Garden of Poetry by Daniel F Mitchell
Child of Earth
Child of earth, cultivator of the field,
Kneeling in worship on the garden floor,
Immeasurable by words is your yield –
The nature of the nature you adore.
With an essence of goodness, you are sealed,
Your spirit sure as endless evermore.
Golden barley in the wisdom of age
Bows low in humility to the sage
Who knows well that amongst all living things
Creatures wherein noblest virtues show,
Are ever in a reverence of life found.
From a wholesome plot, a wholesome crop springs!
The purest flowers and the sweetest herbs grow
In the richest soil, nearest to the ground.
Fated to a dark realm where dwells no peace,
Where weeping and wailing nothing avail,
And the musings of regret never cease,
Where all appeals and prayers falter and fail,
Immersed in the mordant waters of Styx,
Damned to the deepest depths of perdition,
Subject to mortality’s cruel barbed pricks,
I have known the ruin of self-sedition.
But hope I have found; a sunbeam streaming,
Redemption winging as a passing dove,
Silver-white through a radiant-cloud dome.
Heaven has arrived, in my soul beaming,
To warm me until I come back to love,
And lend me heart until I return home.
Contentment is a Lady
Ah, flee from me, thoughts of waking!
Leave me at my leisure repose!
What vain liberties you are taking
Only my sleeping fancy knows!
Ambitions may listlessly arise,
But I push my cares carelessly aside –
The battle never fought is always won!
Contentment is a lady with sleepy eyes,
A golden-haired bride
Gazing blissfully at the morning sun.
In Awe, I behold
In awe, I behold newly-waking morn;
How she unties her fire-bright hair, unshorn,
In the dour face of infinity’s scorn,
Undaunted by the darkness that affrights
Meeker hearts on forlorn and lonely nights,
Asserting her cheer from heavenly heights,
Boldly drawing back twilight’s dusky veil –
As breeze might sweep a departing ship’s sail,
Then swell full into a radiant gale.
As I bathe in a rapture of sunbeams,
I hail the gay goddess whose face thus gleams,
Gracing this day with her effulgent streams.
A Stride Ahead
Thank you, life, for another day!
With praise, I draw this breath!
I account it well enough to stay
A stride ahead of death!
I’m a Butterfly
I’m a butterfly.
I don’t know why.
From flower to flower I flitter and fly.
Each bloom I kiss; each nectar I try.
I drink my fill then float on by.
I’m a butterfly
Till the day I die.
With a Kiss of Jasmine at Dawn
Rose-cheeked nymph, in your cherry-blossom gown,
For one young morning, dance with me!
Fairy princess, in your rosemary crown,
Knight me to uphold joy’s decree!
Touch the luster of this vision, O soul!
Savor this blossom before it is gone!
Moment of inspiration, make me whole,
With a kiss of jasmine at dawn.
Spring, I would flourish like a bloom of May,
If only I could clasp your hand.
For a while; until summer steals the day,
Let us amount to something grand.
Song of April
‘Tis a lively tune that each April plays,
When the crows’ raucous reign over the world
Is overthrown by an advent of days,
Whose tulip banners are boldly unfurled
To a chorus sung on the tongues of larks,
And throated by robins amongst the trees,
And chittered by sparrows in gay discourse,
When spring, in her finest attire, embarks
On proud procession, to bright melodies
Composed by the season’s most regent source.
A Dragonfly Sits upon a Cattail
A dragonfly sits upon a cattail,
With fairy-woven wings unfurled to sail,
Inspecting the world with emerald-orb eyes,
Regarding me a while before it flies.
Dragonfly, for now we share the same view.
Your gaze reflects me, and mine reflects you.
Dragonfly, your eyes see what my eyes see.
I am in you, and you are part of me.
Sunflower, fair in your bonnie bonnet,
What presumptuous cloud would dare detain
Blaze that stays radiant even in rain!
Your bright smile deserves at least a sonnet!
But what arrangement of words could suffice
To relate the grace of a star-like flame?
What mortal symmetry might better frame
Heaven shining from an earthly device?
Bloom whose beauty the summer sky favors,
Whose warm face winter’s lonely heart savors!
Song of a little stream
Transient summer dream
Flowing mindlessly to the sea,
Over stones and moss calls,
Merrily piping and singing.
