Below are the all-time best Ray Dillard poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members
If I were a butterfly...
Your yard might be the place to fly.
I'd flap my wings and fly all day.
From tree to tree...I'd bounce my way.
I'd ride hot puffs of air
Like a roller coaster at the fair...
Like a schooner on the ocean's waves...
I'd soar and swim the sky all day.
And when your children came to play...
I'd dance about their noses.
They'd laugh and chase
And then I'd hide...safely in the roses.
I'd perch among the sharpest thorns,
My wings...the roses to adorn...
Tomorrow I might float and soar...
Visit neighbors yards next door.
And when my flying day is done...
And I am finished having fun...
I'll float and flutter back through space...
Your garden ...still my favorite place.
Floating in the sky...
Changing patterns fill my eye...
What will you become?
Vagabond and wanderer...
Riding wind so high,
No matter where it blows.
You thumb your way to places
I have been and some I'll never know.
Changing shape and color,
Hiding your identity,
Until you speak with beauty and power.
First, a turtle, moving slowly.
Crawling and paddling in peaceful grace.
Next, a shark swimming swiftly
Consuming those around you.
Finally a dinosaur...
Your neck and tail extended
So I will know your name...
Forgetting you're a cloud.
Vagabond and wanderer...
Just vapor in the air, traveling everywhere.
So soft and sweet...
Then dirty and dark...you loudly speak.
Rain, thunder and lightening are your friends.
It's pleasant when your anger ends,
And rainbows arch to show me where you've been.
At night, your shadow hides the stars
And makes us wander where they are.
You choose to show selected few
The moon and stars...romantic you.
Sunrise...you meet the sun with colors of the day.
A canvas. A pleasant palette
Where light can play.
Sunset...you form a beautiful pillow
To gently catch the sun.
So rays may rest til morrow come.
Vagabond and wanderer...
Tomorrow let me see your face,
Another chance ...
To watch you dance...
Until you catch a ride...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtpPcmLKRFU Dancing Bird
Yesterday, I saw a shadow dart across my keyboard.
When I turned to look outside the window,
I spied upon a sparrow playing in the sun.
He was dancing in dramatic fashion
Across the shrubbery that was his home.
I could tell it was a male by his markings.
He was busy with his boasting, and proud.
No longer a fledge, he fluffed his feathers
To parade his prowess to all that might adore him.
Then, he pivoted into a pirouette, and pranced
Most skillfully across the length of a branch
And launched himself into flight.
Today, the sounds of birds cackling and chirping
Inside the shrubbery drew me to the window.
I could see three sparrows engaging in some fun and frolic.
Perhaps it was some flirtatious mating ceremony.
While most sparrows do look alike,
I’m sure that one of them was the dancing bird
I’d seen the day before. I watched briefly and smiled,
Remembering my own courtship and rivals
Who would fancy my choice as their own.
I returned to the monitor and before I could begin
My work, there was a loud thud upon the glass.
I gazed outside and there upon the ground was a small hawk
Clutching the dancer in his talons.
Tomorrow, this bird will not dance.
He will not sing or court another.
And as sparrows are many,
I will no doubt find another to enjoy from this vantage.
I chide myself for failing to warn him of the danger.
I was too busy with my own enjoyment to notice.
Now, I close my eyes and reconstruct those moments
As I attempt to resurrect the dancing bird,
And preserve him....forever.
These flowers will not replace my friend.
Their beauty will soon go the way of life-
Fade and wither and then take flight.
Piled upon this mound of dirt to mark our sorrow,
Offered as a sacrifice to soothe our souls.
Petal nor thorn could save this rose.
Like flowers cut down in height of beauty,
This face that bloomed and wore big smiles,
Is covered here to rest awhile.
Then beyond the markers numbered many,
Placed in rows to make order of death,
I saw something that took my breath.
Flowers...colorful flowers...that filled
The field yet fallow...waiting for the day
When friends and family gather...and pray.
I dare you to say,
"It's because of the full moon."
My heart is not made of iron.
Pulls me like the ocean's tide,
Holding me here by your side.
Instead, please tell me
That our hearts will beat as one
Regardless of the moon or sun.
Say that you'll be here
When we become old and gray...
