Oh, many is the time we spent caught up
in long deliberations over things
like politics or normal happenstance.

I’d pour us each a glass of fruity wine,
then hang my jacket on her jetsam wall
beside the open window. In fresh air ‘
no ordinary air, I ought to add,
but Frangipani scented purity ‘
we’d talk above the ocean’s shifting song.

I loved her, in a way. I think she cried
the day I said, “Adieu.”

September 1972

What a September! I was
drunk like a stoat but not on liquor,
not on malt, rather on a girl’s smiles
and signals that managed to arrest my attention.
I hung suspended. She was a rainbow
when I was most needing one,
a promise of color in my dismal gray.
She was Aurora and I, Boreas;
together we danced across the heavens
in a light spectacular.

Hopelessly racked, what strength
had been granted, earned, or rented
vaporized like autumn dew.
A bat without radar or starters,
I flew in her enchanted aura.
September hurried into summer
while fervor springbucked to inferno.
Always forward, we never backed away.

A year went by, another September.
“To everything, there is a season…”
This I remember.

Dancing in the Rain

It was a time for dancing in the rain,
a time to leave the nest and fly alone;
a time for cheese ‘n crackers with champagne;
a time to move my dial off monotone.
It was a time when Cupid’s arrow hit
the pair of us ‘ we didn’t stand a chance.
Impossible another one could fit
as perfectly as us. What a romance!

A wandering star out in the universe
kept beckoning; I couldn’t fight its call.
Farewells are never easy, but my curse
is nomad blood. We parted late one fall.

As time has hastened down its steep abyss,
dancing in rain is what I mostly miss.

Days of Wine and Roses

When we were drunk, suspended out in time,
remember needing booze to start the climb
back into day? We managed to survive,
don’t ask me how… how we are still alive.
We racked and cracked, but never owned a dime.

The railroad signals drone their ding-ding chime
beside the park. That rented hole sublime
is one fine domicile, our classic dive
when we were drunk.

Backed up, no place to turn but petty crime,
disgusted with the filth, the constant grime,
I looked (for starters) to escape this hive.
I must get off that certain deathly drive.
Those “days of wine and roses” of our prime…*
when we were drunk.

* “Vitae Summa Brevis” (1896) Ernest Dowson

Sky Spirits

Although I am, I do not feel alone.
I’ve climbed the trail to greet my welkin gods
and leave them tokens on the altar stone:
catalpa seeds inside a fresh, green pod,
a tender root of luscious Queen Anne Lace,
nine sprigs of lavender and goldenrod.

With arms outstretched, I lift my weathered face
to let warm sunlight touch me with its kiss.
I close my eyes and relish its embrace.
A songbird’s merry tune, “Kiwiss, kiwiss,”
expresses crystal notes of woodland sounds.
I thank it for unfettered thoughtfulness.

Where spirits dwell, serenity abounds
on hemlock-shaded isolated grounds.

Green Grass & Scarlet Columbines

Two timeworn sentinels in Chicken Gulch
stand pockmarked, weather-beaten, grey and worn,
with bark that years ago returned to mulch
by Mother Nature’s warmth or fickle scorn.
A throng of crimson columbines appears
beneath their broken limbs, a beacon light
that signals summer’s optimistic cheers
in contrast to those guardian’s dismal plight.

Do spirits dwell in places such as this,
surrounded by a host of columbines
whose blossom bonnets radiate pure bliss,
or do they stay in structural confines?

A scarlet moment not to be surpassed
is spent in loafing, pondering green grass.

Oh Give me a Home

It was long my desire to sit down by the fire
and relax as a day slips away,
and my wish came to pass when I once went to mass
back in springtime; quite possibly May.

Folks from near and afar came by horse, some by car,
but the tent where the preacherman preached
was too small to hold all, crammed in tight wall to wall,
still we bellowed out hymn-song-n-screech.

When our sins were corrected and tithes all collected
and the milling around had begun,
Quentin Phillips, the Sharkey, Packrat Miller and Darky,
we all figgered to have us some fun.

First we took us a swallow ‘ hooch from Hanover Hollow
that Quentin had brought in his kit ‘
for to toast the good preacher, and why not? ‘ our school teacher
whom most folks around town called Miss Fitt.

Then we mounted our ponies to avoid ceremonies
yon preacher might still have in mind;
we headed for Slater’s where we ate steak-n-taters,
what a meal ‘ it was one of a kind!

Fresh coffee was brewing while we sat there a-chewing,
and jawing ‘bout this-that-n-t’other,
when along comes this portion of one fine contortion ‘
exquisite! Created by Slater’s own mother.

Well, we wiped down our faces to eliminate traces
of butter and leftover things;
as we settled our tally I espied Bill McNally
who invited us over for drinks.

Bill had a full bottle of Greek Aristotle ‘
which we uncorked with highest esteem
since that name was familiar as a phyloso-filliar
or some sort of sharp-wit supreme.

Now, Bill was a loner, but also the owner
of a spread down the prairie a waze
and he had a line cabin I could have for the grabin
if I wanted it ‘ where the buffalo graze.

With little persuasion I took that occasion
and moved what few items I own.
What a fine, cozy home where the buffalo roam,
I’m a king on a gopher-furred throne.

Komorkis

Komorkis wakes and moves across the land,
ensnaring shadows left in fields and streams.
Another day is running out of sand.

She gathers laggard amethyst light beams
and casts a dark blue tasseled blanket wide,
ensnaring shadows left in fields and streams.

Inside each covert place where one can hide
she takes a peek to see what she can find
and casts a dark blue tasseled blanket wide.

In gardens where red roses are entwined,
where Leprechauns are known to pot their gold,
she takes a peek to see what she can find.

Before too long the stars turn bright and bold,
each nighthawk flies back homeward to its nest
where Leprechauns are known to pot their gold.

On far-off comets, Sandman dons his vest.
Komorkis wakes and moves across the land;
each nighthawk flies back homeward to its nest,
another day is running out of sand.

 

*Komorkis* (Native North American) – The Blackfoot tribe celebrated her as the Goddess of the moon.