Over gay cascade falls,
Tunes of existence are ringing.
Play on, thou, fearless sage,
Though thy tones fall on deafened ears!
What words might truly gauge
The earnest wisdom of thy years?
Subjects of The Pond
Silver is this dance at dawn,
A splash of white upon the glass,
And spark of sun on thrashing fin
That tumbles through the mirror once more –
Then as before, the gentle trance
Of murmur lapping on the shore,
And pass again to swish and crash.
So spirited, this slippery spawn!
Surprise at a Lake
A lumpy guy among the weeds
Has passed me by in hurried hops.
Towards a pool,
The water breaks
In silver pieces.
A flash of moss slips in between,
And kicks a wake of rippled creases
To the cress along the reeds.
I’ve found a pool
Where one did not use to be.
I’ve found a mound
Beneath a cedar tree.
I hear a sound
Like the churning of the sea.
The fronds surround
And hide the poet from me.
Angels in Green
There are angels in green
Dancing on my window sill,
For an afternoon sunbeam
Streaming in from the day.
A soiled soul they clean,
For a bit of water will
As the earth’s fair children gleam,
And in my heaven, stay.
In a Sudden Hush
Late afternoon is draped in lavish calm.
Lacewings circle in the cool shaded spots,
Where pine boughs sweep slowly in a low breeze.
Hummingbirds hover above the bee balm.
A gray moth flutters between two clay pots.
Sparrows nestle in the juniper trees.
I stand listlessly listening to life,
When for a moment my mortal cares cease.
And freed from all the buffeting of strife,
In a sudden hush, I am lulled to peace.
The planter box is in grave disarray,
From what seems to have been an act of war.
The ivy leaves have been eaten away,
And the stem is severed upon the floor.
And the culprit remains, without reason,
Without even the slightest show of fear,
Allowing fate to say what side he’s on.
Accused of shameless, plant-eating treason,
He has made his indifference quite clear,
With a lazy stretch and a bunny yawn.
A June Bug
A June bug came in September,
To wait out winter’s harm
In the kitchen window sill,
In the potted plant sanctuary,
Until the days grow warm,
November, and December.
And in January,
It was there still,
Extending its stay
Never wandering away,
Until one fine June day.
Sleek is this stealthy dragon.
From a sofa
Upon a sunbeam.
Swats an evasive dust,
This shadowy specter,
Sweeps low again,
Tame once more then –
A serpentine tail
And hymns softly hummed.
lithe and slender
escaping from sun bake
between cool stone
vacuum cord retracting
with a rattling
The Breath of God
Sing away. Float away.
Lay a soft whisper in my hair.
Upon an ocean fly,
Across a sea of endless blue,
Across an azure day.
A wisp of white upon the air,
A fleecy blanket on the sky,
The breath of god are you!
A Measure of Wit
Large ideas in small spaces rarely fit –
Brevity is the truest measure of wit.
Wish on a Starfish
Make a wish on a starfish.
Find a dream in a sky of sand.
See the universe in a dish.
Behold, a light I can hold in my hand!
Sprinkling of the May Queen!
Attiring her in green,
A day the raindrops sing,
Praise a new maiden’s birth,
Raise the lady of spring,
Grace the mother of earth!
Days of rain,
Our mothers forbade, in vain,
Our getting wet.
If there was water on the ground,
It was a sure bet
That we would soon be found
Jumping mud puddles.
Mud puddles are not mud at all.
Mud only muddles
The water a bit – the rest is pure rainfall.
And what’s the use of heaven pumping and dumping
All that rain, if nobody’s jumping?
Not to jump seemed a sin,
Not over, but in,
Right smack in the center!
Position of the feet was the key,
Knowing how to enter
With complete authority,
So that most of the water splashed sideways
Instead of filling our shoes.
Sure, our mothers made us pay our dues,
But we still got the best of rainy days.
Poem from an Elm Branch
The poet laureate of an elm
Sang to me his poetry,
Trilled his sweet verse
In appreciation of a tree,
That he and I might converse
On the meter of his realm.
Robins Are Singing
Robins are singing.
Robins are waking.
Robins are bringing in the day.
This glorious morning,
With spring in the making,
Robins are singing
Of sun, here to stay.