Then, say the moon made us that way.
Ray Dillard 10-13-11
Happiness is a bright balloon
On the ceiling of the living room.
Confined in space it can't go far,
A butterfly in a small glass jar.
I watch it bounce and bobble by,
Searching for a big blue sky.
It finds a corner and there it parks.
A puppy dog that lost his barks.
Saddened by this circumstance,
I seize the moment, take a chance.
And guide my friend outside the door.
It's good to see him dance once more!
For Francine-- "Happiness is a Balloon"
by Ray Dillard on 7-21-11
You were afraid in the beginning.
You were excited and filled with anticipation.
Just holding her in your hands was a strange experience.
Awkward, like a first kiss.
Unsure of where and how to touch.
Just how should your lips
Meet her cold and unfamiliar mouth piece?
Remember those first few notes
Screeching through space inside the band hall?
A sacred place where rhythm and note
Have coursed the air and touched
The smallest bones of the human body
With the softest and most pleasant caress.
Become familiar with the way she feels.
Close your eyes and feel the softness of her curves.
Treat her like a lady of royal blood.
Her father has given you her hand.
There is no leaving her at the altar.
You will decide your life together.
Love her. Caress her. Kiss her softly.
Learn to move your fingers and listen to her reply.
The early sound of surprise becomes the sound of love.
Soon, you breathe as one, and the voice you hear,
The voice we hear.
Is not hers. Is not yours. But, the union of both.
And what we hear is the birth of something
Grand and glorious and beautiful!
So… during basketball season… our manager, Anna,
would sit by me on the bench.
I told her about Nana drawing with charcoals.
I told her about how I wanted to buy her charcoals
so she would draw again.
I told Anna about how Nana won’t draw anymore
because she used to draw…
when Papa was sick.
(I was telling Anna all of this because she likes to draw
and mentioned she likes charcoals the best)……..
All that being said…
Anna gave me the most beautiful charcoal drawing
of a basketball on a wooden floor.
It is framed and really big.
You can tell that she put time into it
and really wanted it to be pretty.
When I opened it in class today,
I was so surprised……
and told her it was beautiful.
She smiled at me and said,
“I drew that because of the story you told
me about your grandma.”
I bawled like a little kid.
Just that the story would influence her, and
inspire her to draw that for me.
It is awesome.
I had forgotten that we even talked about drawing…….
That story meant something to her.
And that is why people teach.
What’s in a Name
The ranch has many horses
And all have earned a name.
Through color, deed and disposition,
Their moniker will proclaim
Their value to the cowboys
That gave each horse his name.
Pete bears the name of a long lost friend
No longer here to ride.
And offers two ears worthy
For a cowboy to confide.
Legs is taller than the rest
And boy can that steed run.
Lean forward in the saddle
And you could have some fun.
Cottonwood is dirty white
Like the fluffy seeds of the tree.
And a May colt, too!
He went to the mud with me!
Sunny is a bright sorrel gelding
Colored like the sun.
His choppy gait makes saddle sores.
Riding him is never fun!
Jim is black as midnight
Like a character of Mark Twain’s.
They sometimes call him something else
But the meaning is still the same.
S.A. is a red roan stud
With initials for a name.
To write it out would just be wrong.
You can guess his name.
Today, upon the ground, I found a rusted nail.
Red and yellowed since its use,
It was caked and swollen; cracked lines top to bottom
With one turn in its body where last it was removed.
And the head was tilted slightly from a blow
Received when it was first employed and put to use.
I pondered of the purpose it had served
And the structure it had helped to hold and form.
I recognized its shape having spent many days
With hammer in my hand and blueprint in mind.
I have straightened many that were pulled and bent
And drove them to serve purpose.
Once this nail had value and function was providence.
Now, it fills a wrinkle of my palm
And leads me to wonder….
What will someday become of me?
Will a member of the generation born this day
Look upon me and speculate my past,
And weigh my usefulness against my keep?
Will I present as bent?
And, will the balding gray and shortened step
Persuade them I have passed my day of worth?
Or, will they look about their world
And see what I have made?
So much from just one rusted nail.
4th place in "Darn I Wish I Wrote This" on 6-26-12