Hear the whispers inside
Chanting from long ago
Echoes come and go
Losing time in a soft eternal glow
A beautiful and delicate autumn mountain scene
Dry blue eyes enchanting melodies!
Voices falling from the sky
Rising hymns release ancient demons that cling to the soul
The darkness dwells under gentle moonlight
Ancestors of the Spirit World,
Exposing Indian hands that weave native smoke into the air
Their spirits taunting burrows from the muddy Earth
Moccasin makers rise from underneath
Guardians of dream catchers
Smooth thread from the outer edge, bowing heads.
Luminous gems of ivory,
Chasing a florid kiss.
Through the winds of enchanted drums, voices cry out for rain.
The hollow chimes mesmerize
An ancient rage begins to flare
The spears of the perfumed buffalo skin pierced my senses
Removing the veils that cover my eyes
The hands that cover my ears
Washing the scalp that bleeds on my face
They collect tears from memories of the past.
KINDRED IN EVERY WAY!
Raven silk braids, feathers fall from my hair.
Dancing in a horrid hallucination of Peyote,
Waking up from the “American Dream.”
Holding out my arms, I am free, I can fly.
I AM A BIRD!
The house seemed smaller, now seen with older eyes...
The street seemed narrower, the trees taller..
Where once were open fields across the road
New construction had bloomed
The small fruit orchard had disappeared
But somehow we knew it would still be there....
Strangely different, ...yet much the same
There was an unfamiliar young child's tricycle
On the flagstone path that we laid...
In front of this little house that lies
Beyond the curve, where the old sycamore grew...
Suddenly, thirty years faded into that autumn day
And quickly had become a springtime of our lives.....
...of first Christmas trees,..of first anniversaries...
...a place where I cried night after night when mother died...
...and spent long, starry nights holding newborn babes....
Yes....it is all still there, in the little yellow house
Funny, but I'm glad they kept the yellow...
It has the same white shutters...
The little yellow house, with a flagstone pathway that we laid
That sits beyond the curve, where the old sycamore grew...
A child of four suffers recurring dreams,
disturbing parents and siblings with screams.
When she awoke, always sore in one knee;
next to a birthmark, it throbbed painfully.
Night after night she feared going to bed.
What caused these nightmares that raged in her head?
Even when grown, the torment persisted,
so a therapist’s aid she enlisted.
“Hypnosis,” said he, “might offer some clues.
Why not try it? You’ve just bad dreams to lose.”
Once under, he guided her to a room --
here people’s lifetimes in books were entombed.
“Find one that is yours,” her counselor said.
Quickly she did, but before it was read,
she felt an ache, saw just a faint title.
The words, she thought, said “Alister Bridle.”
The hypnotic trance now suddenly broke;
puzzling questions “Mr. Bridle” evoked.
For many years she thought that was her name;
perhaps a past life had been filled with pain.
Who was this man? She simply had to know!
Seasons passed, summer suns made way for snow.
In Florida now, 1998,
she thought all the nightmares she had escaped.
But strange dreams always catch us by surprise --
when the lights grow dim, our minds fantasize.
Cloaked in velvet, she left her parents’ farm,
stealing away on a late autumn morn’.
To meet her love, she climbed on the carriage,
knowing her folks would forbid their marriage.
Warm-hued leaves carpeted the hillside road,
and her pulse beat fast; she’d soon join her beau.
She thought only of him; joy cast its smile,
but that’s when he called, “Alice, the bridle!”
The leather band broke and wrapped ‘round her knee.
To the ground she was pulled; her horse ran free.
She met death, but past-life dreams recycle,
and she’d never been “Alister Bridle.”
*Based on real events I experienced.
I called to the winds of autumn
As they wrapped up the dying year;
"Oh stay for a moment and tell me
Of answers I need to hear".
Who is the rival of prudence
Who is the merchant of crime
Who closes the eyes of beauty
And steals the hours of time?
Who brings the winter to age
From the springs of the fountain of youth
Who is the companion of sorrow
And destroys the justice of truth?
Who's the apprentice of Satan
The Prince of the Power of Air
Whose appetite is transgression
With more than enough to share?
Who weakens the power of the great
Who slaughters the wisdom of wise
Who brings the honest and gracious
To depths that others despise?
The winds of autumn now answered
With a voice like a phantom call
"It's an evil afflicting so many
Who drown in the drink alcohol."
This is the spell of the devil
Who casts his net from hell
An addiction with power to destroy
Gathering all who are caught in its spell
For his net will gather the unwary
To beguile lost souls with his breath;
This is the destruction of lost dreams
That perish in the arms of death
An ancient river, centuries-old shops and restaurants steeped in a 2000-year history and
culture set the scene. The ambiance seemed divinely contrived to facilitate the purposes of
our meeting and the very fodder from which the greatest poets are sustained.
Not newcomers to the area, Kay P. and I were assigned to the Army Security Agency Field
Station in Augsburg, Germany in 1974. We were colleagues in the intelligence community
with no romantic overtures to our relationship, save an appreciation of poetry and profound
philosophical discussions. Kay wanted to spend the evening with a poet, so we planned the
evening to be appropriate for the purpose.
At the time and place, we quickly found ourselves hopelessly immersed in the philosophical
foundations of my writings throughout the evening. It was the first time since Vietnam that
I'd felt worthy as a person. I still recall sipping the red wine and feeling the warmth of the
large hearth inside the Balkan eatery. I still see the swans gliding by on the Lech flowing by
When windowpanes begin to weep with autumn's chilly dew,
I'm taken back through seasons passed to one delight held true,
A rendezvous that time allowed, a gentle evening spent
Amid a time of long discord when days were dreary bent.