There’s a yellow one
Among the grass,
Too mellow for sun –
But could for gold pass.
Above the domain
Of the flower bed,
A tooth and a mane,
A dandy lion’s head!
Standing on a Tree Stump
Standing on a tree stump,
With my arms up in the air,
I feel my lifeblood pump,
As if my limbs were everywhere.
Standing like a mighty tree,
With a windy voice, I cry.
I feel my roots beneath me,
And my soul up in the sky.
Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness give a soul hope,
Lend one’s song a lighter note for the day.
Genuine cheerfulness helps a heart cope.
A smile from a stranger goes a long way.
Nameless friend, let your name be charity –
A gentle heart to happiness avowed.
Exalted be cordial disparity,
In a solitary smile from the crowd!
Today I bask in blissful indulgence!
I revel in your felicitous glow!
My beaming face reflects the effulgence,
And bears your message wherever I go.
Diamonds glitter on the lake,
At a winter morning’s break.
The value that such wonders hold
Is more precious than any gold.
Wealth made in a single night,
Formed in an hour, and gone as fast,
Gems that but a season last,
Are indeed a treasured sight.
Praise him who bides the day
With song on his deeds,
Not sure what to say,
But knowing his tone exceeds
All measure of mortal boundaries
That his notes shall linger on the morrow,
When forever takes time’s foundries,
And dust has done away with sorrow.
A little rabbit beneath the rose,
One ear up and one ear down,
Shows his silly-wiggling nose,
Lifts his ever-happy frown,
Leaps across the garden floor,
Prancing as a racing steed,
To itch his chin upon a weed,
And settle in the grass once more.
A Bird in the Hand
A bird in the hand
Must be worth any
Two in the bush –
Much more grand
To stroke a head,
And feel a beak
Give your finger
A trusting push.
You might convince
The two in the bush
Not to linger,
Since two in the hand
Would be as nice
As one, at least twice
The worth of a bush
Heart of Wood
My tree has budded anew,
Has donned her morning attire,
A delicate waking hue
That only spring can inspire.
She wears the green of waking.
She will weave a tapestry,
A dress of summer’s making.
She will bear a quince for me.
She is as my sylvan child.
I raised her to tree from seed.
I espoused her from the wild,
And care for her every need.
And she repays all my care
With a vitality fine,
With leaves and fruit, scents my air –
Has rooted her life in mine.
I greet her as my friend true.
She would answer if she could.
I’m sure that she loves me, too,
Deep down in her heart of wood.
The Promised Land
We pilgrimaged hand in hand,
Along the straight and narrow streets,
To the promised land,
In an exodus for sweets,
To the gates of paradise,
Where a heavenly angel waited,
Behind an array of flavored ice –
The blessing we had anticipated
There in the counter glowing,
The fruits of our desire,
Like milk and honey flowing!
Manna to cool our earthly fire!
She made for me a clover ring,
With a sweet blossom for a gem,
Sealed my matrimony with spring,
For a day, with a loop of stem.
She wed me to a sunny day,
Tied happiness to me with string.
For a time, I was joined with May,
United by a clover ring.
White Horses Ride
White horses ride the tide this night,
Spry upon the rolling waves!
Their hooves churn wild the salty spray!
Whitecaps surge at their passing flight!
Spindrift ‘neath their spirit raves,
That billows near then breaks away!
Frothing horses who know no fright,
Across the sea fields glide!
Ride, mighty horses, in breaking stride,
Upon the raging white!
I Go to Meet the Beaming Day
I go to meet the beaming day,
To pass some time in idle play.
I pause to watch a butterfly,
Ecstatic in her love of May.
My rabbit stops to ponder why
The sun is shining in the sky.
He marvels at the golden light
Reflected in his ruby eye.
He gives a jump with all his might,
And shakes his head in sheer delight.
Just being is enough, it seems,
To make a simple spirit bright.
A strange fire in my bosom gleams,
A brighter sun my soul esteems.
I must be living out my dreams,
This day I bask in sunny beams.
I Thought You an Angel
Nightingale, when at first I heard you sing,
I wondered if I was in paradise.
When diamond-bright morning first touched my eyes,
And I beheld a flicker of your wing,
I believed you some heavenly device
Arrived in its most sublime earthly guise.
