Words Like Water

Words

gather, build up, swell, and rise

to spill from the mind,

flow through the fingers,

and spill out of  pens, pencils, and keyboards

caught up in currents

of concentration

and creativity.

Words,

free falling in a

joyous cascade of

imagination,

wild and swift as

horses thundering past.

 

Words,

smooth and silent

as owl wings

cleaving

the cold midnight air,

hunting for

just the right one,

plump with meaning,

searching with

keen bright eyes

full of

otherworldly intellect.

 

Words

channeled like water,

fleeting as an eddy,

powerful as tides,

flowing, rushed, and moving

at the

glorious sunrise,

rippling, dappled, and calm

in the

bittersweet sunset.

 

Words

for seeds of fading hope,

and fragile sprouts of love,

sown

in random rows

of longing need,

are poured down

from the poet’s well,

and for a moment

thirst no more,

and grow

a little stronger.

Where Will I Find You?

Where will I find you?

“Where will you look?”

Over the mountain.

“Down in the nook.”

Into the valley

“Verdant and lush.”

Find you by sunset.

“Hurry and rush.”

“Where will I find you?”

Where will you look?

“Over the river.”

Down by the brook.

“Into the cottage.”

Through the red door.

“We’ll find each other.

Parting no more.”

Broken Bells

Hear the toll of broken bells

Over hillsides

Down the dells

Angels sing in seven hells

Dead things crawl up out of wells

Demons crack their human shells

Ringing din at midnight swells

Night air’s rife with graveyard smells

Devils laugh discordant knells

At the sound of broken bells

 

Of Muirgen, Lost at Sea

And now she wanders ‘neath the waves,

her raven hair pulled tight,

dark eyes upon the ocean floor.

She walks it through the night.

The ship she rode was shattered

on a rocky coral shore,

And now poor Muirgen, lost at sea,

will ride the waves no more.

Loved lass she was, and passing fair,

the sailors all did say.

No favor gave she when they’d stare;

she sent them on their way.

A new start was her final wish.

The village grew too small,

and passage bought with man and fish,

they sailed into a squall.

The vessel fought it bravely,

but the waves kept rising higher,

and cracked the mast and broke the deck,

and lightning started fire.

And there was Muirgen, lost at sea,

to bear a bitter fate.

She never would see land again,

but had no one to wait

at home upon the seaside shore

to grieve her soul’s demise,

no family or caretaker.

For Muirgen, no one cries.

They say that you can see her

when the moon and stars are nigh,

serene beneath the rolling surf,

the southern wind her sigh.

We sing of Muirgen, lost at sea,

the world no more to roam.

The current of her passing soul

will guide us safely home.

The current of her passing soul

will guide us

safely

home.

 

Winged Moonlight

 

 

This pale raven,

prepared to shine,

this ivory plumage

s p a n n e d

beneath

the cobalt sky.

Alabaster wings

scatter stars,

red-gold talons

grip tight

the silver moon.

In silent flight

rising

above the

shadowed world,

breaking chains

of spirits,

herald of the

mist,

and emissary

of a

sunless realm,

nevermore

to shine.

 

 

Vanquished

Vanquished now,

I return

to find

all bare of life,

and stilted, stifled purpose

laces the air that has

disguised her

earthy scent,

rank loam in the ruins.

The stones of my home,

my fence,

tumbling

atop each other,

as my men

from their horses,

ungainly unseated,

and skewered

for their lack of skill,

or a champion.

Grasping, bare, black branches soon

reach to pull me into

the shadows

of my mind.

As did she.

Merciful

was the

headsman’s ax,

and swift.

The sky and ground

joined hands

to somersault

in sun-dappled motley

 before my eyes.

And

I returned home,

now

Vanquished.

These Vaunted Halls

The history

of the world

decays within

these vaunted halls.

 

Bones of men

whose legacies

have long passed into dust,

now scattered,

or drifted into drains

to swirl and sink

amid the sewage

 

These vaunted halls

of vainglorious scholars

and savage soldiers,

 

This labyrinthine lair

of painted women

and holy mothers,

running children

and feral dogs

 

This ornate gauntlet of

open secrets and

private trysts,

 

This once- proud venue,

where learned men

hammered out their thoughts and beliefs,

vociferous in their ferocity,

gesticulating like tribal dancers

 

This enviable marketplace,

with its bright colors, shady deals,

and the rush of winning a well-wrought

haggling session,

 

Is now the place I skulk,

and stalk, and catch the rats

that bite me in my sleep,

and take the bodies and coin

of unwary travelers.

 

My kingdom,

a silenced ruin of

damp and crumbling marble,

dim sunlight,

and solitude.

 

These vaunted halls

will return to their glory,

stone by stone, page by page,

man by man.

 

But for now,

I feast.

 

 

 

When There’s No One Left to Cry

In the empty room,

she sits alone.

The snow pats at the window,

and the wind bumps against its panes,

but she ignores pristine whiteness.

There were snowballs, sleds and snow angels, long ago.

 

In the park she sits amidst

singing birds, solo saxophones,

and new blossoms full of hope

and virgin fragrance, budding with the

hum of the earth in their stems,

but she ignores the music.

There were picnics, finding robin’s eggs and holding hands, long ago.

 

Along the rainy path she walks in the evening,

when people are home, drinking coffee

and kisses from lips, warm and safe and dry.

The broken umbrella hides her face, and the

rhythm of the raindrops beats to the

racing of her heart.

She ignores the water.

There was jumping in puddles, closing her eyes to listen,

and sticking out her tongue to taste the water, long ago.

 

Standing at the bridge, alone in the misty twilight,

she stares at the red leaves clustering on the riverbank,

as if the tree bled its branches bare.

Vibrant with their true color, she ignores the fallen foliage.

There were bonfires under the stars, the admiring of

deep colors, holding them up to the gold and crimson fire

to see through gold and crimson filters,

and sipping hot chocolate, long ago.

 

And now there’s

no one left to cry,

to cry with,

to cry for,

to cry to.

And so,

she cries

for them all.

Beauty Like Rivers

I love

your tranquility,

your clarity,

your smoothness,

your purity,

your brightness,

your changing moods

like shifting currents,

the sparkle of your eyes like

sun diamonds on peaceful water.

I love the dark somber mantle

of a reflected moon in your dark hair,

a midnight lake of cascading curls

that eddy about my ears when you

look down at me,

and the loam smell of your bare skin

against me.

I am

an autumn leaf

in love

with a spring,

drifting away on your

beauty like rivers.

Under the Clouds the Children Play

Breathless giggles

and

toothless smiles,

bright-eyed innocence

and

unconditional love.

See the children

play in the sun,

the shadows

of their faces

filled with

light.

Their small throats full of

improvised songs and memorized prayers,

both offered freely to

the pale blue sky.

For hours,

For years,

For decades.

Life settles on them,

lifts them up,

as the melodious bells of innocence

turn to a

discordant death-knell,

and  flowers wilt

away the will to live.

And the questions

in their eyes

take root,

and grow

unanswered.

And now clouds gather,

dark and threatening,

full of dread powers

and

poisoned winds.

A shadow of a

human being watches

from the edges,

its stench lost

in the wayward

wind.

It approaches

One,

alone

in its sandbox,

putting its life into

an hourglass

to be flipped over,

and over, and over…

Wind-driven rain

drowns the cry for help,

and now a toothless smile

slowly slips on the mantle

of the lonely

One,

now sitting in its window,

clear as rivers,

who dreams

it was one

of the children

playing

under the clouds.