I feel the stretch upon my lips, the smile returns once more.
Again, I smell the Balkan fare prepared on Lech's old shore,
The mood is cast in high regard, the wine is tart and dry,
As Augsburg ripples in the wake when swans go gliding by.
The ancient windows frame our view and day begins to wane
As rivulets meander down and streak the dampened panes.
The ambiance of ages passed beseeched us not to leave
And held us in its warm embrace throughout the ebbing eve.
My heart was scarred, without regard and hardened by the war
But her esteem unveiled its worth, while nothing had before.
She saw the child that once was me, I'd long since cast aside,
And bade he climb astride his mount, engage his life and ride.
Now, she is but a memory, whose kindness soothed my heart,
For we embarked upon our lives on paths ordained to part.
Her subtle way escaped my eye till time had made it clear
That her esteem had set me free, that night I hold so dear.
The poetry that filled my soul remains these many years,
Impassioned in my warmest thoughts when autumn first appears,
When windowpanes begin to weep, a-glisten with the dew,
And I return to seasons passed, to one delight held true.
Oh I am but a simple leaf
withering within the gutter
one summer of bliss
now! Just an autumn flutter.
For some; destine to fall
upon stony ground, a part
of life’s infernal gyration.
Yet for those that fall
within your reach, to live
on within your soul!
While limbs that stretch
towards the solstice, create
vivacious veins as channels of hope,
a pledge of foliation continues
to endure what spring has
furnished; autumn expires.
Yes! If we can but learn
from nature’s complex simplicity,
that life be of a cycle
from the seed we are conceived,
then let spring be my beginning
winter my exultant eve!
Let our two cultures
merge as one, the
to become the sustenance;
our transfusion the
Let us breathe the
fragrance of born again;
let each slender limb,
stout body bear our
tenaciousness, each lyrical
leaf our life’s blood.
Let us mollycoddle each
precious tear that falls from a
angry sky; dance gracefully
upon the wind, embrace
on moonless nights, bathe
in summer madness.
Let us hear the bluebell call,
the daffodil pray, the apple
blossom bear witness; the
clamour of the field mouse
the pitapat of the butterfly
the silence of lovers in love.
Let us be sanctuary to the
symbolic songstress, scuttling
squirrel, vulgar urchin;
a fortress for the warrior
a haven for the pacifist
an inspiration for the poet!
The call of springtime
we will invoke,
we will gladly choke;
“This! Obliging old oak.”
In forest dark where trees bend low
beneath a slice of half moon’s glow,
silent shadows waver there,
chilled by gusts of autumn air.
Quavering, as if afraid,
they fall on stumps from trees decayed.
among those stumps the shadows creep
and shroud a form that seems asleep.
Lightning flashes . . . Thunder peals.
A sight forlorn the light reveals
a man, quite dead, in woolen coat,
with scarf of death left on his throat.
The shadows saw, and now they quake,
lone witnesses in murder’s wake.
They cannot speak, but if they could,
they’d tell all travelers of the wood:
"We’re not the foe. It’s one of you
that makes us tremble as we do.
Although we loom and cause you fear,
something worse is lurking here."
Then Thunder echoes in accord
as from the sky, cold rain is poured.
And silent shadows start to shrink
into a night of blackened ink.
At a dead man’s throat
lies the rain drenched woolen scarf
that stifled his screams.
Cold Wind howls through decayed trees -
witnesses in the shadows.
For Debbie Guzzi's Metamorph Poetry Contest
a rhyming poem changed to a tanka
Shifting haze, so slowly trailing
Through wood and field, now veiling
Melancholy skies, holding back the tears
With wild geese flying to meet other years.
Flames of crimson torches come flinging
Leaves on knarled branch swinging;
Desolate winds rush leaping
Taking flowers to their final sleeping.
In the groaning of the atmosphere
Unfolding sorrows weep with the fading year;
Fields of cluttered stubble are tangled
With rampant weeds, dew drop spangled.
Flocks of birds leave like flying missiles
Over fields of corn and drying thistles;
Then my dream of autumn fades, paling
Through a grandeur all prevailing
When sunset fires light sky and sea
And sink in the breath of serenity.
The day Will Shepard shot my dog
His barn burned to the soil;
The flames licked at the Autumn sky,
The smoke as black as oil.
I dropped the torch onto the earth,
And felt the whole world turn,
I stood and watched Will Shepard’s barn,
I stood and watched it burn.
The day Will Shepard shot my dog
I set his horses free,
They galloped over grass and sand,
They galloped to the sea;
I dropped my whip onto the floor
And thoughts turned to my gun
I stood and watched Will Shepard’s herd,
I stood and watched them run.
The day Will Shepard shot my dog
I put him in the ground,
My bullets found his heart and brain,
He fell without a sound;
And as his lifeblood ebbed away
And light fled from his eyes,
I stood and watched Will Shepard leave,
I stood and watched him die.
And now I sit here in my cell
And through the bars I spy
The carpenter with wood and nails,
Who builds my gallows high;
My vengeance has been satisfied
As far as I can see,
For that old dog Will Shepard shot
Meant all the world to me.
If e're we could move that mountain from between thee and me,
where would be lament or reason to grieve?
How remove the hollow from the tree, or shore from the sea?
What left would there be?
What if ere the beam lost it's moon.
Or lovely Autumn raiment lost it's tree? What then would it be?
Can one sow the seed without the land?
Would this be what Powers planned?
The grief, the longing, oh, the heartfelt gaze,
The strife the loneliness, but a soulful phase.
A mountain surmountable, a hollow fulfilled,
A sea able to be, a beam again spilled.
A stage again for raiment,... a fertile valley for seed.
Our love could not be boundless without the bonds of these.