Nightingale, true lover or paramour,
Be yours a real or illusory gift,
When first I gazed upon your breast so pure,
I thought you an angel come to uplift.
When Dreams Were Reality
Do you remember those days,
Of bright skies and clear air,
And happy-go-lucky ways,
When we were free of care?
Can you recall that past life,
When we lived day by day,
When we knew not gall nor strife,
And thought only to play!
Picture when we knew no fear,
All dark designs disposed,
When we were disposed to cheer,
So blithesomely composed!
Oh, how I wish we were there,
When dreams were reality,
When I was debonair,
And you were fancy-free!
It wasn’t very square,
But neither was the tree,
Both formed of deviating wood.
To say it was haphazard would be fair,
Speaking purely of symmetry.
We had done the best we could
To make it practical,
From a boy’s point of view.
View and concealment were what really mattered,
The main consideration being tactical.
For materiel, we had to make do
With slivery planks that we found scattered
Here and about, along garden fences and back doors,
Nicked from behind neighbor’s garages and sheds,
And rusted nails accrued from boards, pulled, and pounded straight.
We scraped up enough scraps for multiple walls and floors,
A semi-watertight roof over our heads,
And a rope ladder, with a trap door for a gate.
And when we had it made, we had it made!
We had a castle in the shade of a Norwegian pine,
High in a pine, where no adult meddling could reach,
A sanctuary from Injun siege and pirate raid.
We stayed always vigilant, on watch for the first sign
Of invasion, with imaginary cannons at each
Corner, pine-cone hand grenades, and fence-picket swords.
Though we were attacked by more than a score
Of prowling cats, and robins singing out our position,
No external force ever conquered our tree or boards.
In the end, it was the enemy within that brought us to the floor,
The passing of age that took the blast from our ammunition.
They thrashed the cotton-headed weeds,
Withdrawing strategically, again and again,
As the enemy dispatched new armies of parachuting seeds
To reinforce the battlefield for some latter campaign.
They were beaten, they knew, their numbers too few
To take on an entire ditch bank.
For among the legions arrayed against them so rank,
All manner of hideous imagination grew.
There were hydra-headed grass monsters whose powers surpassed
The efficacy of any common warrior’s blade,
Poisonous spores, man-eating vines, dragons massed –
Multitudes of the most malevolent grade.
But the heroes stood their ground for honor’s sake.
With lattice-strip swords tempered by childhood consecration,
They made the weeping-willow swamp creature’s tentacles break,
And saved the world from utter annihilation.
We Had Fishing
We cast our lines in a summer lake,
Not really knowing what was at stake,
Unsure of what we might take,
Our bait as unproven as truth,
Dreaming and aimlessly wishing.
But we had our hooks firmly in youth.
And for a summer, we had fishing.
The Swimming Hole
It rushed out between rocks and moss,
As if it was in a hurry to go someplace,
Maybe eager to get out from under a mountain boss,
And be free from the starting block to run a fair race.
It seemed to know just where it wanted to go,
And went with a fantastic show,
Over gray mountain bones gurgled and hissed,
In a lusty voice sang,
Danced forth from a curtain of mist,
Where ferns, and cress, and myriad emerald spectators
Congregated along the banks for a good view
Of trout gladiators
Flipping in the shadows of overhang,
Against the current’s skew.
It built up enthusiasm as it unified in one force
With sister springs, through a hundred yards of willows pried,
Then roared along a gorge, until it found course
Liberal enough to keep it pacified,
There, meandering and meditating, slow and deep,
Along a tortuous track,
Like a giant serpent might creep,
Until it coiled radically back,
As if it had changed its mind about flowing out to sea.
And there, there was our swimming school,
In the leisure of a creek’s uncertainty,
Where water’s deviation had carved out a pool –
A pool the hue of sky refracted in a drop of dew –
And cold, as near to ice as liquid can be –
Much too cold for swimming, but too
Beautiful not to at least try and see
How long we could stay under
The spell of a serpent’s thumb –
Flying out like lightening, shaking like thunder,
Whooping and leaping to keep from going numb,
Bracing ourselves for another cleansing of our souls.
For to do otherwise, seemed to us a terrible waste –
Not to spend the jewel of all swimming holes –
Ambrosia poured generously, and refusing a taste.
