after the rain,
I returned home
to this valley,
where the rivers race
with the wildfowl flying south
and words in the sateen night
cry of home and haven…
after the rain,
I remained in peace
as silence from the heart
Fallow are the fields
where tall corn flourished.
Death stroked like a clock
rousing light from the long night:
My Brother, my brother,
where have you gone?
Hesse is rewritten.
Narcissus falls to AIDS
and Goldmund lives on.
after the rain
this blue shimmer raises
within the patchwork
of this quilt,
I cuddle your warm memory
named in the block
sewn on my heart.
The calico needs a sunny sill,
Roses need their water,
And marl needs the skilfull hands
Of an artistic potter.
Children need a guiding hand,
Prophets hunt what’s true,
The faery needs an Irish glen
And darling, I need you.
The violet loves the morning dew,
Red clover loves the bees,
The Chinook loves a running stream
And darling, I love you!
A day without you casts shadows on my heart
The lack of you is loss of light
Drear spirits magnify when we’re apart
I ache to hold you through the night.
I ache to hold you through all the nights unborn
And laugh with you throughout the days
From the sunsets in the eves
To the sunrise in the morn.
I mercurochrome my heart with words,
Taking perverse pleasure in the sting
That truth inflicts.
I turn my back to the door
Her back saw last and ignore the urge
To walk to the telephone,
Some words are swords edgewise
To walk upon.
I watch winter whiteout my window
And stroke my cat, Capsaicin.
He purrs, stretching under my fingers,
Alone knowing the right words.
Short poems are like pop-up windows that just appear from nowhere while I’m “surfing” life. Things just hit me and I dash off a quick line or two under my breath. Sometimes I even write them down. This morning it was cold and a fog drifted in off the Missouri River while the moon tried hard to shine through. Then I went cemetery hunting, photographing graves for Find-A-Grave online and I thought how for everything we hold important and do to “raise” ourselves – in the end we’re all the same. Finally, I had lunch and discovered that its almost time for a new pair of jeans.
The grass is as green and the sod as bedewed
No matter whose bones are providing the food.
A Bowl Full of Jelly
Isn’t it funny that meat
Or anything else that I eat
Turns up on my belly
In a bowl full of Jelly
That disguises my eyes from my feet.
It is called a Missouri Moon,
A butterscotch disc
Melting in the mist of morning
A Piece of the Rose
A petal fluttered to the ground,
Sere and curled, faded brown:
A bit of rose, once brilliant red,
is lost – now found among the nettles.
Two hearts were sleeping,
dream-searching for a sign.
Two hearts were weeping
over love they couldn’t find.
If retrieved this hope, this pain,
another chance for heart to sing,
for mind to reel and ache to feel,
would I chance this agony again?
My beating heart cannot be stilled
in search for truth and love to share.
Bewildered? Yes, but also thrilled
at the audacious love I want to dare!
Forsaken once, and yet once more,
I bent and gathered up the petal:
more precious now than it was before
This faded bit of rose among the nettles.
As always there is a poem in every day, and like days some are better than others. I kind of liked this one, though. I should probably settle into a “style” but I go back and forth between rhyme and non-rhyme in poetry. I like both.
Axe of Minutes
As axe will bite with solid chunk
the stubborn grain
of yesterday’s oak,
waits to consume the once living:
and I live that blade, honed minutes,
clean wedge of today popped
from yesterday’s folly:
waits to comprehend.
Before the fire,
I plant memories.
I am the River
I am the river
Run into the sea
Mingling in waters
Far deeper than me,
I am the ruin
Far under the waves
Recalling the river
Of previous days,
Recalling the sun
Of my love’s memory
My tears form a river
Run into the sea,
The river, the ruin,
The sun gone to night,
The sea overwhelmed me
When my love left the light.
It is discomfiting to experience a suicide taking place just outside your door, as happened to me in my home some years ago, when I’d just moved to the southend in Saint Joseph on Colorado Street, and a man pulled up at the curb, disconsolate over who knows what and put a gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger. A total stranger yet the effect his last act had on me was lasting and profound. I can only imagine the pain his family felt and their anguish.
A Suicide One Alien Night
Sentry hours when a car passing draws you to the window,
squinting in the blackhole that is the rest-of-them universe,
disturbed that someone parks under your elm.
Alien nights are not for interrogatories,
astronomers just observe anomalies intently with
some calculation, this becomes a simple decision. Watch.
Hemingway sat in Ketchum, disconsolate and afraid. What
a novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was. It tolled for him,
sitting in Ketchum, alone, like the man in the car outside.
I can write about Hemingway. I know him from his works
and his biographers. You can understand a man from his
books. All I know about the man at my curb that alien night
was how I observed him in the darker-darkness of light
inside looking out and the gunshot that scared slash-strokes
of Van Gogh’s blackbirds from my elm, and the police
using my phone to call his next of kin.
I didn’t know his name, a stranger escaping the”rest-of-them” universe.
He left no books to read, no note to help us understand.
are not for interrogatories,
astronomers just observe
and dimly seen stars blinking out in the blackwash of night.
©Charles Elledge 2008