Those winds that blow down southerly,
Bring icy air from the northern sea;
A wicked, prickly, needle cold
That makes the landscape stark and bold,
That makes the children cease their play,
That makes the birds all fly away,
That turns the pines to frosted cones,
And skelps the skin right off yer bones.
Feathered Fairies of Midnight
Spirits of the highest air
Beneath a lunar noon fair,
Beneath a cedar bower,
Have come to visit this hour,
Heaven’s earthward-blown daughters,
Stirring the still pond waters,
Breaking in silver slivers,
Delightful, sightly givers
Of show and song compounding,
Magical trumpets sounding,
Dancing madly in moonlight –
Feathered fairies of midnight.
Was to catch fire –
Salamanders in an alpine lake.
I had made the same mistake,
Numerous times before,
Of trying to wage elemental war.
And there I was, once more,
Seduced by mythical lore,
Armed with fire bucket and resolution,
Believing I had a solution
All worked out.
I had no doubt
That this time I would succeed
In capturing the fiery breed.
I stealthily stalked,
On hot coals walked,
Until I was so near
I could feel a salamander’s heat sear
My feeble attempt
With burning contempt.
At the edge of the moss it blazed.
For an instant, I was dazed.
Then I made my move,
Snatched, felt fire in the groove
Of my palm, then only mud, moss – smoke,
A salamander’s joke.
Again, I had been spurned.
My fingers had been burned.
No more tears! Save sorrow for later years,
When no morrow comes with the setting sun.
Being well enough cheers most mortal fears
Until the better part of days is done.
Now is a fantasy when mere breath nears
Any titan victory ever won –
A bright summer pastel-shaded portrait,
Framed in winter’s last color-fading sigh,
Moments in the final moment longed for,
Scenes from all dreams and schemes designed too late,
When grizzled heads on pillows heavy lie,
And passion-fevered lovers rise no more.
I will sing today of the sum of all I see.
I will concede the worth of my conception.
I will bask in the effulgent mystery
Of seeing and being a moment of perception.
I hear the ceaselessly prayed meditations of the flowing brook.
In fire-hued leaves of maple I read the runes of creation’s cryptic book
Placed so overtly in the face of crystal earth.
For an instant, I exceed the measure of my birth!
In reverence, I heed the significance of my death.
I distill all the flavors of existence into one breath,
Of frost painted in patterns of divinity upon the window pane,
Of weeping willows whispering along the meandering lane,
Of a rock high upon a cliff side,
Where I once watched eagles glide,
Of a cat that sat on my knee,
Of all life forces that surround me,
Of all living things ever begotten,
Of long-lost tales left to blow forgotten
In a wind that knows well its own time,
Having heard many ages, the oft-spoken rhyme.
In a tune fervorous but fleeting,
Synchronized to the rhythm of my heart’s unsteady beating,
I sing to the gods who wear this collective disguise –
Praise I speak though it be to my own demise,
In half-remembered lyrics of my childhood,
Diluted to fit my limited understanding of evil and good.
I hope to be more, on angel-winged seeds to ride,
To be a reflection of rose petals, and in the radiance of the stars abide.
Oh, I wonder of many marvelous things,
Of who and why and how!
But I have a field to plow,
And an unknown limit of springs.
So, I account my time counting sunbeams of golden noon,
Sowing divination from my outstretched hand
Of mud, of dust, of crumbling sand.
And perhaps I may reap a swathe of the harvest moon.
Before the robins in fickle earnest fly away,
In praise of wonder, in joyous refrain,
With uplifted voice so I sing today,
Should tomorrow and the chance never come again.
Here I am, garden, standing at your door!
Here I shall stay a while, in wholesome toil,
With gentle souls of green at my tenure,
The handiwork of summer to adore.
Where earthworms squirm ecstatically in soil,
I shall kneel with them in common amour.
I shall feel the goodness of the season,
And here harvest a full crop of the day,
Free from the shade of purpose and reason,
Until autumn falls in awesome display.
To my eyes arrive all that needs seeing;
Strawberries ripe upon an emerald weave.
To my nose goes whiffs of childlike anise,
Freely sharing delight with all being.
I hear all things that I need to achieve
Blowing through the cornrows on a warm breeze.
Cucumbers, on yellow bellies reclined,
Eye the muskmelons five rows away,
Bittered with envy of those sweeter vined,
Through spite, their own divinity betray.
Horseradish, what foolish horse would venture
To disturb your rudely-piquant censure?
Though chickweed the fingers of order stains,
And witchgrass all attempts at justice scorns,
Raspberries, plump upon their briared canes,
Shall not thwart my determined hand with thorns!
Aphid, beetle, blight, and slug, get thee hence!
Angelica, trouble yourself no more
With what lies beyond the pickets of fence!
Let us make heaven here; upon earth’s floor!
Among the Thronging Flowers
Stand upon the highest garden stair,
Among the thronging flowers.
In the most spacious of bowers,
Sow your affinity to the air.
Gather a glittering bouquet
Of blossoms blooming in endless space.
Harvest a twinkling nosegay,
And hold it against your starlit face.
Walking on Holy Water
Do you remember when
We followed a stream down through a glen,
And found a wheat field growing there
Like golden waves of angel hair?
And blew a breeze of heaven sent
Across the flowing tides of grain.
Across an amber sea we went,
Across a magic plain.
Then from her bed, leapt up a fawn,
Like Neptune’s agile daughter.
And we followed, after her till dawn,
Walking on holy water.
Treat or Trick
Candy was no good for Halloween treats.
It made trick-or-treaters misbehave, gave them tooth decay.
And so, she vowed to do away with sweets,
By giving away something wholesome, in the way
Of scones, cold unsweetened scones.
Scones would put the white in their smiles,
And a righteous marrow in their bones.
Folks would hear of her wisdom for miles.
My brothers, and sisters, and I went
Under duress – our mother’s threats of pain in hell
If we did not willingly assent,
And politely wish our well-meaning neighbor well.
Thus, we accepted our neighborly obligation,
Chirped Halloween wishes, gleefully assertive,
And waited out the tedious parable, considering incineration
In hell as an acceptable alternative.
With uplifted goody bags, we accepted shortening bread,
Grateful, at least, that we had costumes to mask any insincerity,
And that we could then be moving on, instead,
To certain Halloween trick-or-treating prosperity.
I even took a bite for my mother’s sake,
And for my neighbor’s delight, even insisted my brother
Give it a try, then and there. Like birthday cake!
But I kept moving for fear she’d offer me another.
In the rustle of autumn leaves, it isn’t hard
To spit without your mother hearing,
And clandestinely throw a scone across a yard.
With so many other scones thrown about, there was no fearing
That anyone would ever find out whose scone was whose,
Unless teeth marks and dental records were investigated,
And a thorough search was done of treat baskets for clues.
And then, the whole neighborhood would be implicated.
For there was always a trail of bread in every direction,
Scattered along the sidewalks and lawns in ghoulish cheer;
A map laid out by ghost and goblin insurrection,
To help them find their way back next year.
Warm, Wet, Embrace
With a voice of sirens, she sings,
With broad bold lips,
Whispers from a distance,
Smiles with perfect teeth,
Beckons me, her silken face,
Skin smooth and azure,
Wraps seductive fingers around me,
Spreads her skirt fro
Voluptuous rolling hips,
Draws it back a bit to show
Her petty coat beneath,
Edged in silvery lace,
Luring and retreating
My inordinate lust to entice.
I succumb without resistance,
With unconfined wings
Sail out to meet her,
I the holy ghost, and she
The virgin entreating,
Rolling me off to paradise,
Into her warm wet embrace.
We Wove Tales
Occupied otherwise with anxious concern,
We turned to the low-trilling voice
Fancied within the beating of all hearts that yearn
To follow a path of visionary choice.
In a deep wood, in a world of imaginary glory,
There was a bare spot worn by ancient feet,
Littered with time-bleached bones from many a treat –
Words laying there to be built into a story.
Upon a mountainside we bundled for sleep,
But turning our thoughts to a magical height,
We heard the beckoning fairies weep
To have a share in one more mystical sight.
From a cliff, from a lofty granite steeple,
Water in silver mist cascaded down,
Piping the ballads of lost tales and forgotten people,
Into an emerald pool, where all sorrow drowns,
And only happiness may at last prevail,
Where elves and dwarves together for treasure endeavor –
That never-tarnishing metal of the tale,
Ringed round with iridescent intrigue forever.
Witches, warriors, unicorns, and fauns,
Appeared and disappeared without a trace.
And children of innocence roamed immortal lawns,
Lending good and evil a single face.
I remember when we painted pictures on empty air
To calm the growing twilight.
In the deepening hours of despair,
We wove tales to cheer the night.
Love of the Written Word
Most noble is the unknown bard,
Who pours soul into sculptured lines,
Not for society’s regard,
But for an ardent heart’s designs.
Sure is the most uncertain dream,
Dreamt with spirit undiluted,
Pure as the clearest alpine stream,
Flowing ever unpolluted.
True is the poet whose songs raise
Feelings that may never be heard,
Who pains not for a hope of praise,
But for love of the written word.
We spent summer nights in the backyard,
Congregated friends and brothers,
And sisters when we had to,
Waited with shoes on, in similitude of sleep,
Until our mothers were in bed.
Then freedom was ours,
The town ours for the taking,
Exclusive rights to everything within reach,
Though we rarely took more than the thought,
Preferring to dream of safaris in far-off lands,
Of adventures and mystery, of exotic places,
But none as grand as our neighborhood.
The lights of a late-night, fast-food, joint
Beckoned to us from several blocks away,
Like a desert mirage –
Root beer for the taking,
And not a dime between us.
But we discussed our plans,
If ever we got a dime or more.
And on occasion we made raids,
To appease our appetites,
On neighbor’s gardens,
With commando stealth, stole
Fresh peas and raspberries,
Ate by moonlight till stomachache set in,
Drank water from the hose,
And pissed our names on the side of the garage.
With the enthusiasm of Stratford bards,
We performed flashlight melodramas
For each other, with no regard for script,
Raw emotion let loose,
Till lights from the porch silenced us,
Brought the curtain down too soon.
With unrelenting vigor, we scrambled
For cover, for sleeping bags wet with dew,
A lump beneath each, a stone or pine cone,
To perturb ribcages and elbows –
And no use rolling aside,
As there were always more elsewhere.
Mosquitoes hovered at our faces,
But we lay in exquisite repose,
Breathed the scent of grass,
Hoped we could stay forever,
Without sleeping or waking,
In the hush of summer night,
And the ebbing rhythm of a sleeping town
To lullaby the cares of Earth away –
A distant hum of cars on the highway,
A cricket playing in the arbor,
And another beneath the back gate,
The rustle of a tom cat prowling the lilac bush,
From the trees above, the melancholy hoot
Of a mourning dove confused by the street lights,
In lazy intervals, a hound baying in the distance,
Answered by the yelping mutt three houses down.
The sky was our final bedtime story –
There above us, the awe of firmament to reckon,
The vast domain of our deepest thoughts
On summer nights.
Bats darted across the moon.
Clouds passed the deep blackness of space.
And we lay in contemplation,
Attempting to divine the meaning of Cassiopeia.
I saw a shooting star once,
And made a wish,
But I can’t remember what it was.
Magic days! Those times when we lived in wonder,
And dreamed while others slumbered numb in their cocoons!
Let us loose the bonds we have unwittingly bound!
In rapturous splendor let us burst asunder!
Where are those lively tunes!
Where are those strains to be found,
Those days when music played from every corner of our being;
Refrains of joyful morning like Lilly blossoms strewn upon our shoulders!
Give me back that sleight of hand,
The power that made reality from seeing,
That alchemy that could change sand to boulders
And distant planets to sand!
O where is that potent drug of youth,
When we made cake from the crust of crumbs,
And shooed our troubles away like gnats from honey,
When fantasy sufficed as truth,
When we held the world under our thumbs,
And in our need turned laughter into money!
O red rose lips that I kissed boldly in the April rain,
Whose fragrant petals made heaven of my bed!
I wish to kneel before that bold bloom again,
And let the scent linger forever upon my forehead!
Master of the Day
I am master of the day.
I am lord of all I survey.
The world is my subjugation.
I am a god in my own way.
My designs I cannot Suppress.
My yearnings I cannot redress
With anything but creation.
My passion is akin to madness.